1 SAMUEL 19:1 – 21:15 and LUKE 16:1–31
1 Sam 19
The spirit of envy in Saul has now driven him to seek the life of David. He informs Jonathan his son and all his servants of his intent. We can assume that Saul knew that Jonathan and David were close and was hopeful to bring a severing of their relationship. Jonathan informed David of his father’s plans and told David to stay in a secret place until he had a chance to plead on David’s behalf to his father. Jonathan was able to reason with his father in sharing how David served him and the nation well. How he led the victory against the Philistines and how he is innocent and guilty of no wrong. Saul heeded Jonathan’s words and we see David soon restored to his position as in times past (vs 1-7).
This is the problem with one who had the anointing and lost it. There will be periods when such a person will be amiable and compliant only to quickly turn in anger and rage. It does not take much to engage these tendencies in Saul. Anything that promotes David is seen as a threat and trip wire for Saul. The soul of a man can move within these ranges on a frequent basis, especially one who has had the anointing of the Lord and then subsequently losing it. Such a soul can be easily moved upon by the enemy as well. God’s Word feeds and strengthens the spirit man allowing such a one to stand on principle while not being moved. This is another primary distinction between David and Saul at this time. Saul was now very soulish while the inner spirit man of David was being developed.
Israel once again was engaged in war against the Philistines and David as before provided a great victory over their enemy. This further activated the evil spirit upon Saul due to David receiving heralding praise for his war efforts. Saul was postured to kill David with his javelin in hand, releasing it towards David only to miss and hit the wall. The music from David was no longer able to temper his rage. It is clear that Saul’s heart is becoming increasingly hardened against David who at this time is his son in law. David had to flee for his life. Saul now was intent on finding and destroying him. (vs 10-11).
We see the intervention of Michal, David’s wife as she informs him that he needed to escape that night otherwise he would be slain in the morning. David was able to escape and came to Ramah to meet up with Samuel and inform him to all that happened (vs 18).
It was told to Saul that David was at Ramah with Samuel so he sent messengers to take David but they soon came into a company of prophets. The Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul. This happened again with another two companies that Saul had sent and the same thing happened to them as well. Saul himself finally went and lo and behold he too was among the prophets prophesying. To me this is an intervention of God and perhaps something we shall see in the days before us. There was no battle or war here just the Spirit of God moving in a unique and supernatural way. The messengers of Saul and Saul himself were disarmed before the presence of God. We can assume this provided David an opportunity to further distance himself from the pursuits of Saul. Would not this be a wonderful experience in a church service if a group of thugs or terrorists tried to interrupt the service? We have heard of such accounts and I do believe such things will be seen. We must remember that David was God’s anointed man and he was fleeing from an enemy who is now seeking his life. He was in the will of God and fleeing from something he did not do. This is why we see the intervention of God. We must not assume that God would work in a similar way for us if we were living outside His boundaries, serving Him as it only suits us. As we learn to discover and then learn to delight in His will it could well be that we could see similar protection and interventions from God.
1 Sam 20
The situation between Saul and David continued to escalate. David was able to meet up with Jonathan and wondered as to why Saul was so determined to kill him. David still saw Saul as the anointed king over his life but could not help but wonder why the king was so caught up with this obsession. The relationship between Jonathan and David was very strong seeing that they were very much alike. The level of trust and affection they had between them was most unusual.
It is clear that a plan would need to be enacted to see if David would still be welcome in the king’s palace. The only way to ascertain this would be for Jonathan to sit at the evening meal and see If Saul would miss David. He had a pre-planned reason at hand to tell the king. His response (Saul’s) would determine if it was safe for David to be in his presence. After two days of David not being at Saul’s table the king enquired as to where he was. Jonathan gave his response which resulted in Saul violently erupting against him. He charged him with siding with David and made it clear that as long as David lived Jonathan would not be established. He then charged him to go after him and bring him back so that he might kill him. Jonathan, as planned shoots the arrows beyond a certain point which signalled to David that he must move on. They both recognized that the time for them to separate had come.
Jonathan was a very key figure in the life of David and perhaps could have been even more so if he would have been able to separate from his father’s house. It is time for David to go through a solitary lonely journey that in effect will be a means of preparation for him to later rule as future king. We need to bear in mind that David was anointed to be king but he was not yet reigning as king over Israel. Still, he is about to learn humility, loyalty, and reliance upon God.
David is in the process of being prepared to reign as king but he also will come to function as a priest. How can this be seeing that he was not a Levite? He is a man unlike others who will present a picture of a future king/priest which of course is Jesus. He will also present a picture of the latter day king/priest that we as a church are called to be. Why is David such an exception; after all Saul tried being a priest and was strongly rebuked for it (1 Sam 13:12).
What makes David so special? It is heart, a heart that loved God, a heart that allowed God to probe its inner recesses to expose and address its hidden issues (Psa 26:2, Psa 139:23). He is the fulfilment of both 1 Sam 2:35 and 1 Sam 13:14 which talks about both the priest and king having a heart that knows the heart of God. How does one come to such a place? David’s life provides many keys many of which will be seen in his solitary journey to come. Here is David, anointed to be king having to flee from a mad man for nothing that he had done. In fact, David had done much in serving the interests of Saul and Israel. He now finds himself as a pariah to Saul wondering why all of this is happening. This is preparation for ruling and reigning. Are we in or would we rather not have to deal with such a contrarian journey? Many opt for the latter. David will have his struggles in this upcoming journey but he always maintains his integrity. The ultimate test will culminate when he reaches Ziklag. This is where the strong conflict between the soul and spirit will manifest itself. Though we are jumping ahead a bit one can never tire of extracting gems from the following verse:
1Sa 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
How often do we come to such a place? The soul is languishing and everything is falling apart yet something within you still has the ability to worship and praise the Lord. This is where the Spirit is strong and is able to take the ascendancy over very strong soulish emotions. One would not blame David if he lost hope after seeing all the families’ being taken as was their goods in addition to rumours of his men wanting to stone him. How will he respond? David comes to this place at Ziklag as a result of this journey that is now before him. The life of a believer is not all rosy especially those who have an extraordinary calling upon their lives.
One final thought about David and Jonathan. What a beautiful gift it is to have someone like a Jonathan in one’s life. Such a person can bring strength and encouragement. Such a person can totally relate to your struggle and have the ability to help you gain perspective so that you can carry on. David greatly benefitted from this relationship in his early years after being anointed. There have been and are Jonathan type people in my life. These are people you can trust while feeling free in being able to open up your heart. I thank God for these special Jonathan relationships that have been experienced over the years.
1 Sam 21
David’s first place of arrival is a place called Nob where priests were gathered. He comes into contact with Ahimelech, a priest who wonders why he is alone. He may have sensed that he was fleeing from Saul which may well draw his presence towards his location. David falsified his reasons for coming through this region probably due to fear. David would later on seek forgiveness for this falsehood as seen in 1 Sam 22:22. You can see confusion and weariness gripping David as he comes to terms with all that is happening. David inquires about food provisions and was able to secure hallowed bread from the priest. This is the account that Jesus referred to when he was challenged on issues pertaining to the Sabbath (Math 12:4). There was a servant of Saul that took note of these events who was involved in some sort of tabernacle function.
David enquired as to some sort of weaponry that could be at his disposal. He again resorts to stating that he was about the kings business and was unable to have weapons on his person. The weapon available was the sword of Goliath which he ended up taking with him. It may be that this weapon served as an encouragement and reminder of what God had done through him to Goliath. We must try and put ourselves in David’s shoes. He is anointed to become king and yet fleeing from the present king for his life. He really has nowhere to go and few that he can confide in. It is interesting that it is the sword of Goliath that is available to him. He used that sword to cut off his head. It is now in his hands and I feel that this must have given him courage. This is oftentimes how the Lord brings encouragement to one’s life when going through seasons of discouragement and confusion. It’s the little reminders that often keeps us on track. Moses had this experience when he first entered into the land of Midian. God gave him opportunity to serve as a deliverer to Jethro’s daughters; a sign that he still had the call of a deliverer upon his life.
David did not stay long in Nob. He feared Saul and so continued his pursuit further away from base. His next destination was Gath, which is where Goliath came from. There are people who recognize him and who also knew of his reputation regarding how he was regarded by the singing and dancing women. “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” This little song and dance served as the catalyst for Saul’s wrath against David. The fact that it was known in Gath speaks to its popularity amongst the masses. David heard these words and was now even more afraid of Achish, king of Gath. Would he deliver him up to Saul? Would he be set against him? The whole world seems to be quickly falling apart around David. This is God’s anointed man who one day become king. Can we appreciate the cost of a high calling? We all desire to have authority and be in a position of leadership but very few are actually able to pay the price. What now does David do?
He felt his only recourse was to take on the role of a madman. He must have played the part very well since Achish wanted nothing to do with him. When you examine the price some of the many prophets had to pay like Ezekiel or Jeremiah you find that they had such moments. The preparation of Ezekiel is especially revealing. He was humiliated and humbled. Why did God allow this? He needed a prophet that would speak a clarion message that was void of taint or distortion. This message had to be pure due to its weightiness. Ezekiel, as a human vessel was a mouthpiece that God would use who had to go through a process of severe preparation. Are we willing to sacrifice and be prepared in such a way today? God was preparing a king and a priest to rule and reign and this is part of the training that was required. How much truer would this be for our day as we draw near to the end of the age?
The Lord speaks to the subject of stewardship. In this account we have a rich man accusing his steward of wasting his goods. The steward now knows that he will need to give an account and is perplexed as to what he will do. He knows that his days of stewardship are coming to an end so he seeks ways to court favour with people he has some responsibility over. To do this he lessens the debt load of those whom he has overseen. When he is later out on the streets he may be able to gain respect and help due to lightening their debts. He is looking to turn a dire situation into a method of help for himself after losing his position. He is commended for his ingenious cunning in being able to survive a failure. Is the Lord commending such behaviour? No, not at all what is being looked at is how one can turn a bad situation to one’s advantage. The difference with the Lord is that it does not have to be done mischievously. We are called to be stewards of God’s kingdom and we will one day give an account. It should prove sobering to us when one day we will have to give an account before the God of all the earth. Have we been faithful with that which has been entrusted to us? If we are pastors have we been faithful to our flocks, our cell groups our spouses? The man in this account was about to lose his stewardship so he sought ways to do something about it. It is this proactive approach I feel the Lord is bringing out. Again, he is by no means endorsing the fraud of the steward. In verses 10-13 the Lord emphasizes the theme of being faithful in that which has been entrusted to us. As we learn to be good stewards of that which God has given us He then can entrust with more. The first 9 verses of this chapter help to give an eternal perspective to this subject. If we are failing or falling short let us take it to the Lord in an honest and contrite fashion so that the needed changes within us can be made. It is better now to be proactive than to wait and have no chance of making things right later on.
When going through Luke’s gospel you get a sense of how he organized his writings. You find consistent themes throughout many of the chapters. In chapter 15 we have the 3 accounts of things or people who were lost and then found. This speaks to the heart that God has for Restoration. In chapter 16 we have another familiar story, a true account of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The primary theme I see in this chapter is concerning the reality of eternity. One day we will give an account for our time spent on earth. We are called to be stewards of a trust that has been given to us. How do we manage this precious commodity? The account of the rich man and Lazarus is about lives that have spent and now being accounted for. The real life example of the rich man and Lazarus helps to put stewardship and eternity into its proper perspective.
The above account is covered in verses 19-31. It is a contrast of two worlds and two very different outcomes. The rich man enjoyed the delights of this life. The problem is that he paid no regard to Lazarus who was a beggar at his door. He obviously knew who Lazarus was because he saw him in eternity. We need to ponder on this. Here you have the rich man living luxuriously and having all that life had to offer with a bothersome beggar at his door. This beggar only sought crumbs from his table while having his sores licked by dogs.
In a moment it all changes as both the rich man and Lazarus die. The rich man is now in eternal torments while Lazarus is comforted. The rich man desperately seeks for a taste of water from the man he neglected in life. Abraham is there to remind him that there is an eternal separation between himself and Lazarus. To me this account helps to give very real insight into what eternity will be like. A portion of the torment that the rich man receives is the denial of relief that he did not give to Lazarus while on earth. It is a clear example of what Jesus referred to when you do or do not do these things unto the least of my brothers (Math 25:35-46). It is not just the pain and anguish of eternity but the constant reminder as to why one is hell. The account also adds the concern that the rich man had for his five brethren. He did not want them to end up where he was. Abraham responded by saying that they have Moses and the prophets to serve as their witness. It is interesting that he wanted Lazarus to be the one to go and witness. It must be that many others must have known who Lazarus was as well. Abraham again responds with an interesting remark; that if one rose from the dead they would not be persuaded. Later on we will see one who indeed did rise up from the dead and yet still many did not and do not believe.
Luke 16 helps us to take stock and inventory of our lives; it is a measuring tool that brings us face to face with eternity. The gulf of separation between Lazarus and the rich man is an eternal one. We have been given a precious gift of life. It comes with responsibility and we want to constantly cry out for grace that we steward it well. The two accounts we examined above are linked and we need to ponder over them carefully.