In the background of the famine taking place during David’s reign sat a dirty secret. Joshua made a promise to protect the Gibeonites and Saul acted counter to that promise. No action had been taken to resolve the injustice and some may have not even been aware of the injustice. The famine faced by Israel brought the injustice to light. In David’s actions, we find four elements required for dealing with injustice.
Seek God. Notice that David prayed first. He sought God’s direction. He knew something was amiss but was not sure what. Instead of consulting meteorologists and land managers, he turned to God for insight. The irony of David seeking God first is that the promise made to the Gibeonites resulted because of the failure of Israel’s leaders to seek God’s counsel (see Josh. 9:14).
Initiate Open Conversation. Once God revealed to David that the famine occurred because of unjust actions toward the Gibeonites, David initiated a meeting with them. David got to the point, giving them the opportunity to define the appropriate steps. Once again, David could have consulted advisors, religious leaders, or other associates. Instead, he went straight to the offended party.
Take Appropriate Action. Notice that when David opened the conversation with the Gibeonites, he stated that his goal was to help them be a blessing and not a curse (see 21:3). He was looking forward and not backwards. He was not trying to make up for a past wrong but was trying to build a future. We see the same principle in Acts 6 with the choosing of the seven. These seven men were called upon to take care of the needs of a group of neglected widows from that day forward. They too looked to the future once they became aware of a past problem.
Demonstrate Dignity. In ancient days, people executed were not regarded as being worthy of a funeral or interment. Rizpah guarded the remains of the seven men for days on end, which caught the attention of David. He went against the customs of his day and saw to it that the remains of these seven men — and the remains of Saul and his family — were placed in the family tomb. The injustice of the past did not warrant another injustice to the offending family, with David demonstrating dignity for all parties involved.
What lessons can we learn from David when we encounter an injustice?