Please read my last two posts to catch up on this particular story involving David, the warrior, anointed to be King of Israel. Of course you can find it in the book of 1 Samuel Chapter 30 of the Bible.
When we left David’s story last time, we found that he succeeded in defeating his enemies and taking back what they had stolen- wives, children and all their belongings. This triumph came only because David followed God’s ways, one of which was to tend to a sick slave found left to die in a field.
Notice that David’s men found the slave and brought him to David. They did this because they knew the character of their leader. Even though David was on a mission, he stopped to help the helpless. He could have thought or even said aloud to his men, “We don’t have time to play nursemaid. We have to find our families!” Once hearing that he was an Egyptian and a slave of an Amalekite, David could have left him. After all, the Egyptians and the Amalekites were enemies of Israel. Hearing the man say, “We burned Ziklag” could have been the justification the men needed for also leaving him to die, but that was not David’s heart.
David’s compassion to care for this sick man should remind us that we are to care for others no matter if they can do nothing for us in return even if it is inconvenient to our plans and even if they are our enemy.
As I was reflecting on occasions I had helped someone that could give me nothing in return, I had two voices vying for my attention. Unfortunately, Satan jumped at the chance to remind me of times I had helped someone and they didn’t thank me or even acknowledge my help after they recovered from whatever hard circumstances they were experiencing. But the voice I chose to listen to was the voice of the Holy Spirit. He reminded me of Jesus’ words about giving to the needy. He said, “Don’t announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:2-4).” Basically, for us today, we are not to post our benevolent giving to the poor on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform so that we can rack up numerous likes and have people comment on how wonderful we are. Even if someone you help doesn’t thank you or acknowledge your help, God knows, and he is the only one that ultimately matters because his reward is so much greater than praise of men.
So, with that in mind, I’ve chosen a story that Jesus told to an expert in the Law (the Old Testament scriptures) during a discussion about what one must do to inherit eternal life. After stating one must love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself, the expert asked, “Who is my neighbor?” According to this story, the neighbor’s name could very well have been David.
This story is well known as the story of the Good Samaritan, but if you don’t know the background found in the Old Testament of who a Samaritan was, you won’t fully grasp the point Jesus was making. Remember he was telling this story to a man who spent his entire life studying the Scriptures. There’s no doubt that he would have known exactly who a Samaritan was.
Old Testament history tells us that Israel had an evil king named Omri who reigned for twelve years beginning around 885 BC. He bought a hill, built a city on it and named it Samaria. From this place he and every evil king after him ruled the nation of Israel. Finally, because of all the wickedness, the Lord had the Assyrians take the city and all the Israelites were sent into exile in Assyria. Then the Assyrian king deported people from Babylon, and other pagan cities into Samaria. Because these people knew nothing about worshipping the one true God of Israel, he had one of the Israelite priests sent back to teach these people how to worship the Lord. He did not do this out of reverence for God but to stop the lions that God sent from annihilating the people. Samaria soon embraced a cafeteria style of worship. The menu included worshiping the Lord along with all other sorts of pagan gods from the nations the people came from.
Fast track over nine hundred years when Jesus walked the earth. The relationship between the Jews and Samaritans had become one of utter hatred for each other. And don’t think for a second that Jesus didn’t know this when he told the following story.
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw he man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. The he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out to two denarii (two days’ wages) and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’” Jesus then asked the expert of the law,” Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” (Luke 10:30-36).
What would you do if you came upon an injured person lying in the street? Would you just keep on walking or would you stop to help? What if this person was from a group of people who did not think like you, dress like you, talk like you, worship like you or even worship the same God? Would you go so far as to take him to the hospital emergency room and leave your credit card to cover his medical expenses? Or what if you hear of someone close by who has contracted the Corona virus and needs assistance? Would you put your own fears and schedule aside and help this person? It’s clear that David did not let anything stop him from helping the sick man nor did any excuse stop the Samaritan from caring for the injured man.
Remember what Jesus said about giving in secret? God would see and reward those who give in secret. David did what was right as well as the Samaritan. We don’t read anywhere that they made public announcements of their good deeds. God rewarded David with knowledge of the enemy’s whereabouts and the Samaritan received honor and fame through out history as “The Good Samaritan” written in the number one bestselling book of all time!
Once the expert of the law stated that the injured man’s neighbor was the one who had mercy on him, Jesus commanded, “Go and do likewise.”
We have the same marching orders!