Fool Me Twice …

I Samuel 24:22 says: “But David and his men went up to the stronghold.”

At the end of this chapter, Saul had again “repented” of his sin of needlessly persecuting David. He went as far as to admit David’s good intentions — and even that David would surely one day be king. He sought peace with David, and asked him to swear not to destroy his descendants. All “seemed” to be well. Saul went back to his home, and one MIGHT think that David would go back with him to Israel, but he didn’t: “But David and his men went up to the stronghold.”

Why did he do this? Wasn’t all well between him and Saul? Had there not been a “reconciliation”?

Yes, Saul had said those things. But David also knew Saul’s track record: Saul was extremely unstable, often oppressed by demons, which brought wild mood swings upon him. He seemed very repentant here at the end of I Samuel 24, but David knew all too well from experience that this benevolent mood could change quickly. I’m certain that he was glad that Saul had said what he did, but that did not mean that he had to foolishly place his life in his hands again. He knew Saul’s history, so he was going to stay on his guard: “But David and his men went up to the stronghold.”

There are times when we face similar situations. There are people who have repeatedly demonstrated that they will hurt or misuse us. In such situations, we are under no obligation to “forgive and forget” that they have ever done such, and place ourselves and our loved ones in harm’s way with them. If, like Saul, they express regret, and proffer an apology, accept it, as you should. But it does not mean that you should naively put implicit trust in them, when their track record has consistently demonstrated that this is unwise.

Remember that the scripture never commands us to “forgive and forget.” Forgive, certainly, whenever you are asked. But there are also times when wisdom will then lead you, like David, to stay on your guard!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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