ODJ: know your enemy

September 12, 2013 

READ: 2 Samuel 1:17-27 

If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your . . . gods (1 Samuel 7:3). 

A recent pop song contains these lyrics: “Do youknow the enemy? Do you know your enemy?Well, gotta know the enemy.”

David knew someone who counted him as an enemy—Saul. The troubled king of Israel hated David, and that spelt big trouble for the future king. David nervously thought, “Someday Saul is going to get me” (1 Samuel 27:1).

But David didn’t hate Saul. In fact he called him “the Lord’s anointed one” (26:9). And though he had the chance to take Saul’s life, he refused to do it (vv.7-9). So when a young man said he had ended Saul’s life (a lie intended to gain favour), David wasn’t pleased (2 Samuel 1:14-16). A wounded Saul had died, but it was by his own hand and sword (1 Samuel 31:4).

Saul and his son Jonathan, David’s best friend, had perished in a battle with the dreaded Philistines. Filled with grief, David poured out his soul in a “funeral song” (2 Samuel 1:17). It includes these lyrics: “Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!” (v.19). This sure doesn’t sound like someone who knew his enemy! “How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!” (v.23).

What? Jonathan, I get, but Saul . . .

David went on to state how much he loved Jonathan (vv.25-26). But the fact remains that he also celebrated Saul’s life. Why? Because of his reverence and love for God. He recognised that Saul had been God’s anointed one. This provided all he needed to know.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44). Our human adversaries have been deeply affected by our true enemies—sin and Satan. Knowing that helps us to see them as Jesus does.

Yes, know your enemies, but also know that God wants you to love them. —Tom Felten

Read Luke 6:27-36 and note some of the examples Jesus gives for loving your enemies.
What happens inside of you when you choose to love your enemies? Why is it important to remember who your true enemies are?