Reading today is 1 Samuel 17 – 29. I will do a little backing up to chapter 15 for study purposes, and a reminder of King Saul’s sin.
Saul began his reign as the chosen, anointed king of Israel, chosen by God. His heart was right, humble, and honorable. He seemed not to be grasping for power, nor leadership, but was content working for and with his father keeping donkeys.
We have all heard the phrase, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” and we can see an element of that in Saul. He seems to have the intent of doing the “right thing” without obedience to God. A for instance; when God had given him commandment to go and “utterly destroy” the Amalekites (15:3) here is what he did,
“And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” 1 Samuel 15:7-9 (KJV)
Some might argue, “Well, he was at least partially obedient”. That is not much argument. Obedience is carrying out the command to the letter, which Saul did not do. No matter what his intent was he sinned against God and the kingdom was removed from him and given to another.
Saul was a man, after this that had much fear in his reign. He himself was fearful. He was afraid of a little giant challenging the army of God (chapter 17).
Then a youth who was a shepherd boy who was not afraid of lions and bears heard the giant bragging of his abilities and powers against the God of Israel. He became angered by this, and took up the challenge himself. With nothing but a sling, five stones and most of all his faith in God he faced the giant Goliath, and God gave David the victory that day.
David had already been anointed king to take Saul’s place. When Saul saw this he was jealous and enraged by David, hating him and trying to kill him. There is no honor in king Saul; only jealousy and fear and hatred. He no longer loves God, God’s Word, nor His plan for himself or Israel.
Even Jonathan, kings Saul’s son recognized David as the future king of Israel,
“And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, ‘Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.” 23:16-18
Jonathan was more a man of honor than was his father. He was not afraid of David being king. He honored David and he honored God. David was that man after God’s own heart. This was the king which God has used to bring the Lord Jesus Christ into this world to save us from our sins.
Even Saul in a moment of remorse says,
“Now I know for certain you will be king, and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand…” 1 Samuel 24:20ff
Yet he continues to hunt David to try and kill him. He, at the beginning of his anointing as king, experienced the presence and the power of God, but he lost it in that moment in chapter 15.
Let us love the Lord and His word; hiding it in our heart that we might not sin against Him. Taking the Living Word who is Jesus Christ, hearing Him, confessing our sinfulness, and our need for Him; calling on His name for salvation.