Morning Light – June 2nd, 2015
Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Twenty-Six]: Are You a Saul or a David? In this chapter Saul again pursues David. This is one of several occasions where Saul is told by others where to find Saul. Throughout Saul’s reign he consistently refused to obey God yet will raise armies to react to what people tell him. Are you moved by God or by what people tell you? In this chapter we learn along with David lessons about how to move through life with a David mentality.
- And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon? 2 Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. 4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed. 5 And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him. 6 Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee. 7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him. 8 Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. 9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless? 10 David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
In this chapter Saul again marshals 3000 men to pursue after David. Throughout Saul’s life he is always provoked more by what people tell him than by what God tells him. God tells him through the Prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites and he proceeds in a half-hearted and disobedient manner. He hears a rumor that David is in Engedi and he brings together 3000 men to pursue him. Now the Ziphites tell him where David could be found and in spite of repeated promises to be a peace with David he again seeks David’s life. The word “Ziphite” comes from the root word “tar”. In our history there was a practice of using tar and feathers to punish or to persecute someone whether justly or unjustly. You will always have Ziphites in your life who know just how to provoke you to unjust anger and a reactionary course of action. Will you respond like a Saul or a David? Abishai wanted to kills Saul but David refrains. He doesn’t yield to what people are demanding of him. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was more influenced by God than by the pressure people put upon him to act.
When David decides to go down to the camp of Saul he invites two men – Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai, nephew to Joab. Ahimelech’s name here means “I am a royal terror”. However Ahimelech for all his bluster is not interested in standing by David on an apparent suicide mission. You will often have people in your life who like Peter said to Jesus “I will be with you to the death!” But when the pressure is on they decide to do something else. Abishai however is willing to go. His name means profitable. When Paul traveled with Barnabas they took Barnabas’ nephew with them whom Paul did not like and actual rejected John Mark as unfit for ministry. However later in his ministry he asks specifically for Mark because he finds him to be “profitable” to his ministry. There will be people who on the surface may appear useless and not helpful yet later will come alongside and stand by you when others won’t.
12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them. 13 Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them: 14 And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king? 15 And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. 16 This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster. 17 And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.
18 And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?
Why did David take Saul’s cruse of water and his spear? Previously he cut Saul’s garment and his heart smote him for doing so. However when he revealed what he had done Saul turned back from following him. In this case again he hopes that Saul will turn back from pursuing him when he once again proves that he could have killed Saul and did not. There is nothing a Saul mentality values more than their own life. When David makes himself known to Saul he taunts Abner for failing to protect the king. This is particularly humiliating to Abner because the Abishai the nephew of his counterpart Joab is with David. This interaction is telling because Abner no doubt is puzzled as to how David could get by him. Later on he recognizes the anointing on David and works to unite the kingdom to him.
After Jonathan and David himself Abner is one of the most godly and loyal soldiers in Israel. Yet he serves as general in Saul’s house. Jonathan also continues to fight his father’s battles and dies. Abner continues to serve the house of Saul and likewise later dies. You may find yourself serving in Saul’s house at your church or your work situation or some other relationship. Count the cost. As we will find in later chapters Abner could have replaced Joab and David’s right hand but he missed his opportunity because of his loyalties to the house of Saul. Many ministers and men and women with great destinies in God spend all their lives serving in ministries with a Saul mentality and never fulfill their God given purpose because they allowed ungodly loyalties to interfere with greater blessings God had for them.
19 Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go, serve other gods. 20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains. 21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. 22 And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it. 23 The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against theLord’s anointed. 24 And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. 25 Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
In David’s reply to Saul he reveals what he is learning about being king. People stir Saul to act when God cannot. Saul doesn’t really care what God thinks – he only cares what people think. When Samuel rebuked Saul in front of the nation Saul fell at his feet begging him not to shame him before the people. It didn’t matter that he had offended God, Saul was only concerned with what people think. He lost the kingdom for this very reason. David looking on knowing that he will one day be king is learning his lessons well. When he is king he will do it differently.
When you look at leadership and see a Saul mentality the point is not to criticize because you are not going to change that leader neither are you going to change the people that follow them. When you criticize a leader you only infect yourself with the same attitude you claim to righteously identify in them. Move on. Is there not a cause? Is there any shortage of lost people crying out for answers? Why focus your energies on those who will not listen – vexing your own spirit rather than just seeking first the kingdom?
David’s only interaction with Saul’s kingdom is to prove not by words but by his actions that he isn’t who Saul says he is and hasn’t done what Saul said he has done. I remember God sending me into a church situation where my father had resigned as pastor. The deacon who was running the church was literally demonized. God pressured me for weeks to go back to the church on a Wednesday night. Finally I went and the deacon blew up in a thunderous rage and had to be dragged literally kicking and screaming from the church. I turned to the people and said “God allowed this to happen to reveal what is in the hearts of the people. Do you like what you see?” The deacon’s wife walked up to me and slapped me three times in the face asking “do you like what you see?” In spite of God exposing the demonic spirit in the leader the church went on it’s way unmoved. They had no intention of breaking faith with their Saul leader. They lost out on their destiny and God’s plan. Make it your purpose when you are in the midst of confrontation to learn the lessons that David learned so you will be able to go on in the purposes of God and not fail to fulfill your destiny.
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