1 Samuel 24:1-22 (Part 2) – What Do David and Raul Aizcorbe, Sr. Have In Common?

Posted: March 29, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel

1 Samuel 24:1-22 (Part 2 of 2)
David Spares Saul’s Life

As my wife has returned to her native Charlotte, NC area home at the moment to begin preparations for her father’s funeral and wrapping up of his earthly affairs, it is time to reflect some on the past. One of the things that we have deal with at the moment are the traditions and the past of the Catholic Church. Elena’s mom and dad, due to their Hispanic roots (her dad was from Cuba and her mom from Venezuela), were Catholic (nominally so in the past 20 or so years but nonetheless Catholic by identification). In the Catholic church, there is apparently a tradition of the past that is carried forward today that you cannot have funerals during Holy Week. So, the earliest the funeral can be now is next week. With family situations of children and grandchildren, the funeral may not been until the end of next week. Traditions and the past are things we think about today.

When I reflect on the South that Raul Aizcorbe, Sr., his wife, his eldest son and the baby at that time, Elena found when they moved to Belmont, NC was quite different from the Belmont, NC of today. Elena and her brothers were all born in the United States. However, Raul, Jr., was born while Elena’s dad and mom still lived in Cuba. They emigrated to the United States in 1958 just at the beginning of the Castro revolution. They basically left Cuba with just a couple of suitcases and their oldest and then only child. The initially settled in Winter Park, FL where Elena was born in January 1961. A few years later though, they moved further north to Belmont, NC just outside of Charlotte in what was then a mill community (now it is one of the many old mill towns that are now just suburban communities of the urban sprawl that is metro Charlotte, NC).

The stories of the South of two or three generations ago and beyond (back in the day) is a South that is so different from the South I have come to know as a teenager and as an adult. Back in those days, it was different. Black and white waiting rooms at doctor’s offices. Black and white restrooms and water fountains in public places. Things were just different back then. Segregation was just there and nobody seemed to have the kahunas to change it. It was this unspoken thing that just hovered there. There were often no laws against blacks being allowed to do certain things or be certain places but it was just customs that everybody observed as if they were scared to break with the code, as if big brother was watching. Most Cubans are different from mainland Latin America in that many Cubans descend directly from Spain and look just as white as any white Southerner of Scotch-Irish descent. So on that count, the Aizcorbes were given a pass except their last name gave them away as “not being from around here!”

But being from a culture different from the Southern culture, Raul Aizcorbe, Sr. never had a segregated waiting room at his doctor’s office. He just didn’t understand or see the need for it. As a result, Dr. Aizcorbe ended being relegated to serving the poor whites and the blacks of the Belmont community in a time when a white man should not be doing such things. Because of the clientele he served, Raul Aizcorbe never got rich being a doctor. He would rather serve those who needed serving than stand with the practices of segregation in that day. He was one of those that did not follow the herd on segregation. He did not observe the customs because “that’s just what you do!” He questioned it and when he saw no valid, logical reason for it, he said my waiting room is going to be for all people. It does not sound like much now in 2018 as Raul Aizcorbe passes into eternity but it was a big deal back in the early 1960s. For all his faults and Raul Aizcorbe, Sr. had many (just like the rest of us), I am proud to say my father-in-law was a subtle champion against the unspoken rules, the pall that sat over the South, called segregation. He stood up (maybe naively) against the foolishness that was segregation in the only way he knew how – in how he ran his business.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read of David standing against the tide of popular opinion of his own men. He had an eye to the future and an eye toward that which is right in God’s eyes. The combination of reading this passage and reflecting on the passing of my wife’s father yesterday morning made me think of his standing up for what you know is right even when its not popular. Let’s read the passage now:

 

Chapter 24

1After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats.

3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!

4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.

5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” 7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.

9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. 14 Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? 15 May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”

16 When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. 17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. 18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. 19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. 20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

22 So David promised this to Saul with an oath. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their stronghold.

In this passage, we see that the means that we use to accomplish a goal are just as important as the goal we are trying to accomplish. David’s goal was to become king, so his men urged him to kill Saul when he had the chance. David’s refusal was not an example of cowardice but of courage – the courage to stand again the group and do what he knew to be right. Let us not compromise our moral standards by giving in to group pressure or taking the easy way out.

David stood against the tide of opinion of his own men and did the harder thing – spare the life of his enemy. Even though the revenge of it would have tasted so sweet, it would have been against God’s plan for Saul and David each but it would also have thrown Israel into an all-out civil war if he had assassinated the reigning king. David was a wise man and a godly man. He showed in this passage that he had the character to do what was right when it was called for.

Both David of biblical times and Raul Aizcorbe, Sr. of modern times were both imperfect men who made mistakes but both stood up against the tide of public opinion and did what was right in God’s eyes at critical times in their lives. David showed mercy to the reigning king. Raul Aizcorbe refused to buy into the lie of segregation in his medical practice over the years.

May we all be men and women of courage who stands up for what is right in God’s eyes. May we stand for what God stands for regardless of public opinion or public pressure.

Amen and Amen.

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