Sunday, May 20, 2018

Saul tries to Kill David

8Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.
9But an evila spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.
11Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” 12So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.
14When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”
15Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” 16But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.
17Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” (1 Samuel 19)

Thoughts: David was fighting in Saul's service.  He risked his life for his country, God, and king.  But Saul had not learned to appreciate him.  Jonathan had shortly before persuaded Saul not to kill David.  But when David won a battle, Saul's jealousy got the best of the king.  Saul threw a spear at David, but David escaped.  David went home, but escaped from there as well.  Saul rebuked his daughter who was David's husband, for hiding David.  He called David "his enemy" though there is no record that David spoke anything negative against Saul.  In fact later David will steal Saul's weapons to show he could have used those weapons against Saul.  But he chose not to do so.  He stole a piece of garment from Saul's robe to show he had the chance to kill Saul but did not.  David did all he could to seek peace with Saul.  Saul did all he could to pursue David in order to harm him.  Let us resolve to be more like David and less like Saul. 

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to be gracious to others.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saul Begins to Hate David

 6When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”
8Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”9And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
10The next day an evila spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
12Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. (1 Samuel 18) 

Thoughts: Saul was jealous of David.  It was part of his pride combined with his insecurity.  He had lost sight of the Lord- falling from a great height when he was close to God.  Now Saul had forsaken God and God had departed from Saul.  But God was with David.  This made Saul that much more jealous.  Why do people persecute strong believers?  Most believers offer no threat.  David was actually an ally of Saul.  Jealousy and pride can turn allies into enemies quickly, and also alienate us from God.  

Prayer: Lord, do not depart from me.  Help me stay close to you even if all those around me forsake you.  

Friday, May 18, 2018

David and Jonathan

1After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 17)
4Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. 5He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
6Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.” (1 Samuel 18)
     30Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”
32“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. (1 Samuel 20)

Thoughts: Jonathan and David had a kindred spirit.  They were about the same age, liked the same things.  They both were strong warriors.  They both loved their country.  David appeared to be more devoted in his faith.  David also married into Saul's family, marrying Michal, Saul's daughter and Jonathan's sister.  Jonathan defended David to Saul.  Saul was so jealous of David's ability and so afraid of losing his place he was willing to kill him even though he was loyal to Saul.  There are some that say this is all written after David was established to make David look good.  But the rest of Samuel lists David's sins and penalties.  There is no effort to sugar-coat David.  

Prayer: Lord, give me friends that will have my back. Use me to stand up for what is right even if a cost is to be paid.  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

David Defeats Goliath

41Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David.42He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44“Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
45David said to the Philistine,“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
48As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. (1 Samuel 17) 

Thoughts: The soldiers were afraid.  David did not know enough to be afraid.  He did have faith enough in God to believe God could help him defeat this Philistine monster as he had delivered David from the bear and lion (17:36-37).  David didn't need Saul's armor.  He just needed faith in God and a few stones for his slingshot.  David sought to do this so that all the world would know there is a God in Israel.  One of the great verses is that "the battle belongs to the Lord" (2 Chron. 20:15; Zech. 4:6; Ex. 14:14; 2 Cor. 10:4; et al).  It is not the kind of weapon or the height of the soldier or number of soldiers that count.  A small boy with a sling does not seem to have much chance against a giant trained soldier.  This is an example of hope.  Apart from God we are nothing.  But nothing is impossible with God!

Prayer: Let me believe in you and trust that you will see me through, O Lord.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

David Plays for Saul

14Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evila spirit from the Lordtormented him.
15Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”
17So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
18One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
19Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
21David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”
23Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (1 Samuel 16)

Thoughts: Samuel has some interesting things to say about the Spirit of God.  The Spirit of God fell on Saul and he began to prophecy.  Now God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul.  The Spirit of peace is replaced with a spirit of depression.  In the Old Testament, every spirit that we have is from God.  Evil spirits were evil in that they fostered destruction and hopelessness.  Good spirits fostered peace and contentment.  There was a time when a peaceful spirit was seen as normal and a depressed spirit is abnormal (so abnormal psychology studied neurotic and psychotic depressive-anxiety).  Today we are trying to redefine things so that everything is normal, and even that the abnormal is not to be fought but merely be accepted.  But destructive behavior is clearly evil- going against hope, love, and life- and the God who gives hope, love and life.
      David's skill as a musician became famous.  He was a renaissance man- with skill as a shepherd, warrior, king, and musician.  His music was a gift that calmed Saul's depression.  Even today people study how music therapy helps with depression.  

Prayer: Lord, protect me from evil spirits, but fill me with your spirit.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

David Anointed by Samuel

6When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”
7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
8Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lordhas not chosen this one either.” 9Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
12So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Thoughts: Saul was handsome and stood a head above all the other Israelites.  But this time Samuel had learned his lesson.  The Lord does not look at the outward appearance- the Lord looks at the heart.
      David was small, but he had a heart for God and he had a brave enough heart to stand up to Goliath and to Saul.  Later God would say that he was a "man after mine own heart" (1 Sam. 13:44; Acts 13:22).  We cannot help how tall or handsome we are (or are not).  We can help that our heart be after God. 

Prayer: Lord, let my heart be attuned to your heart.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Saul's Excuses

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.9So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11“What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
13“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. (1 Samuel 13)

Thoughts:  Saul's would give into men's pressure rather than wait on the Lord.  He would assume the role of a priest when he had no authority of the priest.  When Samuel did come (as promised on the seventh day), Saul presented him excuses instead of asking for mercy.  Saul believed in God but thought he was in charge and had to take things under his own control.  "When I saw the men scattering and the Philistines assembling and you weren't coming..."  He could have added, "I panicked."  But instead he tried to justify the holy ends (seeking God's favor) by unholy means. 
     David also sinned. Perhaps clearer than Saul.  But David always repented and ask for God's forgiveness.  Psalm 51 records an example, "Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me.  Take not your Holy Spirit from me... against you and you only have I sinned."  Every king, every subject sins.  But what do we do when we recognize our sin?  We should cry out for mercy and repent. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to walk in your way- the whole way.