One of my favorite cartoons in childhood was Tom and Jerry. That cat and mouse worked hard to outwit each other at every turn. In the later years, the ones that were broadcast when I was in upper elementary school, suddenly had Tom and Jerry as friends, working together to accomplish something, but with conflict along the way. I never cared for the new format, because I could never buy into it. In the older episodes, Tom and Jerry would cooperate on occasion, if it was in their interest, but never for very long. It was much more fun to watch them chase each other around the house, devising traps for each other. And besides, I knew the history of these two critters, how had they suddenly become friends? It just didn't make any sense to me.
I guess David and Saul's relationship reminds me a bit of Tom and Jerry. I don't think David was trying to outwit Saul, as much as he was trying to prove that he would never harm his king. David again spares Saul's life, to Abishai's great frustration and dismay, and to Abner's embarrassment. Saul, even though David had a chance to kill him before and didn't, still pursues David. Saul himself decides to embark on this endeavor to capture David. It would seem from the last time we saw this scenario, that all would have been well between David and Saul. But Saul did not invite David back to the palace, and David did not leave his wilderness living. After a second time of showing mercy on Saul, David pleads with Saul to tell him what he has done to deserve such treatment. David wished he could have at least had a reason. But a godly man and an ungodly man living in the same residence is like a cat and mouse trying to live peacefully together. How could Saul tell David what he did wrong, unless he were to admit he was less of a man? That he wanted to live his life his way and not be reminded by this godly lad what God would prefer. Just David's presence would be a constant reminder to Saul.
|David prevents Saul from being killed--Taken from Standard Bible Readers, Book Four|
By Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1927
It seems sad that Saul (like Tom cat) could not be trusted. He could put on the smile, recite the forgiveness speech and pretend he wanted David back, but only to destroy him, not to fellowship with him. David (like Jerry mouse) continually had to judge these speeches, sidestep the traps and live waiting for the next cat chase. Not the life for me. But really, my relationship with the devil is the same. Satan is Tom cat trying to win me over with sweet words while keeping his carefully laid trap covered, hoping I will not discover it before I step in. If I am as savvy as Jerry mouse, I will look past the grand speeches and instinctively know about the trap he has devised for me. Satan and I cannot, and can never be friends. His only motive for winning me over is to have me for lunch. If I ever believe anything else, I will have bought into those later episodes of Tom and Jerry.