In our own flesh, we may desire to do what seems right in the moment, but it is not as right an action as we think it to be. We make hasty decisions, not having patience and trust in the sovereignty of God. Peter knew that Jesus was God, but his flesh was “rash to do good”. We must be on guard today against such a presumption, especially when we, or someone we know, is persecuted. It is our pride that tells us “how dare they!” but God tells us “though He slay me yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
It can be easier to deal with tribulation for ourselves, but when loved ones are involved, we feel a strong urge to intervene, sometimes when we shouldn’t. In such cases we must still cling to our Lord. Thinking about that quote from Job, consider that he had lost his children already, and then you may see the need to understand that though He slay someone I love, yet will I trust Him.
A good example of not having this presumption is David, letting Shimei curse and throw rocks at him (2 Samuel 16:5-13). Absalom, his son, was trying to usurp David’s throne, and Shimei was cursing David and praising Absalom. David didn’t presume that because he was in the right that he had the right to destroy Shimei, even though Shimei was wrong. Just because we are doing God’s business does not necessarily give us the right to attack those who oppose us. God allows adversaries at times in order to promote our faith and also to give Him an extra measure of glory by bringing us through a tough circumstance. Sometimes, like Paul in prison, we are appointed to the defense of the gospel (Philippians 1:17), and we must remember that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12 – NKJV).
Think also of the fact that although Samuel anointed David as king, and the throne was rightfully his, he did not kill Saul when he had the chance (1 Samuel 26:9-10). Abishai, David’s faithful and courageous companion, wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to slay Saul (vs. 8). But David knew that God had anointed Saul, and even in his rebellion, Saul was still the Lord’s. David had faith in God to do what was right, he had faith that God himself would place David on the throne, and end the reign of Saul, without having to “stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:11).
Even though King David swore to Shimei that he would not kill him (2 Samuel 19:23), Shimei got his just reward, as it were, from King Solomon (1 Kings 2:44). Indeed, we must remember that the wicked are caught in their own trap (Esther 9:25 / Psalm 7:15-16, 9:15-16).
Christlike love is not provoked (1 Corinthians 13:5). Never draw first blood, and never throw the first counter punch. Defend the gospel, not yourself, and the glory of God will rest upon you (1 Peter 4:14). Instead of giving place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27), we need to give place to God (Romans 12:19 / Hebrews 10:30).