The Art of Persuasion

“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.

But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 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.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. (1 Samuel 24:4–7)

Here we see a guy who did the right thing and brought a whole group with him. He persuaded them with his words. The literal meaning here, strange as it may seem, is "tore apart." He tore them apart with his words. The same Hebrew word is used in Isaiah 53 where we read, "He was wounded for our transgressions." It means pierced through, torn apart, ripped up.

I have a feeling that David's men didn't just stand together and mildly say, "You think you should have done that?" No, their dialogue must have been heated.

"Don't be a fool, David!"
"DAVID, the guy's done everything but take your life."
"Look, I can't do it!"

Back and forth, back and forth they argued, but David stood for a righteous principle until their argument was torn apart. They were persuaded. Remember this when you are hanging in the balance somewhere. Maybe in your profession or business. Perhaps in the way you've done your studies or carried on your lifestyle. You've compromised and sort of waltzed along on very thin wires of rationalization, and you've begun to lean. And God says, "You have no business doing that. Get back where you belong."

Hey, who knows whom you could persuade if you walked with God? Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with every day need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just spot-on clean living. Honest-to-goodness, bone-deep, nonhypocritical integrity. Authentic obedience to God.

David persuaded the men because, ultimately, he had absolute confidence in God. He wrestled with his guilt, hung his life on a righteous principle, and then stood fast in absolute confidence in God to make the situation right, even in the face of the opposition. "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. David put his confidence in that.

David's son Solomon would later write in his Proverbs, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (16:7). What a promise! The word "easy" is not in Proverbs 16:7, however. It's true, but it's not easy.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

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