April 14: 1 Chronicles 9:35-44; 1 Chronicles 5:7-10; 1 Chronicles 5:18-22: 1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
April 15: 1 Samuel 17:1-58; Psalm 144:1-15
April 16: 1 Samuel 18:1-20:42
April 17: Psalm 5:1-12; Psalm 59:1-17; Psalm 133:1-3; 1 Samuel 21:1-15; Psalm 34:1-22; 1 Samuel 22:1-5; 1 Chronicles 12:8-18
April 18: 1 Samuel 22:6-23; Psalm 52:1-9; Psalm 109:1-31; 1 Samuel 23:1-29
April 19: Psalm 13:1-6; Psalm 17:1-15; Psalm 22:1-31; Psalm 54:1-7; 1 Samuel 24:1-22
April 20: Psalm 7:1-17; Psalm 35:1-28; Psalm 57:1-11; Psalm 142:1-7
What a week we have had delving into the Word of the Lord. I cling to many of the Psalms we read this week as comfort and strength. I especially appreciate the lessons from David’s life that can be gleaned. My prayer for you as you read through the dissertation this week is Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Yes, this is a prayer for you to finish this post as much as for strength to rise in you as you wait upon the Lord. I am so thankful to be walking out the hard pavement of life with you ladies, ever in His Word together. Let us finish the race well. We start this week with David’s first lesson in fighting the mighty Goliath.
I Samuel 17:47 “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” David didn’t need the finest armor that Saul could adorn him to conquer mighty Goliath. Often, we get in the way trying to do things man’s way when truly the battle is the Lord’s, and we must simply come proclaiming His Name for our victories. He will save without sword or spear, but with His unfailing Love and provision.
Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” First, may I just say how I love the Psalms! To what ailment or woe, do they not speak to our hearts? To what joy or what celebration do they not declare the mighty works of our Lord? A fortress and a refuge bring two images of protection to me. David did not need a shield or heavy armor because his protection was the battle fortress of the Lord’s protection. His refuge, his safe hiding place was found in Him also, so he could rest in calm. We all need His battle fortress of protection to fight against the evils of the day, and we need His safe dwelling place, a refuge to rest our weary heads. The Lord provides both for His children.
Psalm 34:4-5 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” When we fear, we only have to seek Him, and He answers so beautifully and delivers us from all anxiety. Just seek Him, and He will do the work. He not only promises that He will deliver us from that momentary affliction of fear, but every single fear—all of them. I included the next verse with this passage because I often have thought I can see in faces when people have spent time in His presence. Their faces are radiant, their eyes are clear. It is His beauty that shines through us when we seek Him and, like Moses, our faces glow with His radiance.
I Samuel 22:13 “Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse…” Saul’s jealousy over David’s rising power as a warrior caused him to rise against priests and innocent ones, and betray his own anointing of God as king. However, a bitter root rose up inside him and led to his eventual demise. In A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards notes “there is a vast difference in the outward clothing of the Spirit’s power and the inward filling of the Spirit’s life. In the first, despite the power, the hidden man of the heart may remain unchanged. In the latter, that monster is dealt with…He sometimes give unworthy vessels a greater portion of his power so that others will eventually see the true state of internal nakedness within that individual” Saul had the physical anointing as King, but his heart turned to stone, his soul betrayed his own, and his internal poverty of soul was exposed and depraved.
Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!” David knew Doeg the Edomite had betrayed him, not making God his God but trusting in Saul to make him rich with his promises of greatness. Trusting in anything or anyone besides the Lord or getting ahead by destroying others is never the path to success in God’s kingdom. His ways to prosper us look far different, as we cling to Him alone as our strength and deliverer.
1 Samuel 23:17-18 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” The two of them made a covenant before the Lord.” The friendship between David and Jonathan is pure and unlike Saul’s reaction of threat for David as the future king. If anyone had cause to not like David, it might have been Jonathan. Yet, he loved his friend and told him not to worry. Humble Jonathan and insecure Saul, son and father, were so different in their reaction to David’s power. Lord, help us to be humble, yet inwardly transformed people like David and Jonathan, and never abuse any gift You have bestowed on us as did Saul.
Psalm 13:1 “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Who among us cannot relate to David’s frustration? “Where are You, God?” becomes our cry of desolation as we wait beyond what be believe is even bearable. What in the wilderness is He trying to teach us? What in our waiting, does He purify from our souls to make us mightier warriors for Him? Why do we wait? Why would we expect deliverance, when He promises to carry us through the storm, not around it? In John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We will have trouble. But we will face nothing that Jesus has not already staked His victory over for us. We must wait, and often that is the difficult part. For the battle has already been won.
As opportunity would have it, David gets a chance to kill Saul, and thus make many people’s lives easier, including his own. He creeps up behind Saul, and at the last minute, takes a corner of his robe, rather than kill him. Even this gesture pricks David’s tender conscience as he says, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for his is the anointed of the Lord.” (1 Sam. 24:6 NIV) Note that David’s conscience came out of prayer. Now, there’s a scene. The moment the weary hideaways had waited for came and went, and David felt guilty for even cutting a corner of Saul’s robe! He dared to do anything against the anointed of the Lord, even if he was persecuting him desiring his own death. David chose to spare him, fearing God more than any man. It is believed this is the exact time that he wrote Psalm 57. Hear some of the words from this prayer song of David:
“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me; For in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness.”—Psalm 57:1-3 NIV
Saul is trying to kill David, but David doesn’t retaliate—not because he respects Saul so much as he fears the Lord. David trusts God to avenge the wrongs he has suffered because of Saul. David says in verse 12 “May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. (Verse 13) As the old saying goes, “From evildoers come evil deeds, so my hand will not touch you.” Christ puts it this way in Matthew 7:16 “By their fruits you will recognize them.” I believe David knew he would be just like Saul if he were to kill him. He knew the very characteristics that he hated in Saul he was at risk of becoming. He restrained himself and chose to not sink to the same level as Saul. It would have been so easy. David’s comrades who were with him rebuked him for not taking up his chance to get even. David didn’t listen. The Scriptures tell us that David was a man after God’s own heart, and this must have been one reason why. Again from the poignant book, A Tale of Three Kings, (p.25) Gene Edwards tells why God may have allowed this anguish to beset David. He states it very well might have been to kill the inner Saul in David. Sooner or later we often get a chance to strike back at someone who has wronged us. This may not be an opportunity so much as a test. True justice and wisdom often are defined in these moments. We can either fight back or choose to let God handle it for us, live in peace and not retaliate.
One important thing to note here at the end of the story, David makes peace with Saul and promises not to hurt him or his family, but he does not go back with Saul, but to where he came from. He didn’t bank on the mercy of his enemy that he had just spent five minutes reconciling with. Matthew Henry states “Malice often seems dead when it is only asleep, and will revive with double force.” It is dangerous banking on the enemy’s mercy. Better to bank on God’s mercy. While David submitted to the authority of God, he didn’t prostrate himself before Saul to respect Saul, but out of reverence to God. In the same way, when we bow down to authority that we do not respect, we may not be showing them respect, but God.
Didn’t you love this week’s readings! They were so rich with life lessons, interspersed with praises from the Psalms of David, and laced with the joy of meeting afresh the man after God’s own heart on the pages of Scripture. The Lord loves you so. He wants you to draw closer. Let us all be Davids—men and women after God’s own heart. Follow hard. Pray earnestly. Give Him praise. Meet with Him in His Word, and join Bev today at Cover to Cover for more reflections on these Scriptures.