I Samuel 26-31
We are in The Nation Stream today finishing the book of I Samuel. We are reading from the Good News Translation this week.
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David is such a man of upstanding character. His years of solitude with God when he was young reflect in his behavior again and again. He is a skilled musician, a worshipper, a warrior who kills lions and bears and giants, he leads and rallies and inspires, he has cunning logic and people skills, and when he has a chance at killing someone who hates him with a vengeance … he doesn’t kill him! Twice he opts not to kill his would-if he-could executioner. The fact that such a fighter is so gracious and statesman-like is astonishing to anyone who understands human nature.
26 – Again, David is peering over a sleeping Saul and, with weapon in hand, he just walks away with the spear as evidence. This is scarier than one might think. David and friends have snuck in at night and walked through a filled camp. One man waking and shouting would have David killed without question. ‘Guts and daring’ could be added to the list of superlative traits that can be attached to David. The results following the revelation are similar. Saul talks admiringly and penitent as possible amid the embarrassment. Saul is such an obviously hollow soul. And there he is talking solicitous – surrounded by the soldiers he roused to help him go and kill a young man who could have killed him but didn’t. The difference between Israel’s current king that they chose, and the future one that God directed Samuel to anoint are as different as night and day to put it lightly.
27 – David was never again pursued by Saul after Saul was humiliated by David’s kindness a second time. But he doesn’t know that Saul will never seek him again. Any time that Saul had ever been kind to David, it was a total lie. Saul was plotting. David, not knowing that Saul had resigned to leave David be, thought there was still a threat and he left for Philistia. He remained in that region until Saul was gone and he was enthroned king. During his years there he was a raider. Perhaps this was practice for when it was his assignment to expand the borders of Israel to the largest they would ever be. The Philistine king ended up trusting David. This is strange stuff but it is what is going on at this time.
28 – Meanwhile Saul makes his final pathetic error and it turns out to be what seals his doom. He goes to see a witch. He is terrified because warriors of Philistia have gathered against him. Samuel is gone, God isn’t answering and he is wondering what is next. He knew witchcraft was wrong and had expelled them from the country. Yet Saul himself goes to see one. It’s a fatal transgression and he will end up being killed in a day for his disobedience. Saul never was one to obey the Lord.
29 – And back among the Philistines, David is endeared to Achish the Philistine king by now. Achish wants David to go with him to the next battle. He practically sees David as a token of good fortune and could use him. This is all convenient in Achish’s mind, but the other Philistine Kings don’t really know David except that he is an Israelite in hiding and therefore they don’t trust him. The issue of loyalty is an undying matter for all time isn’t it? David and Achish talk and realize it’s the better part of wisdom for David to return back to the coast of Philistia and sit this one out.
30 – David returned home after his conversation two days prior with Achish and his refuge town of Ziklag had been razed to the ground. Everything was stolen, all people had been kidnapped, possessions gone, anything left was burned. There was panic and grief among his 600 men who were planning to kill him. It was the worst day of David’s life and y’might want to read the book by this similar title. David went straight to God as he had spent his whole life training himself to do and v. 6 says, “…but the Lord his God gave him great courage.” David acts properly and quickly and recovers everything. He again is humble and gracious amid great victory – and he shares all that is recovered from the Amalekites who had plundered his residence of Ziklag. Keep in mind these are the Amalekites of whom Saul was ordered to rid from the earth – but as has been well established, Saul just can’t seem to obey.
31 – Saul is drawn into his final battle. Think: Who killed Saul? God? Philistines? The Philistines did wound him physically to the point of no return. But it was Saul’s disobedience and refusal to be anchored in God his savior – that’s what wounded him. And it was only a matter of time to where Saul killed himself. God brought him up and provided for him over and over. God spared him via David’s graciousness. Saul just outright could not do what he was told to do. He would not stand in for God and be a responsible King. Saul only looked out for himself and sought legitimacy through man’s approval. We need to come to the end of observing Saul’s life and ask, “where does disobedience take us.”
Dear Holy Spirit, may we be shepherded by you and be found with a soul that is yielded and listening to you for our next step and our every move. Amen.