Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 27, 2015

“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Samuel Chapter 24.

“1 Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.”  2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.  3 He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave;  and Saul went in to relieve himself.  Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave.  4 The men of David said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold;  I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’”  Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly.  5 It came about afterward that David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe.  6 So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”  7 David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul.  And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way.

8 Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!”  And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself.  9 David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, ‘Behold, David seeks to harm you’?  10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’  11 Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand!  For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it.  12 May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you;  but my hand shall not be against you.  13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’;  but my hand shall not be against you.  14 After whom has the king of Israel come out?  Whom are you pursuing?  A dead dog, a single flea?  15 The Lord therefore be judge and decide between you and me;  and may He see and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”

16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?”  Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept.  17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I;  for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you. 18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand and yet you did not kill me.  19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely?  May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day.  20 Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.  21 So now swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s household.”  22 David swore to Saul.  And Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.”    1 Samuel Chapter 24.

——————–

“You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.”  Matthew 7:16-20.

David knew that Saul would recognize his goodness by his fruits.  If David was wicked, he would act wickedly.  “As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’ …”  Verse 13.

But, David did not act wickedly.  Just the opposite, David acted righteously in sparing Saul’s life, and David convinced Saul that he (David) was righteous.  “He (Saul) said to David, “You are more righteous than I;  for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you.”  Verse 17.

Other doctrine focuses on man’s alleged free-will and urges men to try harder to be a good tree.

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and God’s creation.  A tree is created by God, and the type of tree created by God determines its fruit.  “… Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”  Matthew 7:16.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;  the old things passed away;  behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17.

“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”  Galatians 6:15.

Here is what the Canons of Dordt states in part.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.   THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE  Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

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