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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2: Entering the Palace

“The Life of David”

Lesson 2: “Entering the Palace”

I Samuel 16:14-23

 

Jesus Christ is the “watershed” of the history of the world. Everything in human history before His time pointed toward Him, and everything since He came has been built upon what He did on earth. Because of that, during the several thousand years before His coming, there were many “foreshadowings” and “types” of Him and His ministry. But of all those “hints” at what He would be like, none were clearer than the ones given by the life of David, recorded in First and Second Samuel in the Old Testament. We have begun our study by looking in our first lesson at the anointing of David with all of the lessons that it teachers us, in I Samuel 16:1-13. So in this lesson we want to continue looking at the apprenticeship of David in I Samuel 16:14-23. Remember that in the first half of the chapter David was anointed to replace Saul as king of Israel, with all of the majesty (and holiness) that office would involve. But the second half of the chapter is a great contrast to that. It is fascinating to see that even though He had been chosen and anointed by God, before David entered the “glorious” section of his life, there was a time of great difficulty. And right here at the beginning of the record of his life is one of the first illustrations of the way David pictures the Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture makes clear that the Lord Jesus will someday rule over the universe as King of kings and Lord of lords, but in His first advent on earth it was a different story – before the crown there had to be the cross. Just so, before David’s crown there was much humiliation and suffering of various kinds. And, incidentally, this is the pattern God follows with anyone who is really useful to Him. The principle of scripture is “you have been faithful in a few things, I Will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:21 and “He that would be greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.” (Luke 22:26).

 

So let’s look the setting for the apprenticeship in verses 14 through 18 Verse 14 reveals that there was a real problem which led to this stage of David’s life. The problem is in verse 14:

 

But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.

 

The background of this verse is back in chapter 15. Saul had deliberately disobeyed God’s order to kill all of the  Amalekites, including their king and all of their cattle. But Saul had not killed their king. But what was worse was that when he was confronted with his sin, instead of confessing it, he tried to rationalize it away. And God sent Samuel to tell him that the throne would be taken away and given to “a man after God’s own heart, according to verse 23.

 

Now we have to be careful with the wording of this verse. First of all, we have to remember that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell most believers – He “came upon them” for special service. David was an exception – the Holy Spirit permanently indwelt him from the time of his anointing. But in the New Testament He does. Romans 8:9 – “if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. So this verse should not be taken as an indication that we can lose the Holy Spirit or our salvation. Then we also need to notice that this was not “an evil” spirit as the King James Version says, but “a distressing spirit.” Probably the closest thing to it from our experience would be “depression” or “anxiety.” Although it is not always the reason for depression or anxiety, God can and does use them as a means of discipline or to bring conviction of sin.

 

So because of Saul’s problem, his servants come up with the proposal of verses 15 and 16

 

And Saul’s servants said to him, surely a distressing spirit from God is troubling you,  (16)”Let our master now command your servants who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall be that he shall play it with h is hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you and you shall be well.”

 

These servants were perceptive – they saw exactly what the problem was. But their solution was faulty (even though God ultimately used it for good.) Since they could see that this thing was “from the Lord” it would have been much better for them to advise Saul to confess his sin and get right with the Lord. But instead they applied a “surface” solution – treated the symptoms rather than the disease. And this is a real danger when believers are under discipline or unbelievers are under conviction. But God does not convict the unsaved or discipline the saved just to get us to “turn over a new leaf.” But the solution sounds good to Saul, and so in verse 17 he gives his permission to pursue the plan.

 

So “as luck would have it, (of course we know that there is no such thing as “luck”) one of the servants knows of just the right person! So the portrayal of David is given in verse 18:

 

(18) Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person.; and the Lord is with him.”

 

This statement  teaches us several things about David’s life at this point. First, other people knew about him. Maybe this came from the episode of saving the sheep from the lion and the bear (in 7:37). But at any rate, it was a good report – “a mighty  a man of valor” ”man of war,” “prudent in speech;” handsome, plus being able to play the harp. But the most important thing is in the last line – and the Lord is with him.”

 

“Having the Lord with us” will not necessarily make all of these other things come true of us. But unless the Lord is with us, those other things will be of no real value. And this phrase also indicates that David had “a good testimony” in todays vocabulary. Even though this servant had noticed all of David’s good qualities, he also knew that he also knew that “the Lord was with him.” This is the kind of thing Jesus had in mind in Matthew 5:16 when he said “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.”

 

What do other people see in you? “Your good qualities” or “your father who is in heaven.”

 

So that is the setting that brings David into the palace for the first time. But in verses 19 through 23. We have the commencement of the apprenticeship. And the first thing that happens is the calling of David.in verse 19

 

Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “send me your son David, who is with the sheep.

 

Little did Saul realize that in calling for David he was bringing into the palace the very one whom God had chosen to replace him. But this is an example of the fact that “God’s ways are higher than our “ (Isaiah 55:8) and that He works all things together for the good of His children. But at the same time, think what a test this was for David. He had been anointed to be the king, not a servant in the palace! And besides that for all he knew, Saul could have heard about his anointing and be plotting to kill him. But notice David’s response: Verse 20 tells of the coming of David to the palace.

 

And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.

 

Now we have been saying that David is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ – and he is. But the picture is made even more complete with the focus of this verse. Notice who the subject is: Jesse, David’s father. And what does Jesse do? He sends His son, loaded with presents, to one who is in desperate need. Do you see the picture? This is exactly what God the Father, did in sending Jesus to earth. Saul was without the Spirit of God, and in desperate need; the world was alienated from God and without hope in the world” (Ephesians 1) Jesse sent his son with presents for the king, not with weapons to the one who would soon be his enemy; the father sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world; but the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17) And notice that David willingly participated in the plan, even though he had been anointed king! This is exactly what Jesus did, according to Philippians 2:5-11. And that same passage says that we are to imitate Him in serving others who don’t deserve it.

 

The story continues in verses 21 and 22 with the confirmation of David.

 

(21) So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. (22) Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”

 

Here the scene shifts  from David as a picture of Christ to the way God works in the circumstances of our lives.

 

Look how beautifully God is working in this situation: We think of David as a great king – and he was. But the first part of his life was spent as a “country boy” literally. Before he could hold his own in royal surroundings he had to be trained and equipped. And God saw to it that he got exactly the training that he needed. And notice: this was God’s doing, not David’s. God opened a door to the palace without David even having to knock – obviously God had changed Saul’s heart. But when we take matters into our own hands and try to open doors for ourselves we usually mess it up. Does this mean that we should not plan for the future, “Just let nature takes its course?” No, but the biblical pattern is in Psalm 37: 3 through 7 – “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will direct your paths. A. W. Pink, A revered bible teacher in the early 20th century, said, “the feverish activities of natural zeal only raise a cloud of dust which conceals from us the beauties of divine providence.”

 

Now we have seen “the calling of David;” “the coming of David” and “the confirmation of David.” And finally, in verse 23 we find The comfort by David

 

(23) And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp  and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well and the distressing spirit would depart from him.   

 

Here is another illustration of God’s power. It was not David’s musical ability that made Saul well, nor was there any magic power in the music. But David and the harp were both simply instruments of that God used in restoring Saul. And they form a good illustration of a spiritual principle about cooperation in ministry, which many years later the apostle Paul would incorporate in the New Testament in First Corinthians 3: 6

 

I planted, Apollos, watered, and God gave the increase.”

 

There is one final application to draw from all of this: when David first received the call from Saul he probably hoped it would be to serve as a warrior. But here he is serving as a musician instead. But nonetheless, he faithfully did what was laid before him to do, as in I Corinthians 4:2

 

And this was one of the secrets of his success In life.

 

Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.

 

Isn’t it fascinating how God weaved the fabric of David’s  life together to accomplish His purposes? But David is not the only one He does it for – His plan for you is just as intricate. Don’t ever think that anything is “just by luck or “by accident.”

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson One: Introduction: I Samuel 16:1-13

 

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself with a king among his sons.” (12) And Samuel said, “How can I go?” If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, Take an heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” (3) “Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. You shall anoint for Me the one I name for you.” (4) So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” (5)And he said, “peaceably” I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice. (6) So it was, when they came, he looked at Eliab and said, “surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him (7) But the lord said to Samuel, “do not look at his appearance, or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (8) So Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, neither has the Lord chosen this one” ((9) Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” (10) Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, The Lord has not chosen these.” (11) And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, send and bring him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one! (13) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

 

One of the questions most frequently asked of pastors is: “how were people in the Old Testament saved?” Well, the question may be frequently asked, but it is not a simple one to answer. The life story of the great Jewish king David of Israel is a major part of the answer. One of the purposes of the meticulous recording of the history of His people Israel was to demonstrate to the entire human race what God can do for and with people who will faithfully do what He tells them to do. The opening words of the book of Hebrews say that “at various times and in various ways,  God spoke to our fathers through the prophets.” That is what theologians have come to call “progressive revelation.”  By that term they mean that the ultimate story of our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ was revealed by “types” and “shadows” – pictures that God would provide through stories and events and eras of history little by little. Things such as the tabernacle and the temple and all of the various offerings and sacrifices; even the clothing of the priests. But one of the most important “revelations” is the lives of various men and women whose lives picture for us the nature of Christ. And certainly, one of those people is the young king of Israel, David, the son of Jesse and the forerunner of Jesus Christ. God did it this way so that we are able to look at this fabulous tapestry and study and read about it in detail. One of the features of progressive revelation was the fact that many different times God “saved” His people from various situations. And that temporal salvation was always a picture of the coming spiritual salvation. And the men whom he used as “deliverers” were always pictures of the ultimate deliverer, Jesus Christ. In the life of this one man many of the basic truths and promises about the coming savior and the coming salvation were established. As the story of the Old Testament comes to the life of David, however, progressive revelation takes a great leap forward. In the life of this one man many of the basic truths and promises about the coming Savior were established. In the years leading up to his life many details had been revealed about the savior. They knew that He would be divine, because no one but God could ultimately triumph over Satan (referred to in God’s promise to Eve that He would be divine, because no one but God could ultimately triumph over Satan. But they also knew that he would be a human being because He would be the “seed” of the woman, according to Genesis 3:15. As time went by, God revealed to Abraham that the redeemer would come through his descendants. This, of course, narrowed it down significantly.

 

Then, in the days of Moses and Aaron it was demonstrated through the system of sacrifices that the redeemer would be a priest and about the importance of a sacrifice for forgiveness of sins.

So little by little, and bit by bit the puzzle was taking shape. But when David came on the scene, God announced for the first time the specific person through whom the redee­mer would come. The whole flood of humanity was narrowed down to the one man through whose ances­­try He would be born. And as the life of David progresses we see that not only is he the ancestor but the pre-eminent “type” of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

David’s introduction is found in I Samuel chapter 16, when the people rejected the ministry of the prophet Samuel, and demanded a king. “so that we may be like the other nations.” To make a long story a little shorter, their first king was jealous and insecure, and ultimately made matters worse by committing sui­cide in I Samuel 31:4 And as the life of David progresses we see that not only is he the ancestor of Christ, but the most eminent personal “type” or “picture” of Christ in all of the Old Testament.

 

Now there is something else that is also extremely important to notice about progressive revelation. And that is that every time there was a new advance in the revelation it occurred when human reasoning would have least expected it. For example, the first announcement of the incarnation of Christ was not given during those times when “God walked with them in the cool of the garden,” but after they had rebelled against Him. The first statement of the everlasting covenant” was made after all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth” and God had destroyed all but 8 of the human race. The first announcement of the particular family from which the Messiah would come was made just after the revolt of man at the tower of Babel. The law of God was not given to Joseph when he was revered throughout all Egypt, but to Moses when the people had revolted against the very God who had delivered them from their slavery in Egypt. Ezekiel chapter 20  says that they had been worshipping the gods of Egypt, during their captivity and refused to stop!)

 

And that was exactly the pattern that was followed when God began the process of revealing further truth through the life of David. After the death of Joshua God had allowed terrible deterioration to take place in the world. Judges 21:25 says that in those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. That is a description of anarchy. And the story given there bears it out. A story of rape and murder and mob action. And notice carefully what it says there. It doesn’t say that they did what was wrong in their own eyes; they did what was right in their own eyes.”  And doesn’t that sound exactly like the very decade in which we live?  But you know, that should be encouraging to us. It may well be that someone is reading this right now who is in a situation that seems hopeless. And maybe, to make matters worse, it is a situation of your own making. Hopeless situations are not always of our own making, but sometimes they are. But even in those “hopeless” days God was already preparing “a man after His own heart.” But the interesting thing is that no one but God knew who the deliverer was or where he was. Even Samuel the prophet had to be given a special divine revelation to be able to identify him. And that, too, is instructive. When we cry out to God for deliverance from an impossible situation, many times the relief comes from a source that we would have never imagined.

 

The book of I Samuel opens with the people rejecting the ministry of the prophet Samuel and demanding a king, “so that we may be like all the other nations.” Imagine that! This was a nation that had been created for the very opposite reason! They were to have been a nation that would be a trophy of what He could do with and for people would follow and obey Him. Years later through the prophet Hosea, that He gave them that king in His anger. And that king just made matters worse. Even though he started out well his life was marked by jealousy and insecurity. And it ended by consulting a witch (which he himself had outlawed) and ultimately committing suicide in I Samuel 31:4

 

This is the dark background, then, into which the great light that of the life of David comes. And you know, that should be encouraging to us. Even in that dark hour, God already was preparing their deliverance, “a man after His own heart.” But the interesting thing is that no one knew who the deliverer was or where he was. Even Samuel the prophet had to be given a special divine revelation to be able to identify him. and that, too, is instructive. When we cry out to God for deliverance from an impossible situation, many times the relief comes from a source that we would have never imagined.

 

The first mention of David is here in I Samuel chapter 16. But his story goes on through the rest of I Samuel, through all of II Samuel, and into the first chapter of I Kings. And it is a fascinating saga with every kind of emotion and action and intrigue known to man. The story begins very quietly. God speaks to Samuel in verse 1 and tells him to stop mourning over Saul and go out and anoint a new king. Look at it again:

 

Now the Lord said to Samuel, how long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

 

The phrase “seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel is a review of a story told in great detail back in chapter 15. There, in in verses 10 through 12, we have the story of how Saul had not only sinned, but had refused to confess his sin, and God took the kingdom of Israel in Matthew 23: 37 through 39, and yet the temple stood until 70 A.D!

 

Let me digress here just a moment to say that we should let that be a warning to us. Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, “because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the sons of man is set in him to do evil.” Sometimes we wonder why God lets people “get by” with their sin, but it may be that He is being gracious, giving them time to repent. What’s worse is that sometimes we live in sin for a long time, and because God doesn’t judge us, we take it for granted that everything is all right. But don’t be misled. God may be “waiting to be gracious to you.” Don’t presume upon His grace any longer. Confess that sin now, before He has to put you on the shelf and use someone else to accomplish the things for His glory that He would have used you for.

 

Then notice in the last line of verse 1 that Samuel was instructed to go “Jesse the Bethlehemite” to find that new king. Now that probably doesn’t seem significant to most of us, but probably was stunning to Samuel. Samuel knew that Micah 5:2 would later tell us, that Bethlehem was “little among the thousands” of Judah. Surely this would not be place to go looking for a king! This would have been like looking in a small mining town or even an unincorporated community to look for the next president of the United States.

 

But Paul explains all of that for us in I Corinthians 1:27-29 – God deliberately chooses the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And why?” “That no flesh should glory in His presence.” This is why He chose uneducated fishermen to be the first evangelists. It is why He has chosen you and me. But God carries it a step further a little further down in the chapter in the particular son of Jesse which He chose. You probably remember the story. When Samuel saw the first son down in verse 6 he thought surely this was the one. But God said “no.” Then the same thing happened in verses 8,9, and 10. Finally in verse 11 Samuel checks one more time to see if there were any more sons, and Jesse tells him about David. David is brought in in verse 12 and the Lord said, “arise, anoint him, for this is the one.” Now the reasoning behind al of this is back in verse 17. Look at it again:

 

(17) But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

Even though this is a well-known verse, it is very searching. It is our hearts that God looks at, not our outward appearance. We’re pretty good at “putting on a front, aren’t we? But never forget, it is the heart that God looks at. What does he see when he looks at you? Does He see “a heart that is “purified by faith” as Acts 15:9 says? A heart that loves Him with all your heart and soul and strength.” As in Deuteronomy?  Or a heart that is still “desperately wicked?” as in Jeremiah 17:9 puts it? This has been God’s principle all down through the years. He ignores that in which we humans take pride, and He chooses what we would not expect. He chose Isaac, the son of Abraham’s old age, not Ishmael, his firstborn. He chose Jacob, not Esau, the Israelites, not the Philistines, not the Egyptians, or the Babylonians, or the Philistines. And in the same way He chose the youngest son from a small family in a small town to be the king whose descendant would reign for ever and ever.

 

This chapter just bursts in on the life of David already in progress. But if this is all we had we would not know very much about his early days. But there are several places in Scripture where passing references to it are made. So in the time and space that remains I want to look at a few of those passages. The first one is right here in this chapter. Look down at verse 11:

 

And Samuel said to Jesse, are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the younger and there he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, send and bring him. for we will not sit down till he comes here.”

 

Notice in the middle of the verse, there he is, keeping the sheep. This first sight that we have of David is of him doing that which Jesus pictured Himself doing, and that which the Holy Spirit pictures elders and pastors doing; shepherding sheep. And David kept that attitude of a shepherd throughout his life.

 

Then in chapter 17 of I Samuel, where we have the story of Goliath. Here we find David talking to King Saul and in that conversation is another fact about his childhood. Look at verses 34,35

 

(34) But David said to Saul, your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock (35) I went out after it and struck it and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, and delivered the lamb from its mouth and when it arose against me I caught it by its beard and struck and killed it

 

There are a couple of things to notice here. First of all, notice this great risk for the sake of one lamb! How many shepherds would have considered this too great a risk to take for just one little lamb. In fact it may have been this story that Jesus had in mind when He spoke of the shepherd “who would leave the ninety and nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying, in Matthew chapter 18.

 

There is a second thing to notice from this story of the lion and the bear, and it is down in verse 37 of  chapter 17:

 

(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 . .. .”

 

How did David do this unbelievable thing of killing a lion and a bear with his bare hands? By faith in God! Even as a teen-ager he believed that God could provide strength for whatever task He gave him to do. Then Psalm 132 contains another example of David’s spiritual condition as a boy.

 

David is a perfect example of the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 25, about the servants who were faithful in administering the talents that had been given to them. To those servants the ruler said, “well done, good and faithful servant.” You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”