2 Samuel 1:17 – 27
17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar): 19 “A gazelle[a] lies slain on your heights, Israel. How the mighty have fallen! 20 “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice. 21 “Mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on your terraced fields.[b] For there the shield of the mighty was despised, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil. 22 “From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied. 23 Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 “Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold. 25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. 26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. 27 “How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!”
What does the world tell us? Take revenge, and rejoice when evil befalls your enemies. What does David do in this passage? Writes a lament for his enemy and proclaims that it should be widely sung in Israel, because he honours the Lord’s anointed. He also, of course, grieves for his dear friend Jonathan.
Misfortune towards our enemy is not a cause for us to rejoice, it is misfortune. God is calling us to have a different attitude to the world. One marked by love. In places overseas where there is physical persecution the common prayer asked for by the persecuted is that they can still react with love, not hatred towards their enemy. While we may not suffer the same sort of persecution in Australia, we are called to the same behaviour.
Lord, let me honour those whom you have put in power, and let my life be marked by love, not hatred or revenge.
Written by Megan Cornell