Saul

People Who Shaped David:  Saul

 (1 Samuel 16:21-23; 18:5-12; 24:1-7)

 

1.   It is one of the most interesting and complex relationships to be found on the pages of God’s Word...on one hand these two men were in many ways alike...they were both--

            --described in scripture as “handsome” men...

            --mighty warriors who conquered the enemies of Israel...

            --natural leaders whom others gladly followed...

            --extraordinarily gifted and talented men...

      On the other hand, they couldn’t have been more different...

            --one is said to have had an evil spirit on him while the other is said to have had the Spirit of God on him...

            --one was more comfortable with a spear in his hand while the other was more comfortable with his hands wrapped around a harp...

            --one was small, petty, jealous, and insecure while the other was self-assured and confident...

            --one was rebellious toward God while the other, even though he made mistakes, was a man after God’s own heart...

2.   If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m referring to Saul, the first King of Israel, and David, the second King of Israel...in this session, as we continue looking at people who shaped David’s life, going to focus on the relationship between David and Saul...

3.   While don’t want to sound irreverent or be guilty of trivializing the word of God, feel compelled to tell you that I can’t read the story of Saul and David in the OT without thinking of my favorite cartoon when I was a child...for some reason (and there’s probably some deep psychological reason which we won’t explore) I always liked watching the adventures of Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner...every cartoon has the same plot...the coyote tries to capture or kill the roadrunner and his scheme always backfires, coming back to harm him...that’s the way it was between Saul and David...Saul became obsessed with doing harm to David...but no matter what he did, his schemes always seemed to come back to harm not David but himself...

4.   Story of Saul and David stretches over the last half of the book of 1 Samuel...begins in chapter 16 and ends with the death of Saul in chapter 31...want to read three vignettes from this story which I believe capture the essence of their relationship...

            --1 Samuel 16:21-23 – Relationship didn’t begin contentious way...saw last week first part ch. 16 Samuel anointed David be future king...after that, two things very quickly happened...Spirit of Lord came mightily on David...departed Saul and evil spirit terrorized him...his advisors suggested that soothing music would help Saul deal with evil spirit...David played harp and was summoned to play for king...look at 1 Samuel 16:21-23 (text)...

            --1 Samuel 18:5-12 – In ch. 17 is famous confrontation between David and Goliath...explore that in future session... made David national hero...and this is when trouble between Saul and David began...look at 1 Samuel 18:5-12 (text)...

            --1 Samuel 24:1-7 – Saul made it passion of his life to pursue David for purpose of killing him...look at 1 Samuel 24:1-7 (text)...

 

T.S. – There are many lessons to be learned from the relationship between David and Saul...want to share with you in this session two very practical lessons...

 

I.    Not everyone is going to treat us with fairness and kindness

1.   When was child sometimes my parents would make decision I didn’t like...I would complain, “That’s not fair!”...and you know their response...”Well, life’s not fair!”...not only is it true that life sometimes not fair, but people are sometimes unfair also...that is not kind of thing we want to hear, but it is certainly something we need to know...most of us have already learned this lesson in the hard school of experience...

2.   When first began working in church setting, as most young ministers are, I was rather idealistic and somewhat naïve...thought everyone in churches just naturally loved each other...that was before  met a man I’ll just call Mr. X…he was a rough concrete contractor who didn’t seem to love anybody, especially the people on the church staff where I served when I first left seminary...seem to make it his personnel goal to harass, intimidate, and berate those who served in the church...was impossible to please...if staff said white he would say black...if staff said right he would say left...didn’t take much time around that man for me to figure out that not everyone is fair and kind...

 

1.      Think that’s a lesson David learned from Saul...while David probably could have used better judgment in how he related to Saul, he really didn’t deserve the way Saul chose to treat him...

2.      Why did Saul behave the way he did toward David?...think there are essentially two reasons:

            --He had a spiritual problem – Several times in the passages I read from 1 Samuel the Bible speaks of an “evil spirit from God” coming upon Saul...the idea that an evil spirit would come “from God” is troubling...most scholars interpret that phrase to mean not that God sent the evil spirit but that God allowed the evil spirit to trouble Saul... what want you to see in that is Saul had a spiritual problem ...was out of fellowship with God...and invariably one result of being out of fellowship with God is divisiveness and strife with God’s people...as I’ve told you many times before, if always find yourself in conflict and disagreement with others, better check relationship with God...Saul’s spiritual problem was one thing that drove him to treat David so unfairly and unkindly...

            --He had an emotional problem – The problem was jealousy...in 1 Samuel 18:7 the women were singing “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”  How painful those words must have been for Saul to hear... he began to see his popularity being eroded by David and jealousy began to eat him alive...jealousy is a terribly debilitating emotion...in Galatians 5:20 it is listed among the works of the flesh along with such things as immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, drunkenness and the like... reason jealousy is such a negative emotion is that it invariably arouses in us other negative emotions...look at 1 Samuel 18...case study in what jealousy does to a person... made Saul--

                  --angry“Then Saul became very angry...” (v.8)

                  --suspicious“And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.” (v.9)

                  --fearful“Now Saul was afraid of David...” (v.12)

      And at the root of Saul’s unfair treatment of David were his spiritual and emotionally immaturity...

 

  1. What mean to our lives today?...what’s the application?...what should we learn from this?...the lesson want you to see is not that we are to assume that anyone who is unfair toward us is necessarily spiritually and/or emotionally immature...the lesson is that we are to guard against spiritual and emotional immaturity in our lives which will lead us to be unfair, unjust, harsh, condemning, critical, and impossible to please...
  2. For when we live that way, not only do we make others miserable, we make ourselves miserable as well...I saw that in the man I described earlier...not only did he have way of making others unhappy, he had permanent scowl etched on his face which was just the outward sign of a shriveled, bitter inward spirit...
  3. We need to learn to pray what David prayed in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me.” (Psalm 139:23-24a)

 

II.  We are not to return evil for evil or mistreatment for mistreatment

  1. There is something in us which drives us to get even with, to strike back at those who do us harm... it is natural for us to desire to retaliate...
  2. David had perfect opportunity do that in relation to Saul in 1 Samuel 24...in that cave in the wilderness of En-gedi David could have easily taken Saul’s life...David’s men encouraged him to do just that...but instead, David merely cut off part of Saul’s robe and then showed it as evidence of his lack of desire to return evil for evil...
  3. This concept of not returning evil for evil (speaking of personal relationships not national policy!) is fully developed in the New Testament.  Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:38-45.  Also, Paul develops this them in Romans 12:14-21.  Those statements do not mean that Christians are to be the doormats of world.  They do not mean to be good Christian we must sit back and let anyone do anything he/she may desire do to us.  After all, David didn’t lay down and let Saul take his life.  However, they do mean that followers of Jesus should not be dominated by a vengeful, get even type mentality.  They mean that when someone does something, either inadvertently or on purpose, that harms or offends us, our immediate response should not be to find way strike back or get even or do even worse to that person.  And there is a good reason we should avoid that kind of spirit.  A vengeful, get even type mentality will inevitably do us more harm than person at whom we are striking back.  A vengeful spirit will eat us up on the inside and make us sullen, sour, unproductive people.
  4. WHEN SOMEONE HARMS US WE ARE TO SEEK THE BEST FOR THEM - Jack MacGorman in commentary on Romans makes this astute observation: "THE WORLD AT ITS WORST RETURNS EVIL FOR GOOD.   THE WORLD AT ITS BEST RETURNS GOOD FOR GOOD AND EVIL FOR EVIL.  BUT THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST IS COMMANDED TO RETURN GOOD FOR EVIL."  [LBC]  The clear teaching of the Scripture is that we're to do good to all people, even to those who do not do good toward us.

                        --v.14 ‑ "Bless those who persecute you; bless and  curse not." (Give them a blessing instead of a curse!) 

--v. 20 ‑ "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and  if he is thirsty, give him a drink..."

Just as there is a practical reason for not being characterized by vengeful spirit, there is also practical reason for doing good to those who do harm to us.  The most effective way of getting rid of an enemy is to make the one who is an enemy a friend.  We must be careful not misinterpret statement about heaping "burning coals upon his head" in verse 20.  The Scripture is not saying we should be kind to our enemies so they will suffer more.  The idea is be kind so that our kindness may move our enemy to repentance and reconciliation.  Most commentators say the "burning coals" refers to the burning shame a person feels when evil is met with kindness.  The practical reason for returning evil for good is that doing so may have positive influence on those who are the recipients of the good.

 

  1. Adrian Rogers, Mastering Your Emotions...Edwin Markham, poet... retirement...discovered banker had defrauded him...no money to retire ...bitter, angry, resentful...sat around for days thinking ways to get even...during that time, even though needed to, was unable to write any poetry...said God seemed say to him, “If do not lay this to rest, will destroy you...cannot afford price you are paying for your vengeful spirit...”...decided lay aside resentment and stop trying to do evil to the man who had so harmed him...amazing thing happened...poetry again began flow from his pen...wrote what perhaps became his most famous lines:  “He drew a circle that shut me out—heretic, rebel, and thing to flout.  But love and I had the wit to win:  We drew a circle that took him in!”
  2. And from David’s example in relation to Saul we can learn that we are not to return evil for evil or mistreatment for mistreatment...

Conclusion

1.   The lessons that David learned from Saul are clearly demonstrated in the life of Jesus, who is referred to as “the Son of David” at least 12 times in the gospels...

                  --who was ever treated more unfairly than Jesus?... the spotless lamb of God, perfect, without sin,...yet dying on a cross for the sins of others...

                  --who was ever more gracious in the face of unfair treatment than Jesus?...not returning evil for evil or hate for hate, but offering forgiveness to those who killed Him...

2.   May we learn and live those lessons in our lives...

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