ONLY God gives us ‘REWARDS’ of LASTING VALUE: Then David said to the young man who told him, "Where are you from?" And he answered, "I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite." So David said to him, "How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" Then David called one of the young men and said, "Go near, and execute him!" And he struck him so that he died. So David said to him, "Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the Lord's anointed.'" (2 Sam 1:13-16)
David, having just returned to Ziklag from his campaign against the Amalekites (1 Sam. 30:1), received the tragic news of the death of Saul and his sons. The messenger was none other than an Amalekite who claimed to have killed Saul with his own hands (2 Sam. 1:1–10). He had now travelled over 90 miles from Mount Gilboa to Ziklag to convey this news to David. However, we know that Saul’s death was a suicide (as recorded in 1 Sam. 31:3-6). This Amalekite had probably fabricated this story to make himself look good in David’s eyes in order to get some reward since he had known from others that Saul was David’s enemy (see 2 Sam. 4:10).
However, David had always considered Saul as God’s anointed, even though Saul was rejected by God, hated David, and sought to kill him (1:14; 1 Sam. 24:6; 26:9). David’s reverence was actually for God who had anointed Saul, and had twice refused to harm Saul earlier (1 Sam. 24:6; 26:9-11). So, hearing the tragic news David mourned deeply all that day for Saul, and then during the evening time he ordered the execution of the Amalekite because (by his own admission) he had killed the Lord’s anointed. Instead of getting a reward from David, what the Amalekite received was a death blow through a sword! The Amalekite had received a ‘reward’ that he had never expected in his wildest dreams!
This sad story brings to us two very important life lessons that we should consider seriously:
- Whatever we do for people, we will never get the adequate rewards that we expect. A good example is Hagar who only got bread and water from her master Abraham for bearing and raising his eldest son Ishmael (Gen. 21:9-21). In this world, we are only valued when we have something to offer, otherwise we are deemed as ‘losers’ and sidelined even by our own family, friends and society. Let us understand that "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." (Psalms 118:8-9)
- Only God can give us rewards that have any lasting value. God has put eternity in our hearts (Eccl. 3:11b), and we should live for eternal values and to please God more than anyone. One of the last statements of Jesus in the Bible is as follows: “…behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work" (Rev 22:12). Let us live to obey God and serve others; as per Matt. 10:42 we will be rewarded even for a cup of cold water that we give in His name. "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." (Matt 16:27)