Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belonged to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. (I Samuel 17:1-11 KJV)
Goliath the champion of the Philistine took his stand against the Israelites with a challenge to take on any man from Saul’s army. It is interesting that Goliath referred the armies of Israel as “ye servants to Saul”. Saul has probably been the King of Israel for twenty years or more at this time. Samuel the judge that served Israel for forty years before Saul went to Ramah after anointing David. We know from I Samuel 16:2 that he feared Saul after Saul forceful ask Samuel to worship God with him. This was after Saul’s failure of following the Lord’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites. and the announcement from Samuel that God would take the kingdom of Israel from Saul. With Samuel out of the picture the nation of Israel was no longer referred to as the servants of God but ye servants of Saul.
Verse eleven portrays the conditions in Israel at this time as being in dismayed and greatly afraid. Saul was probably between the age of forty-five to fifty years old at this time. It is interesting that Saul could not find a man in his army to face Goliath. As we look at these eleven verses, we see an enemy that was defeated several years before now leaving the nation of Israel in dismay and afraid. This is what happens when a nation turns away from the way of God. Not only was Israel afraid of the threat from the army of the Philistines they were afraid of one man, the Philistine’s champion.
Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favor in my sight.
The Lord opens the door for David to continue his training as the future King of Israel. Like Moses, David needed the solitude of being alone tending the sheep to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. Paul’s also needed this quiet time to grow in the knowledge of understanding God’s way. Soon after his conversion on the road to Damascus Paul had to flee for his life to Arabia. It was only after three years later did he return to Jerusalem (Galatians chapter one). So as we look at this new stage of David’s life we must realize that he entered it with a firm foundation of knowing God’s way. This quiet time of studying God’s Word is a must in a believer’s life.
In these verses David comes into Saul’s court and soon becomes his armourbearer. We see God opening the door for David. David reflects his belief in Psalms 139 on how much he saw God’s hand as always present in his life. David’s early studies of the scriptures of seeing the hand of God’s presence in a person’s life could have been the story of Joseph’s life. Here in these verses from I Samuel 16 we see God opening the doors for the God’s chosen king of Israel, a man after God’s our heart.
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.” (KJV) 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 have rejected Me 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.
The theocracy rejected
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, land, and they themselves would become his servants. And then Samuel warned them that when they would cry out to the Lord in that day, He would not answer them. However, the people refused to listen to Samuel’s voice. 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.
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 acquired 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 his 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.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7).
In difficult times may the people around me see the real purpose of walking in the way of God. Here in Philippians Paul gives the Philippians the true meaning of living in God’s way and the gift of the peace of God which passeth all understanding. This is the type of peace that enables all who processes it to weather all the storms of life that comes their way. This peace is easy to achieve and yet seems so difficult for others Christians to achieve in their lives.
Why is this peace so difficult to achieve? Could it be that the human heart does not like passing over the controls of their life to any one including God. Paul knew from his own life how important it was to turn the controls of life over to God. For it was on his way to Damascus to rid the synagogues of the people following this new way that Paul came face to face with Christ. Yes, Paul thought he was doing this task God’s way, and yet he had no peace about it. When Christ confront him, Paul heard these words “I am Jesus whom you persecute it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”. How many times do we go about our religious ways and yet leave out Christ? Check your heart and mind. Do we have the peace of God that passes all understanding in both our hearts and minds?
This Damascus Road experience was an important day in Paul’s life. It was the day he learned that the controls of his life had to be turned over to Christ. From this point on the direction of Paul’s life changed. This happens when Christ takes over our life. Let the Spirit of God use the Word of God to guide your life and give you the peace that passes all understanding today. As the great hymn of the faith states “Just trust and obey for there no other way to be happy in Jesus then to trust and obey”.
Like David, Paul was also set apart at birth. I believe that as believers look back on the events in their life we can also see God’s hand directing our path. See Psalm 139.
Paul in Galatians 1:15-17 states “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.” Paul realized that his life was always in God’s hands. Just as God had chosen the parents of John the Baptist and of Jesus, he also placed Paul in the family in which he would get all the training he needed for the purpose of preaching Christ to the Gentiles.
As I study Paul’s writings, I realized that his one true passion was to preach the gospel of Christ. And when this gospel is presented and believed not only is eternal life guarantee, but a change also takes place in the new believer’s life. As I study the scriptures it is amazing how God prepares individuals for His purpose. The way of God is beyond our understanding in how He works in His creation. As Paul realized that his life was always in God’s hand, we as believers must also believe the same.
As we make our journey in this life, we can touch so many lives. Is the presentation of the gospel our one true passion? Is our true focus serving the Lord? Is today a wonderful, beautiful, outstanding day that the Lord has given you no matter the situations around you? God’s message for the world is found in John 3:16 and His patient in this world is not wanting anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). Do we reflect the gospel of Christ in our daily walk to others?
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 that 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, but 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.
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 an amazed that God still loves me and worked in my life to change my walk with Him. However, as I look at young people today who have the same outlook on live, 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. The choice is yours.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Luke chapter thirteen starts with those who were present with Christ stating a discussion about some Galileans that Pilate had mingled their blood with their sacrifices. Jesus asked them “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans?” To this Jesus reply Nay! He the brings up the recent incident of a tower in Siloam falling on and killing eighteen people. Jesus again asked them “Suppose ye that these men were sinners above all those that dwelt in Jerusalem?” Again his answer was Nay? The important lesson here is simple. But, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
The key to these verses is that all needs God’s salvation and this comes about through repentance.
Repentance is the first step in being right with God. In Romans 1:18-32 Paul makes the case at the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. As I read these verses I realize that I am guilty of some of the characteristics that Paul writes about in the verses. In verse thirty two he writes”Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” He follows this with Romans 2:1 “Therefore thou art excusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judges: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemns thyself, for thou that judges does the same things.” We are all guilty! Once we realize this there must be a turning away from this ungodliness and unrighteousness. This is repentance.
We live in a world surrounded by ungodliness and unrighteousness of which we are all a part of this whole. The first step in coming to Christ is not changing our ways but realizing our true nature and the ungodliness and unrighteousness we have in our life. It is an easy task to see the ungodliness and unrighteousness in the lives of those around of and overlook our sinful nature. However, the words of Christ in Luke chapter thirteen points to the need for all to repent and turn from our ungodliness. But how can I a sinful ungodly man repent and change my ways? The more I try the more I fail. True repentance is seeing our ungodliness and unrighteousness and realizing that we are on the wrong path and must change direction. How?