And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. 1 Samuel 19:1
Over time, David has much success in battle and the people love him. This makes Saul (still the king) very jealous, so he plots to kill David. Instead of working together and strengthening the kingdom, Saul wants to get rid of his “competition.” He lets his ego and pride cause strife among them.
How many times do we do the same? Instead of seeing someone as an ally, we see them as competition. Instead of supporting someone and cheering for their gifts, we are jealous and secretly root for their failure. And in this scenario, no one wins. Everyone is weaker; the Kingdom is weaker.
As a result of Saul’s jealous rage, David spends much of his waiting time in hiding. He is a gifted musician and writer. He pens many of the poems recorded in Psalms in our Bible.
The Psalms are beautiful words of faithfulness, worship, and also pain. David is brutally honest in his words to God. He pours his heart out.
This is what God wants from us too. God knows everything – our thoughts, fears, passions, pains, sins, hopes, dreams, questions…all of it. But He wants us to bring it to Him. He isn’t afraid of our questions and He doesn’t condemn our confessions. He already knows them all. He loves us and what He wants more than anything is a relationship with us. And He is a God of abundance, not scarcity. There is more than enough to go around.
David’s life and words in Psalms are a beautiful example of a relationship between man and God. I heard someone say once “intimacy = into me, see.” This was David. He poured his heart out to the Lord.
Questions: Do you find your natural reaction to other people’s success to be one of envy or excitement for them? How has jealousy ruined situations and relationships in your life? Ask God to give you a heart to cheer for those you might be tempted to be jealous of. Ask Him to show you His abundance…that He has good plans for all of us…we never have to look at someone else and feel that we are missing out. If you are feeling discouraged, open the Psalms and read David’s words.
And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” 1 Samuel 17:37
On one occasion the military men, including King Saul and all of David’s brothers, were in a battle with the Philistines…one of Israel’s enemies. Still young and still a shepherd for his family, David stayed behind to tend to the sheep. His father tells him to go to the battle place to deliver food to his brothers.
When David arrives, he sees the panic all around. The Israelites are terrified of the mighty Philistines and their giant soldier, Goliath. The soldiers all around him are shaking and hiding, but David steps up and offers to fight Goliath. He has full confidence that God is on his side. His days of fighting mighty predators going after his sheep have prepared him to face this giant. He is not afraid. We may not see it at the time, but the roles God puts us in often prepare us for the plans He has for us!
They try to put armor on David, but it is too heavy for his small frame. Decked out in only his shepherd gear, he grabs five small smooth stones and steps up to face the giant.
Fastening the stone to the sling, David lets it go and Goliath goes down. The Philistines retreat in defeat.
David was the underdog by all accounts. The youngest and smallest of his family. A shepherd, poet, and musician. Not the warrior Israel had in mind for their king. Overlooked by even his father. But God sees everything differently than we do. When we are walking in God’s plans and trusting in Him, the impossible can happen. In fact, God loves it when a situation looks impossible on the outside because then we will know that it could only be Him who made a way.
Challenge: Think about a situation that feels impossible in your life. Give it to God today. Step into the ways God has prepared you in the trials and the waiting. Ask God to show up and show off in a mighty way.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:6-7
Onward to find a new king! While Saul was still king, God tells Samuel to go to the little town of Bethlehem, to the house of Jesse to find Saul’s replacement.
One by one Samuel looks at each of Jesse’s sons, starting with the one that looked most “kingly” …the oldest, tallest, strongest. But God says, nope! Not that one. Keep looking. God doesn’t look at outward appearances like we tend to. The Lord is seeking a man after His own heart.
One by one, seven of Jesse’s sons come before Samuel, but none is to be the new king. Samuel asks if there are any more. Jesse reluctantly mentions there is one more…the youngest one who attends the sheep…David.
Yes! This is the one, the Lord declares. David is anointed king. The Spirit of the Lord rushes over him. Though he is anointed, his reign doesn’t start immediately. Actually, it will be a while. Saul is still king for now.
God often puts us in a period of waiting before we step into our calling. It is a time to learn, prepare, grow, and trust God. Soon David will be king, but not yet. For now, it’s back to tending the sheep.
Many years later, God will send shepherds and wise men to Bethlehem again. This time to see the Good Shepherd; the One True King…Jesus.
Questions: Do you have a passion for something and a calling from God, but it doesn’t seem to be happening yet? Do you sometimes worry you don’t look the way the world says you should to do the things you are called to do? Remember that God looks at the heart. He will equip you for everything He has called you to do. Ask God to show you what to do and learn during this important waiting period.
Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” 1 Samuel 9:21
Israel has asked for a king, and God lets them have their way. But this king will be selected by God, not by man.
The first king of Israel is Saul and he is not at all what people expected. He wasn’t from a powerful tribe or bold clan, but he was God’s choice. Saul started off humble and strong; a good king. He won battles, and he won the hearts of the people.
However, as often comes with power and success, Saul became impatient and prideful. Though ordained by God, he started to believe the victories and success were all from him.
Commentator George Whitfield summarizes that Saul “followed God just so far as suited his convenience; when it interfered in any way with his own interests, he cast him off.” As a result of Saul’s unrepentant disobedience, Samuel (the last judge, also a priest and the first prophet after Moses) informed Saul his kingdom would be no more.
Sometimes when we are weak and vulnerable, we easily cling to God, but when things start to go our way, we begin to think we can handle things on our own and don’t seek God as quickly, or at all if it is inconvenient. This is a recipe for disaster. God wants us to seek Him in all things. He is for us and wants us to succeed, but He wants us to do it with full knowledge that all things are FROM Him and FOR Him.
Saul learned his lesson the hard way. This first king, who started off strong, goes down in disgrace.
Questions: When do you seek God most passionately (good times, hard times, scary times, etc.)? Do you tend to forget to go to God when things are going well? What can you do to always remember to put your hope and trust in God?
But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 1 Samuel 8:19-20
Back to the Old Testament period of Judges. Samuel, another judge and prophet, was dedicated to God as an infant and taken to Eli, the priest, to be raised. He heard from God as a child and grew in stature and favor with both God and man. As judge, he ushered in a time of repentance and peace for Israel.
Near the end of his life, Samuel sought to appoint his sons as judges. But they were no Samuel. They sinned against God and looked out more for their interests than that of Israel. The elders push back. They don’t want Samuel’s sons as judges; they want a king. They want to be like all the other nations. The problem is God doesn’t want them to be like the other nations. God wants to be their king. They are in essence rejecting God.
So God warns them what life under a king will be like: their sons will be taken to man the king’s chariots, work his fields, make equipment for war. Their daughters will be taken to be perfumers, cooks, bakers. Their best fields and vineyards will be taken and given to his servants. Their servants and livestock will be taken. They themselves would be slaves.
Guess what? They still insist on having a king.
How often do we look around and think what others have is better than what we have? We think it will satisfy us. From our view, it looks like things would be so much better if we just had what they had. But we miss out on what God has for us when we try to copy what others have.
God has unique plans for all of us. We have to put Him as king over our lives. We have to trust in His plans for us, not try to replicate His plans for someone else. We never see the full picture. Things on the other side are not always what they seem. Israel asked for a king. A king they will get.
Question: On average are you more grateful for what you have, or do you spend more time wishing you had what someone else has?