One of the hobbies that I have come to enjoy when I am at the beach is shark tooth hunting. Cherry Grove Beach offers such a great place to hunt for shark teeth. You do not have to have any equipment at all, but I use a sink strainer on the end of an old composite shaft golf club and a Tic-Tac container when I go out hunting. You can get the old clubs at a Thrift store for a dollar or two and the sink strainer at Walmart for 99 cents. Cut the club head off and use a galvanized wire to make a frame for the strainer. I use electrical tape to dress up the frame and zip ties to fasten the strainer.
The key to finding shark teeth is all in the timing of the tide washing through the shell beds where the shark teeth are bury. Some of these shell beds can be buried under the sand a foot or two deep. Cherry Grove Beach beach was built up from sand out from the beach in October 2019 so the shells and shark teeth are always in the process of washing back down. Yes it is fun and rewarding, but you must be patience and keep looking. Like any other activity the more you practice (just looking for the shark teeth) the more you will find. If you want you can find them just laying on the beach, but you will find a lot more in the breaking surf on the shoreline. However, every day will be different since the waves, wind and the currents are never the same. So enjoy, I know I do.
I Samuel 17:28 reveals how David’s oldest brother felt about his presence on the battle line. “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.””. These were the words that David heard from his brother and as we see David just ignores them. However, we know that Eliab must have been at least ten to fifteen years older than David since he was the oldest and David was the youngest. He might have taken the position that it was his responsibility to protect his younger brother.
However, there could be a lot of family conflict reflected in Eliab’s words. From Samuel commends in I Samuel 16 Eliab must have been a very commanding person. When Samuel first laid his eyes on him he thought surely this is the one the Lord has chosen. However, it was David that was chosen. As we saw in the life of Jacob or Joseph the relationships between brothers can be very tense. This must have been the situation between David and his brothers. As we see David ignores these words completely and not only watched the battle but was the man that God used to defeat the Philistines that day. But as we look at the words of Eliab, we realized why he was not the one that God had chosen for Samuel to anoint as the next king.
So as I look at this relationship that David had with his brother I realize why he was happy keeping the sheep in the fields. Here in the solitude of the fields he could develop a relationship with God by meditating on God’s word day and night. We must be careful about allowing the bitterness and anger of living in an environment of conflict effect the way we act around others. David, instead of confronting his brother, just walked way and sought the company of others who gave him words of encouragement. Exercising your faith among your friends and family can present many challenges. Walking by faith is the relationship one has with God and God alone. And yet the fruits of our faith can serve as a witness for others to see how God can work in their lives.
The next story line in the life of David is the story of his battle with Goliath. The story starts with the Philistines gathering their troops to met Saul and his troops on the edge of were each nation boarder. Because of this movement of troops David probably had to go back home to help out since his three older brothers were with Saul’s troops on the battle lines. The Philistine’s champion Goliath would go out every morning and evening to challenge the Israelite to send out their champion to fight against them. He did this for forty days. There are so many story lines to this story, but the only one I will touch on today is David’s faith.
Jesse sent David to the camp with the some supplies for his brothers and the captain of their thousand. While he was there he heard the challenge of Goliath and ask why no one would answer his call to fight. David’s inquiring about the matter of standing up to Goliath reached the ears of Saul. By permitting David to fight Goliath Saul was either trusting in David’s skills and abilities, or he was just glad to have someone who would take the chance of fighting Goliath. Either way, David took what was comfortable to him, which was his sling and five smooth stones. As he approached to fight Goliath David answered Goliath’s cursing with the simple phase” but I come in the name of the Lord of host, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou defied”. David was not there to prove himself as a champion, but to fight and bring victory to the God of armies of the Israel.
David’s faith prevail in his battle against Goliath and the Philistines. Like the dark clouds coming in before the storm God sends a spirit of a feeling of defeat among the Philistines as soon as they see their champion dead. Yet we see how this dark cloud of defeat that the Philistines were facing fired up the Israelite’s army with by seeing the silver lining that God had provided. David’s faith as portrayed in this story reflects how we as Christians must stand up for our belief even when the people around us seem to doubt our faith. David’s faith was a personal faith between him and God, that is the same type of faith we need to have. It is amazing to realize that the God of this universe can also be the guiding light in our life. And like David’s example of faith in this story, the effects of our faith can also have an effect on our environment. So let our faith shine daily in everything you do.
I have a note in my Bible next to I Samuel 16:18 that reads “God set the stage before David played for Saul. The little events in our life are really divine events that God causes to happen.” As we study this first time meeting of Saul and David we must realized that God had a hand in it. The Spirit of God departed from Saul and and evil spirit from God tormented him. Saul had abandoned God’s way. Saul was ruling Israel as his kingdom not God’s kingdom. As one abandons God they also abandon relationships with those that walk in God’s way. There were probably few around Saul that had a godly influence on him. We must remember that Jonathan Saul’s son who was probably one tat could have given him godly advice was usually away from him leading another garrison. So one of Saul’s attendants suggested to search for someone who could pay the harp to make him feel better. During the conversation another servant recommended David, the son of Jesse. He also mentioned that David was also a brave man, and a warrior and the Lord is with him.
As I look at I Samuel 16:14 “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil Spirit from the Lord terrorized him.” I myself have no problem with the phrase “an evil Spirit from the Lord” found in this verse. God is the creator of all things in the universe. He is the creator of Satan and all his domain. Satan chose to rebel against his creator and desired to be like God, however his rebellion end with him and a third of the angels being cast out of heaven. Rebellion against God was a decision that not only Satan had made but also a third of the angels in heaven with him. Soon after the creation of man Satan presented himself to Eve and convince her to disobey God and partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So all creation is from God, but when creation chose not to follow God’s way it becomes without God, or godless.
So Saul sent for David. His message to Jesse was simple: “Send me your son David,who is with the sheep.” As king I guess he could make such a request and my this a demand to Jesse. An interesting portion of this verse also mention that Saul knew that David was tending the sheep. We can not be sure if Jesse believe that Saul knew about the anointing of David by Samuel at this time, but it could have been on his mind. We are not given the time between the anointing of David by Samuel and the request for David to serve in the courts of Saul, but we do know that God had set the stage. So Jesse gave David a donkey, loaded with bread a skin of wine and a young goat and send him to Saul.
David not only played the harp for Saul, he also became one of his armor-bearers. Saul like David very much. So much that he sent back to Jesse and asked him to allow David to stand before him because he hath found favor in my sight. So David became part of the court that surrounded Saul. So when the evil spirit came upon Saul, David would play the harp and Saul would find relief. David was well received by the court of Saul which provided him with experience that God had planned for his future as king.
In Revelations 3:7b John writes this message to the church of Philadelphia “He who is holy who is true who has the keys of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens say this”. (KJV) Before I go any farther I need to let the readers understand that I believe that God opens and closes doors daily in the life of the believer. I have witnessed that in my life as well as others close to me. Yes we must go through the open doors, but when God closes a door it stays closed. As we study David’s life we need to understand how God directed his paths. God as the potter and David as the clay. The events that lead up to making David king of Israel were are planned by God. So let start the process of looking at the doors that the Lord opened up for David, as well as some doors that were closed to him.
David’s family had a very rich and interesting background. In Matthew 1:5,6 “And Salmon beget Boaz of Rahab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king” (KJV) we have David’s genealogy. David’s genealogy is found in several other places in the Bible, but this one is special since it also list his grandmother and his great grandmother. Both of these women were great women of faith, and yet the ways they came into the lives of Salmon and Boaz was amazing. The door of opportunity was opened for Rahab when the two spies for Israel stayed at her house in Jericho. This account recorded in Judges 2:1-24 gives us a full account of her faith. She could had turned the spies over to the king of Jericho, but instead protected them. She did this because she believed in their Lord, and asked for kindness to be shown to her family. As we see God rewarded her faith by becoming one of the five women in the genealogy of Christ.
The same can be said about his grandmother Ruth who could have been alive at the time of David’s birth. The story of her faith and her decision to chose to travel with her mother-in-law Naomi back to Judah is recorded in the book of Ruth. As we read the story of how Ruth meet Boaz we can see how God opens doors of opportunities to those who have faith in the Lord . As we study the Bible God has given us books such as Ruth, Esther, and Job to show to us how God works in an individual life and reward that individual for their great faith in God.
David had a rich history of men and women of faith in his family. As we read the Psalms we realize that David’s faith in God was something he aquired at an early age. So as the door opens for David’s journey into the courts of king Saul we must reflect on how God set the stage early in hs life by giving him such a rich heritage of faithful parents, and grandparents. The faith that Rahab and Ruth were great examples of faith in which David must have heard and possibly even seen early in to his life. So as we look to these great individuals that God has given us as example of faith; we as parents and grandparents should strive to be good examples of faith to our children and grandchildren. This is the greatest gift in life we could give them, so we must strive so that we can be a faithful witness to them.
Studying the scriptures will helps us find the answers to some of the the most difficult questions that has been troubling us. One of these questions I have had is why God chose Saul as the first king of Israel. As I explore the reasons for the selection of Saul as the first king of Israel I must reflect on the political issues at that time in Israel. The twelve tribes had greatly increased in population, but also there was also a greater force acting upon them and that force was to become more like the countries around them. Samuel serve the twelve tribes as a judge, prophet, and a priest; he did not rule over them as a king. When Samuel was old he set his sons up as judges. His sons however were not honest and walked not in Samuel’s way. Therefore the elders decided they wanted a king like the other nations that surrounded them. So God gave them a king after their own desire. This might be a reason that God gave them Saul, a king like the other nations. Early in life I was told be careful for what you ask for because God might permit it to happen. Saul was the type of king they were desiring so God gave them the king they desired.
After Samuel’s withdrew to Ramah he stilled mourn for Saul. However, God instructs Samuel to stop mourning for Saul seeing that God had rejected him. God then gave Samuel the task to anoint the next king of Israel. Samuel at this time was aware of the way that Saul was ruling and how he had warned Saul that his kingdom would not continue. He also knew that Saul was probably keeping an eye on his activities for Samuel as a priest was still a powerful force in Israel. We see in I Samuel 16:2 that Samuel fear to execute this task that the Lord had given him to complete because of Saul. So God told him to go and to use the occasion as an oppunity to offer up a sacrifice at Bethlehem. Another reason I believed Samuel was afraid to go was that the anointing would cause an uprising to take place in the near future. As I read I Samuel 16:1-13 I realized that Samuel was looking for an adult who might be able to take over the kingdom from Saul in the near future. But God had His own timetable. As someone who has follow the Lord for over fifty years I have realize that waiting on the Lord is one of one of the hardest to learn attributes a Christian can develop in their walk with the Lord.
Why was David in the field instead of at the feast? I believe the simple answer is someone had to watch the sheep while the family attended the sacrifice. David being the youngest was the best choice for this task. However, he was the one that was to be anointed so they sent to fetch him and waited unto he arrived. When he did arrive, Samuel anointed him in the midst of his brethren and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. Samuel went back home and David went back to tending the sheep in the field. Unlike Saul’s anointing there was no other events that happened afterwards. It was a probably a relief to Samuel. It is several years later that we have the next reference of Samuel. This reference is found in I Samuel 19:18 when David fled and escaped from Saul and came to Samuel at Ramah.
As we study the scriptures we must realize that the characters that we study are just like us. They have the same needs as well as fears as we have in the world today. We know that God’s hand is in the affairs of of this world, not men’s, but we tend forget this in our daily living. As the Lord taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it it in heaven.” God is in control. So when everyone around you is worried about the affairs of this world understand that God is in control still
As I look at Saul’s kingdom today before moving on to the life of David it is important to realize the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Christ in John 14:26 gives us this promise “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” We have this teacher in our live who will help us in our daily living, if only we study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needed not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I Samuel chapter 15:30 reveals Saul’s true desires: “Then he said; I have sinned: (yet) honour me now, I pray thee before the elders of my people and before Israel and turned again with me that I may worship the Lord thy God.” Saul had been given the commandment from the Lord to “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not” (I Samuel 15:3). However as you read the account of the story in chapter 15 Saul and the people spared Agag the king and the best of the livestock. As you read the account of this story verse 30 reveals the direction in which Saul would lead the new nation in the future. As verse 30 reveals Saul consider Israel as his people and God as Samuel’s God. He had placed himself as the king over his people not God’s people, and turned away from following God. The simple words of the Pledge of Allegiance today reads: “I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” we must remember that the words “under God” was add in 1954 by Congress at the request of President Eisenhower. President Eisenhower saw the need to make us a nation under the providence of God. Yet in I Samuel chapter 15 we see Saul as King move Israel from a nation under God to a nation that place self above God and left God as being someone’s else God.
Samuel and Saul parted ways after this event and Samuel never again came to Saul. Saul departed to his house in Gibeah and Samuel went to Ramah. Yet Samuel mourned for Saul even after knowing the Lord had rejected him. The Spirit of God departed from Saul and when it did an evil spirit from God trouble him. Let us remember the importance of the Holy Spirit in our live and let Him guide and teach us as we go about our daily routines.
After Saul’s victory over the Ammonite (I Samuel chapter 12) Samuel meet one more time with the nation to make his last speech to them. In I Samuel 13:24,25 Samuel ends his speech with these words: “Only fear the Lord and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” (KJV) This message was directed to their desire to have a king over them like the other nations. With this decision the people of God turned from the twelve tribes of God where every man did that which was right in his own eyes, to a nation ruled by a king. A point to remember that Samuel was not only a judge but also a prophet, seer, and a man of God. His authority as overseeing the religious matters of Israel did not end with Saul becoming the king.
As recorded in I Samuel 13:1-14 Saul’s self-will and his self-glorification caused him to be denounced by Samuel. It started by Jonathan Saul’s eldest son smiting a garrison of Philistines in Geda The message soon when out in all Israel that Saul had smitten a garrison of Philistines and the nation of fighting men were called together at Gilgal. In the mean time the Philistines also gathered their forces together to a point that cause the men of Israel to hid and flee to other places. Samuel set a time to offer up a burnt-offering to the Lord, but was late. So Saul offered up the burnt offering himself instead of waiting for the priest. When Samuel arrived and confronted Saul about what he had done, he answered that he had to offer up the burnt-offering to be able to rally the troops. Saul had been foolish and did not keep the commandment of the Lord concerning burnt-offerings which were only to be performed by the priest. This was when Samuel informed him that his kingdom would not continue. When you read these verses notice that Saul never shows a repentive heart.
Saul was given the opportunity of being the first king of the nation of Israel. With this opportunity also came the responsibility of being a true Godly leader. One that would follow God’s way and instruct the nation to follow this lead. However, instead of leaning on God and his promises Saul chose the path that he saw best. We see Saul in I Samuel 14:35 again building an altar unto the Lord to keep the troops from eating meat with blood so that they would not sin against the Lord. And at the same tiime he himself was breaking the law. Israel defeated the Philistines that day but it was under the leadership of his son Jonathan. His kingdom survived for now, but at a huge cost to Israel. For we see in I Samuel 14:52 that there were sore wars all the days of Saul and when Saul saw any valiant man he took him to be part of his army. The fathers of Israel lost their strong sons to the king.
Over the years I have witness many people who have taken matters in the own hands. No time to wait on God. In my youth I use to say, when you are good, you are good, but when you are great you are like me. As I look back now on the foolishness of such a statement like that I am amazed that God still loves me and worked in my life to change my walk with Him that gives Him the glory. For I am nothing without Him in my life. However, as I look at young people today who have the same outlook on live as I did in my youth, I step back and wonder, will they stay on the path of self-glorification or will they heed God’s interventions and return to walking in His way and giving Him the glory for all the victories in their life. Paul’s life was transformed on the road to Damascus when he faced the Lord. Christ said to him”Saul, Saul, why persecutest me” (Acts 9:4) and Paul who was called Saul at that time answered “Who art thou Lord” (Acts 9:5). Paul realized his zeal against the disciples of the Lord was wrong and he turned from his ways. God was then able to use Paul to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The remember the choice is yours.
I Samuel 8:9 “Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” (KJV) The decision of having a king over the nation of Israel so that they could be like the other nations would cost them their children,their land, and they themselves would become his servants. And then Samuel warned them that there would be a day in the future that they would cry out to the Lord to deliver them from the king, but God would not answer them. However, the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warnings. They wanted a king like all the other nations who would judge them and go before them to fight their battles. This was the setting for the selection of Saul.
Was the selection of Saul God’s decision or the children of Israel? In I Samuel 9:2 Saul is described as a choice and handsome man who was taller than any other man. There was not a more handsome person than him in the entire country. The decision to chose Saul was done by lots. First the tribe of Benjamin was taken, then the Matrite family was taken, and then Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But during this time Saul hid himself among the baggage. Why? There are many answers, but he soon realized that he could not hide from the Lord. When he did appear he was taller than any of the other people from his shoulders upward. What a sight for the people of Israel to see. A king that looked like a king, a man of great physical ability. Soon, after the anointing, Saul departed to his house in Gileah, with valiant men whose hearts God had touched. God gave them a king like all the other nations.
Saul’s first battle was against Nahash the Ammonite. Saul summon Israel to join him in a forceful way by sending pieces of the yoke of oxen throughout the kingdom with the message if you do not come after Saul and Samuel your oxen will be destroyed. The dread of the Lord came upon all the people and they came out as one man. This message summoned 330,000 men for battle. God gave them a great victory over the Ammonites and the nation renew the kingdom with Saul as their king. This was the event that finalized the passing of leadership of the tribes of Israel from Samuel to become the nation of Israel under the leadership of King Saul. In this event at Gilgal the tribes of Israel made Saul their king before the Lord. Saul was wise in the way he handle the earlier group of people that did not want him as king. Instead he offered up praise and thanksgiving to the Lord as the one who gave them this deliverance. Saul now started the process of building his kingdom with a strong army of 3000 men.
I Kings 15:5 presents David as a man after God’s own heart. As I have attempted several times in my life to start a study of David’s life I have always been drawn back to I Kings 15:5: “Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” These words speak volumes on how God viewed David’s heart and his life. In verse three of this chapter it is said of David as having a perfect heart with the Lord his God. The Hebrew meaning implies not sinless perfection, but a single-minded sincerity to God’s Word. So as I study David’s life from the almost one thousand references to him in the scriptures this verse will be my starting point. David’s heart was the human reflection of God’s heart to mankind. Even through his life on this earth was over three thousand years ago the words that David penned in the Psalms alone brings comfort to millions everyday. The words written by David are still being used by God every day on this earth. Therefore as I study David’s life it will be in light of how David’s words and actions reveals to me how to be more of a man after God’s own heart. Understanding the events that happen with the rule of Saul before David was anointed by Samuel to become King (I Samuel 16:12,13) will not only add an extra understanding to David’s life, but will also give insight on the way God works in the daily affairs of a nation. Samuel anointed Saul king because the people of Israel wanted to be like other nations. This was over Samuel’s objectives which was displeasing to him, but he took it to the Lord in prayer. The Lord’s answer to Samuel was to hearken to the voice of the people of Israel and give them a king, because they had rejected God and did not want God to reign over them. So as part of my study of the life of David I will include the reign of Saul. The reign of Saul is a reflection of rejecting God’s way and the making self the most important issue in one’s life and career. The reign of Saul can serve as an example of a nation under God, but not conducting itself as a nation living in God’s way.