As we begin Second Samuel today we have seen the death of the King of Israel. Most would probably rejoice if in David’s shoes; After all, Saul was trying to take David’s life. But David did not have those emotions. This speaks volumes for the character of David the new king. Emotions are something that cannot be controlled. A person cannot control how they feel. Feelings are not choices. Anger is a reaction to pain, we cannot help what causes us pain. What we can do is have a heart change insomuch that our feelings are different from the normal person’s feelings. David’s relationship with God and his anointing of the Holy Spirit gave David “a new heart.” The new heart that David had attained from God gave him a heart that was like God’s own heart. So, David was in distress over the fact the Saul never repented and that his mistakes caused a black mark on the nation of Israel. David was saddened, I believe, because once someone truly understands the Grace of God and the depths of their own sin, they begin to empathize with those who are unrepentant.
If we are in a right relationship with God, out emotions will also be in line with the heart of God instead of being in line of the heart of man. Our reactions and feelings about things and situations are a very good indicator of where we are at in relationship with God.
I have known, and do know people, who are angry due to people who are doing kingdom ministry and leading people to Christ because they are jealous. This is an indicator of the condition of the heart. Jesus told the Pharisees that they “washed the outside of the cup, but the inside of the cup was still defiled.” Many people look good on the outside, but the heart is corrupt. We often only realize this corruption when our emotions and reactions kick in and we see our true selves.
Today we see that Saul has finally fallen. God had ordained that the kingship would leave him and his household; but I personally believe that if Saul would have repented that he could have lived peacefully in Israel. Sadly his sons and his armor bearer lost their lives also. The disobedience and hard heartedness of Saul caused the death of all of his male heirs. If Saul would have embraced David as king all would have been well with them. Jonathon had already realized that David would be the next King and Jonathon would have been the successor; so it would have benefitted no one to have David assassinated. I would really like to know how the relationship between Jonathon and David would have blossomed over the years. Perhaps I am nieve, but I would like to think that the two of them would have remained friends until they had died. But I guess we will never know. Once again, we need to remember that our sin affects every one in our lives. My old illustration still holds true today. Having sin in your life and expecting it not to effect those around you is like roping off a “urinating section” in your swimming pool. Claim it all you want; but at the end of the day every one is affected by the actions in that “section.”
In today’s reading we see yet another tragedy happening to David and his men. If David and his men had not been taken by the hand of God away from the battle between Israel and the Philistines, they would have all lost their families.
Not only did God save their families in this chapter, but He also is beginning to train David in the art of being a king. When the men threatened to stone him, he probably had no idea that there would always be some folks that wanted to destroy him. There would be no way to make every one happy; it is just a way of life for a leader. Future pastors could use a course like this in seminary. Most young pastors think that every one is going to love them when they enter the pulpit. Some of these have thin skin and do not last long. The bottom line is that there will always be tares in the wheat and if they hated the perfect Son of God, why in the world would all the people love them. David receives training in how to handle evil people even after the families and goods are restored to the band of David’s misfits. Some of the “evil ones among them” wanted to keep the spoil and not let those who were too weary to go on and instead stayed with the gear to have any of it. We need to remember these spoils were not just the enemies spoils; it was also all of their belongings. David, wisely and fearlessly stands up to these evil men and he does not allow it to happen. Once again we see that God is in the business of taking a bad situation and using it for good. How much easier life would be if all of us would look at adversity in this light. But, it is harder to do what one is in the middle of the “mess.”
Today we see that Saul has finally fallen. God had ordained that the kingship would leave him and his household; but I personally believe that if Saul would have repented that he could have lived peacefully in Israel. Sadly his sons and his armor bearer lost their lives also. The disobedience and hardheartedness of Saul caused the death of all of his male heirs. If Saul would have embraced David as king, all would have been well with them. Jonathon had already realized that David would be the next King and Jonathon would have been the successor otherwise; so it would have benefited no one to have David assassinated. I would really like to know how the relationship between Jonathon and David would have blossomed over the years. Perhaps I am naive, but I would like to think that the two of them would have remained friends until they had died. But I guess we will never know.
Once again, we need to remember that our sin affects every one in our lives. My old illustration still holds true today. Having sin in your life and expecting it not to effect those around you is like roping off a “urinating section” in your swimming pool. Claim it all you want; but at the end of the day every one is affected by the actions in that “section.”
I hope that you have enjoyed this first book of Samuel as much as I have. We will continue on tomorrow in this “saga of the kings” in the book of II Samuel. These four books are in chronological order I and II Samuel then I and II Kings. I think you will continue to enjoy as we read on.
Today we see the hand of God deliver David and his men. Seeing that David would not raise his hand against God’s anointed king, there is no way that David would have gone into battle against God’s people, the nation of Israel. I do not know what David’s plan was before the king removed him from the battle; but there was no good ending in sight if David had went into battle. If David decided to attack the Philistines from the rear during the battle against Israel, it would have been suicide because David did not have enough men to even make a dent against the vast armies of the Philistines. Then again if David would have went and fought against Israel, the people would have never fell under his rule, not to mention that God would have most likely destroyed him for raising a sword against His anointed people. David was in a very precarious position that he had no answer for; but then God made a way for David and his men.
God allowed David to go through much strife and discomfort. He allowed him to sink to a very low point in his life. God even allowed David to have his wife stripped away from him and given to another man. But God was not going to let David be destroyed. This trial was not to see how strong or smart David was; this trial was to show David that he had been in the palm of God’s hand this entire time.
I have, on a few different occasions, been at extremely low points in life. I have had periods of time when I thought that God had removed His hand from my life and His calling me to His Gospel ministry. Each time that I have gotten to that point God has shown up in different ways to remind me that He is in charge. He reminds me that i could never let Him down…because I was never holding Him up in the first place. He shows me that His will is going to be accomplished regardless of the situation that I find myself in, or the mindset that I may find myself in. I believe this is what God was doing for David this day. It was a reminder to David that he needed not fear, because He was in complete control.
We see in today’s chapter some of the strangest uttering in all of scripture. Many believe, due to this chapter, that ghosts are alive and well, that we can and should talk with them. I do not believe that this is the case here. Although the story is told in scripture we do not know for certain if Samuel was actually brought up from the dead. This could have been the witch of Endor manipulating Saul or even perhaps a demonic spirit using this practice that was forbidden by God as a tool to try and destroy Israel, the nation of God. At any rate, just because a witch in this chapter states that she saw Samuel, doesn’t mean that she was correct or that she is even telling the truth for that matter. We have to remember that there is no where else in scripture that this sort of thing is mentioned. In fact, the rich man (in the story of Lazarus and the rich man) wanted to go back and tell his brothers to repent, but it was strictly forbidden for the dead to go back to the living. Paul was caught up into heaven and silenced – he could not tell what he had seen… (II Cor. 12:2-4)
Another thing to consider is the fact that Saul received no new information from, this supposed, Samuel who was brought from the dead. Everything that was being stated was already told Saul while Samuel was alive. There was no new revelation. The third thing that we should ponder is this: The chapter says that God had stopped talking to Saul. Is it really possible that a witch can go around the will of the almighty creator to do what she pleases? Is it possible that this witch from EnDor was crafty enough to go behind the back of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God of the universe? I think not. What I do know is that after Saul’s encounter with that evil woman, he lost all hope of winning the battle against the Philistines. I do know that if the commander of an army has no morale going into battle, the battle is already lost. I also know that this last act of outright disobedience did indeed cost Saul and his son, Jonathon, their lives.
Is it not odd that Saul earlier killed the mediator between him and God? Saul had no respect for the messengers of God or the mediator of God; at least not until he needed something. How often do we see this in people’s lives and even in our own lives at times. When everything is going well (at least in our fleshly eyes) we ignore God and His mediator Jesus Christ. So many stop worshiping Him corporately as a group in church and do not feel the need to involve themselves in the Kingdom ministries of the local church. But when tragedy hits, they are desperately looking from a word from God. These people are flabbergasted that God will not answer them or their prayers. It is as if they have been so good to grace God with their wonderful presence that it is rude of God not to jump out of His magical lamp and start granting wishes like He should. God is forgiving and patient. He is long suffering that men may come to repentance, but God is no ones patsy to be taken advantage of. Saul found this out the hardest of ways; he payed with his life.
Today’s chapter is one of the lowest in the life of David (save his problems with Absalom which we will see in many days from now). The chapter begins with David pouring out his heart. David believes that he will run for the rest of his life and that his end will be his death by the hands of Saul. David is now going out on raids and killing entire villages, he is encamped with the enemies of Israel and David knows in his heart that he is not where he needs to be. It seems like all the great men of God have come to some point like this in their lives. Abraham did, Jacob did and Moses assuredly did. Moses spent 40 years away from his people after murdering a man thinking that it was the will of God. David is at a low point in life. But, if this man David, who is the beginning of the kingly lineage of Christ and is a, and I quote, “man after God’s own heart” could go through such low times in life, how much more are we to expect it in our lives? We could look at this chapter and debate the killing by David and his men. We could discuss that the inhabitants that he was destroying were supposed to be destroyed by David’s ancestors when they entered Canaan but they disobeyed God and spared them. But I think our lesson from this chapter is a much more simple one. God sometimes allows His people to go through bad times; this doesn’t mean that David, or you, or I are no longer called to his service. God will use our low times for good in only a way that He can do. God did not change from when David slung the rock that killed Goliath, God is still the same God with the same intents that He had when David played the harp in front of the king. Our circumstances and even our obedience my change, but God doesn’t change. God is also always in control even when we cannot see exactly what He is doing.
Today’s false teachers claim that if we “will it” to happen or if we repeat it enough times that that positive energy will cause God to have to bless us. These thoughts are rubbish from the pits of hell. God doesn’t give health and wealth to the “good ones” while allowing all the others to suffer. I would have to remind these, spreaders of manure that they consider to be some form of the gospel, that scripture clearly states in Psalms and again in Romans “There is none righteous no not one.” There are no “good ones” to pick from we are all sinners and fall short. The most powerful men of God went through the most suffering. Paul was stoned in Lystra, John was boiled in oil but lived so they sent him to the island of Patmos, John the baptist was clothed with camel’s hair, ate bugs and lost his heat to Herod and now we see David living behind enemy lines attacking surrounding villages. We as followers of God will endure hard times, if these men did; how much more will you and I? But God remains on His throne.
The focus in these blogs lately have been focused on David as he runs from Saul. I have focused on the heart of David and the workings of God. But today I would like us to focus on the grace and forgiveness of the Father. Even when we do not ask for it or seek it, He often times brings it to us. God had every reason to kill Saul but He did not do so. God continually, through David, gave Saul an opportunity to repent and stop what he was doing. Sadly, like so many others, Saul would not repent. We will see in the following chapters how things end up for Saul. Sadly, Saul’s lack of repentance did not only effect him, but it also affected all of those who surrounded him. His son Jonathon, who was a close friend of David and tried to do right, ends up dying over his father’s un-repentant heart. When we are in sin and away from the will of God our focus turns inward. We, in this mindset, can only think of ourselves and we become blind to the fact that our sin is also hurting many other people, especially the ones closest to us.
Although David was courteous to Saul because he was anointed by God; we see his anxiety come out in another avenue. David ridicules the body guard and general of Saul. David belittles him in front of all of his men. If Saul wanted David dead, I can only imagine how badly Abner wanted David to die. When men dis-obey God, God always makes a fool of them. David knew that it was still all in God’s hand. This is what he was telling his men in verse 10 of this chapter: “As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.”
Today’s chapter should be a scene in a movie! Although I have never done such a thing, I would love to direct it. Nabal was most likely lying about not hearing of David. We can guess this for a number of reasons, first being that even the Philistines of Gath knew who he was. David was a “rock star” if you will. Secondly, David and his men kept good care of Nabal’s men while they accompanied David. There is little doubt that this kindness did not come about in conversation with Nabal after the return of his servants. The name Nabal means fool. I don’t know what kind of mother that this man had, but I can only imagine that his childhood wasn’t a loving, caring and encouraging one. The bottom line in the life of Nabal was that he was a fool, and this text tells us how his foolishness manifested itself; with pride and greed.
Nabal was unable to recognize that the reason the God had given him an abundance of material possessions was that one day he could assist the great great (and some more greats) grandfather of the Messiah. Nabal, like a lot of people that I have come to know, believed that he had, everything that he had, because he had worked hard for it and there fore he deserved it. Those with out did not deserve it because they had not attained it like he had. Nabal did not recognize that the reason that he had the health, ability, land and everything else was because God had given it to him. In Ephesians chapter four it says that men are “to work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” Although God does not turn every greedy selfish heart to stone on the day of their greed, there is a judgement coming in which all will give an account to all that God has given. It still surprises me so often when I see people who claim to be born again believers who with hold their hand from those who are in need. It boggles my mind to see people spend so much money on luxury while their local ministry doesn’t make enough of the budget to pay staff or reach the community with the Gospel. God doesn’t take these things lightly as we see in this chapter. There is a reason that God has given each of us what He has given. The reasons are always Kingdom reasons. But so often we take the money, property and talents that we have, and hold them tightly to our chest thinking that they are ours, have been earned and therefore deserved, and that we can hold on to them for ever. Jesus tells us on the sermon on the mount that we are not to lay up treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, but instead lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy.
Notice what Nabal was doing after he with held his hand from those who had need. He was throwing a lavish party with the excess of what he owned. Nabal, the fool, was overindulging and becoming drunk; he was having a great time enjoying himself while others were in need. That night God took his soul from him and none of his possessions could go with him.
In today’s study we see that David had the opportunity to stop all of the madness that Saul had put upon him; but he does not. David was even worried about clipping the bottom of Saul’s garment. If you are wondering how David got so close to Saul’s garments, it is simple; Saul was disrobed in order to defecate. There weren’t any public bathrooms in the wilderness in which they were traveling. It would be disrespectful for Saul’s men to see him unclothed and in that state of vulnerability. This is why Saul was alone in a cave. If it would have been at any other time, Saul’s men would have been surrounding him in order to protect him. Now look at the providence of God (providence = the one who provides) in these verses. Logically thinking, David could not have entered into a cave with Saul already in it. So, we see in these verses that Saul “just happened” to enter the cave in which David and his men were hiding. One cave in the entire region of the wilderness of EnGedi. Friends, there is a time when chance is not an option when defining a situation and I believe that this is one of those times. But David will not lay his hand on God’s anointed. Although David knows that the kingdom will soon be his, he awaits God’s perfect timing in all patience. David is also keenly aware that it is not in his hands to do the will of God. David has learned to trust God enough to place the timing of events in His hands.
Not only was David being obedient in regards to whom God had placed in charge; David also would have started his reign on a very bad note if he had taken the life of Saul. A kingdom beginning in violence usually ends in violence. If David and his men had killed Saul and gained the throne, they would have been looking over their shoulder constantly. All those who had followed Saul would at that point be looking for a way to kill David. There is also the question of Jonathon, with whom David had made a covenant. Jonathon was David’s best friend in the world; how could he, in good conscience, kill his best friend’s dad? If he would have slain Saul, Jonathon would have been in line for the throne in the eyes of the people. So, by waiting patiently on God, David began his rule honorably. There have been so many times that I have messed things in life up because I wanted things to happen on my time table. it is so much better when we wait on Him! It also allows us to give the credit to Him instead of thinking that we did something in order to attain what ever it was we were facing.