Fear: Saul & David

1 Samuel 18-19

Recap: The main focus of our summer bible study is David and his rise from being a shepherd to become the king of Israel.  We know that David was a man after God’s own heart and was ordained to be a great ruler through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  However, his rise to power was a long and patient one.  Last week we talked about one of the best known Old Testament stories: David and Goliath.  We discussed how there is much more to the story than what you may remember from the children’s story.  The story picks up with Saul’s army facing down the Philistines at the Valley of Elah.  Rather than the two armies facing each other head on, a giant named Goliath steps out and challenges one man from Israel to challenge him for all of the marbles.  But no man had the confidence to step out and fight the giant.  That is until David makes it to the front lines to provide his brother’s with some nourishments.  David sees Goliath and knows that through the power of God, he can end the battle with the Philistines and defeat the giant.  Rather than wearing the typical armor of an Israelite warrior, David elects to simply face Goliath with a sling and some stones.  As you may know, David defeats Goliath, cuts off his head, and receives an award from King Saul.  I do not recap this for you to be redundant.  Rather, it is extremely important for you to keep in mind everything that we have read up to this point.  The timeline is critical for what is to come next.   

Our story for this week picks up immediately.  Verses 1-4 set the scene for the rest of David’s story, most precisely verse 1 which says, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan (Saul’s son) became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself”.  I want you to take a second to look at the title of this chapter in your bible.  There may be different variations (assuming your bible has chapter titles) but I would bet that most of the titles are close to the same.  Mine says “Saul’s Growing Fear of David”.  Remembering everything that we have learned up to this point, verse 1, and the title of this chapter, there is something very significant happening.  There must be some connection between David’s calling from God and his success against Goliath, Saul’s fear of David, and David and Jonathan becoming one in spirit.  I do not think that the timing of this is coincidence.  God is perfectly orchestrating the story of David.  Up until our story last week, David was nothing more than a shepherd with a calling from God.  Though it is very important that God has called David, to those around him, David was just a boy.  However, after defeating Goliath, David began to get the attention of those around him.  More specifically, he got the attention of King Saul himself. You see, up until this point, David’s path was between him and God.  However, after destroying an opponent that no one else wanted to go against, David’s potential became actualized.  Other people were able to realize that there was something special about this shepherd.  For Saul however, he didn’t just realize that David was special, he realized that he was destined to take over the throne.  Just like many other kings of the Old Testament, this led to crippling fear for Saul.  This is made even worse when people begin saying things like“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (vs 7) What is so strange though is that Jonathan, the actual person in line to take over the throne, is joined in spirit with David and becomes his ally.  God was continuing paving the way for David to eventually take the throne.  When David’s ministry and calling become actualized and realized by others, God connected him with Jonathan.  When verse one says that Jonathan became “one in spirit” with David, I do not think that it is unrealistic to believe that God also gave Jonathan the gift of the Holy Spirit in the same way that He gave it to David.  It is as if Jonathan experienced an awakening in which he realized that what was happening with David was much more important and valuable than for himself to take over for his father one day.  As we continue through this story, pay attention to how critical it was for God to unite David and Jonathan and how this may be the single most important point in the story.  

Fear also plays a huge role in the story of David and his rise to power.  Again, when David defeated Goliath, his call became actualized and Saul was able to see that the same Spirit that left him was now in David.  I have to imagine that he knew that that gave David a certain advantage with regards to having future success.  Even though Saul knew that David was in the favor of the almighty God, he doesn’t stop from trying to get rid of the threat to his rule.  Basically from here on out, the entire story is wrapped around Saul trying to kill David in order to preserve his reign.  An example of this is when Saul gave David the hand of his daughter in marriage in verse 20.  When David expresses his concern about the king so willingly giving his daughter to him in marriage, Saul sets David on a journey to kill 100 Philistines which would have been no easy task.  What we see here is an attempt by Saul to put David in harm’s way thus disposing of him without having to look like the bad guy directly.  Over and over again we see Saul do anything he can to kill David.  The irony is, as David was sent out by Saul to complete what were thought of to be impossible missions, he continued to complete them and grow his reputation.  But just as many times as Saul tries to kill David, we see God make sure that that does not happen. This is actually how chapter 19 wraps up.  We see a weird scene where Saul sends men to retrieve David.  Rather than doing as they are told, the men begin prophesying.  Even when Saul goes to the Ramah out of frustration, he too begins prophesying!  So our story today begins with God making way for David to take the next step in his call and ends with the very same thing.     

David knows that God is providing and protecting him.  If you look at Psalm 11 David writes about God being his refuge.  Oh the confidence that David must have had knowing that the God of all creation was by his side all the way.  When you read through Psalm 11 I want you to know that you too are under the protection of God and may take refuge in Him.  This is not my estimation but rather a promise directly from God that is proven each and every day.

-Sean

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