After David spared Saul’s life a second time, he said, “The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness” (1 Samuel 26:23). The terms righteousness and faithfulness were central to the covenant that God established with Abraham. A key scripture that should be familiar to all Christians is Genesis 15:6 where it says of Abraham, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
The righteousness that was counted to Abraham because he believed in the LORD is the same righteousness that David said will be rendered to every man. The word translated believed, ’âman (aw – man´) indicates that Abraham “came to experience a personal relationship to God rather than an impersonal relationship with his promises” (539). The easiest way to explain this type of believing is with the example of a baby being fed by his mother. The baby does not know what his mother is feeding him, he eats because he is hungry. He trusts that what he is eating is good for him because he senses that his mother loves him and is taking care of his needs.
Righteousness “is a legal term which involves the whole process of justice. In its causative pattern the meaning of the verb brings out more clearly the sense of a judicial pronouncement of innocence” (6663). David uses the word righteousness together with the word faithfulness because he knows that he will be held accountable for his actions according to what he knows the LORD has asked him to do. Abraham’s faith was put into action when he obeyed the LORD and left his home in Haran for a land that he had never been to. David refused to kill Saul because he knew that it was a sin, “for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” (1 Samuel 26:9).
The word translated render in 1 Samuel 26:23, shûwb (shoob) means to turn back (7725). Shuwb is also translated as restored and recover. One of the ways to look at render is in the context of something that has been lost or stolen. The LORD says in Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.” He didn’t say he would restore the crop that the locust had eaten, he says the years because he is referring to the time and effort that was spent producing the crop. It is not the result he is concerned with, it is the investment, what was done by faith and with trust in the LORD.
When I became a Christian, I believed I was going to have a better life. All the pain and suffering I had gone through up to that point made me want something different. I believed I was going to get a new life, one that would be filled with love and happiness. I trusted that if I lived like God wanted me to, I would eventually get the life I was hoping for. Although I know I haven’t yet received all that God has planned for me, I can say with confidence that the LORD has restored all that was taken from me and given me a wonderful life.