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.