“And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.”
I Samuel 24:4, 5
Saul was aggressively seeking after David, intent on killing him. When Saul went into a cave to get some rest, David and his men were also in the cave, hidden in the darkness. David’s men told their leader that this was his opportunity to get even with Saul. David quietly cut off a part of Saul’s robe to show him that if he had really wanted to kill him, he would have seized this opportunity. After he had done so, “David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.”
Though David was a brave and mighty warrior, this Scripture testifies to his tenderness, his “heart smote him.” His heart convicted him of his error. He knew that he had done wrong. David’s attitude and action revealed the kind of heart we should all strive to have. When we sin, our hearts should smite us. Our hearts, or our conscience, should convict us when we do wrong. A true Christian will not be able to sin without feeling some guilt about it. None of us are perfect in all of our words and deeds. We all will make mistakes, but how do we feel when we do wrong? David could not get away with his disrespect toward Saul. Even though King Saul had mistreated David and sought his destruction, David’s heart would not allow him to give Saul the same treatment. David knew, and often repeated his position, that to stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed would be sin. David recognized that Saul, with all of his imperfections, was God’s choice to be the king of Israel. It would have been wrong for him to lift his hand against Saul.
We need the kind of sensitive heart that David exhibited. There is something wrong when those who claim to be God’s children can speak hatefully and act rebelliously toward God’s leaders. It is not right when Christians seem to be able to disobey God with no feeling of regret or shame. The Bible teaches that the more we allow sin to occur without repentance, the harder our hearts become. May our hearts be sensitive to the Spirit of God. When we do sin, may our hearts smite us.