King Saul Did Not Seek God

1 Chronicles 10:13-14 – So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

Why did King Saul die? Among the reasons is this: He did not seek guidance from the Lord, instead he sought a medium to ask advice of Samuel. But notice the other account in 1 Samuel 28.

1 Samuel 28:5-7 – When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.”

Samuel’s account says that Saul did inquire of the Lord, but God didn’t answer him. So is there a contradiction here? Did King Saul inquire of God? Yes Saul tried to ask God, but he really didn’t want a relationship with God. He didn’t want to repent, he was just scared of being killed by the Philistines. So when he “inquired” he wasn’t really humbly coming before God’s throne.

God knows the difference. If Saul truly would have had a repentant heart before God, there are oodles of examples in Scripture where God would have forgiven him and heard Saul’s prayers.

The Lord Did Not Answer Him

1 Samuel 28:4-6
The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.

Saul had spent at least a decade, maybe more, chasing David around Israel (see 1 Samuel 18-27). The enemy to Saul had been David, not the Philistines. If he was a politician, what would he say his greatest achievement had been in the last decade? “Hey, look at all of the times I almost killed David!” King Saul had spent so much effort, resources and time on finding and killing David that he didn’t even see that the Philistines had surrounded him and were now moving in from the north.

But now the cold, hard reality sets in. He’s surrounded and he’s afraid. He “trembled greatly.” He finally decided to call upon God. God didn’t answer the door, however, when Saul knocked. That’s harsh, but that’s the piercing reality of the life of a person who rejects God. The Lord is going to let King Saul face the music.

This isn’t to say that King Saul could not receive forgiveness. If Saul at the last minute wanted to make things right with God, God is merciful and would forgive. But God also said that if a person keeps living a sinful life and continues in rejection of the correction God sends, then God won’t listen when he prays. If God wasn’t listening to Saul, it is apparent that Saul’s heart was not repentant. He was just scared and wanted to avoid pain and punishment.

Here is a final passage to consider. Look at Proverbs 1 and think of how wisdom is calling for us. What happens when we keep refusing to listen to wisdom? Solomon tells us.

Proverbs 1:20-33
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Let’s take a lesson from King Saul. God is merciful, patient and ready to forgive, but if we continue to live a life in rejection of His word, then we can’t expect God to rescue us from our problems. If we don’t listen when He calls, eventually He won’t listen when we call.

Those Who Were Scattered

Acts 8:3-4
But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word

In the days of Acts 2-7, the church at Jerusalem was huge. They were growing by the thousands. But then persecution arose, led by Saul of Tarsus (whom we know as Paul). The church was scattered everywhere. They could not all meet together as they were used to. Things had changed. Significantly. Times were dark and scary. But what did the church do?

They went everywhere preaching the word!

We are at a time where we cannot meet as we did before. Things have changed, even if for a short time. Times for many are dark and scary. But what is the call for the church today? Reach out to help others. Reach out to encourage others. Reach out to teach others. These are life changing events for many. Here is an opportunity for us to share the good news with others.

Use those phones and tablets. Take advantage of the time you have right now to say words of encouragement to others who need it. Find someone you know around you who could use words of God to help them today, and share those good words with him or her.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Hebrews 3:13
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

David’s Friends

After David killed Goliath, the people praised David, and his popularity soared even higher than the king himself, King Saul. Of course, King Saul didn’t take this too well, and was filled with paranoia, jealousy and rage. He made it his life’s work to eliminate David, because he was a threat to his power and popularity. So for most of the second half of 1 Samuel, David is on the run for his life. This was a time of great uncertainty and pain for David.

I want you to think about the position King Saul is putting others in because of his jealousy and lust for control! He is alienating himself from his family and from the best people in his land (Jonathan, Michal, Samuel, David, etc.). Our jealousy, fear, paranoia, desire to control and rage will drive great wedges between ourselves and the very people who can help us the most!

In Chapter 19 of 1 Samuel, we see at least four individuals who were true friends to David. There’s a country song that says, “You find out who your friends are.” That was especially true for David. But what does it mean to be a friend? At a practical level how did the following people show themselves to be a friend to David?

Jonathan spoke well of David.

1 Samuel 19:4 And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you.

It’s easy to speak well of someone when you have a friendly audience. This wasn’t easy for Jonathan. Read verse 1 of chapter 19. ” And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David.” Jonathan had just received a direct order from his dad and king to kill David. Not very easy at this point to say something nice about David, is it? But Jonathan stood up to his dad and stood up for David and defended him. Jonathan reminded his father of the good that David had done and did not accept Saul’s premise that David was guilty and needed to die. It actually worked in chapter 19, King Saul listened to Jonathan. The next time this happens in chapter 20, Saul tries to kill Jonathan, his own son!

What about you and me? How do we respond when someone is talking bad about people? Do we stand up for those being gossiped about, or are we intimidated by the person who is gossiping to us? Do we consider that there are usually two sides to a story? “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17).

David had a friend in Jonathan because Jonathan risked his life and his relationship with his father in order to speak well of David.

Michal protected David.

1 Samuel 19:12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped.

Michal was one of the daughters of King Saul. When David killed Goliath, one of the rewards was being able to marry the king’s daughter. King Saul wasn’t faithful in keeping that promise and gave his first daughter (Merab) away to another man. Then King Saul added another condition for David to meet before he could marry the next daughter, Michal. You see, King Saul noticed that Michal loved David, and was going to use her as a pawn to get David killed. David was required to go out and kill 100 Philistines and bring back evidence from their bodies that they were dead. So, David brought back twice the evidence! He killed 200 Philistines (1 Samuel 18:20-27)! Saul could not refuse him now, he gave Michal to David.

But look what happens next. Is Saul happy that Michal and David love each other? No. It drives him mad! He can’t handle that his own daughter is in love with the man he hates! Michal’s love can’t be controlled by him, so he is having a fit.

1 Samuel 18:28-30 But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually. Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle, and as often as they came out David had more success than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was highly esteemed.

In chapter 19, we see Saul again going mad with jealousy, a lust for control and paranoia. His rage got the better of him and he tried to once again kill David with the spear. David escaped, so Saul sent people to David and Michal’s house to kill David. Michal is put into a position where she has to defy her father and protect David. She helps her husband escape out a window and puts a decoy in the bed!

Michal was a friend to David because she chose to stand up for her husband and protect him.

Samuel listened to David.

1 Samuel 19:18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth.

Remember Samuel? He’s the old prophet and judge that Israel cast to the side because they wanted a king. We haven’t heard much from Samuel since he anointed David in chapter 16. But apparently he’s still around, and when David needed to get away, Samuel is first on his mind. Samuel may have been put out to pasture by Israel, but he was still useful for God’s purpose!

Samuel provided a refuge for David. He gave David a listening ear. Samuel had his own run-ins with King Saul, didn’t he (1 Samuel 13,15)? David had a friend in Samuel because Samuel gave him a safe place.

A few questions here are appropriate. Who is that Samuel for you? When things are getting all turned upside down, who is the Samuel in your life who gives you a safe place and a listening ear? Also, are you a Samuel for others? Do people feel safe coming to you for refuge and a listening ear?

All three of these friends (Jonathan, Michal and Samuel) put themselves at risk because they stood up for David instead of turning him into King Saul.

God put a miraculous shield around David.

1 Samuel 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

God saw what King Saul was doing. The Holy Spirit saw those men coming to arrest David, and he miraculously forced them to prophesy. The only words these men could say were God’s words. This happened two more times, and then King Saul himself came, and Holy Spirit forced Saul to prophesy. There was a Holy Spirit bubble around David. Like the Psalms, “He allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” (Psalms 105:14-15).

Bad things would still happen to David, but we can see that God was there working for David to shelter him. God was the best friend to David.

Even later on when David had no friends, he always had God.

1 Samuel 30:6 – And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

My mom would say to us that God is our best friend. I’ve forgotten that at times, but she was right. God was David’s best friend. David had some really good friends, but they could never be the great defender and protector that God is.

David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 4

Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,

God called David from shepherding sheep in order to shepherd the people of Israel. What in the world did David know about leading a nation? Not much, but what he did have was valuable to God. David had the right heart, and you can’t teach heart. God could teach David and would teach David everything he needed to know about being a king. But David had the right start…a great heart.

Think about some simple things David learned as a young man in the field shepherding sheep:

  • He learned to meditate upon God. David from the very beginning had a heart that was devoted to God. You can tell from his Psalms that he spent time outdoors looking up and around at the amazing creation of God. This started young for David. Would this come in handy later as David was fleeing from Saul, facing giants, planning wars, managing all the minutia of being a king? Absolutely!
  • He developed great musical talent. Not only did this soothe David and his animals, it would later bring David into a king’s palace to soothe troubled KIng Saul. These talents would also be used later as David wrote worship music and created many instruments to go along with that worship music. Those Psalms are still being used in worship 3,000 years later.
  • He learned about faith and facing adversity. As a shepherd, he had to face cold and heat, life and death. Read about the other shepherds in the Bible, a shepherd has to think about pasture, dark valleys, robbers, weather, good water, sickness, predators, etc. Would those skills come in useful later in life? Sure, he was learning how to multi-task, even when life and death were at stake. But he showed great care and devotion to his sheep, and God knew David would show that same care and devotion to the people of God (Psalm 78:70-72).
  • He learned to be faithful in a few things. If you are not devoted to your job at McDonald’s, why do you think God will bless you with being CEO of a corporation? If you are not dedicated to sweeping the floor at work and you cut corners and lie about how much work you did, you will do the same thing when managing billions of dollars. It’s that simple. Jesus said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12). David was faithful with his father’s few sheep, and God gave him the kingdom of Israel.
  • He learned how to use a sling. Do you think that will come in useful later with Goliath? Shepherds by necessity became deadly with a sling and stone, and David’s skill he learned keeping sheep would one day take down a giant.

Sometimes we minimize and discount the little jobs and little lessons we are learning on a daily basis. It’s like the college student that wonders why he has to take a certain class that has nothing to do with his desired career, and then maybe later he realizes he did learn something in that class that was valuable to him later in life. It is easy to forget that God is preparing us for future work in His kingdom. The work you are doing now, and the faith lessons you are learning now will someday be used in a powerful way later in life. That’s just the way it works. David didn’t know that being a shepherd was training him to be king, but God did.

 

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 1

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 2

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 3

David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 3

Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,

We continue our dive into the life of David and that he served God’s purpose in his own generation. At a practical level for David that meant as a young man he focused on being a shepherd of his father’s sheep. Even when he knew his next job was going to be king of Israel, he still did his everyday job of tending to the sheep. As an older man, while serving as king, David wanted to build a temple for God. God blessed David for his desire, but said, “No…Solomon your son will build the temple.” How did David respond? He devoted the rest of his life to preparing Solomon and Israel for the building of the temple.

Let’s summarize it this way:

  • When David was young, he didn’t focus on the job he was GOING to do, he focused on the job he CURRENTLY HAD.
  • When David was older and king, he didn’t focus on the job he ASKED God to do, he focused on the job God WANTED him to do.
  • Are you and I like David?

Here are a few points to consider about God’s purpose for you:

  • Let God DECIDE what your purpose is. For David as a young man it was shepherding, as an older man it was mentor and temple-preparer.
  • Let God DEFINE what a great purpose and work is for you. David could have gotten a big head as a young man, saying I’m going to be great someday and be king. Instead, he knew greatness at that period in his life was serving God and keeping sheep. As an older man he wanted to do this great work of building the temple, but God’s great work for David was preparing Solomon to build the temple.
  • Let God DETERMINE the right time for you to live out that purpose. David didn’t know when he would become king, so he just kept doing his job and living for God until God revealed the right time for him to be king.

 

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 1

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 2

David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 2

Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,

If you were working at a fast food restaurant, and a prophet of God came to you and said that none of the current candidates would become President of the United States (I would say, hooray!!). But then you are told by the prophet that YOU will be the next President. On January 20, 2021, you will be sworn in as the next President and move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Would you leave your headset at the drive thru and tell your boss you quit?

Most would. But the young teenager David didn’t do that, did he? Nope, he went right back to work as a shepherd in the field watching his father’s sheep.

For today’s briefing, I want to walk you through a few verses and ask some simple questions along the way.

What was David doing BEFORE he was anointed to be the next king? He was “keeping the sheep” of his father Jesse (1 Samuel 16:11).

What was David doing AFTER he was anointed to be the next king? When David was called to play music for King Saul, it was said that David was “with the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:17-19).

What was David STILL doing while he worked at the king’s palace to play music for the King? He went “back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep” at Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17:14-15).

What did David make sure to do WHENEVER he was sent back to the king? David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper…and went.

Now, men, that is a sermon left for us from a young teenager. He wasn’t entitled, he was humble and grateful and dedicated to his job. Even when he knew that he would soon live in a palace and be the king of all Israel, he still did his “lowly” job of shepherding sheep. He wasn’t even shepherding his own sheep, they were Daddy’s sheep. Look at that attitude!

Do you want to know why God called David to be king? Here is a great reason why, David didn’t get too big for his britches. His heart was humble and dedicated to God, his job, and his family.

Psalms 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

More to come on this.

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, part 1

David and Saul: A Contrast in Two Hearts, part 2

Psalm 78:70-72 – He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.  So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

Yesterday we began looking at a contrast between two hearts: the heart of King Saul and that of King David. Why was David a man after God’s own heart? Why did God choose David over Saul? Let’s look at this side by side comparison.

Saul was led by fear. David was led by faith.
Saul sought his own glory. David fought for God’s glory.
Saul viewed the battle as his to win. David saw the battle as belonging to the Lord.
Saul was his own counsel. God was David’s counsel.
Saul blamed others and did not take accountability for his actions. David looked in the mirror, accepted the blame and took accountability for his own behavior.
Saul only valued the word of God when it lined up with his thoughts/plans/lifestyle. David valued God’s word as a light to shine in the darkest recesses of his soul.
Saul worshiped his way. David worshiped God’s way.
Saul destroyed and drove away those who were in anyway a threat to his image, status, plans and power. David surrounded himself with those who were free to give him advice and differing opinions (Samuel, Nathan, Bathsheba, Joab, etc.), and sometimes they were pretty blunt when they gave that advice…yet he listened to their counsel.
Saul took matters into his own hands, David put matters in God’s hands.

Which man was perfect? Which man did everything right? Which man always made the right choices? Well, neither man was perfect. David made some real bad choices in his life, too.

But let me ask you this question: Which man do you want leading you?

And let’s ask ourselves this question: What kind of leader are we? Are we a Saul or a David-type leader?

David and Saul: A Contrast in Two Hearts, part 1

1 Samuel 13:14  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 

God rejected King Saul as being leader of His people. He sought for a new leader, one who was after His own heart. God was looking for a man who saw things the way God saw them. One who would value and cherish the things of God and the people of God. That man was David.

What was the difference in the leadership style of David and Saul? It came down to heart. What did God see when He saw King Saul? When you read 1 Samuel 13-15, you will see what God was seeing.

1 Samuel 13 – King Saul did not wait for God. He was a man who was led by fear, and went about doing things his own way. You will see fear dominate his leadership decisions for the rest of his reign in Israel. His best counsel was within his own head (vs. 11-12). What you see in the life of Saul is that instead of seeking God’s counsel and the wisdom of those who could have helped him (Samuel, David, Jonathan), he chose to isolate himself from those who could have helped him. He also surrounded himself with people who agreed with him and drove away anyone who thought otherwise.

1 Samuel 14 – King Saul sought his own glory in battle (vs. 24), and his glory-seeking almost cost his own son’s life. As his son, Jonathan, put it, “My father has troubled the land” (vs. 29).

1 Samuel 15 – King Saul did not obey God. Frankly he was rebellious. God commanded him to completely destroy the Amalekites, including their livestock, and he chose to spare the best and bring them home. He was so proud of himself that he went and set a monument up for himself (vs. 12). When the prophet Samuel called him on it, Saul did not take accountability for his actions. He blamed the people for his lack of leadership; he blamed fear of the people for his disobedience to God (vs. 15). Saul tried to justify bringing home the animals because they would be sacrificed in worship to God (vs. 15). When he finally fessed up to sinning, his main concern was that he keep his status among the elders of Israel (vs. 30).

You can see what God saw, and why God took away the throne from Saul. But what was it about David that was different from Saul? Why would his leadership be different? You will see David sin, and you will see him make some bad choices as a leader, but what was the real difference between Saul and David? Why would God approve of David on the throne versus King Saul? We’ll look at that tomorrow, Lord willing.

Where King Saul’s Armor Ended Up

Here is a trivia question for you today:  Where did King Saul’s armor end up after he was killed in battle by the Philistines?

And they (the Philistines) stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among the people. Then they put his armor in the temple of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon (1 Chronicles 10:6-10).

They put his armor in the temple of their gods. Just chew on that statement for a moment. What “protected” King Saul didn’t really save him in the end, did it? More than that, it became an evangelistic tool for the enemies of God.

Do you remember another occasion where King Saul’s armor was mentioned? I want to direct your attention to 1 Samuel 17 when King Saul wanted the young David to wear the king’s armor into battle to face Goliath. David refused Saul’s armor, but chose protection of a different kind. To a worldly, seasoned warrior, David’s armor seemed anemic and would leave him defenseless. David was a young shepherd with a stone and a sling…I mean, really? Both King Saul and David’s Philistine opponent, Goliath, considered him to be ill-prepared for battle.

What protected David was a ancient and tested armor that outwardly to man appeared as nothing, but it has defeated many a mighty foe. Take note of the contrast David made to Goliath about choice of armor:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts…then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

The armor and wisdom of God will be perceived as weak and foolish in the eyes of worldly people around you today, but remember the final resting place of King Saul’s armor. What we trust in for our safety, peace and comfort will always abandon us in the end if it isn’t rooted in the ancient wisdom of Christ.

David stood and David was victorious because David first clothed himself with God. David’s armor, like Saul’s, became an evangelistic tool. As David said, “then all this assembly shall know…the battle is the Lord’s.” Hopefully through your daily example of wearing Christ’s armor, you may help someone else put that armor on too!

So, whose armor are you wearing into battle today?

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD (Isaiah 54:17).