Thought for the Day by Tim Ward from St Chad’s:
The word “cloak” derives, at least in part from the French “cloche” or bell. Cloaks protect against the cold; they can also demonstrate wealth or social status. Worn by the anti-heroes of page and screen, cloaks exude a darker menace.
Cloaks feature throughout the old and new testament, including in today’s Old Testament story in 1 Samuel chapter 24. We do not know what shape or type of cloak Saul was wearing, but we can guess it was one of the better ones. Saul was the anointed King of Israel, but was driven by jealousy of David, more than his trust in God.
Saul was taking “five-minutes”. He needed his “me-time”, some temporary refuge from his murderous pursuit of David. Unwittingly stopping off in the cave where David and his companions are hiding, Saul made himself an easy target, especially given the bloodthirsty feuds of the time.
Egged on by his companions to take advantage of this seemingly God-given opportunity to finish his rival Saul off, David stayed their hands. Instead he just cut up part of Saul’s cloak, and fretted that even this was taking things a tad too far.
David’s reluctance to use violence in the cave punctured Saul’s sense of self-importance and vindictiveness. Saul’s subsequent repentance sounds sincere but proves to be short-lived. However, Saul correctly predicts that David will be the future ruler of Israel.
In Acts 3, Luke name-checked Samuel and highlights the how the early church shared in the promises God made with their ancestors. Peter spoke with boldness to his fellow-Israelites, seeking their repentance and promising that “spiritual strength will come from The Lord” This is the spiritual strength which David found, and Saul lost.
Let us pray for both boldness and restraint in ouractions and words, so we can be effective in challenging injustice.