David has just (respectfully) asked Saul why he is chasing him. He has just asked what his fault is and proven that he is innocent and blameless, again. Because Saul has no charge and no excuse, he outwardly repents.
Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” 22 And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24 Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place. ~1 Samuel 26:21-25
The self-control exhibited by not harming his enemy and the wisdom he had both in indicting Abner and speaking to Saul worked together to convict and humble this hell-bent king. How do we know? Saul says this: “I have sinned… I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.”
Saul admits fault against God and against David. After this encounter with the wise, godly man he so envied all his life, Saul was faced with his own foolish ungodliness. It was quite a stark contrast.
He asks David to come back with him and his army, but David declines. Instead, he returns Saul’s spear, prays for God’s perfect justice, and promises never to injure Saul. In turn, Saul speaks a blessing to David and tells him he will succeed.
What do you do when faced with the perfect wisdom and godliness of David’s anti-type – Jesus Christ? Do you continue in your hell-bent rebellion against him? Do you recognize your own foolish ungodliness? Do you try to hide your sin? Do you admit it openly? Is your repentance external only due to your public shame and embarrassment? Or is it internal due to your private conscience and Holy Spirit conviction? What do you do when faced with the perfect wisdom and godliness of Jesus Christ? The only appropriate response, both externally and internally, is this: “I have sinned… I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.”