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Sermon Notes of Rev.Dr.I.J.W.Oakley (17-10-1976 Standtown Baptist Church)
The relationship between David and King Saul extends over
several chapters. We are going to deal with it as a whole, and therefore some of
the details will not be covered.
The trouble began with Saulís jealousy, and then hatred, forcing David to flee. But Godís hand of protection was on David, who acted very honourably. He refused to kill King Saul when he had the opportunity.
In 1 Samuel 18:5-16 we read how the trouble started
because of every day feeling and passion of jealousy. Saul heard women
celebrating the victory of the armies of Israel, singing, ďSaul has slain his
thousands, and David his ten thousands.Ē At once Saul saw that David was
treated with more honour than he was. The next thing David would have would be
the kingdom. Saul knew God had already planned to give it to one of his
neighbours (1 Samuel 15:28), so who else but David?
From that time forward Saul eyed
David with murderous intent, vainly thinking he could thwart Godís plans.
Saulís first attempt at this was when he hurled his javelin at David. Then he
tried to kill him indirectly by requiring David to kill 100 Philistines before
he could marry Saulís daughter. After this, there was the long hunt for David
by Saulís army, over the hills, in the valleys, throughout the villages of
Israel, trying to find and kill David. This manhunt involved thousands of men.
All this began with feelings of
jealousy. Once jealousy had seized Saulís heart, one thing led to another. Yet
it was all a mistake. There was no need to treat David like that. David loved
Saul, was utterly loyal to him, and feared God too much to do Saul any wrong.
How jealousy distorts our judgement, and shows itself in cruel speech,
bitterness and resentment. Jealousy is the rage of a man; therefore he will
not spare in the day of vengeance (Proverbs 6:34).
Jealousy quickly spawns a series
of other dreadful evils. It blinds us to good and lovely things in anotherís
life. Jonathon, the common people, and Saulís servants, could all see the good
qualities in David, but Saul was blind to them. David was loving, concerned for
everyone, behaved himself wisely, very humble, and the Lord was obviously with
him. If only Saul had not been jealous, but had befriended David, how his own
life would have been enriched.
Later on this same jealousy led
him to quarrel with his own son, Jonathon, and try to murder him, because he was
friendly with David. Saul mistrusted everyone, was sorry for himself, and
murdered 85 priests, including Ahimelech at Nob, for helping David, and then the
life of every single person, including women, children and animals, out of sheer
vindictive cruelty. What a sad story Saulís is. How it illustrates the power
of sin once it seizes a man. There is no knowing where it will lead and what
damage it will do. Saulís beginnings were humble and godly, but he became out
of touch with God, and ends up a raving lunatic and vicious murderer.
No sin is an end in itself. Our transgressions are never lonely, they soon give birth to others. A destructive process is set in motion. The entire system is soon poisoned. Pride leads to envy, which leads to untruth, which leads to vindictiveness. Be warned that no backslider ever intended to get into the state he is in. We must put things right at once. Of supreme importance is our unbroken daily communion with God. Keep near to God.
Because of Saulís activities,
David was in great need. Saul was obsessed with a desire to get rid of David at
all costs. Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became Davidís
enemy continually (1 Samuel 18:29). But David had hope because God protected
him. This theme is reflected in so many of his psalms. He knew God was on his
side. Godís purpose was for David to have a long and rewarding life, and God
always ensured His purposes were carried out.
God raised up a number of
friends to succour and help David in his trouble. There is but a step between
me and death (1 Samuel 20:3), and yet Godís hand made him safe and sure.
God raised up Jonathon to plead Davidís cause (1 Samuel 19). Jonathon
emphasized Davidís loyalty, innocence, good service to Saul, and courage. All
this helped to delay Saul carrying into effect his plans. Later on Jonathon
risked his life to warn David to flee for safety (1 Samuel 20:12), and gave his
friend great encouragement (1 Samuel 23:16).
God also used Davidís wife,
Michael, to help protect David. While David was let down from the window, she
pretended he was ill, placing an idol or image in the bed to give the appearance
of a body in the bed. She obviously had small faith in God. But God does
overrule and use any one for blessing and the protection of His people.
Then God raised up and used
Samuel, now an old man, to succour and encourage David as his counsellor and
spiritual father (1 Samuel 19:18). And when an attempt was made to arrest Samuel
and David, the messengers of Saul and Saul himself fell into a trance in which
they gave way to ecstatic utterances, giving Samuel and David the opportunity to
escape. The Holy Spirit confounded those messengers.
Next God raised up a priest at
Nob (1 Samuel 21:1-9). The priest Ahimelech, and others (though later they paid
dearly at Saulís hands) fed David and even gave him Goliathís sword. Then
being rested and fed and equipped, David carried on his escape.
What fools men are as they try
to thwart Godís plans. David was appointed by God as Saulís successor, and
Saulís plans to eliminate David were doomed from the start. David may have
been only a step away from death, but that step was never taken. He was
absolutely safe with Godís protection. God raised up friends, and interposed
miraculously on His servantís behalf.
ďWe are immortal until our
work is done.Ē God has a perfect plan for every life. As long as we are still
on earth, we can assume God has a purpose for us. He is able to raise up various
ones to give us help, succour and guidance in accomplishing His purposes and to
bring us through adversity. Our lives and circumstances are absolutely in
Godís hands. Our eyes need to be opened to see that behind all the
circumstances of everyday life is Godís directing and controlling. Look beyond
the postmanís hand to the writer of the letter. When we cultivate this habit,
we soon recognise the hand of God in our lives and it leads us to a greater
spirit of thankfulness. So often we remain ďpractical atheistsĒ.
Psalm 34 was probably written during this period of Davidís life. He writes, I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fearsÖ The angel of the Lord encampeth round them that fear him, and delivereth them (Psalm 34:3,7).
While David was escaping the clutches of Saul, he
gathered a group of men around him who were also in distress and discontent (1
Samuel 22:2) and they hid in the cave of Adullam. Eventually Saul, with the aid
of spies and traitors, caught up with David. There were 3000 of Saulís men
against 600 of Davidís men. All seemed to have come to an end for David. But
suddenly the tables were turned, and on two occasions it was in Davidís power
to kill Saul, but David did not take advantage of the opportunity.
What do we learn from David in
such dire trouble? Where did the man get his strength and peace from when in the
midst of trouble?
Firstly, David sought Godís
will. Twice during the crisis ďhe enquired of the LordĒ (1 Samuel 23:2,
9-11). He was anxious to discover Godís will for every step of his life. The
steps of good men are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way (Psalm
37:23). A passionate longing for Godís will is of tremendous importance for
all in trouble. The way to blessing is not to escape from adversity, but to know
Godís mind in adversity.
Secondly, David trusted in
Godís intervention at the right time. All seemed to be against David, and it
looked like only a matter of time till he was captured. Suddenly a messenger
arrived and told Saul his territories were being attacked by the Philistines.
Saul had to abandon his pursuit. God had intervened just at the right time. In
every kind of adversity, God is sovereign and He will not forsake us. He is able
to alter circumstances often unexpectedly in our favour. He controls the
weather, the movements of men and even our enemies, and the nations, for His own
purposes and for His peopleís good. We sometimes think our problems are
insuperable, but God is able to meet us in our extremity and give us all the
help we need. In temptations, God provides as way of escape (1 Corinthians
Thirdly, David acted honourably.
By a strange turning of the tables, Saul was in Davidís hands Ė once in the
cave of Engedi, and another time when he was asleep in the wilderness (1 Samuel
24 & 26). David refused, in spite of pressure, to kill the Lordís
anointed. Saul may have been evil, wicked and murderous, but he was still the
Lordís anointed, to be held in respect and awe. So David acted perfectly
honourably, and left it to God to put to shame those who trample on men
(Psalm 57:2,3). C.f. Avenge not yourselves: for it is written, Vengeance is
mine; I will repay, saith the LordÖ. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome
evil with good (Romans 12:19f).
We must avoid bitterness and act honourably in our relationships. To have descended to Saulís level would have robbed David of strength and serenity. We are not to take the law into our own hands, but be prepared to leave God to carry out His own purpose, patiently waiting for Godís time to come.
David gives us a wonderful picture of generosity, mercy, respect, patience and loyalty. He foreshadowed his Lord who, when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously (1 Peter 2:23). Through all his dealings with King Saul, David teaches us to do that which is right, and leave affairs with God. We can have confidence that no weapon formed against us can prosper. This confidence gives us poise and rest of soul as we wait patiently for the Lord. He will take care of our interests if we take care of His.