Posts Tagged 'Saul'

Panic Podcast: The Everything Bible study, Part 17

A brand new week is here, and on today’s podcast, we will survey the Old Testament historical books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. I know some of you struggle with these books, but their history is important for all believers to know. There are timeless, divine lessons to be learned from the lives of the kings, prophets, and others mentioned throughout these wonderful books.

 

Video Sermon: I’m Glad You Asked, Part 4

What a great day to study God’s Word together!  Thanks for stopping by.  Click HERE to watch today’s video sermon, in which I answer the question, Did the witch really raise Samuel from the dead?

David and Solomon, Part 2

David didn’t have it easy. He had been anointed by Samuel to be Israel’s next king, yet that wouldn’t happen for a long time. Saul, present king of Israel, hung on to the throne by the skin of his teeth while David was waiting in the wings. Gradually losing his grip on reality, Saul knew he was in trouble but like so many in his shoes, he was in too deep. The die had been cast and whether he was fully aware or not, he was finished as king even as he was still being called “king.”

Meanwhile, David’s stunning victory over Goliath was one of those seminal events in one’s life life that causes a sea change to occur. David had been a rugged shepherd, tending to his father’s sheep. But now crazy king Saul decided to bring David from his father’s sheep pens to his royal court and give him a position in the army.

That sounds good on the surface but life in Saul’s court was like walking on egg shells. David never knew what Saul he would run into on any given day. Would he be the genial king that liked you, or the crazy old king who tried to run you through with a spear? David had no idea.

Life can be like that for anybody. But David, in the midst of a life of uncertainty, could write words like this:

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. (Psalms 34:17 | NIV84)

David and Jonathan: Best Friends

And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. (1 Samuel 18:3 | NIV84)

It wasn’t Phil Collins who said this, but he could have:

What is a friend? A single soul living in two bodies.

Who knew St Augustine could write something so sentimental as that? It is sentimental to be sure, but it certainly did describe the kind of relationship that existed between David and Saul’s son, Jonathan.

After the slaying of Goliath, David went to live in the royal palace at Gibeah. He was to serve as a court musician but also as Saul’s armor bearer when Israel went out to do battle. It was in the palace that David met Jonathan and their legendary friendship grew. Verse one describes the friendship in graphic terms. In the NIV84, it looks like this:

Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. (1 Samuel 18:1 | NIV84)

In the Hebrew, though, this is how the friendship is described:

The soul of Jonathan was “knotted” to the soul of David.

Four things characterized their friendship: loyalty, love, personal devotion, and self-sacrifice. Jesus described friendship like this in John’s Gospel, and it sounds a lot like the friendship that existed between Jonathan and David.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”. (John 13:34-35 | NIV84)

So serious did Jonathan take his friendship with David that he actually made a unilateral covenant of friendship with him. It was unilateral in the sense that Jonathan committed himself to David without regard for himself.

The Lord leads people like that into our lives. No believer can make it through life alone; we all need a Jonathan. Years ago, Christian entertainer David Meece wrote these lyrics, and they’re spot on:

I heard the news about you
A little while ago
I tried to call but you weren’t at work
I’m glad I caught you at home

No one else in this whole wide world
Could mean as much as you to me
So I thought I’d drop by for a little while
In case you needed a friend

Everybody needs a little help to get their life together
(And you’re no exception)
Everybody needs another hand that they can hold onto
Everybody needs a little help to get their life together
And I want to give it to you

You can cry if you need to
You know I’ll understand
You can tell me everything that you feel inside
Don’t you hold it in

Don’t you worry, don’t apologize
For anything you do or say
‘Cause what are friends for but to be around
When you’re feeling that way

That certainly described the friendship between David and Jonathan. No wonder King Saul was so jealous.

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!” (1 Samuel 20:30-31 | NIV84)

Jonathan paid a high price for being David’s friend, and that price was the choice between obeying his father or remaining loyal to his friend. Saul had tried to kill David during one of his crazy rages but failed, and so he enlisted Jonathan’s help to get that job done:

Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.” (1 Samuel 19:1-3 | NIV84)

That’s what a friend does; he intervenes on your behalf; he tries to find solutions to your problems. That’s exactly what Jonathan did. The fact that King Saul relented shows how well Jonathan knew his old man. Jonathan was not only loyal, but he was also sharp.

Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.” (1 Samuel 19:6 | NIV84)

But that didn’t last very long. There was another skirmish with the Philistines and once again David distinguished himself. This brought about another outburst of jealous rage on the part of Saul. In fact, we are told this:

Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” (1 Samuel 19:11 | NIV84)

Michal was David’s wife and she was also Saul’s daughter, Jonathan’s sister. It seems as though the whole family liked David except for crazy Saul! Michal resorted to what we call “situation ethics” in order to make good David’s escape from her father’s men:

Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.” (1 Samuel 19:13-14 | NIV84)

She lied, and the Bible never condones lying for any reason, no matter how well-intentioned. However, while many Christians get all bent out of shape regarding this lie, they completely miss the really troubling aspect of this whole incident. What was a heathen idol doing in David’s house in the first place? A household idol such as this one was usually kept in a small shrine in the house, so it wasn’t just a paperweight. It’s unfortunate that so early in David’s career he was already compromising his faith. Is it any wonder Solomon built so many shrines all over the land? This was his example.

As both the friendship between Jonathan and Michal and David proves, sometimes associating with God’s people can put you in a difficult position.

The Fugitive

David was on the run for his life now, with Saul and his forces nipping at his heels. He fled from Gibeah to a community of priests with the odd name of Nob. Previously, David’s wife Michal had engaged in some situation ethics, and here at Nob David tries his hand at lying to protect himself.

David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” David answered Ahimelech the priest, “The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place.’” (1 Samuel 21:1, 2 | NIV84)

David’s bald-faced lie and deception led to the slaughter of all the priests at Nob. It’s a horrible lesson that David never really learned. Out of an entire town of priests, one escaped. Abiathar somehow managed to escape the wholesale massacre at Nob and fled, meeting up with David and his band of followers. When he explained what happened, David said this:

I am responsible for the death of your father’s whole family. Stay with me; don’t be afraid; the man who is seeking your life is seeking mine also. You will be safe with me.” (1 Samuel 23:22b, 23 | NIV84)

And he was safe. As a matter of fact, Abiathar became sort of the chaplain of David’s band of heroic misfits. Many years later, after the death of David, Abiathar was given the bum’s rush by David’s successor, Solomon, as he was suspected of colluding with Adonijah, David’s other son, to take the throne from Solomon.

To Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go back to your fields in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not put you to death now, because you carried the ark of the Sovereign LORD before my father David and shared all my father’s hardships.” So Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood of the LORD, fulfilling the word the LORD had spoken at Shiloh about the house of Eli. (1 Kings 2:26, 27 | NIV84)

David was far from perfect, but through all his ethical failings, he remained loyal to God.  The modern Christian should have some empathy for the man.  We’re far from perfect too.  David was a man of questionable ethics and morality, yet God referred to him as “the apple of his eye.”  God calls, saves, and anoints imperfect people to get His work done.

 

 

 

David and Solomon, Part 1

Israel was never supposed to have a king. In God’s plan, Israel was supposed to be a completely different of nation from any nation on earth. According to Greg Boyd –

Functioning as a microcosm of humanity, and as part of their priestly-servant role to other nations, it seems God wanted to manifest his original plan for humanity by raising up a nation that had no need of a human king, for they had God as their king. According to the biblical narrative, this is how it was for the first several hundred years after their deliverance from Egypt. Moreover, throughout the OT we find the Lord commanding his people to place no trust in human rulers, weapons or armies, but to rather find all their security in him.

That Israel ended up with the likes of King David was a concession of God to His stubborn people. Read carefully what Moses said to the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert wilderness –

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us…” (Deuteronomy 17:14 | NIV84)

That’s a concession; that’s not what God ever wanted for His people, look at the wording carefully: “Let US set a king over us like all the nations around us.” But they weren’t supposed to be anything like the nations around them; Israel was created to be different, yet they wanted to be just like everybody else. That was their downfall. Back to Moses, here was how the king of Israel was to behave –

The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17:16-17 | NIV84)

Good luck with that! Israel wanted a king and God let them have one. Saul, their first king, was a real piece of work. Mentally disturbed doesn’t begin to describe King Saul. Things didn’t end very well for him –

Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. (1 Samuel 31:4 | NIV84)

Even though Israel’s desire for a king wasn’t what God wanted for them, He could still work through a king, and God set in motion events that put His man on the throne.

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”(1 Samuel 16:1 | NIV84)

God chooses David, 1 Samuel 16:1 – 13

Samuel, Israel’s national and beloved prophet, was devastated that God had rejected Saul, but God wouldn’t let him sit around in his misery for long. He was given a new mission. Saul’s dynasty would not be allowed to continue. If Israel would have another king, Samuel would have to leave the past behind and move forward. Moving forward brought Samuel to Bethlehem. The Lord’s choice for Saul’s successor would be found among the eight sons of Jesse. Jesse was the grandson of Boaz and Ruth. In an interesting twist of history, Ruth was a Moabitess and Boaz’s mother was also from outside of Israel. Her mother was Rahab of Jericho.

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,Obed the father of Jesse,6 and Jesse the father of King David. (Matthew 1:5-6a | NIV84)

It was tricky for Samuel to obey God’s directions in verse one. To go to Bethlehem from Ramah, Samuel would have to pass through Gibea, Saul’s capital. Given Saul’s mental and spiritual decay, he was taking his life in his hands. Samuel didn’t exactly lie to Jesse, but there was a little subterfuge going on –

But Samuel said, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.”The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”. (1 Samuel 16:2-3 | NIV84)

The sons of Jesse paraded in front of Samuel but the prophet was given some advice from the Lord:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”. (1 Samuel 16:7 | NIV84)

God’s standards are certainly not the same as ours! We are quick to judge by appearances, but appearances can be very misleading. And yet, oddly enough, when they finally got around to the son God wanted, we read this –

So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”. (1 Samuel 16:12 | NIV84)

God chose the handsome one after all. But it was what was inside David that counted. God doesn’t look for people that look good or are of a certain height and weight or age, rank or position. God chooses whom He will and He sets His Spirit in those whom He accepts.

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13 | NIV84)

David’s confidence in God, 1 Samuel 17:32 – 54

Even though the events of chapter 17 seem to occur right after those of chapter 16, some years have passed between David’s anointing and his encounter with the giant, Goliath. By this time, Saul’s mental state had deteriorated greatly. His mood swings were wild, from depression to rage at a moment. This was God’s judgment on him for his willful, sinful disobedience. Far from a child, David was a young man in chapter 17 and we catch a glimpse of his ability to lead, rule, and inspire people. It also demonstrated that David was not only a man of unwavering faith in God, but also keen military strategist.

Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. (1 Samuel 17:36 | NIV84)

David was anointed but was still waiting in the wings; Saul was still the king and David was still tending his father’s sheep back at Bethlehem. In verse 36, David was trying to convince King Saul that he could defeat the “uncircumcised Philistine.” Goliath was his name and he’s a bit of a mystery. He was a “giant,” probably clocking in at almost 10 feet tall. He was tall and powerful, arrogant and proud. He was probably a descendant of the sons of Anak, who had struck fear in the hearts of the Israelites before the conquered the Promised Land.

The people are strong and tall–Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” (Deuteronomy 9:2 | NIV84)

Apparently David thought he could stand up against one Anakite: Goliath! But David’s “self-confidence” wasn’t based in his abilities. He was riled up against Goliath because Goliath was defying “the armies of God,” or, in effect, God Himself. David’s confidence was in God, not in himself even though he had already demonstrated his skills in defeating adversaries, such as lions and bears.

When David faced Goliath with no armor on, and no weapons in his hands save a slingshot and some smooth stones, the giant’s pride was offended. He cursed David, but David stood his ground and warned Goliath that the giant’s time on earth was quickly running out. And then he announced the theological purpose of is mission.

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands. (1 Samuel 17:47 | NIV84)

David’s guaranteed victory over Goliath was going to be so much more than that. It was to demonstrate to the Philistines – and others – that God exists and that He will deliver His people no matter what. The size of an enemy’s army or the strength of their weapons is of no consequence. This victory did just that, and it also showed David’s true character. The victory was the Lord’s, not his, and everybody knew it. He made his faith known and he inspired others.

You may wonder if David was afraid facing this giant. He wouldn’t be a human being if wasn’t! But David knew the secret of winning a battle. Sinclair Ferguson, Scottish Reformed theologian, remarked,

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears. This is the secret of Christian courage and boldness.

Not only that, there’s also this:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools a despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7 | NIV84)

And onlookers, including crazy King Saul, could see that David feared God more than he feared man and they sensed that there was something very special about this young man.

David increases in knowledge and influence, 1 Samuel 18, various verses

The sun was setting fast on Saul’s dynasty while David’s star was rising.

When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns. (1 Samuel 18:15, 16 | NIV84)

David’s fear of the Lord was bringing him victory upon victory over Israel’s enemies, and he was being noticed and respected. Saul, on the other hand, feared David, and his sanity slowly slipped away. To Saul, David became THE enemy, and he tried to kill David repeatedly.

And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. The next day an evil c spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. (1 Samuel 18:9 – 11 | NIV84)

Reading the accounts of Saul’s attempts on David’s life, it’s tempting to chuckle. Saul had become a pathetic character. Saul even put David on the front lines of battle, apparently hoping he’d be killed. The exact opposite happened. Saul just couldn’t kill David. Saul imagined that David was his enemy, but in reality Saul had no better friend than David. He was loyal to the king and made sure the king wasn’t killed by the enemy. He treated crazy, dangerous King Saul with courtesy and respect even though he certainly didn’t deserve it. The Lord, who had abandoned Saul, was with David and He blessed David continuously.

 

 


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