In today’s Old Testament reading and Psalm, a familiar scene reminds us of the inextricable relationship between mercy and trust.
Over the past few days, the book of Samuel recounts the story: God rejected Saul as king of Israel. Samuel sought and found the shepherd boy, David, and anointed him king. David defeated Goliath with a sling and a stone. King Saul, jealous of David’s popularity with the people because he defeated the Philistines, sent 3,000 men to search for David, so that those men could destroy David. Recall that David grew up alongside Saul’s son, Jonathon. Saul loved David, but his love for power was greater.
In today’s scene we see David hiding deep within a cave. As only God can do, God delivered Saul into David’s reach when Saul entered the outer part of the cave. David could have killed King Saul, but he did not because the King was God’s anointed one. David confronted the king with the truth:
“My lord the king!”
When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul:
“Why do you listen to those who say,
‘David is trying to harm you’?
You see for yourself today that the LORD just now delivered you
into my grasp in the cave.
I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead.
I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord,
for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’
Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold.
Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you,
see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.
I have done you no wrong,
though you are hunting me down to take my life.
The LORD will judge between me and you,
and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case.
I shall not touch you.
The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’
So I will take no action against you.
Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel?
Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea!
The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you.
May he see this, and take my part,
and grant me justice beyond your reach!” (1Sam 21:9-16)
David completely trusted God, resisting the peer pressure of his men who wanted to kill Saul, and submitting to God’s anointed one out of love for God. David didn’t know what would happen. King Saul could have killed him right there. He could have taken David away, or made a scene which brought 3,000 men to his aid. David had to know the risks. There’s no way he couldn’t have. His words reveal the source of his conviction, “The LORD will be the judge.”
The Church then invites us to pray Psalm 57, “A miktam of David, when he fled from Saul into a cave.” (source) “Only six psalms contain this Hebrew word, miktam. No one is quite sure what it means, but all six of these psalms are psalms of lament. All six are linked to David and four of the six have references to David’s struggles with enemies.” (source) David’s heart is broken as his life is threatened for doing God’s will and for rescuing God’s chosen people. This was David’s prayer along the way as he ran from his enemies:
Have mercy on me, O God; have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge. In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
till harm pass by.
I call to God the Most High,
to God, my benefactor.
May he send from heaven and save me;
may he make those a reproach who trample upon me;
may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
above all the earth be your glory!
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the skies. (Ps 57:2, 3-4, 6 and 11)
Consider David’s prayer. David asks for mercy and immediately trusts in God’s refuge. He praises God and immediately trusts in God’s protection. He exalts God and immediately trusts in God’s faithfulness.
Faith is the hinge between mercy and trust. In faith, we pray for mercy; in faith, we trust God will give it to us.
Saint Faustina’s Diary is entitled “Divine Mercy in My Soul”. The one phrase we take away from it is, “My Jesus, I trust in You!” Today, let us pray in faith for God to pour out His mercy on our world, on our nation, and in our hearts, and that we will in faith trust in His Providence and care for each an every one of us.
My Jesus, I trust in You! Anne