Morning Light – May 20th 2015
Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Eighteen]: The Pitfalls of Promotion. The day will come that you will be promoted into God’s greater destiny for your life. In this chapter David is an example of how to survive and continue to please God when the doors of promotion thrust you into a place of power and influence. David’s passion for God and the favor of God upon him have a profound effect upon all around him. Jonathan and his sister Michal love David for the same reasons that their father Saul hates and fears David. If you have any anointing on your life you will do time in “Saul’s house”. Will you behave yourself wisely as David? Or will you falter? This chapter will point the way to the God honoring path.
[1Sa 18:1-30 KJV] 1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that [was] upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. 5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, [and] behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7 And the women answered [one another] as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed [but] thousands: and [what] can he have more but the kingdom? 9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
In the previous chapter David visits the army of Israel ranged against the Philistines. He sees Goliath taunting soldiers and ultimately engages in a contest in which Goliath is killed. Saul interviews David after the battle and typical to his nature disparages David in spite of his victory. Jonathan, Saul’s oldest son looks on at this interaction between his father and the young hero and his heart goes out to him in a special way. Jonathan is a unique and singular character in the bible. In spite of the jaded character of his father he is a godly and sweet spirited young man used by God on many occasions. Before David came on the scene he demonstrated the heart of David so it is no surprise that his “soul was knit to David” as the passage states. He was much like David and saw in David much that was lacking in his father Saul.
The connection between Jonathan and David is an example of what many describe as a soul tie. A soul tie is a very powerful spiritual and emotional bond. Once made it is very difficult to break even when it is needful to do so. From this moment on Jonathan and David’s fate is inseparably intertwined – ultimately and tragically leading to Jonathan’s death through no fault of either party. Outside the context of the sovereignty of God in bringing David to the royal house of Israel this subject of a soul tie should be considered and noted for our own benefit. Soul ties always involve certain interactions. In this case Jonathan gives David his robe and his sword. It is a covenantal act. 1 Cor. 6:16 states that sexual relations constitute a soul tie between partners even outside of marriage. David seems to have an understanding of this reflected in Psa. 23:3 when he speaks of God “restoring his soul…” Once a soul tie is initiated there a marked emptiness and sense of need in the absence of the parties involved. It can affect the person in fully giving themselves later on to a legitimate relationship no matter how deeply they may love their spouse. Without going in depth here simply make note that these covenants are made with words and broken with words. Often a time set aside to verbally renounce ungodly soulish connections of the past will bring breakthrough in present relationships.
In prophetic circles the Jonathan / David metaphor for relationships is often invoked and at times disparagingly so. I’ve seen ministers use the comparison of Jonathan and David as a subtle one-upmanship to “get over” on other ministries by suggesting that they are the “David” and that the other is the “Jonathan”. The relationship of Jonathan and David was so strong that it has influence today on connections between peers sometimes for good and sometimes for evil. There is an increasing number of theologians and activists who suggest that Jonathan and David were engaged in a homoerotic relationship. This is highly unlikely. Throughout the narrative of the life of David the disclosure of his failings, even murder is stark and apparent. There are no such disclosures regarding his connection with Jonathan.
After the death of Goliath the people laud young David as a greater hero than Saul himself. Saul takes David and refuses to allow him to go home to his father Jesse’s flocks. He will never again be the young shepherd boy. His public life has commenced and soon he will sit on the throne of Israel itself. Saul sees this and takes a page from the Japanese “Art of War” (although of course it is unknown to him). He sees David as an enemy and he acts to “keep his friends close and his enemies closer.” This is a characteristic of a Saul leadership. When a Saul leader cannot intimidate you he will flatter you. When he cannot control you he will try to hem you in with illegitimate assignments and responsibilities. When he can’t steal love for you from the heart of your friends and family he will act to insulate you from them in order to maintain his control. These are all the traits of a Saul leadership and is very commonly seen in Christian culture.
10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and [there was] a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall [with it]. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. 13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD [was] with him. 15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them. 17 And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the LORD’S battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him. 18 And David said unto Saul, Who [am] I? and what [is] my life, [or] my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king? 19 But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.
Now we come to an unavoidable controversy of exegesis. Did God as the wording of this passage suggest afflict Saul with an evil spirit? Did God send a demon to torment Saul. Is Saul’s deranged state God’s fault? Has Saul been innocently maltreated by God for His own ends? This viewpoint is not uncommon. In Christian thought there is a dualistic view of God that accepts that he can heal but also give sickness. That he can bless but also capriciously withhold blessing and even break His own promises. This thinking creates a theological quandary regarding God’s faithfulness because if He doesn’t hold Himself accountable to His own promise then He cannot be relied on at all and faith is destroyed. A deeper inquiry into this passage reveals that the “evil spirit from God” was not a direct affliction upon Saul from God but rather it happened from a permissive standpoint. Saul lived a life of obstinate defiance and disobedience to God all the while insisting that he was God’s faithful servant. As a result his actions eroded his relationship with God and made him vulnerable to affliction and in this case mental illness due to his own sinful choices.
20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in [the one of] the twain. 22 And Saul commanded his servants, [saying], Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law. 23 And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. And David said, Seemeth it to you [a] light [thing] to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I [am] a poor man, and lightly esteemed? 24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David. 25 And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law: and the days were not expired. 27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. 28 And Saul saw and knew that the LORD [was] with David, and [that] Michal Saul’s daughter loved him. 29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually. 30 Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, [that] David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by.
Jonathan loved David as more than a brother and now Saul’s youngest daughter loves David. Saul had promised to give his oldest daughter Merab to the man who killed Goliath but then reneged on his oath. He publically rebuffed David by giving Merab to another man – probably in hope that David would react and Saul would have an occasion to punish David in someway. Now that his younger daughter Michal loves David he concocts a feat of bravery for David that he thinks will surely lead to David’s death. In all of this David “behaved himself wisely” before Saul and before the people. He understands the intrigues that Saul is working around him to his detriment. Yet he still stands his ground on the prophetic promise from Samuel that one day he will be king.
In your lifetime you will have an opportunity to be both a Saul and a David in different settings you find yourself in. How will you treat those that God promotes over you? What will you do when God puts you in service to those that you will ultimately excel beyond? Lives are shipwrecked on these shoals because of poor choices. One New Testament example is Barnabas and Paul. God used Barnabas as a significant and influential leader in the early church to raise up Saul and launch his ministry. When Paul exceled beyong Barnabas – Barnabas wasn’t prepared to make the adjustment and ultimately died before his time. Make it your heart’s determination to stay faithful to God and flexible in your life’s assignment and not become insecure when others are promoted beyond you OR prideful when you are increased in ministry portion above your peers.
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