I Samuel 21-25
We are in the Nation Stream and David is on the run from King Saul. We are reading from the Lexham English Bible this week.
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The jealous venom Saul had for David that began after Goliath was killed has reached full strength. Saul hates him so furious that the hatred is driving Saul into madness. Control freaks often end up going mad over time unless they can turn it over to God. But Saul is turning out to be unable [actually refusing] to turn anything over to God.
David is well into his seven years of being a fugitive on the run. He lived like a scrapper, did some real quick “thinking on his feet”, remained in pray, ultimately he kept his heart and head in tact (creatively so at times!). It is interesting to talk to some old soldiers and have them gaze away, admit they were scared and then confess with a sigh, “those were the best months and years ever…” Things were very exciting for David. Perhaps too exciting at times. But David made the best of it. Through his “fear of God” [his reverence] David triumphed here too.
The compensating begins immediately when he is fed the holy bread. This isn’t to happen but he is hungry and on the run. Then he is in hostile territory and exposed. His feigning insanity erases the appearance of him being threatening and he survives.
22 – This entire chapter proves one thing: Saul has gone utterly manic and crazy. The battle lines have been drawn and there is no reversing them. The soul of every man in the country had to decide from there on whether they were with Saul or with David. It was a fatal mistake to choose unwisely. Imagine the devilish soul of Saul to kill 85 Hebrew priests and families and animals. David in his conquests did things that may appear similar but they were completely opposite. David eradicated communities that were so utterly wretched and diabolically sinful they the entire village was well on its way to cultural suicide and self -destruction. Saul, on the other hand, is killing people that were working for God. Saul is completely gone bad and is as bad off as Judas by now.
23 – notice that David, when faced with a dilemma of whether/when/how to fight back the Philistines, he pauses to inquire of God…twice. This is something we do not see Saul doing. This is a pattern we see over and again, especially in contrast to Saul. David asks of God. When Saul is perplexed, he takes a poll. He’s a politician if there ever was one. David is a statesman and king in the making. The intrigue, the cunning, the meeting with Jonathan, the strategy and countering and countering again is the stuff of legend. This is the thinking that has David to be a folk hero the world over to this day.
24 – David shows more character when he spares Saul’s life than anyone expects. Most read this and personalize it to muse, “come on David, do it for Israel. The chump in charge needs to go now and here’s your opening.” Amazing that David handles the incident in the cave the way he does, simply amazing. Saul realizes what he is made of when he realizes how merciful David is. Saul exclaims and confesses that David is a better man then Saul is. Biblical scholar, Dr. Halley humorously quips about this, that Saul acknowledged being a fool — but kept on being one.
25 – Samuel dies here. Note that Samuel was the last one who had had any spiritual input into SAul’s existence. And it had been a long time ago, btw. This is the last of the last of any sign of any spiritual hope for Saul – and he (Samuel) is gone now.
It is impossible to not assess this chapter; the story of Abigail and Nabal and their vastly differing treatment of David and his men, and not see the obvious. Nabal is a stin-gy scoundrel and Abigail is gracious and honoring. Nabal dies and Abigail becomes wife to David before the chapter is out. Eventually Abigail is living in the King’s residence. Nabal? he is composting in no time. We need to see that it is vitally important to be about the things of God. Join in what God is doing. When someone is immersed in the duties of the LORD and you can be of assistance, it is not wise to be one’s usually crotchety self. Honor that person. Pour out for that person. Supply them as you are able. Do we want to be involved in the things of God, or do we want to be found fighting them … like Saul. It is dangerous to not see this and learn from Abigail and Nabal’s fates here.
Lord, we all go through suffering, but not as bad as David was put through. May we be writing and praying and be in the Psalms especially during difficult times. Thank you for being with us regardless. Amen.