He Restoreth My Soul

A Pastor’s Commentary

The life of David

Lesson 9: He Restores My Soul

I Samuel 22:1-4

It is thrilling to hear, as we do from time to time, the stories of God’s deliverance from the depths of sin to a glorious salvation. (although salvation under any circumstances is thrilling) But what we don’t hear as often are the stories of God’s deliverance and restoration of believers who have fallen into sin, been convicted by the Holy Spirit and confessed the sin and returned to a loving and productive relationship with the Lord. But actually it probably happens far more often than the first – and is much more applicable to us. In fact it happened twice in the life of David, of all people! In chapter 21 he had buckled under the constant pressure of Saul’s persecution and, apparently thinking that God would not or could not take care of him, had taken matters into his own hands. But after a time of repeated frustra­tion and failure, God brought him face to face with his sin in a very humiliating way, and he confessed his sin and got right with the Lord. And then, interestingly, it happened again toward the end of his life, in Second Samuel 11 and 12. And even that detail teaches us that this is something that can happen to “young” or new believers as well as to older, more mature ones – and that it can happen again anywhere along the line. Thus we must always be on the alert for this possibility. This is why Galatians 5:16 and 17 speak of walking  at the direction of the Holy Spirit. And why I Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, vigilant . . .”. But this doesn’t mean that we have to go around fearful all the time – this passage teaches us some important lessons. The Chapter falls into three parts:

 

  1. The Depth of David’s Experience – verses 1-4
  2. The Depravity of David’s Enemy – verses 5-19

III. The Deliverance of David’s Emissary – verses 20-23

 

David wrote 3 of his Psalms during the experiences described in this chapter: 34, 57, and 142.

And in Psalm he said, “attend to my cry, for I am brought very low.” – and that statement is a good summary of this sectioSo let’s look first at The Depth of David’s Experience as we find it described in verses through 5.

And the first thing we see is his circumstances  in v.1a

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of adullam . . .” Here is the anointed king of Israel, winner of many battles, victorious over the Philistine’s most powerful enemy, living in a cave! And remember, this was after he got right with the Lord. We might have the idea that once he confessed his sins of chapter 21 that everything would be all right – and it was, spiritually. But even though God always forgives sin when we confess and forsake it, many times we have to “reap what we sowed when we were out of fellowship and also we have to remember that whether we are in fellowship or out, God doesn’t work on our timetable. David  – and Israel still had much to learn from this difficult situation in his life. And then, to complicate matters further, verses 1b and 2 tell about his companions

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullum and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it they went down there with him. And everyone who was distressed, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them.and there were about four hundred men

On the one hand it was good that he wasn’t alone, but on the other hand look who these people were: friends of the court? No! Some of them were his brothers who had used him as a servant and ridiculed him in the past. And the people described in verse 2 were not a happy bunch – discontented, in debt, in distress, – just the kind of people you would love to be shut up in a cave with!But his true character is shown in verse 2b. notice the phrase “he became a captain over them.” And in I Chronicles 11 and 12 where we find the names and exploits these men  we can see that he molded them into a crack military regiment – and they became his life-long loyal friends. And Psalm 34, written during this time, shows the kinds of things he taught them. Think about David saying these things in the context of taking a bunch of misfits and turning them into useful citizens.

O magnify the Lord with me,  and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. . . . “This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and delivered him out of all his troubles. Then, to complicate things further verses 3 and 4 bring out his concern for his parents. Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, please let my father and mother come here with you till I know what God will do for me.”So he brought them before the king of Moab and they dwelt with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.

Here is something that often happens – a son who becomes responsible for his parents. – and David did it willingly. But from a human standpoint it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Now the question arises here is, “why would David seek protection for his parents from a foreign king? We might think it was because the Moabites were the enemies of Saul, so they would just naturally be the allies of David. But the real answer is in something that shows the beautiful texture of the scripture the Moabites were relatives of David’s family. Remember “Ruth the Moabitess?” She was David’s grandmother! Also woven into the story is the little indication of David’s growing maturity. Notice what he says to the king of Moab in verse 3 –  until I see what God will do for me. He has come to the place that he knows God is going to do something, but he doesn’t know what or when, but he is willing to wait and see; he wasn’t pressing the issue. Now we have seen David’s circumstances, his companions, his concern for his parents and “his character.” But we can’t leave this section of the chapter without his comparison with the Christ whom he foreshadowed. And the detail is amazing! First we see how David was rejected even though he was anointed as king and did great exploits – and so was Christ. Second, Saul, who was God’s intended  leader unmercifully hounded and  pursued David and the Pharisees did the same with Christ. Third, David was reduced to living in a cave; Jesus said “the son of man has nowhere to lay His head” (see also John 7:53 – “and everyone went to his own house,” and 8:1 – Jesus went to the Mount of Olives”) Fourth, David was surrounded by the discontented, the distressed, and the indebted; Jesus was “the friend of sinners.” (incidentally, this was a pattern that goes beyond the life of Christ into the body of Christ as a whole – I Corinthians 1:26-29 says that “not many wise, not many noble” are chosen. And finally, David had only 600 followers out of all Israel; Jesus had only a comparatively few followers from among the whole nation. How many followed Him to His trial? How many stood around the cross in sympathy? How many greeted His burial? (Or His resurrection, ascension for that matter)

Perhaps someone is reading this who finds himself (or herself) in David’s condition of chapter 21 – in great need but relying on human resources. Are you ready to “cry out to God,” as David in these verses? The only way to cope with the issues of life in today’s world is with the strength that comes from walking in fellowship with the Lord.

8: On the Road Again

“A Pastor’s Commentary”

“The Life of David”

On the Road Again”

 

If you have been a Christian very long you have had the experience of hearing about some fellow Christian who has fallen into sin. And although it is not always the case, sometimes we hear about such a person going into a long “odyssey” of deeper sin. And in a case like that, it is amazing the kinds of things they can get into. When a Christian is out of fellowship and refuses to get right with the Lord his conduct presents a strange enigma that no psychologist can explain. But the Bible does explain it in Galatians 5:16 and 17

This I say, then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (17) For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and these two are contrary to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you wish.” Here we have explained for us the two “natures” “of the Christian: the flesh and the spirit. And the fact of which one is in control determines in which way the Christian will act. And the final clause of the verse has a double impact – the presence of the “flesh” keeps the Christian from doing all that he would like to from a spiritual standpoint, And the presence of the Spirit keeps us from being completely dominated by the flesh. At this point it is important to clarify some terms we will be using in this study. First, “the flesh” is a term used by New Testament writers to describe the fact that we as Christians have the ability and, in fact the tendency  to sin. since this is true, a Christian who is in disobedience to the scripture is one of the most miserable people in the world – he doesn’t have the joy and satisfaction of knowing that there is nothing between himself and his Lord, but at the same time he can’t get the same degree of pleasure out of sin that his unsaved or disobedient friends do.Of course, the optimum, and the goal for the Christian is to “walk in the spirit.”- step-by step obedience to the Holy spirit. So verse 17 explains many of the “mysterious” things that some Christians do, both in the Bible and in our own day. – and David is one of them.

David had had great spiritual experiences in his life – being delivered from death by a bear and a lion, killing Goliath as a young man, and God had chosen him to replace Saul as King of Israel and had gotten him into the palace setting. But Saul’s rage and jealousy got worse and worse as time went by and he became consumed with the idea of killing David. And evidently under this constant hammering even David’s great faith began to fail. And before long all David could think about was his enemy. At the beginning of chapter 20 he fled from Saul to Naioth, where Samuel the prophet lived. This indicates that the Spirit still had some influence over his life – which is always true in a believer, even when he is disobedient. (Romans 6:14 says “sin shall not have dominion (complete control) over you. But when David left Samuel and went to Jonathon for advice (as he did in our last study) we see the flesh more and more in control – especially when he coerced Jonathon into lying for him. And that control is going to continue throughout this chapter – and get worse and worse!

David apparently “gave up” on Saul – decided that he was never going to change – and what’s worse, God wasn’t going to make him change. So David literally “hits the road”  – becomes a vagabond and a fugitive. And that brings us to the beginning of chapter 21.

His first stop is in verses 1 through 9: he flees to God’s emissary: Ahimelech the priest.

Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one is with you?”

Ahimelech was no dummy; probably everybody in Israel had heard about David’s disappearance. He may have just not wanted to get involved. And he was surprised that nobody with him – David, being a regimental commander, would normally travel with an entourage. This shows again the fickleness of human nature – even among God’s people – David was a hero as long as he was winning, but when he falls from favor with the king he is automatically “suspect” But unfortunately, Ahimelech’s “inquiry” is met with iniquity in verse 2. For some reason David feels compelled to tell a lie.

So David said to Ahimilech the priest, “The king has ordered me on some business and said to me “Do not let anyone know about the business on which I sent you,or what I have commanded you.” And I have directed my young men to such and such a place.

Here is another indication of David’s fear – apparently he felt that the truth wouldn’t have sounded good enough. How ironic! The man who had not been afraid to meet the Philistine giant single handedly is now afraid to speak the truth! But this is typical of a believer who stops trusting. And there are other examples: In I Kings 18 Elijah withstood 400 priests of Baal victoriously, yet in the next chapter he ran for h is life from Jezebel, their queen. Peter was not afraid to step out of a boat into a storm yet shrank in fear from a young girl who thought she recognized him. And it could happen to you or me under he right circumstances.  – remember I Corinthians 10:12 – “Let him who thinks he stands lest he fall.” David had known a lot of difficulties before this, but there is a big difference here: Always before he had eventually known victory, but this thing with Saul just went on and on. And eventually it just got to be too much, even for David. Someone has said, “It is one thing to trust Him while being overcome is another thing.

Now we have seen “the inquiry” from Ahimelech and   the iniquity with which David answered it. So in verses 3 through 6 and verses 8 and 9 David begins an inventory about what Ahimelech has that he might use.

 (3) Now therefore what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found (4) And the priest and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was sanctified the vessels this day. (6) So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the LORD in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.

Now this is a difficult passage. No one but the priests were supposed to eat the bread that had been on the altar in the tabernacle – and that only after it had been replaced with freshly baked bread. But David demands this bread and says in verse 5 that it is “in effect common,” even though he is not a priest. So what does this mean? We have to go to the New Testament, to the teaching of Jesus, to get our answer.

In Matthew 12: 1 through 8. In this incident Jesus and the disciples went through the grain fields, on the Sabbath and the disciples were hungry and began to eat the grain. But as usual, the Pharisees showed up, and charged them with breaking the sabbath. But Jesus dismissed the issue by reminding the Pharisees of this very incident in David’s life. David taught the Pharisees and the disciples two things: first, that men do not have to obey “man made” rules that are not based on scripture. And second, that Jesus, like David, was God’s anointed, therefore it was all right for him to have the sanctified items – after all, those loaves were a picture of the One who would later be recognized as “the Bread of Life.”

Now going back to I Samuel 21, (skip over verse 7, we will come back to it in a minute) and look at verses 8 and 9

And David said to Ahimilech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword,? For I have brought neither my sword  nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” (9) So the priest said the sword of Goliath, the Philistine whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod, for there is no other like it. If you will take it, take it. For there is no other like it. And David said, “There is no other except that one here. And David said, “there is no other like it, give it to me.”  

Now, moving on to verses 10 through 15, we find the flight to God’s Enemy (remember that the first section was “the flight to God’s emissary”). His flight is described very simply in verse 10

Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish, the king of Gath.

David should have never left Samuel in Naioth, as we pointed out in our last study. But now he pushes it to the extreme: he goes to the very enemies  : the  home of Goliath (remember that he had “defied the armies of the living God” back in chapter 17.) But this is always the way it is when a Christian is out of fellowship. He tries to fraternize with the world – he has to hide his true colors.

So David makes “his flight” to Gath, but  it doesn’t help. In verses 11 through 15 we see his fears continue to grow. First, he is recognized! In verse 11

And the servants of Achish said to”him.”Is this not David, the king of the land? Did not they sing of him to one another in dances, saying “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands?”

God will not allow his people to remain “incognito” in the world. It is His will that we be “lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15) and He will thwart our efforts to be anything else. In Genesis chapter 12  and again in chapter 20 Abraham’s deception was discovered. Peter’s attempt to hide his discipleship failed – he was identified just by the way he talked! And the same thing will happen with us sooner or later. And this is part of God’s grace and mercy. He will not allow us to settle down and be at peace among His enemies for long – for our sakes.

Then there his reaction to his recognition in verses 12 and 13

Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath 13) So he changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate and let his saliva fall down on his beard.

 David came here hoping for protection from Achish, but now it backfires, and he is afraid, in verse 12. David was later to write “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes (Psalm 118:9) and this probably where he learned that! How embarrassing this must have been to David in later years when it would have been obvious that it was all an act. And to do this in front of the very people whose champion he had destroyed in the name of God! But it should remind us again that the godliest among us are capable of the grossest and most embarrassing sins without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

But in a sense it gets even worse! Verses  14 and 15 tell us about his ridicule.

Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? (15) “Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?

This “ingenious” plan may have provided some temporary security, but it also ensured future disgrace. The same thing happened to Abraham, and to Isaac, to Jacob, to Peter, to Ananias – and it will happen to us if we try it. “Leaning on his own understanding” brought David to Gath, but it also brought great shame. In fact, it is really a miracle that the killer of the Philistines’ national hero escaped with his life!

The scripture doesn’t tell us how he got away, but there is a clue which may or may not be inspired – the superscription of Psalm 34 says that it is “a Psalm of David when he changed his behavior before Abimilech who drove him away and he departed.”

Apparently Achish driving him out brought David to his senses and he got right with the Lord. Look at what he wrote:

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth, (2) My soul shall make its boast in the LORD. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. (3) Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (5) They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. (6) This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. (7)The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear  him (8) Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in him! (9) Oh fear the LORD you his saints! There is no want to those who fear him.

 

 

-end-

6: Family Matters

The Life of David

Lesson 6: “Family Matters”

First Samuel 19

 

One of the axioms of scripture is that you can tell something about a man by looking at his children. This is one of the qualifications for elders in the New Testament. And the history of it with like Eli and Samuel – in both cases their ministry was not allowed to go on to the next generation. And the chapter before us presents another one of those situations. Saul has disobeyed God, refused to come to grips with it and confess it, and God has withdrawn His spirit from him and anointed David to take his place. But Saul’s reaction, rather than being convicted about his sin, is to fight back at God with his own strength by attacking David. And this is typical of the flesh – attacking the symptoms rather than the root problem, but that kind of attack only leads to frustration, as we saw in chapter 18. So by the time we come to chapter 19 the hostilities are out in the open. And interestingly enough, the focal point in this chapter is two of Saul’s children, each of whom had a close relationship with David. As we look at chapter 19 we will see, first, the intercession of Jonathon in verses 1 through 7. Then, in verses 8 through 17 we have the intervention of Michal and third, the interception by Samuel in verses 18 through 24.

 

So let’s begin by looking at his intercession with his friend Jonathon in verses 1 through 7

 

Now Saul spoke to Jonathon his son and to all his servants that they should kill David. But Jonathon, Saul’s son delighted greatly in David. So Jonathon told David, saying, “My father Saul seeks to kill you. therefore, please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. (3) And  will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you, Then what I observe, I will tell you.

 

What would make a son go behind his father’s back and in effect take the side of the enemy? Well, there is a little clue back in chapter 14. In this passage Jonathon has come across a “garrison” of Philistine soldiers and decided to attack them. And the attitude with which he operated is in verse 6.  – and very telling of his spiritual condition:

 

(6) Then Jonathon said to the young man who bore his armor, “come let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many of by few.

 

You see, Jonathon had a deep spiritual understanding of how the Lord works in situations like this. And he was willing to act on it. And that was the total opposite of his father at this point. Very likely, the reason Jonathon had made a covenant of friendship with David back in chapter 18 (besides God’s provision of that friendship for David) was that he saw a “kindred spirit” in David.) And it is very likely that even though Jonathon was very close to his father Jonathon was very close to his father, as we will see in chapter 20, he was even more zealous for the name of God. But not only did Jonathon “intercede with his friend, but in verses 4 and 5 he also interceded with his father.

 

Now Jonathon spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you.(5) For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a salvation for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin and against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?  

 

And the intercession was successful. In verse 6 we see Saul’s repentance.

 

So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathon, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.

Saul’s answer here is typical of wicked men who know how to use pious language. And it teaches us to “have no confidence in the flesh,” as Paul expressed it in Philippians 3:3. And so as a result of that “repentance” we see the return of David to the palace in verse 7.

 

Then Jonathon called David, and Jonathon brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past.

 

Everything looked good at first –  “he was in his presence as in times past,” but not for long.

 

The first section of the chapter has to do with “the intercession of Jonathon” But in verses 8 through 17 we see the intervention of Michal, Saul’s daughter (who is now married to David.) First, we see how short-lived the reunion between David and Saul was. In verses 8 through 11a we see the repeated attack.

 

And there was war again; And David went out and fought with the Philistines, and struck them with a mighty blow, and they fled from him. ((9) Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul again as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand (11) Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning.”

 

This shows the senselessness of Satan directed activity. Probably many of the senseless killings and unprovoked attacks that we hear about are from this same source

 

It would have been easy in the battle of verse 8 for David to “sit this one out,” having been treated so badly by Saul after previous battles. But he was a faithful servant to the king, and he goes to battle just as before – and wins just as before. And apparently, when all was said and done, it was too much for Saul to stand – so “the distressing spirit” came over him again in verse 9 But notice what David  did in verse 9b – tried to soothe Saul with his music! Most heroes would have left with the victory. But David, like Jesus did would someday do, did whatever was before him to do – with no complaint. And it is in that context that Saul’s next attack takes place. And verse 11 shows that the senselessness continued – even after David had escaped, Saul had him followed to his home!

 

So in verse 11b we have the report to David  of what Saul is doing.

 

Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch hum and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife , told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight you will be killed.”

 

Here is the second of Saul’s children to take the side of his enemy. But a clue to her loyalty is in the phrase Michal, David’s wife. Maybe this was the loving relationship  she had been longing for all her life and had never found in the home of Saul. So all of that sets the stage for the rescue of David described in verses 12 through 17 The escape it self is in verse 12:

 

So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped.

 

This is reminiscent of other rescues recorded in scripture. Years later the disciples let the Apostle Paul down through a window to escape the Jews Sometimes God allows his choicest servants to go through difficult and humiliating circumstances. But it is those difficult circumstances that produce lasting results. What do you do in such a situation? Well, David went to prayer! (How easy it is to forget that)

 

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.I am weary from my crying, my throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the the hairs of my head. And the psalm goes on in that vein for several more verses.

 

So what we have here is David’s very thinking about this situation. Now because of the escape there had to be an elaborate cover-up. And that is what we find in verses 13 through 16.

 

And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, and put a cover of goat’s hair for his head, and covered it with clothes (14) So when Saul sent messengers back to take David she said, “he is sick” (15) then Saul sent the messengers back to see David saying, bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him. (16) And when the messengers had come in, there was the image in the bed, with a cover of goat’s hair for his head.

 

Later we are going to see that David and Michal had a “problem” marriage – and this is one of the reasons: they were not on the same wave length spiritually. David would have never been so deceptive. But of course, the lie didn’t work. Saul was so determined that he told the soldiers to bring David, bed and all, to the palace, and when they went to get him they discovered the ruse – so in verse 17 we see the excuse that Michal had to give.

 

Then Saul said to Michal, “why have you deceived me like this, and sent my enemy away, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, “let me go, why should I kill you?

 

Here is Michal, lying verbally after she had lied with her actions back in verses 13 and 14. But the question comes up, “what else could she have done? Although any of us might have done the same thing, if she had told the truth God would have intervened. And there are at least two examples of such intervention in the Old Testament: the first is Genesis 19 when God sent angels to Sodom to lead Lot out of it before it was destroyed. The homosexuals of the city came and demanded that Lot send the strangers (who were actually angels in disguise). Lot could have lied his way out of it, but he didn’t although he did offer them his two daughters) And God struck the men at the door with blindness, giving the angels time to get Lot and his family out of the city.

 

Another example is in Genesis 46,47. Joseph had finally gotten his family back together. And his father and his brothers had an audience with Pharaoh. Joseph told them to lie and say that they were ranchers, not shepherds. But surprisingly enough, they told the truth about their profession! And Pharaoh gave them the very land Joseph wanted them to lie for in the first place!

 

Now we have seen The intercession of Jonathon in verses 1 through 7 and the intervention of Michal in verses 8 through 17. So in the last section of the chapter, verses 18 through 24 we find The interception by Samuel.  And First we see The informing of Samuel (David’s report to Samuel in verse 18)

 

So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth

 

Here is another good example of what to when we are in a time of need. Back in verse 11 he went to the Lord in prayer when Saul sent men to watch his house. (see Psalm 59) And here he goes to another believer for spiritual counsel. And in addition, this was a safety factor – Saul might still have had some fear or respect for Samuel left. This shows that it is not unscriptural to be practical. If there has to be a choice, we should choose the “spiritual” option, but if we can be both practical and spiritual at the same time there is nothing wrong with it.

 

Then in verses 19 through 24 there is the inability of Saul to do anything about this development.

 

Now it was told Saul, saying “take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah! (20) Then Saulsent messengers to take David. And they saw the group of prophets prophesying and Samuel standing as leader over them, the spirit of God came upon the messengers, and when Saul was told, he sent other messengers, again the third time and they prophesied also. (22) Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well which is at Sechu. So he asked, and said, where are Samuel and David? “And someone said indeed, they are at Naioth (24)And he also stripped off his clothes in like manner and prophesied before Samuel in like manner and lay down naked all that day and all that night.

 

It is fascinating to see the strange methods that God sometimes uses in completing His purposes. The verses speak for themselves: Saul sends two different groups of servants to capture David, and they both fall into prophesying. So finally, he goes himself, and he, too begins to prophesy! And the practical side of all this is that it gave David time to  escape. (see 20:1) And even this is a picture of the Lord Jesus in a sense.

In John chapter 7 the chief priests and Pharisees sent soldiers to out to bring Jesus for questioning, but they “fell under His spell.” And couldn’t bring Him back, saying “never man spoke like this man.” And in John 18, when Judas came with the troops to “capture” Jesus the same kind of thing happened:

 

(4) Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, whom are you seeking? And they drew back and fell to the ground.”

 

You see, there are times when the holiness and the glory and the power of God just cannot be reckoned with! Aren’t you glad that we serve such a holy and powerful God?

 

-end-

5: Attempted Murder

A  Pastor’s Commentary

The Life of David

Lesson 5: “Attempted Murder”

I Samuel 18:10-30

 

Human nature often envies those who are in high places. It is easy to suppose that they enjoy many privileges and benefits that those of us below them don’t have. But that is more imagined than real. And even where it is true, in most cases it is offset by the burdens and responsibilities that go with such a position. And David at this point in his life is an example of that misconception. There is a sense in which David in the sheepfold was much better off than David in the palace; tending the sheep was not nearly as dangerous waiting on Saul. And of course, the lesson for us to learn from that is to be contented with whatever place it is that God has placed us, no matter how “lowly” it many seem.

 

In our last lesson we saw David beginning to feel the effects of the jealousy of Saul. We saw God’s provision of friendship with Jonathon in verses 1 through 3. Then we saw the praise of the females in verses 4 through 9. And those things together led to Saul’s jealousy and fear of David. So now we come to the third section of the chapter which has to do with the pursuit by the fallen king in verses 10 through 30. And first we see the setting of the pursuit in verses 10 through 16. First there is a precursor to the pursuit in verse 10 and 11.

 

And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul and he prophesied within the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand And (11) Saul cast the spear; for he said “I will pin David to the wall with it.” But David escaped his presence twice.

 

How quickly things can change. Just a few days ago David was hearing songs of praise; now he hears the whistle of a spear going past his head.

 

And that should teach us to not put too much value on the good things of this life. One of the puritans wrote, “build not thy nest in any earthly tree, for the whole forest is doomed for destruction.” It is only when we “set our affections on things above” that we will never be disappointed. But there is something else to notice here: And that is that here is a direct connection between the jealousy and suspicion of verse 9 with the coming of this “distressing spirit” in verse 10. When a person yields to these kinds of temptations they “give place to the devil,” to use New Testament terminology. They open themselves up to jealousy and suspicion. And then notice that Saul “prophesied in the house.” Here is another example of the fact that Satan can duplicate the acts of God (up to a point.) This prophesying may have been designed to throw David off balance – he didn’t expect an attempt on his life by a man who had just been prophesying! And David’s reaction in verse 11 is another picture of Jesus: he escaped his presence twice. Most of us would hve picked up the spear and throne it back at Saul. But David was like what Peter would later record of Jesus: “When he suffered he threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” So that is the precursor of the pursuit. But in verses 12 through 30 we find the pretense in the pursuit beginning to take place. First, there was removal from Saul’s presence in verses 12 through 16. The removal itself is in verses 12 and 13.

 

.

 

Now Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him, but he had departed from Saul (13) Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

 

Here is another example of how sin can blind us. Even in his darkened spiritual condition, Saul could see that God was with David. (Unbelievers and people living in sin often can – and they often have higher standards for us than God does!)

 

But rather than listening to God’s message and confessing his sin, Saul just tried get rid of the messenger. And it is another example of how “God makes the wrath of men to praise him.”

 

In verses 14 through 16 we see David’s reaction to the removal:

 

And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. (15)Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely he was afraid of him. (16) But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

 

 No doubt Saul thought that David would get “lost in the shuffle” of military affairs if he made him a regimental commander. But what he didn’t count on was that he would be “going out and coming in” before the people. And the people loved that! Someone has said that “the “the army was the NFL and NBA of Israel”) David could have said to Saul what Joseph said to his brothers many years before: “You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20) Don’t be alarmed when something terrible happens to you at the hand of your enemy (or any other source) – God may be maneuvering you into a place where you can do a great deal of good.

 

Now we have been talking about the people’s reaction to David, but verse 15 points out Saul’s reaction to it all. Look at it again:

 

Therefore when Saul saw that he behaved wisely he was afraid of him.

 

Saul wasn’t afraid of David per se, but he was afraid of what God might do to him through David. And this is often the case. In Mark 6:20 we read that “Herod feared John (the Baptist) because he recognized the power of God in him.”

 

So Saul first tried to remove David from his presence. But when that failed, in verses 17 through 30 we see the return of Saul’s passions. And here is a demonstration of one of Satan’s favorite tricks. If he can’t get us by going one way, he will get us by going the opposite way. Here was David, first put out of Saul’s very sight; now, as we will see, brought right into the family! Saul’s duplicity is expressed very clearly in verse 17.

 

Then Saul said to David, “Here is my daughter Merab;I will give her to you as a wife. Only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles” For Saul thought “Let my hand not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.”

 

This incident may very well have been what David had in mind when he wrote in Psalm 55: 21:

The words of his mouth were smoother, than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, but yet they were drawn swords.”

 

And that still happens to people under Satan’s attack today! But it was in that context that David also wrote verse 22 of Psalm 55:

 

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

So verse 17 talks about Saul’s duplicity. “But in stark contrast to that, verse 18  shows David’s deference:  

 

So David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?”

 

Look at David’s humility here: Not only did he express humility about himself, but about his anancestry. But this is the attitude that God can use (if it is genuine) And again, it is a picture of Jesus – in Matthew 11:29 He said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”

 

And Romans 12:3 says that every Christian should be very careful “not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”

 

Now the ball is bouncing back and forth: “Saul’s duplicity” in verse 17; “David’s deference” in verse 18; now back to Saul’s deviousness in verses 19 through 21. That deviousness is shown, first in removing his daughter in verse 19.

 

But it happened at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter should have been given to David that she was given to Adriel, the Meholathite as a wife.

 

This was probably designed to provoke David and throw him off in his anger. But whatever the purpose, it demonstrates again the untrustworthiness of a person who has taken matters into his own hands. But then Saul’s deviousness is shown from a still different angle in verses 20 through 27, in replacing the daughter. The purpose is very clear in verses 20 and 21

 

Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing displeased Saul. (21) So Saul said, “I will give her to him that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. “Therefore Saul said to David a second time, you shall be my son-in-law today.”

 

Here is the worst kind of treachery: plotting a person’s death and yet using pious language to express it.

 

What a father this guy was! First of all, somebody else had to tell him hat his daughter was in love with David. Then, he thought of her only as a bargaining chip or a tool to accomplish his purpose of getting David killed. Here is a perfect example of what James would later write: a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

But God is not to be undone! In chapter 19 we are going to see that Michal thwarted Saul’s purpose and helped David escape. And this is not the first time God has done this kind of thing. It is the same thing exactly as when Pharaoh’s daughter’s heart was turned toward Moses and by rescuing him she thwarted her father’s evil plans. And so, of course, we have here another example of “all things working together for good.”

 

So the plan the plan that Saul comes up with is in verses 22 through 26:

 

And Saul commanded his servants, “communicate with David secretly, and say, “look, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now, therefore, become the king’s son-in-law. (23) So Saul’s servants spoke those words in the hearing of David. And David said, Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing I am a poor and lightly esteemed  man?(24)And the servants of Saul told him saying, “In this manner David spoke” (25) Then Saul said, thus you shall say to David: “the king does  not desire any dowry but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.” But Saul thought to make David fall by the hands of the Philistines. (26) So, when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to become the king’s son-in-law.

 

Notice the flattery and deceptiveness in Saul’s invitation in verse 22. “The king has delight in you.” etc.

 

People who are out of fellowship and left to their own devices to accomplish their goals will stop at nothing. Saul could have just as easily criticized and condemned David if had suited his purposes! By contrast, notice David’s continuing humility in verse 23: “I am a poor and lightly esteemed man”

 

And there is a lesson in this for us: if David, with all of his qualifications was humbled by the thought of being a son-in-law to a human king, how much more humbled should we be at the thought of being actual sons of the King of kings? Part of the problem, too, was that David was not able to pay a dowry to the bride’s father – and no more can we. But after all the give and take, in the ensuing verses, we see the actual promotion of David.

 

(27) Therefore, David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. And David brought the foreskins, and they gave them in full count to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife.

 

Back in verse 25 the requirement was for 100 foreskins – but here David doubles the number. And nothing could have infuriated the Philistines more than to have 200 of their fighters killed to fulfill this hated Jewish ceremony. And so in verses 28 through 30 Saul’s duplicity and deviousness turn to Saul’s dismay.

 

(28) Thus Saul saw and knew that the LORD with David and that Michal, Saul’s daughter loved David, and that (29) and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually (30) Then the princes of the Philistine went out to war. And it was, whenever they went out that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.

Saul had every reason to be dismayed. Every plan he tried was thwarted and turned back on him. And now David is in his own family! But notice how David reacted to all this. He “behaved himself wisely.” And his name became highly esteemed. And of course, here is another picture of Christ, who has “a name that is above every name.” And we will see in the next chapter how that caused his rage to become even worse. But in conclusion, let this be a warning to us: When we turn away from the Lord and take matters into our own hands, nothing will work right (in the long run) no matter intricate plans may be. But when we walk with the Lord He can honor everything that we do and thwart our enemies in ways we may not even be aware of. But when we walk with the Lord, he can honor everything we do and  thwart our enemies in ways we may not even be aware of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attempted Murder

The Life of David

Lesson 5: “Attempted Murder”

I Samuel 18:10-30

 

Human nature often envies those who are in high places. It is easy to suppose that they enjoy many privileges and benefits that those of us below them don’t have. But that is more imagined than real. And even where it is true, in most cases it is offset by the burdens and responsibilities that go with such a position. And David at this point in his life is an example of that misconception. There is a sense in which David in the sheepfold was much better off than David in the palace; tending the sheep was not nearly as dangerous waiting on Saul. And of course, the lesson for us to learn from that is to be contented with whatever place it is that God has placed us, no matter how “lowly” it many seem.

 

In our last lesson we saw David beginning to feel the effects of the jealousy of Saul. We saw God’s provision of friendship with Jonathon in verses 1 through 3. Then we saw the praise of the females in verses 4 through 9. And those things together led to Saul’s jealousy and fear of David. So now we come to the third section of the chapter which has to do with the pursuit by the fallen king in verses 10 through 30. And first we see the setting of the pursuit in verses 10 through 16. First there is a precursor to the pursuit in verse 10 and 11.

 

And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul and he prophesied within the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand And (11) Saul cast the spear; for he said “I will pin David to the wall with it.” But David escaped his presence twice.

 

How quickly things can change. Just a few days ago David was hearing songs of praise; now he hears the whistle of a spear going past his head.

 

And that should teach us to not put too much value on the good things of this life. One of the puritans wrote, “build not thy nest in any earthly tree, for the whole forest is doomed for destruction.” It is only when we “set our affections on things above” that we will never be disappointed. But there is something else to notice here: There is a direct connection between the jealousy and suspicion of verse 9 with the coming of this “distressing spirit” in verse 10. When we yield to these kinds of temptations we “give place to the devil,” to use New Testament terminology. We open ourselves up to jealousy and suspicion. And then notice that Saul “prophesied in the house.” Here is another example of the fact that Satan can duplicate the acts of God (up to a point.) This prophesying may have been designed to throw David off balance – he didn’t expect an attempt on his life by a man who had just been prophesying! And David’s reaction in verse 11 is another picture of Jesus: he escaped his presence twice. Most of us would have picked up the spear and throne it back at Saul. But David was like what Peter would later record of Jesus: “When he suffered he threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” So that is the precursor of the pursuit. But in verses 12 through 30 we find the pretense in the pursuit beginning to take place. First, there was removal from Saul’s presence in verses 12 through 16. The removal itself is in verses 12 and 13

Now Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him, but he had departed from Saul (13) Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

 

Here is another example of how sin can blind us. Even in his darkened spiritual condition, Saul could see that God was with David. (Unbelievers and people living in sin often can – and they often have higher standards for us than God does!)

 

But rather than listening to God’s message and confessing his sin, Saul just tried get rid of the messenger. And it is another example of how “God makes the wrath of men to praise him.”

 

In verses 14 through 16 we see David’s reaction to the removal:

 

And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. (15)Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely he was afraid of him. (16)But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

 

 No doubt Saul thought that David would get “lost in the shuffle” of military affairs if he made him a regimental commander. But what he didn’t count on was that he would be “going out and coming in” before the people. And the people loved that! Someone has said that “the “the army was the NFL and NBA of Israel”) David could have said to Saul what Joseph said to his brothers many years before: “You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20) Don’t be alarmed when something terrible happens to you at the hand of your enemy (or any other source) – God may be maneuvering you into a place where you can do a great deal of good.

 

Now we have been talking about the people’s reaction to David, but verse 15 points out Saul’s reaction to it all. Look at it again:

 

Therefore when Saul saw that he behaved wisely he was afraid of him.

 

Saul wasn’t afraid of David per se, but he was afraid of what God might do to him through David. And this is often the case. In Mark 6:20 we read that “Herod feared John (the Baptist) because he recognized the power of God in him.”

 

So Saul first tried to remove David from his presence. But when that failed, in verses 17 through 30 we see the return of Saul’s passions. And here is a demonstration of one of Satan’s favorite tricks. If he can’t get us by going one way, he will get us by going the opposite way. Here was David, first put out of Saul’s very sight; now, as we will see, brought right into the family! Saul’s duplicity is expressed very clearly in verse 17.

 

Then Saul said to David, “Here is my daughter Merab;I will give her to you as a wife. Only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles” For Saul thought “Let my hand not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.”

 

This incident may very well have been what David had in mind when he wrote in Psalm 55: 21:

The words of his mouth were smoother, than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, but yet they were drawn swords.”

 

And that still happens to people under Satan’s attack today! But it was in that context that David also wrote verse 22 of Psalm 55:

 

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

So verse 17 talks about Saul’s duplicity. “But in stark contrast to that, verse 18  shows David’s deference:  

 

So David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?”

 

Look at David’s humility here: Not only did he express humility about himself, but about ancestry. But this is the attitude that God can use (if it is genuine) And again, it is a picture of Jesus – in Matthew 11:29 He said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”

 

And Romans 12:3 says that every Christian should be very careful “not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”

 

Now the ball is bouncing back and forth: “Saul’s duplicity” in verse 17; “David’s deference” in verse 18; now back to Saul’s deviousness in verses 19 through 21. That deviousness is shown, first in removing his daughter in verse 19.

 

But it happened at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter should have been given to David that she was given to Adriel, the Meholathite as a wife.

 

This was probably designed to provoke David and throw him off in his anger. But whatever the purpose, it demonstrates again the untrustworthiness of a person who has taken matters into his own hands. But then Saul’s deviousness is shown from a still different angle in verses 20 through 27, in replacing the daughter. The purpose is very clear in verses 20 and 21

 

Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing displeased Saul. (21) So Saul said, “I will give her to him that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. “Therefore Saul said to David a second time, you shall be my son-in-law today.”

 

Here is the worst kind of treachery: plotting a person’s death and yet using pious language to express it.

 

What a father this guy was! First of all, somebody else had to tell him hat his daughter was in love with David. Then, he thought of her only as a bargaining chip or a tool to accomplish his purpose of getting David killed. Here is a perfect example of what James would later write: a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

But God is not to be undone! In chapter 19 we are going to see that Michal thwarted Saul’s purpose and helped David escape. And this is not the first time God has done this kind of thing. It is the same thing exactly as when Pharaoh’s daughter’s heart was turned toward Moses and by rescuing him she thwarted her father’s evil plans. And so, of course, we have here another example of “all things working together for good.”

so the plan the plan that Saul comes up with is in verses 22 through 26:

And commanded his servants,“communicate with David secretly, and say, “look, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now, therefore, become the king’s son-in-law. (23) So Saul’s servants spoke those words in the hearing of David. And David said, Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing I am a poor and lightly esteemed  man?(24)And the servants of Saul told him saying, “In this manner David spoke” (25) Then Saul said, thus you shall say to David:“the king does  not desire any dowry but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.” But Saul thought to make David fall by the hands of the Philistines. (26) So, when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to become the king’s son-in-law.

Notice the flattery and deceptiveness in Saul’s invitation in verse 22. “The king has delight in you.” etc.

People who are out of fellowship and left to their own devices to accomplish their goals will stop at nothing. Saul could have just as easily criticized and condemned David if had suited his purposes! By contrast, notice David’s continuing humility in verse 23: “I am a poor and lightly esteemed man”

And there is a lesson in this for us: if David, with all of his qualifications was humbled by the thought of being a son-in-law to a human king, how much more humbled should we be at the thought of being actual sons of the King of kings? Part of the problem, too, was that David was not able to pay a dowry to the bride’s father – and no more can we. But after all the give and take, in the ensuing verses, we see the actual promotion of David.

(27) Therefore, David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. And David brought the foreskins, and they gave them in full count to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife.

Back in verse 25 the requirement was for 100 foreskins – but here David doubles the number. And nothing could have infuriated the Philistines more than to have 200 of their fighters killed to fulfill this hated Jewish ceremony. And so in verses 28 through 30 Saul’s duplicity and deviousness turn to Saul’s dismay.

(28) Thus Saul saw and knew that the LORD with David and that Michal, Saul’s daughter loved David, and that (29) and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually (30) Then the princes of the Philistine went out to war. And it was, whenever they went out that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.

Saul had every reason to be dismayed. Every plan he tried was thwarted and turned back on him. And now David is in his own family! But notice how David reacted to all this. He “behaved himself wisely.” And his name became highly esteemed. And of course, here is another picture of Christ, who has “a name that is above every name.” And we will see in the next chapter how that caused his rage to become even worse. But in conclusion, let this be a warning to us: When we turn away from the Lord and take matters into our own hands, nothing will work right (in the long run) no matter intricate plans may be. But when we walk with the Lord He can honor everything that we do and thwart our enemies in ways we may not even be aware of. But when we walk with the Lord, he can honor everything we do and  thwart our enemies in ways we may not even be aware of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3: David the Giant Killer

I. Samuel 17

Every segment of society has its own “catch phrases” that only the initiated understand. Football has it’s 4th and long” mutual funds brokers talk about a front-end load.” pharmacists talk about “generic” and “non generic” drugs, and on and on. And the same thing is true in the Christian life. We have our own “catch phrases” that only the (supposedly) “real” Christians understand, such as “eternal security,” “free will,” “predestination,” and so forth. And one of the most popular of those is  “a man” (or “woman”) after God’s own heart. But what does it mean to be “a man or woman after God’s own heart?” Well, the passage before us demonstrates that as clearly as any other place in scripture. Because as we look at this well-known story we are going to see that  the dominant characteristic of David’s was that he put the honor and glory of God ahead of every other motivation in his life.

 

Not that he was sinless; far from it. But that his normal operating mode was to try to look at things from God’s point of view. And when he did fall into sin, he was quick to agree with God about it (even though in some instances it took awhile to even come to grips with the sin.)

 

The chapter falls into 4 parts:

 

  1. The Challenge – verses -11
  2. The Champion – verses 12-38

III. The Conflict – verses – 39-51

  1. The Conclusion – verses 52-58

 

So let’s begin our study of this well known story by looking at the challenge that was issued in verses 1 through 11

First notice the giver of the challenge in verses 4 through 7 :

 

Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah in Ephes Dammin(2) And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the valley of Elah,and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. (3) The Philistines stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.

 

The Philistines had probably heard about Saul’s depression and decided it was a good time to act. Satan and his people are on the alert for such situations, especially when they know a problem is spiritually based, as Saul’s depression was. This is the kind of thing Peter had in mind  when he wrote that “Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” in I Peter 5:8. Having seen the circumstances of the challenge, then, in verses 4 through 11 we find the contents of the challenge First notice the giver of the challenge in verses 4 through 7

 

 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (5) He had a bronze helmet on his head and he was armed with a coat of mail and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. (6) And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders (7) Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed 600 shekels and a shield bearer went before him.

 

Verse 4 brings out something that may seem completely insignificant, but actually is very important. Notice that it says that Goliath was from Gath. In Numbers chapter 13 we read that the spies who went in to look over the promised land came back with a report of “giants in the land,” which caused that generation of Israelites to refuse to go into the promised land. Then in Joshua 1`1:21,22, when the next generation did go into the land, we read that Joshua drove out all the giants “except in Gaza and Gath and in Ashdod. So when we read just in passing here in I Samuel 17 that Goliath was a giant from Gath it demonstrates again the intricate accuracy of the Bible. And it also emphasizes the far-ranging dangers of incomplete obedience. You have no idea what your disobedience today may cause far down the road. (Joshua had lived 400 years earlier)

 

So that is the giver of the challenge . Then in verses 8-10  we find the giving of the challenge.

 

Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel. “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine? And you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let  him come down to me. (9) If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants, But if I prevail against him, then then you shall be our servants and serve us.” (10) And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day, give me a man, that we may fight together.”

 

This “crying out” of taunts and threats to the armies of Israel is reminiscent of Satan “going about as a roaring lion in I Peter 5:8. And like Satan, some of what he said was true: they were “servants of Saul” (and back in chapter 8 God had warned them that that was exactly what would happen.

 

Now we have seen the circumstances of the challenge and the call for contact that Goliath gave. Now in verse 11 we see the concern that Israel had about the challenge.

 

When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

 

This is a sad contrast to the boldness of Saul in chapters 11 and 14, where he had had great victories when the spirit of the Lord was upon him.” And “the fear of all Israel” here nothing like “the fear of the Lord” that fell on all the people at the beginning of Saul’s reign in chapter 11. And verse 16 is going to say that this kept up for forty days, which underscores the situation. Throughout the scripture the number 40 is associated with testing and probation and the demonstration of weakness (for example, the wilderness wanderings, the flood, etc.) So, for forty days God was demonstrating that Israel was impotent because of their lack of fellowship with Him.

 

Think about the irony here. They had Saul, who was from his shoulders and upwards” taller than any o f the people” according to chapter 9 verse 2. And Jonathon, who had killed 20 Philistines with only the help of his armor bearer a couple of chapters back. There was Abner, the commander of the army, who was “a valiant man, according to chapter 14:50,52 and 26:15. But none of them were willing to accept the challenge from goliath. This 40 days of testing demonstrated that without God’s leadership, the boldest of men are helpless. And it prefigures something that John 15:5 tells us very clearly: “without me, you can do nothing.” So Israel was in a truly helpless state. But David never forgot his father and the sheep. And when the need arose to go and see about them he didn’t hesitate to go – and leave the “planning” to God. And that’s where he was when this part of the story developed. But even in this there is a lesson: Before God ever uses a man publicly and spectacularly, He prepares him privately. And usually that is done “in the background” without notice and fame (but not without useful service in the process.) And the man of God doesn’t chafe under that and keep trying to move himself up; he rests in God’s will for his life. In fact, he is content to serve where the Lord puts him even if he never moves up! (are you?) On any level, effective public ministry only comes out of the right kind of relationship with God in private.

 

Then out of that background, in verse 16 through 22 we see the assignment he was given, and verses 17 and 18 are typical of this section:

 

Then Jesse said to his son David, “take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these 10 loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. (18)And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.”

 

This section is another of those pictures of Jesus going about His Father’s business, taking care of His brethren. But something else to notice here is how god is working all of these things together for good. Verses 12 and 13 say that Jesse had eight sons, but only three of them were in the army. But of the remaining five he chose the youngest one to go see about the others – and that made sense; he probably had fewer obligations than the others. But actually it was all a part of God’s plan for David – and for Israel. In verse 22 David arrives in the camp just in time to see what was going on. So in verses 23 through 28 we have his assessment of the problem. Most of those verses are a review of what we have already seen in this chapter, so we won’t go over them in detail. But the conclusion that David comes to is in the last half of verse 26. And it is quite different from the assessment of the army.

 

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

 

The army saw it as a threat to them and their safety, but David saw it for what it w as: defiance of the living God. When he hears this, David’s older brother Eliab gets angry in verse 28. And even in that there is a spiritual picture:

 

Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

 

Eliab is like many Christians out of fellowship – they misjudge the motives of those who are in fellowship. Even Jesus had this problem – John 1:11 says that “he came unto his own and his own did not receive Him.” David’s assessment of the situation led, then, to his approach to the solution in verses 29 through 38. First we see his attitude in verse 29

And David said, “What have I done now? “Is there not a cause?

 

Here was the basic problem in Israel: they had forgotten the cause for which they should fight!

The very glory of the God of Israel was being sullied and tarnished; that had to be corrected! And David was willing to do something about it, no matter what the cost. And this is the secret of being “a man after God’s own heart.” David shared his attitude with anyone who would listen. And that soon led to his appearance before Saul in verses 32 and 33:

 

Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight this Philistine.”

 

But his offer is only met with the objection that we find in verse 33:

 

(33) And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth, and a man of war from his youth.”

 

What Saul says here makes sense. But it was all from a human viewpoint – remember the Spirit of the Lord was upon David. But David’s spiritual viewpoint is demonstrated in the opinion that he gives in verses 34 through 37 (summarized in verse 37)

 

Moreover, David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said, ‘go, and the Lord be with you.”

 

David relates his human achievements in killing a lion and a bear in the process of recuing a lost sheep in verses 34 and 35, but he knew it was the Lord who made it possible. And he knows that that same Lord can rescue him from Goliath just as well.

 

So with all that as a background, the actual conflict takes place in verses 38 through 58: His armament is described in verses 38 through 40

 

So Saul clothed with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. (39)David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them “So David took them off. (40) Then he took his staff in his hand and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, a pouch which he had; and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

 

Here again we see the human viewpoint of Saul. He had just gotten through saying.
the Lord be with you, but he immediately begins to outfit David with his armor. But David “puts it off,” in verse 39 and goes back to his simple shepherd’s equipment. In verse 40. Does that mean that there is something wrong with using equipment or tools or material things in God’s service?

No! David used equipment, but it was the equipment of God’s choosing.

 

 

After making the right kind of preparation, in verses 41 through 47, David makes his approach to Goliath.

 

So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David and the man who bore the shield went before him (42) And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him for he was only a youth, ruddy and good looking, (43) So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?”And the  Philistine cursed him with David by his gods (44) And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, you come to me with a spear and a sword and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of

Israel, whom you have defied. (46) This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.

 

 Finally, in verses 48 through 58 we have the actual fight between David and Goliath. And again it is such a familiar strory that it doesn’t need repeating. David was victorious by God’s power. And the defeat was so overwhelming that the Israelites plundered the camp of the Philistines.

 

In conclusion, this story is so famous and familiar that it is easy to overlook it. But always remember a couple of underlying truths: First, God will not long allow his glory to be diminished – even though He is “longsuffering” and “not willing that any should perish,” He also always brings punishment. And in accomplishing whatever purpose He has He uses those whom He has prepared – and who have responded to His preparation

 

-end-

 

 

 

 

4: The Price of Popularity

The Life of David

“The Price of Popularity Lesson 4:

I Samuel 18:1-11

 

In the world of today the watchword is “getting ahead.” In politics they speak of having to “go along to get along.”  – the necessity of compromise and deal-making. In the business world it is “networking” and “the right timing” –   knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. In the social world it is a matter of “being on the right lists.” And being invited to the right parties and being in the right groups. And if you are caught up in all of that (or any of it,) then you really need the things that we are going to see about David’s life in this chapter. What we have here, in contrast to the two previous chapters, is a series of events that almost seem to almost be “random happenings.” But when we take them together, we see that they are designed by God to show us some very important insights into human nature and its complete unreliability.

 

The events of this chapter fall into three general sections:

 

First, in verses 1 through 4 we have the provision of friendship that God makes for David in the person of Jonathon. Then in verses 5 through 9 we have the praise of the females and the problems they brought to David, and finally, in verses 10 through 30 there is the pursuit by the fallen king  – Saul’s attempts to kill David in a couple of different ways.

 

So let’s begin our study by looking at the provision of friendship that God made for David in verses 1 through 4.

 

Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathon was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathon loved him as his own soul. (2) Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house any more. (3) Then David and Jonathon made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. (4) And Jonathon took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.

 

Here is one of the most amazing stores in all of scripture! We are going to see in this chapter that Saul became insanely jealous of David. But if anything, Jonathon had more to lose than Saul did – he was the “crown prince;” his whole future, even after the death of Saul, was tied up in what David would do. And yet he risked all of it on befriending this unknown shepherd!  And he even made a covenant of it by giving David his robe and armor and sword in verse 4. The only explanation for this kind relationship is that it was a gift from God; it defies “human” logic. And there are many other lessons to be learned from the life of Jonathon – he was truly one of the great “heroes of scripture – but that is beyond the scope of this lesson.

 

But the lesson we want to see at this point is that for the person who is walking in fellowship with the Lord and seeking God’s direction in all of life, God can and does provide even the “connections” and friendships that we need.

 

Too many Christians waste much valuable time and emotion trying to “maneuver” and “position themselves” (sometimes even thinking it is for the glory of God.) But we need to relax and realize that God is going to place us where He needs us – and He can make whatever “connections” that are needed to get us there. And this can even extend to relationships with unbelievers. Joseph “found favor” with the keeper of the prison in Genesis 29:31. The Israelites found favor with the Egyptians, – Exodus 3:21 Esther had favor with Ahasuerus; and the same with Ruth with Boaz.

 

So that is the first section of the chapter, “The provision of friendship for David. But in verses 5 through 9 we find an interesting section of the story. There we have the praise of the females recorded.  And believe it or not, that contains some important lessons too! Let’s think first of all about the setting for the praise in verses 5 and 6.

 

So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants (6) Now it had happened as they were coming home, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.”

 

Verse 5 is another example of David’s faithfulness in whatever he was given to do. He had been faithful in the sheepfold, then as a lowly harpist in the palace. Now in military leadership. It is also another example of God’s preparation for the job to which God had called him. Although he was tough and experienced in the wilds, he had never had experience in military matters and he had a lot of fighting to do in the days ahead. There is something else to notice here too, another picture of the life of Christ in the life of David – and that is the acceptance by all of the people. Luke 2:52 says that “Jesus “increased in wisdom and  stature and in favor with God and man.” So out of that setting for praise we hear the singing of the praises.

 

Now as it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tambourines, singing and dancing with joy, and musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced and Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.”

 

Now at first glance this may seem harmless enough. But actually it shows how bad things had gotten in Israel. If we go back to Exodus 15:1-18 we can see how Israel reacted to victories in the early days. That is the passage where Israel praised God for their deliverance from Egypt in crossing the Red Sea. In those days the praise was all for God; now it was for the human warriors. And this is similar to the church today – an emphasis on Christian “celebrities.”

 

Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, .and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom? So Saul eyed David from that day forward.

 

The flesh always reacts to the flesh – those who are out of fellowship feed on each other (whether for good or bad). These women were putting the emphasis on the human side of things, and so was Saul. But it didn’t affect David, because he was focused on God and His glory. But the question arises, why does God allow all this sinful praise of man in the first place?” First, sometimes God allows rebellion in various areas to demonstrate the difference between “the children of light” and “the children of the devil” as John puts it in I John 3:10. But also, in this instance it was probably for David’s growth! It was this uneven praise that brought on Saul’s rage in the first place. And over the next few years David is going to learn more from dealing with Saul and his anger than from almost any other process.

 

David is going to be getting a lot of praise over the next few years, and praise is extremely dangerous, particularly for a young Christian. Jesus said “woe to you when all men praise you” in Luke 6:26. And Paul wrote to Timothy to not choose a novice for church leadership,” and to “lay hands on no one suddenly.”  Adlai Stevenson, a prominent politician from an earlier era, said, “Perfume is sweet to smell, but deadly to drink.” Christians should carefully avoid praise (but not the activity that might bring it) Jeremiah 45:5 says, “seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. And yet for these very reasons God sometimes allows it a little of it – to teach the problems that it can bring.

 

Verse 9 brings out another aspect of Saul’s sinful reaction to the praises that he and Saul got:

 

So Saul eyed David from that day forward.

 

This section brings out the true nature of the human heart (the basic purpose of this chapter)

As king, Saul should have been grateful that David had delivered his people from a long term enemy and added to the power of his kingdom, but instead he was jealous. At first Saul had “loved him greatly” (16:21) but now he “viewed him with suspicion” (the literal meaning of “eyed him”) And this shows us the fickle nature of all human relationships. Only God can say “I change not” “as He does in Malachi 3:6. Matthew Henry, another Bible teacher of a previous generation, said “the scriptures not only unveil to us the attributes of God, but also reveal the character of man. The more attentively God’s word is studied and its teachings and principles absorbed the better will we be fortified against many a bitter disappointment. This is certainly a place for Christian love and fellowship and interaction. But unless that is produced in the heart by the Holy Spirit and based around the Word of God, it will sooner or later disappoint.

 

Our study began with a beautiful friendship and ends with a relationship gone bad. But the difference is that one was based on shared values and trust in God, and the other was initiated on a purely human basis. You see, even in our friendships, we must depend on the Lord in every element of in them.