Part Two: Saul and David
1 Samuel 18:1-26:25
Although the NT does not dwell on this phase of David's life, we are going to because of David's significance to Jesus. Of all the people in the OT only David is called the man "after God's own heart." Before the calamity with Bathsheba and Uriah, David will exhibit qualities and characteristics so much like those of the Lord Jesus.
THE FIRST SAMUEL ACCOUNT
Jonathan's Relationship with David (1 Sam. 18:1-4)
Upon David's defeating Goliath, Saul's son Jonathan, heir to the throne, immediately attaches himself to David, giving David his _______, _______, ________, ____________, and his _________ (1 Sam. 18:4). From this point on Jonathan and David became the best of friends. According to 1 Sam. 20:17 how much did Jonathan love David?
1 Samuel describes not only the great feelings Jonathan had for David, it goes into greater detail to show how much Jonathan loved David by his actions. We shall see that because Jonathan is next in line to the throne, David becomes a threat to Jonathan's reign. Yet that did not stop Jonathan from loving David. This is one of the most dramatic examples of unselfish love in the entire Bible. Because of David, Jonathan had everything to lose--and yet he still committed himself to be David's committed friend.
Unfortunately in White American society these kinds of friendship are exceedingly rare, if nonexistent. We are either too selfish to care that much for someone other than our wives, or we are a little afraid of serious male bonding, or we are afraid that serious male relationships will call into question our masculinity.
These kinds of male relationships though are known throughout the rest of the world in other cultures. The British man will say, "He's me mate!" meaning, "He's my best friend." Healthy male bonding is a characteristic of Italian, Mexican, Spanish, and French cultures. It's just that the rugged American male feels so uncomfortable in this kind of relationship. He fears it calls into question his masculinity. The result is that for the most part the American male is the loneliest creature on the face of the earth.
Wives need to encourage this kind of relationship. It is good for the men to go golfing or hunting with each other, just not every day or every day of the weekend. I remember growing up that when the entire family got together, all the men and older boys would eat together at the table, while the women would eat at another table. Can't do that any more! No way! Put all the food at the men's table and let the women get what's left over? That's male chauvinism! Heck, put all the food on a separate buffet table, let everybody serve themselves and then let the men enjoy being with each other. Let the women eat at the table inside and the men at the picnic table. Which table you eat at and where the food is is not what matters. What matters is that men do need male relationships.
In the story of David you are going to see that David never messes up while he has Jonathan as his best friend; HOWEVER, after Jonathan dies, David messes up royally. It is quite possible that if Jonathan had lived, David's fiasco with Bathsheba might never have occurred. In other words, healthy male friendships can seriously help a man's relationship with his wife, something his wife should want.
The Cause of the Conflict Between Saul and David (18:5-9)
If any man was like Jesus in the OT, it was David. These traits are especially highlighted in his relationship with Saul. Whereas David is going to be Saul's faithful servant, Saul is definitely going to try to kill David. At this point David is living in Saul's household. What function is David performing while living in the king's palace (1 Sam. 16:14-23)?
Saul highly values David. What caused this conflict between the 2 men who were formerly friends? After David killed Goliath, the women of Israel came out to celebrate David's and Saul's victory over the Philistines. What did they say in praise of Saul (18:7)?
What did they say in praise of David (18:7)?
When Saul heard these praises, what conclusion did he draw (18:8-9)?
Why would Saul even imagine though that his reign was in danger (15:26)?
From this point on David falls under suspicion. Saul will vacillate between love for and rage against David from here on out. What happens which convinces David that his life is in danger (18:10-13)?
The Conflict Between David and Saul (19:1-27:12)
It is during this time that Jonathan really steps up to the plate and shows his great love for David. After several incidents David suspects that Saul is intent on killing him. When it comes time for the festival of the new moon (20:18), David excuses himself from the festivities. What plan do he and Jonathan concoct in order to determine whether or not Saul is planning to kill David (20:18-23)?
How does Jonathan respond when he discovers the truth (20:24-34))?
Jonathan then sticks to the plan he and David have devised. He takes his servant boy with him as he goes to shoot 3 arrows. He sends the servant off running and shoots beyond the servant. He tells the servant that the arrows are beyond him. David then realizes Saul IS intent on killing him. After the servant retrieves the arrows, Jonathan dismisses him. David comes out of hiding. They fall upon each other's neck and weep bitterly. After swearing allegiance to each other and to each other's families, they part. It is the last time the 2 will ever see each other.
David's Respect for God's Anointed (24:1-22; 26:1-25)
Now Saul hears that David is hiding in the region of En-Gedi, an oasis by the Dead Sea. Saul takes soldiers with him to hunt down David. Saul, needing to relieve himself, goes into the inner recess of a cave to use the restroom. What happens in that inner cave (24:1-4)?
What happens to David's conscience after he does this (24:5)?
David now confronts Saul with what has happened. Briefly relate what happened when David confronted Saul (24:8-22).
Although Saul promised that he would leave David alone, he could not resist going after David a second time. Once more David is given the chance to kill Saul. What does David do (26:1-12)?
Why doesn't David kill Saul when he has the chance (26:9)?
David's attitude was this: since God chose Saul, it was up to God to remove him, if that was actually what God wanted. Be very careful in your treatment of people, not only ministers, but of all people. If God has placed you in subjection to a certain person, be careful in being dismissive towards that person, whether it be a woman's husband, a man's employer, a person's president, etc. I am not saying that these people are not to be held accountable. They ARE to be held accountable! What I am saying is that if God has placed a person in a certain situation, you had better be careful in trying to remove that person.
It is a sad day when a church has to ask a pastor to leave. As ministers we should try to avoid putting our people in that kind of situation. We might need to be removed; however, we probably do serious spiritual damage to the people who felt forced to remove that minister.
The wonderful thing about the way David handled the situation was that he didn't have to remove Saul. God ended up removing Saul. It is neat that God can do a lot better job of removing His person than you can. Moreover, at the end of the day David did not feel guilty about what had happened to Saul. He could sleep with a clear conscience because he had not lifted up his hand against "God's Anointed."
Out of 30 years of ministry I found that there was only ONE pastor I could not work for. I loved him. He and his wife were like a dad and mom to Nancy and me; however, something happened between the 2 of us which seriously hurt our relationship and our ability to work together. We had several families leaving our church. This pastor was probably the greatest preacher I had ever heard preach. He could send you soaring with his sermons; however, the people were wanting a verse by verse by verse exposition of a passage. When he asked in staff meeting why they were leaving, I took a deep gulp because I feared he might really take offense. He asked though, and I felt like I needed to tell him the truth. He did not take it at all well. I went from favored son to being a problem child. It was one of the saddest times of my life. I knew that our relationship was for all practical purposes over.
Now I was loved in that church and could have held on, even made things difficult for him so that I could stay on; however, based upon this passage I knew this was not what the Lord wanted. I asked the Lord to move me. Within 4 months I was minister of youth at a different church. The wonderful thing was that God moved me onto much better things. God gave me a ministry you only dream about. Moreover, the pastor later came to regret the way he treated me. He discovered that good ministers don't grow on trees. He started showing me great respect; later we became close friends. I could tell he had really changed because after his death his wife was so loving and tender towards me. I could have won the battle and lost the war; as it was, I lost the battle and won the war.
Don't think that David is just lying down and letting Saul run all over him. Whereas David refuses to lift up his hand against Saul, he does not allow Saul to kill him. Instead he hides out in the wilderness making it hard for Saul to catch him. What else does he do which shows that he is not just rolling over for Saul (26:10)?
"May the ______________ judge between ___________ and __________ , and may the Lord _______________ me on you, but ______ ___________ shall not be _________ you (24:12).
Whereas it is ultimately true that God will definitely vindicate us on Judgment Day, God does in this life vindicate us as well when we turn things over to Him. Recently, before the UT/USC college football championship game, I was talking somebody I really respect. I told them that although Nathan is going to go to Baylor and major in philosophy and religion, he still likes to pull for the Texas Longhorn football team. This sent that person off in a wild-eyed hissy fit. I couldn't believe all the things they were saying: "Mac Brown is a terrible coach; USC will hit Vince Young 3x and he will be rattled the rest of the game; and on and on and on and on." The blood was rising to my face. I was getting pretty angry. Then I felt like the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and told me to settle down, that everything was going to be OK.
Two weeks later I met that person, and they were like a whipped dog with its tail between its legs. They were really embarrassed. I could have really rubbed it in; however, the Lord had done such a number on that person because of the result of the game that I didn't have to. I didn't even have the heart to wear my Texas Longhorn sweatshirt around him.
The second incident involved Nathan and his debate class. He and his debate partner Tim are excellent researchers and debaters. When they presented their case to the class, their main competition just went all over Nathan and Tim, claiming their case was sorry, that it was "dead." Day after day after day they heard how sorry they and their case were. Nathan came to talk to me; he was furious. I asked him if it was a good case; he assured me it was. I told him not to worry about it; instead he just needed to commit it to the Lord.
About a week later Nathan and Tim presented their case at a tournament. The judge for his third round of debate had won the UIL State tournament in debate last year. He informed Nathan and Tim that their case was incredible, that he had never seen one so good. He advised them to make one minor change; if they did that, then their case would be perfect.
I'm not saying that God is going to dictate the outcome of a football game so that I can be vindicated, or that God is going to arrange it so that debate judges can compliment your work to the high heavens. I am saying though that God is going to vindicate us whenever we get out of the way and let Him do His thing. The key though is getting out of the way and letting God have His way.
In a much greater sense God avenges David upon Saul. Even though David does not have to kill Saul, Saul dies at the hands of the Philistines. David is exalted to the position of king over all Israel, and the most glorious days of Israel's existence are about to begin. His kingdom will give a taste of the kingdom Christ will execute upon the earth.