Posts Tagged ‘King Saul’


David continues his discipleship journey in I Samuel 26. My first reaction to this chapter was ‘what?’, what are you wanting me to see. David spares the life of Saul AGAIN, and Saul lies to David AGAIN. The only difference I could see between this chapter and chapter 24 were the setting (cave vs. open camp) and what David took (piece of Saul’s clothing vs. Saul’s spear and water).  I had two reactions: Why did David call out to Abner instead of Saul, and why did David even bother sneaking into the camp and risking his life if he wasn’t trying to kill Saul? Did he really think he was going to change Saul’s mind? Nothing had worked so far, so why not accept the reality of the situation. 

But I knew God had this in His Word for a reason. Then the Spirit led me to Psalms 54.

When the Ziphites went and told Saul and said “Is not David hiding among us”:

Psalm 54:1-7 O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

I was thinking about this, and the Holy Spirit struck my heart with the phrase, “they do not set God before themselves, Selah”. And in a moment I thought, somehow this is related to the teaching of Psalm 1.

So I mentally cross-referenced the major characters of I Sam 26 with Psalm 1, and lo and behold, I knew the Discipleship Lesson of 1 Sam 26.

Psalm 1:1-6 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

1 Samuel 26 is a study in contrasts, the contrasts between men who set God before themselves, and men who do not.

Just as Psalm 1 is a Psalm of Contrasts, contrasts between a Blessed man and a Wicked man, so I Samuel 26 is a Story of Contrasts between Disciples of Jesus Christ and men who are not.

Look at the Characters in Psalm One and the Characters in 1 Samuel 26:

In Psalm 1 you have:

  1. Blessed Righteous Man
  2. Ungodly Man
  3. Ungodly Counselor Walk
  4. Sinful Way Stand
  5. Scornful Seat

In 1 Samuel 26 you have:

  1. David
  2. Saul
  3. Ziphites
  4. Abishai
  5. Abner

Psalm 1 and 1 Samuel 26 are about a man who became a Blessed, Righteous and Mighty Man because he always set God before Him. The Blessing is because of God’s Unfailing Love and Mercy (hesed) applied to his life, Mighty because he stands in the Justice (mishpat) of God’s Word, Righteousness (tsedaqah) because of his decisions of whom to sit with.

The other man has become Ungodly because he turned his focus away from God’s mercy by following his own wicked counsel, and fails in the judgment because he refused to stand in the Justice of God, and becomes worthless chaff because he chose to sit and scoff at the Righteousness of God’s Word.

Psalms 54 says that David observed that these strangers risen before him did not set God before themselves. That meant they set themselves before themselves. Whatever they did they always had themselves in view, even if they did anything for God.

In Psalm 1 we know that God was always set before the Righteous man him because of what he delighted in and meditated on day and night – God’s Word! He was constantly setting God before Him through his meditation on the Word. That also translated into obedience, regardless of the cost.

We see the importance of Setting God before us in a concrete, visible and intentional way: Set means to have purpose. There is a Reason you are doing this.

Two examples in the Old Testament illustrate what it mean to Set the Lord before You.

Moses

Exodus 15:22-26 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

Samuel

1 Samuel 7:12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!”

David made a decision to set God before Him day and night through the Word of God.

The Characters of 1 Samuel 26

A. Blessed Righteous Man

David represents the Righteous Man. We know this because in everything he does, he prospers. (verse 3) And in the last verse of our text, King Saul Blesses David, and says you will do many things and will succeed in all of them.

  • David is the Righteous Man because of what he sets before him – God!

B. Ungodly Man

King Saul represents the Ungodly Man. We know this because the ungodly will not stand in the day of judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Saul admitted that he had sinned (in verse 21), and he lied about not seeking to do any more harm to David. He was right about making a big mistake. His big mistake was in not setting the Lord before him, nad as he knew and Samuel had told him, the Lord had left King Saul, and no longer went with him. Saul was nothing to God, just as the wicked is like the chaff of the wheat, driven by the wind.

  • Saul is the Wicked Man because of what he sets before him – himself!

To see this, I want to take you to 1 Samuel 13.  The Prophet Samuel had passed his torch of Leadership to young Saul. He had told him to wait in Gilgal til he came to offer sacrifices and bless his reign. Meanwhile, the Philistines were on the warpath, with serious firepower. They had 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and footsoldiers too numerous to count. The Israeli’s were so fearful that they hid in caves, in tombs, in cisterns, and many made the dangerous crossing of the Jordan to get away.

Saul had only 600 soldiers, none of them armed except him and his son Jonathon. The Philistines did not allow blacksmith’s in Israel, so there was no way to make weapons unless they went to Philistia and paid the Philistines exorbitant prices.

The Jews who did not hide or run away followed Saul to Gilgal, trembling, the Bible says.

So the pressure was on Saul to do something, or the Nation of Israel would be lost. Samuel was late, the pressure was on, so Saul acted. He told someone to bring the burnt offering and the peace-offering to him, and they did.

King Saul then proceeded to offer the burnt and peace offerings to the Lord. Just as he finished, Samuel walked up. Saul went to greet him just like nothing was wrong. Immediately Samuel said, What have you done? And Saul starts giving excuses. The people were afraid, and I needed God’s blessing, so I offered the sacrifices.

Samuel said, you are a fool, for you did not keep the command of God. Saul was not a Priest. He had no authority to offer a sacrifice. By seeking the Lord’s favor contrary to God’s Word, He lost God’s favor. Samuel pronounced that Saul’s kingdom would not last, for God found a man after His Heart to establish the Kingdom that someday God’s Son would inherit.

Saul set himself before God. Saul was an ungodly man, even though he was King, even though he was Jewish, Saul was a wicked man. God later withdrew himself from Saul.

An ungodly man sets himself up as the standard for his life. An ungodly man can believe in God, and prayed the sinners prayer. But a godly man becomes ungodly when  he sets himself before him, and not what God commands.

C. Ungodly Counselor Walker

The Ziphites are the ones doing the Wicked Counselor Walk. David was hiding in their land, the Ziphites were so intent on doing wrong to David that they walked 30 miles or so to tell Saul that David was hiding in their hills. They were brothers to David, in so much as they were of the tribe of Judah. Yet they wanted the favor of a wicked man so much that they were willing to walk all that way simply to give Saul their counsel.

What determines wicked Counsel. How do you walk? You walk by sight! Wicked Counsel is determined by what your eye is focused on. The Ziphites were focused on favor from the King. David had done nothing to them, but their eye was on themselves and what the King would do for them.

Ungodly Counsel is any counsel that does not set it’s eye upon God and His Word.

We are not talking about good or bad advice. We are talking about God’s Word and whether you are walking by sight or by faith. Wicked counsel doesn’t come from just really evil men. It comes from anyone, saved or heathen, that does not Set God and His Word before them.

A Disciple does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. A Disciple does not do the “Ungodly Counselor Walk”.

Two Types of Counsel in this World.

  • There is man’s counsel, and there is God’s Counsel. (Not a mixture or perversion)
  • If a Disciple is to keep on the path to Jesus Christ, he must walk according to God’s Counsel.

What is Counsel that Leads to Righteous Man Walk?

Jeremiah spoke to God’s chosen people these words in Jeremiah 7:23-24:

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

When we disregard God’s Word because it interferes with what we have our eye set on, it will produce an evil heart that is blind to God, and will produce backward walk.

Paul indicated something very powerful as he addressed the Ephesians for the last time:

Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

This was the church that 35 years later John would write: You have left your first love, and now you need to repent. You are still doing great works, but you are doing it for the wrong reason, you are doing it for yourselves. When you abandon your first love, you no longer set God before you in everything. You set yourself before you. Ephesus had changed the “Whole Counsel of God” into the counsel of man, counsel that leads Disciples away from God.

David had a solid understanding of the “Whole Counsel” of God. In Psalms 33 he wrote:

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

The Counsel of God stands forever, it never changes. His Counsel is in His Word, and it will never be changed.

Paul revealed what that Counsel is to a church divided and acting like the world because of a (self) fleshly focus.

1 Corinthians 1:17-25 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The Counsel of God becomes the Wisdom of God for our life when we seek it. Proverbs says we must seek after wisdom. But God says you don’t seek the Wisdom and Counsel of God with you eyesight. You seek it with your heart. (Give me your heart Prov 23:26)

The Counsel of God before the Foundation of the World was the Cross of Crucifixion.

There are several “Before the Foundation of the World” statements in the Bible.

  • Jesus came to reveal the secrets that had been hidden before the foundation of the world.
  • We will reign with Christ in a Kingdom that had been prepared before the foundation of the world.
  • The Blood of the Prophets was shed before the foundation of the world.
  • We were chosen to be in Christ before the foundation of the world.
  • God knew Jesus would die before the foundation of the World.
  • All believers have had their name written in the lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world.

Matthew 13:35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:   “I will open my mouth in parables;  I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Luke 11:50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love
Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,   “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ”  although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
1 Peter 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
Revelation 13:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  

Paul says you don’t find the wisdom of God until you embrace the Cross. You lift up the Cross. You Glory in the Cross! You proclaim to a selfish people that your God is a crucified God. He was made a spectacle to the World, and now, anyone who wants the Counsel of God, the Blessing of God, the Power of God must come and kneel before the Cross, and then lift that Cross up before the World, and willingly bear its shame.

The Cross when lifted up in Evangelism will cause most people to run away. Too many times the gospel is presented with “Me” in view. What do I get out of it? Ticket to Heaven? Sounds Great, Jesus come into my heart, but leave my life alone. I want you to stay in my heart, but don’t ask me to hold up this cross thing before me. Don’t ask me to surrender my comfort, my common sense for some bloody foolish cross. I’ve got to keep my eyes on myself. This is America after all!

Application

How has Jesus Christ impacted your life since you asked him into your life? Are you trusting in Him? Are you setting Him before everything you do, everything you decide? Are you lifting up the Counsel of God, His Cross, and dying to what you want and putting what God wants first?

Are you walking in the Counsel of the Ungodly? Are you walking only by what you see, and not by trust in God’s Word?

We take a step backward when we set ourselves before us. We take a step backward when we fail to set God before us and obey His Word. God wants every believer to set Jesus Christ before us in every situation we face. He wants us to no lean upon our own understanding, hold on to nothing of our self, but to lean completely upon Christ. We have Him alone.

D. Sinful Way Stander

This one may surprise you, but Abishai is Sinful Way Stander. True, Abishai is one of the Mighty Men who faithfully served David. But Abishai stood over King Saul and begged David to let him kill him. He said, I will not need to strike twice.

Sinful Way Standers can be Godly men, Christians. Psalm One says Blessed is the man who does not stand in the way of sinners. Abishai was with David in the cave. He heard him say not to strike God’s anointed. But here he was standing in the way of sinners, wanting to do what a sinful man would do.

The characteristic of Sinful Man’s Way is Standing, which refers to your Back. To stand with sinners for very long you have to put your back into it. Sinners stiffen their neck to what God says to do and stiffen their back and say, nope, that doesn’t apply to me. Walking in the way of sinners usually happens as you set your back to do what you want, even if it is contrary to God’s Word.

Abishai was doing that, stiffening his back and saying, lets kill this guy. It will solve all our problems. But David stopped him, for it was contrary to God’s Word.

Have you ever wondered about the term backsliding? You think it means sliding backwards, and yes it does have that idea. But how did you start to backslide? What led you to doing what sinful way stander does? You did not humble your self to God, you stiffened your back and said, No I will not bow to your ways.

Your Back will prevent mishpat (God’s Justice) from growing in your life. To set your house in order, to bring God’s Justice into your life, yu must prostrate yourself before the cross of Christ!

Sinful Way Stander turns away from God and His Word and His justice in Christ, and does what he wants. He not only sets himself before himself, but he turns his back on God!

Application

Do you know what it means to put your back into it? Have you put your back into your love of God and His Word? Are you kneeling before Him so that you can Stand upon Him? Are you kneeling before Him so you can Stand on the Promises?

Is your back sore? Do you suffer from back pain. Instead of going to the chiropractor for an adjustment, check to see if you are standing in the way of sinners, stiffening your back to God’s Word. The Godly Man stands upon the Word of God and his back grows straight to the Son, developing wonderful leaves and fruit to hand out to those who need it. His leave doesn not wither, and he does not fear the drought or the heat of summer. Whatever he does he prospers in.

The best cure for back pain is to humble yourself before God, confess your pride and your stubbornness and your selfishness, and then bow your back before Him.

E. Scornful Seater

This is Abner. I wondered why David was yelling at Abner! David says, “Are you not a Man? Why did you fail to keep watch over the King? Someone came into camp that could have killed Saul.

Abner had failed to protect his King. He had committed a sin worthy of death.

SCORN: lûs, ‏לִיצ‎ liys, ‏לֵץ‎ lēs: A verb meaning to boast, to scorn, to mock, to deride, or to imitate. This Hebrew verb is frequently found in the book of Proverbs (Prov. 9:7, 8; 13:1; 20:1), and means to deride or to boast so as to express utter contempt. The activity of the scornful is condemned as an abomination to people (Prov. 24:9) and contrary to the Law of the Lord (Ps. 1:1)[1].

How had Abner scorned his King. The word scorn conveys the picture of one whose words or actions express utter contempt. It could be a snide comment, a roll of the eyes, a back-stabbing move, and yes, falling asleep on the job. Abner’s actions conveyed his contempt for Saul and David saw it and called him on it! Abner was sitting in the seat of the scornful and falling asleep.

Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

David himself was later to understand what it meant to scorn God.

2 Samuel 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”

David’s actions with Bathsheba and her husband were treating God with utter contempt, and their baby bore the wages of David’s Scorn. A scornful Sitter is has his eye set upon himself, his back turned against God, and his butt firmly planted, scorning God and saying, Look, I have a right to make up my own mind by what I think is right.

A scorner is content in his own righteousness, and even justifies what he has done.

Abner never said he was wrong, but only questioned David’s right to address them. He revealed his heart as being scornful. Usually scornful people reveal themselves in things they say and do. They may act all Godly and Christian, but eventually their heart will be revealed.

APPLICATION

Are you sitting in the seat of the scornful? Have you defied God’s anointed? Have you said some things or done some things against God’s anointed. You have revealed the scorn of your heart, and you need to repent. Scorn is death to your spiritual walk and growth.

David was a man after God’s heart, and he refused to scorn or even strike God’s anointed, the one God had put in position over him.

We need to abolish the seat of the scornful, we need to confess and repent, and we need to humble ourselves before our merciful God.

Conclusion

Are you a Godly man or woman? Is God always before you? Do you meditate on His Word day and Night? Is your eye set upon Him and what He can Do? Is your back strong in Him and the power of His Might. Are you enjoying success that comes from giving out fruit – witnessing to others, encouraging others, or are you sitting on your butt complaining to others and scoffing at whats going on.

Whether or not you are believe you are a Christian, if God is not set before you, you are ungodly. You are chaff, you will not stand in the day of judgment, you will not be seated in the congregation of the righteous. Your way will perish.

The Lord knows the way of the Righteous. That means he attends to and provides for their way. But the way of the ungodly will perish.

The choice is yours.

As a Disciple you must choose who you want set before you. Do you choose to set God and His Word before you? Do you choose to trust Him and believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? Do you want to obey His commands to witness and minister unselfishly to the needs of our community? If so, He will be here, and He will provide.

If you chose to set yourselves before the church, before God’s Word, and walk in fear without faith in Almighty God, stiffening your back to the Commands of His Word, and scoffing at the righteous and scorning His anointed, then you will not grow as a Disciple, but will become chaff to God, and you will not stand in the day of Judgment.

Christianity is determined not by a prayer. It is determined by your heart, your eye, your back and yes, your butt. It is determined by your life!


[1]   Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 546.

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David Discipleship…

  • Begins with a Heart Decision
  • Grows from knowing the ways of God
  • Develops as we practice mercy, justice and righteousness

In a short period of time, David faced Goliath, King Saul, Doeg and Achish. God had David on a fast-track course of discipleship. It began with his decision to give God his whole heart, and seek to know God’s heart. It grew as he diligently applied himself to knowing the ways of God. But through his trials with Saul, Doeg and Achish, David developed into a Mighty Man of God. David developed because David paid attention and learned.

The lessons that God wanted David to learn and live he recorded in three Psalms that David wrote after those experiences.

I believe one of the greatest gifts you can leave your children and grand-children is a record of the discipleship lessons God has taught you. Do you keep a record of what God is teaching you? Do you take notes? If you are not paying attention to what God is teaching you, He will stop teaching you. Thank God David paid attention. The three lessons David learned after Saul, Doeg and Achish were recorded in Psalms 34, 52 and 56. Those three lessons parallel the three things God most delights in and wants His disciples to know and understand – hesed, mishpat and tsedeqah.

1. Fear God Above All

David realized that he must fear God above man. His heart was firmly fixed upon God. His heart feared God when everyone around him feared man. David knew the hesed (unfailing Love) of  God would keep Him in God’s care.

Psalm 34:9-11 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

2. Depend Upon God Above All

Early in his youth David learned that God’s House is a special place, and saw how God designed His house to be a certain way. David desired the justice of God’s house to be in his life, and to be in his house. To know God’s justice, David learned to depend upon God above anyone or anything in this world, including himself.

Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Psalm 52:8 But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.

3. Magnify God Before Everyone

David learned that God would provide His righteousness for Him. David learned that God was His hope and his righteousness, and that he must exalt Him before everyone, that they might know the hope of his heart.

Psalm 34:3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Psalm 52:9 I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Let’s see how these lessons are demonstrated in I Samuel 22 & 23.

Last week we left David at Nob, where Ahimelech gave him the Holy Bread and the sword of Goliath. After enquiring of the Lord, the Lord said to go to Gath and seek help from Achish, King of Gath. I assume God told him, because God wanted David to learn not to fear. David may have thought he might get some respect from Saul’s enemy, especially since David had killed their great warrior. Instead, King Achish seized David, and would have killed him, but David started acting like he was insane.

1 Samuel 21:12-13 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.

Jewish tradition says that Achish had a wife and daughter who were both ‘crazy’ and that is why he reacted the way he did:

1 Samuel 21:15 Don’t you think I have enough crazy people to put up with as it is without adding another? Get him out of here!”(MSG)

David’s House Grows

A few miles away David sought a hiding place in the caves of Adullam. It was close to his home in Bethlehem, and so his family came to see him. Word got out about David, and around 400 men sought him out.

1 Samuel 22:1-2 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress (māṣôq), and everyone who was in debt נָשָׁא‎ (nāshâ), and everyone who was bitter in soul (mar nephesh), gathered to him. And he became captain over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

  • māṣôq: A masculine noun meaning distress, anguish. It refers to hardships and anxiety (Deut. 28:53, 55, 57; Jer. 19:9); especially brought on from disobeying the Lord but also from general social and political conditions (1 Sam. 22:2). The psalmist suffered anguish, relieved only by following the Lord’s delightful Law (Ps. 119:143)[1].

In four of those times, the King James translates it “straitness”, and in each of those four times, it is talking about the kind of distress a person will experience when they are in such a horrible time of famine that they would have to actually resort to eating their own children (Deut. 28:53,55,57; Jer. 19:9).  It describes people who are so desperate that they will do anything.

Psa 119:143  Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

Deuteronomy 28:53 And you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.

  • נָשָׁא‎ (nāshâ) lend on interest or usury[2] – people who were in great debt, being charged high interest by fellow jews, which was contrary to the law.
  • mar-nephesh, “bitter of spirit,” used of Hannah, deprived of a child, in 1:10, and of David’s soldiers, whose women and children the Amalekites had seized (30:6). Cf. also 2 Sm 17:8. David becomes a hero for those who have endured loss or deprivation.

These men were bitter in their soul, feeling cut off from the mercy of God.

These men were overwhelmed with debt, that because of unlawful interest rates, made it impossible to repay. They had been taken advantage of by unjust men. Now they couldn’t provide for their ‘house’ – their families.

These men were in distress due to circumstances beyond their control. Their hopes had been dashed and they felt there was no place to go.

So these men needed to know mercy (hesed), they needed to experience justice (mishpat) and they needed to know the hope of righteousness (tsedeqah).

They needed a leader to restore the love of God to their heart, to restore justice to their house, and to bring rightness and hope back to their disillusioned lives.

“Herein David became a type of Christ, the Captain of our salvation, who cried, ‘Come unto me, all ye that are weary.’” (Trapp)

I believe God called these men to David, because God saw some great things in them. He saw what they could be, if they only had someone to show them. They needed a captain, a Captain that could teach them through his life. David was indeed a man on the run, but he was a man after God’s heart. And in so following and learning from David, these men were transformed into “Gibbor” – “Mighty Men”

Discipleship develops Kings, Priests and Mighty Men!

Jesus came to this earth to reach exactly the kind of men that flocked to David:

Luke 4:18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

These men were poor, they would have been held captive because of debts, and they were oppressed by circumstances.

Remember These Men. We Will Draw Some Truths From Them, But First We Have To Get To The Rock!

David took his family to safety in Moab:

1 Samuel 22:3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.”

Verse 3. “Mizpeh” signifies a watchtower, and it is evident that it must be taken in this sense here, for it is called “the hold” or fort (1Sa 22:4). The king of Moab was an enemy of Saul (1Sa 14:47), and the great-grandson of Ruth, of course, was related to the family of Jesse.[3] 

Abiathar son of Ahimelech, Joins David

1 Samuel 22:20-23 But Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, escaped and fled to join David. He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. Then David said to Abiathar: “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your father’s whole family. Stay with me; don’t be afraid; the man who is seeking your life is seeking mine also. You will be safe with me.”

With me, you are in a guarded place! I can see Him who is invisible, and as long as I fear Him more than man, He will guard me…If you are with me, He will guard you as well.

Psalm 34 “In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him…Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need…Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD”.

Would anyone in their right mind believe they would be kept safe simply by staying with the most wanted man in Israel? David had such a trust in God that he could boldly profess God’s protection. His men began to trust David as they saw God work!

David Demonstrated That The Fear Of The Lord Keeps Us In Safety

David was settling down in Moab. God wanted these men to be pushed to the limit as far as trust in God was concerned. He wanted them to trust  Him even in the midst of evil and danger. So God sent a prophet to tell David to leave Moab and return to Judah.

1 Samuel 22:5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

God did not want David to remain outside the country of Judah. God wanted to demonstrate His power to David and to the men who were with him. God knew that all of Israel would be watching. God wanted them to see His power! God was telling David, “it is too easy to protect you so far away from Saul. That’s not much of a testimony of my Greatness! Come on back to Judah, where Saul has thousands of spies to tell him where you are at. This will give me a great opportunity to show you how I can protect you and keep you”.

In fact, 1 Samuel 23:3 reveals that David’s men really needed to learn this: They told him, “we are afraid here in Judah”. They were not worthy of being called “Mighty” yet!

David Demonstrates His Total Dependence Upon God

David did so by always inquiring of the Lord!

Verse 2:  Therefore David inquired of the LORD,

Verse 4: Then David inquired of the LORD again.

Verses 10, 11 & 12  Then said David, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.  Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.”  Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.”

Finally, when things got really heated, and Saul was close on his heels, David did what we all must do, he went to the Rock!

Verse 25:  And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon.

Every time David needed direction, he inquired of the Lord. His fear of the Lord was so great, that he did  not want to do anything counter to His will. His dependence upon the Lord was such that He would not make a move without clear direction from God.

To those men who said “we are afraid here in Judah”, what kind of testimony did that provide them?

Here is a man of obvious cunning and skill, and yet he is always asking God what to do! David demonstrated that he trusted God in everything, trusted enough to ask God what God wanted before he did it!

A Visit from Jonathan Strengthens David

Even David’s need Jonathan’s!

1Sa 23:16  And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”

Strengthened – chazaq – to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore.  The form in Hebrew is a “Piel” stem, meaning an “intensive” form.  He really, really strengthened David.

The Writer of Hebrews used similar words to strengthen the heart of the Jewish Christian in Rome. He said: Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

It is a reference to the promise God gave Joshua just before he crossed over the Jordan to enter the Promised Land:

“as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage…Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Jos 1:5-9)

When things get scary, even overwhelming, cry out to Jesus Christ. He promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid. David, the man who feared God rather than man, sent a message loud and clear to his men – as long as we depend upon and follow God, we will be safe. We have nothing to fear.

  • God is greater than King Saul.
  • God is greater than his armies,
  • God is greater than all the spies.
  • God is a Rock that is higher than anyone

So we find 1 Sam 23:25: “When David heard that Saul and his men were searching for him, he went even farther into the wilderness to the great rock”.(NLT)

I’m sure David had this in mind when he wrote Ps 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I“.

David Declares His Hope and Magnifies God

1 Samuel 23:26-28 tells us what happens next:

Saul and David were now on opposite sides of a mountain. Just as Saul and his men began to close in on David and his men, an urgent message reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel again. So Saul quit chasing David and returned to fight the Philistines. Ever since that time, the place where David was camped has been called the Rock of Escape. (NLT)

You can see David there, his men all frightened, and David looking heavenward and praying out loud: “Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me”. Psalm 31:2-3

When they hear Saul’s army leave, the men heard David shout:

 The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation! Psa 18:46 

The Rock of Escape is the Hebrew word: Sela-hammahlekoth which is the combination of two words. Joined, they are actually translated “Rock of divisions”

Jesus is our Rock.

Paul declared that Jesus is our Rock, and He is typified by the rock from which water flowed after Moses struck it. 1 Cor 10:4  “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ”.

Peter declares that Jesus is a rock, but a rock of offence: 1 Pet 2:8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Most pictures of Jesus birth have him in a wooden manger. Archaeologist have discovered many stone mangers (or feeding troughs) from the time of Christ. Due to the abundance of stone and scarcity of trees around Bethlehem, it is most likely the manger Mary placed Jesus in was made from stone. It would be God’s doing if that rock came from Sela-hammahlekoth. For truly the manger represents the “Rock of Division”. Even our Calendar is divided by the manger. The very year we are in (AD 2011) means this is the 2011th year since the birth of Jesus “anno domini”. The day before was BC or “before Christ”.

I believe the manger was made of rock, whether in a cave or the lower level of a home, or a corral behind a home. I believe the manger represents this “rock of Division” that God used to rescue his beloved on.

Rock of Division

There is a Rock of Division that runs throughout the Old and New Testaments.
  • There is the Rock that Abraham climbed with his son Isaac. The rock that divided Abraham from trusting in God or trusting in himself. The rock upon which he placed Isaac in obedience to God.
  • There is the Rock on which Moses stood to receive the Law from the hand of God. The rock that divided his people from the world and separated them unto God.
  • There was a rock, a cornerstone, that the builders rejected and hung upon a cross, on the rock called Golgotha. That rock divided two men, one died in his sins and is burning in Hell even today. The other man trusted in the rock, and joined Him that day in Paradise!
  • There is a rock that was rolled away and a Triumphant Jesus Christ stepped forth. That rolling rock meant that Satan had been conquered, and sin and death could hold us no longer.  That rolling rock meant that no grave will hold us, no demon of hell will grab us, for we have trusted in this Risen Savior!

One day there will be a mighty stone cast upon the earth, and it will destroy the great whore Babylon, and all those who worshipped her. He that judges will cast Satan and all those who rejected the cornerstone into the lake of Fire for all eternity.

One Day a building made of precious stones will descend rom Heaven, and all those who have trusted in the Chief Cornerstone will find a mansion to live in for all eternity.

Yes Jesus was placed on a rock of division. He was not just a baby. He was not just “the reason for the season”.

Jesus Christ is the very Rock of Division. He is the Divider of Mankind.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

This Christmas, everyone you meet, every family member you hug, is on one side or the other of the Rock of DIvision. They are either clinging to the Rock, or they are clinging to something else, or trying to make it on their own. They either trust the Rock for their salvation, or they are lost and on their way to Hell. There is no in between, no purgatory, no second chance. We all face the rock of division. We either see the Rock of Jesus Christ as our only Hope, our only righteousness, and our only salvation, or we have no protection, we are trying to walk on sifting sand, sand that is slowly sifting to Hell.

Hurting Men became Mighty Men

David had a group of men whom the world had rejected. They were hopelessly beaten down, drowning in debt, and broken in soul. They came to David, a man whose Heart was given totally to following God. A Man building a House whose Foundation was God’s Word, and a Man whose Hope was in the Righteousness of God. As these men followed David, there lives were changed, they became alive to God, to trusting in God, and David called them his Gibborim, his Mighty Men!

They became followers of  El-Gibbor – The mighty God.

Mighty Men:

Fear God Above All – Heart

David taught them to fear the Lord above all I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Depend Upon God Above All – House

David built his house with men who became mighty because their strength came from Mighty God

Magnify God Before Everyone – Hope

Psalm 52:9 I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Do You want to be a Mighty Man or Woman? Do you want to get on the winning side of the Rock? Do you see your need for a Savior?

1. Come as you are.

  • Are you in distress over this life?
  • Do you realize you owe a debt you can never repay? Jesus died for your sins, sins that meant you deserve condemnation in Hell. He redeemed you, paid the price to free you from your sins. You owe Him a debt you can never repay. Come to Him.
  • Are you carrying a heavy weight in your soul. Has life been so unjust that you ache.

2. Come to the Son of David, Jesus Christ

3. Come and bring your Sword!

  • Jesus is building an army of mighty men and women willing to take on the world! Discipleship is never passive, but always offensive!

[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 654.

[2] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “1424: ‏נָשָׁא‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” nāshâ“.

[3] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 SAMUEL”.


I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God… 1 Kings 5:5 (ESV)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Psalm 127:1 (RSV) 

I Samuel 16-20 reads better than any soap opera on television. Imagine this script for the Young and the Restless…

Our show is set in beautiful Jerusa City, where Victor Saul has established himself as the King of the enormous Newman Cosmetics Empire. He is losing his mind slowly, and his son Jonathan is questioning his authority openly among the staff. Victor Saul sees a promising young man in Jack David Abbot, and takes him under his wing. Immediately Jack David lands Goliath Industries, the largest cosmetics account in the company’s history. Everyone is buzzing about the heir apparent to Newman Cosmetics.

Victor Saul, his mind turning inward, starts to question everything Jack David does. He even gives him impossible tasks to try to humiliate him. However, every time young Jack David accomplishes the tasks in spades, and his fame within Newman Cosmetics grows. Indeed, people throughout Jerusa City are singing his praises.

Victor Saul becomes more jealous, and his twisted mind begins to see Jack David as his worst enemy.

Jonathan, oldest son of Victor Saul, sees what is happening to his father, and his heart goes out to Jack David. The two become best friends. Jonathan gives Jack David his office and a key to the executive bathroom. He assures Jack David he will always have his support, and he will always have a top management place at Newman Cosmetics.

Meanwhile Victor Saul’s mind is getting more confused and paranoid. The medicine fails to work. He tries to kill Jack David not once but twice. Jack David, the trusting loyal employee that he is, refuses to see what is happening. Victor Saul even tries to kill his own son, Jonathan. Finally, Jack David realizes his only option is to flee Jerusa City and hide among the vagabums of Sin City. But before he goes, Jonathan and Jack David make a pact to always have each other’s back, and Jonathan, knowing that Jack David will someday become President of Newman Cosmetics, makes Jack David promise to always care for his children and grand-children.

Far from being a story line for a soap opera, this actually happened in the life of David. Before we examine the Scriptural account in detail, we must clear a hurdle of understanding about the ways of God.

Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and an evil spirit ⌊sent⌋ from the LORD began to torment him, 1 Samuel 16:14 (HCSB)

Most people stop here. They do not understand how God could send an evil spirit. That isn’t what God is supposed to be about, is it?

Understanding comes when we examine the Hebrew meanings.

(14) Now the Spirit <rûah – breath> of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit <raʿ rûah, ‘bad breath’> from the LORD tormented him. (15) And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. <bāʿat(h), makes you afraid (wake up bathed in sweat)>…(23) And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed <rāwah – A verb meaning to breathe freely> and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:14-23 (ESV)

King Saul had been cut off from God because of his sin, pride and presumption. Samuel told Saul that God departed from him, just as Saul had turned his back on God. God still uses our conscience to communicate with us, and Saul’s conscience was troubled. His sleep was haunted by fears, regrets, and pressures. The breath of God that is normally sweet to one who lovingly listens, becomes toxic and troubling to one who has turned away. God has “bad breath” and as such Saul was tormented as he would try to sleep. I believe Saul was having ‘panic attacks’ and may have suffered from “Panic Disorders”.

Saul Suffered from Panic Disorder

God assures us in His word, that when we consciously turn away from Him to do evil, He will bring our fears upon us:

I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.” Isaiah 66:4 (ESV)

Saul, when confronted with his disobedience by Samuel, admitted that he had fears:

“I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 1 Samuel 15:24 (ESV)

Saul confessed he was given to fears. Without God’s Spirit in our lives, we lose our peace of God. We are then left with our fears. All God has to do is whisper in our ears, revive guilt, revive hurt, and our fears start to overtake us. We have troubled sleep. We have panic attacks. Those attacks can develop into panic disorder. Our fears grow more intense. We are more withdrawn. We retreat from the outside. We drive away those who seem to trigger the fears. I believe this is what happened to King Saul.

I have talked with people who have suffered through panic attacks. They are not fun. You cannot breathe; you think you are going to die. I believe the evil Spirit was just the whisper of God to an evil conscience, a conscience racked with fears. The sweet breath of God became bad breath, for the peace of God had left Saul.

Somehow, the playing of David would quiet Saul, and he could breathe freely. Therefore, he could sleep.

Modern Medicine can be the Spirit of Babylon

One way that the Spirit of Babylon (modern medicine) has worked against God is by allowing people to cope with their guilt and sin through drugs. If God troubles our sleep, we just go to a Doctor and get a drug. There is no need to repent and humble ourselves before God. There is no need to go to someone we have offended. There is no need to heal a family rift. We simply take pills to sooth our conscience and mask the bad breath of God.

I realize that many Christians take sleeping pills or something to help them sleep at night. However, I firmly believe in the power of the Word of God.

  • … He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)
  • Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
  • (31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)

Instead of first seeking a medicinal solution to your troubled sleep, seek God and the sleep He gives to those He loves. Perhaps there is something between you and someone else that is blocking this love. Relationships with people cause us to sleep outside the love of God, and open our hearts to fears.

If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)

Restless Sleep is often a signal that there is a strained relationship, a secret sin, a lack of trust that is causing a rift in your fellowship with God. Instead of going to the Doctor, and popping a pill, James gives us this advice:

… Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 (ESV)

 Sweet Breath vs Bad Breath

Without the Holy Spirit in your life bringing the sweetness of God to your heart, God has bad breath <raʿ rûah>. His breath upon you brings your fears to mind. He awakens our conscience to torment us. Only when we LOVE Him does His breath turn good and sweet! Romans 8:28 is a conditional promise. The condition required for all things to work together for god is that you LOVE God!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (ESV)

Romans 8:28 is a promise to those who love and submit to God. If you view the events of your life without Scriptural Glasses, things will not make sense. You will live a hurt and bitter life. God’s Glasses given to those who love Him will allow you to see how He is working things for your good!

I do think Saul had some serious problems. His mind was scrambled to the point he forgot who David was. Even though Saul knew who David’s father was (read I Samuel 16:18-23) King Saul had to ask:

As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.”  And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” 1 Samuel 17:55-58 (ESV)

For some reason King Saul could not remember who David was, even though in Chapter 16 he had sent to Jesse for permission to have David stay with him. Saul failed to recognize David. So he asked him, whose son are you?

David’s Humble Response

David, with blood still on his hands, the head of Goliath over against the wall, holding the giant sword, could have done a goal line dance and said, It don’t matter whose son I am, because Samuel anointed me the next King of Israel! I am coming for your throne! But no, that was not David, for he was after the heart of God. He simply, humbly and proudly declared himself the son of Jesse, Saul’s servant.

As we looked at David’s battle with Goliath, we saw a young man zealous for God. A young man whose very heart was bound up with the reputation of God. He simply could not tolerate Goliath treating His God that way.

Right away, we understand that we must plan to face Goliath’s if we are to be disciples for Jesus. Goliath is the World, the Flesh. Goliath is Babylon… Goliath is Satan condemning us, trying to humiliate us and render us defeated. Goliath represents everything this world will use to try to defeat you, or to turn you away from discipleship. Fame, Money, Strength, Status…Goliath wants to destroy your heart’s desire for God. Goliath wants you to fear, distrust, and doubt the power of God.

To conquer Goliath, we must be armed with the Unfailing Love of God. We must be so in love with God that His desires strengthen our desires.

David defeated the Giant of the world, and proved that his heart remained bound to the heart of God. David never saw the next Battle coming…

Saul is Coming

The Next Discipleship Hurdle we encounter is the one you never see coming. Goliath, sure, but Saul? God knew that things were going to get worse for his young disciple. He knew that David would need something more to get him though his troubles with King Saul.

We Need Jonathan to Face Saul

Yehônātān- from (Yehovah) and (nathan); Jehovah-given[1] Jonathon was Jehovah-Given.

David was about to experience the worst imaginable betrayal. He was going to experience the gross injustice. Most men would crumble in the face of what David was to experience.

But for now, God gave to David Jonathon…

The Justice of God is about building His House, His Temple. One day Christ will reign on earth, and mishpat will be known throughout the world. The house of the righteous will flourish.

But for now, God gave to David Jonathan…

Injustice reigns in this world. The cries of orphans, of persecuted, of enslaved ascend to heaven. The house of the righteous is crumbling. The kings of this world have lifted their fist at God and said we do not need you. Justice is corrupt and only for the favored. Who will reach out to the oppressed, the forgotten?

But for now, God gave to David Jonathan…

I want to look at the Scriptural accounts of David and Jonathan, and perhaps we can discover how God used this relationship to effect mishpat, and in so doing build David’s House. From 1 Samuel:

1.   Jonathon’s Soul was knit to David

18:1 The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

2.   David was placed under the Authority of Saul’s House

18:2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.

3.   Jonathon made a covenant with David

18:3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

4.   Jonathon stripped himself and gave everything to David

18:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

  • Jonathon was commander of Saul’s army. (13:2) By giving his ‘robe’ to David, he was making David the commander of the Army.

5.   David had success in battle

18:5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

6.   Saul began to eye David and treat him badly

18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day on. (10) The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. (11) And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice. 1 Samuel 18:9-11 (ESV)

7.   Saul retreated into his own jealous world

18:15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. (16) But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them. 1 Samuel 18:15-16 (ESV)

8.   Saul devises a plot to do evil to David

18:21: Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law”. 1 Samuel 18:21 (ESV)

9.   David responds

18:27 David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king that he might become the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.

10.  Saul makes David his enemy

 18:28 But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, (29) Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually. 1 Samuel 18:27-29 (ESV)

11.  Saul decides to Kill David

19:1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. 1 Samuel 19:1 (ESV)

12.  David finally flees to the Priest.

19:18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. (19) And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 1 Samuel 19:18-19 (ESV)

13.  David flees to Jonathon

20:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 1 Samuel 20:1 (ESV)

14.  David seeks Jonathan’s Help

20:3 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” (4) Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 1 Samuel 20:3-4 (ESV)

15.  Jonathan & David Covenant Together

20:13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. (14) If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; (15) and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” (16) And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD take vengeance on David’s enemies.” (17) And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 1 Samuel 20:13-17 (ESV)

16.  Saul Makes his Deadly Intentions Known

20:32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” (33) But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. (34) And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him. 1 Samuel 20:32-34 (ESV)

17.  David and Jonathan say Farewell

20:41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. (42) Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’ ” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. 1 Samuel 20:41-42 (ESV)

Application for Disciples

Who Does Saul Represent?

Saul was the King, but a King under the curse of sin. Therefore, Saul represents all those people we will encounter, who because of their position and their actions, would cause us to doubt the power and provision of God. Saul represents the Injustices of the World!

One day Jesus Christ will reign and justice will be throughout the world. But until that day, we are faced with living in a world that is under the curse of sin. That curse means that we will encounter injustice, even from people in authority over us.

You will be hurt by parents, by teachers, by administrators, by employers, by family, by Pastors. Injustice will try to kill your love for God. Injustice will depress, will defeat, will trip you up to the point of giving up.

Imagine young David, a hero in the mind of most of his brothers, anointed by Samuel to be the next King, having to flee Jerusalem to save his very life. The one trying to kill him is his King, the Lord’s anointed. He flees to Samuel, and Samuel cannot do anything.

Saul represents the injustices a young disciple will encounter as he sets out to follow God. Saul was protected in his position by God’s word. David, fearing God, could do nothing but run.

Along into this Injustice came Jonathan. He was Given to David by God.

Who Does Jonathan Represent?

Jonathan was a gift of God. He knit his soul to David; He gave up his robe, his reputation, his everything for the sake of David. He gifts to David. Those five gifts are a picture of grace, grace given to endure the injustice David was about to experience.

So who do you think Jonathan represents? Yes, Jesus Christ.

Jonathan is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (NIV)

Sometimes the trials of life become so great that we begin to doubt the power of God. We wonder if He really cares about what we are going through. When the ones who are causing the pain are one who are supposedly Christians, or parents, or children, or relatives, we want to give up on this God who obviously doesn’t care to set things right.

Jonathan’s Covenant

If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD take vengeance on David’s enemies”. And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 1 Samuel 20:14-17 (ESV)

Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’ ” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. 1 Samuel 20:42 (ESV)

What Discipleship Lessons Does David Teach Us?

1. Don’t Turn Away

Psalm 44:15-19 provides insight into David’s character

(15)  My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me, (16)  For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger. (17)  All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. (18)  Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; (19)  Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

Though David was sore broken in the place of dragons, he never forgot God, he never turned back, he always kept his feet on the path God had for him! How many modern day Christians can say the same!

2. Build Your House With the Forsaken

David did not allow the injustices of Saul to turn him away from God’s love and promises. The love of his friend Jonathan was a constant encouragement during the dark time of his flight from Saul. The words of David’s Covenant were never forgotten, and provided motivation to endure until God fulfilled His promises. Once justice was restored to David’s life, he immediately returned to building his house and honoring his word!

And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Samuel 9:1 (ESV)

“ …Is there no one still left…to whom I can show God’s kindness?” – 2 Samuel 9: 3

  • Ziba, the servant of Saul’s household, is brought before David and asked who is left of Saul’s family. He replies that there is someone, a man by the name of Mephibosheth.
  • He was born “Mireb Baal” meaning “opponent of Baal.”
  • Now his name was different. Mephibosheth meant “Son of Shame” all because that one day when everything changed.

“He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan [‘s death] came from Jezreel”. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth” – 2 Samuel 4:4

There are a great many people like Mephibosheth. They have been injured by someone else’s stumbling. They have been injured by injustice, by a Saul.

(The lameness we inflict may not be physical. It may be spiritual or emotional. Sometimes we injure without knowing what we have done to someone else.)

Ziba tells David that Mephibosheth is living in Lo Debar (literally “Place of no pasture”), far beyond the River Jordan.

David shows HESED MISHPAT & TSEDAQAH

David has Mephibosheth brought before him and then begins one of the most beautiful exchanges of the Old Testament:

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.

David said “Mephibosheth!”

“Your servant,” he replied.

“Do not be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

DAVID: He says, “Do not fear…” (Ever heard that phrase before?) The three promises include the man, the land, and the clan. When David did so, he was practicing the three things in which God delights (Jer 9:24)

  • HESED: The Man: David will show loving-kindness (unmerited favor) to Mephibosheth because of David’s relationship with Jonathan.
  • MISHPAT: The Land: David will restore to him all the land that Saul’s house owned.
  • TSEDAQAH: The Clan: David will treat him like his own son, including him in his family and allowing him to eat at his table.

These were all unconditional promises. Mephibosheth did not ask for them; they all came out of the goodness of David’s heart.

Conquering Saul is Done by Building Your House

Consider the Poor, David says.

Psa 41:1-2 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.  The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.

Consider Your Children

Psa 37:28  For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

Don’t Let Saul Give You An Excuse to Turn Away

Psa 119:121  I have done justice and righteousness: Leave me not to mine oppressors.

Discipleship Insight

Understanding that God provided a friend who has brought you into his house, so that he might help to make things right in a messed up world. Then, when you are made right through His love, it is your job to bring someone unfortunate into your house, and make things right for them.

Jesus came into this sin-sick world and called out: Is there anyone left to whom I can show the kindness of God?

Then He sought out the poor, the broken, the blind, the lame, and the needy. He brought them into His house and showered His love upon them through His death upon the Cross. Now He is in Heaven, building many mansions, calling to us: Is there anyone left who can show the Kindness of God to a lost and dying world?

Covenant Love

  • Comfort in time of Confusion and Uncertainty
  • Encouragement when things are going against us
  • Refuge in the midst of a Storm

Covenant Love

  • Sees us through the injustices of Life
  • The bridge to a forgiving heart
  • Enables us to Endure

Covenant Love

  • Seeks to provide Justice where there is injustice
  • Opens our Heart to the Lame and Undeserving
  • Enlarges its House with the poor and needy.

Jesus knit His Soul with ours. He wants us to reach out for His Lost Children

A trucker was yawning as he passed through rural North Carolina on Interstate 95. Only two more hours of driving, and then a good meal, some TV, a call home, and a warm bed. Most days on the road were like that–not quite as glamorous as some  Country-western singers suggest. A brown sedan entered the highway just ahead and began weaving back and forth between lanes, causing the trucker to throw his rig into a lower gear. At first he thought it was a drunk, but as the trucker came closer, he saw it was an older man shaking uncontrollably. The trucker was wide awake now. The car swerved violently, whipping its CB antenna like a fishing rod. “That’s it,” thought the trucker, “the CB.” So he called in, “You in the brown Chevy, if you can hear me, pull over. Pull off the road!” Amazingly, the car slowed down and pulled to a stop alongside the road. The trucker pulled up behind him and jumped out of his cab. The elderly man staggered from his car and fell into the trucker’s hands. On a rock on the side of Interstate 95, the older man poured out his story of months of fear and pain that accompanied the illness of his only daughter. He was returning now from the hospital where she had revealed that she had decided to cease any further treatment. In the hospital, each put on a face of stoic strength. But out on the road, it had suddenly come over him, and waves of tears and grief overwhelmed him. The encounter was over in less than an hour. Wrenching sobs gave way to serenity, to a warm embrace, and to a new resolve to share pain rather than deny it.

 The trucker offered a simple prayer and they resumed their journeys. For 50 miles they traveled in tandem, the young trucker using the CB to voice words of encouragement to his new friend. Finally, the trucker announced his exit was next. The trucker said farewell, and asked if his friend could make it the rest of the way. Suddenly, a third voice could be heard across the airwaves. “Breaker 19, don’t worry, good buddy. Go your way. I’ll see him home!” Glancing in his rearview mirror, the trucker saw a livestock truck move into the exit lane behind the brown sedan. –From a sermon by Norm Lawson[2]

Remember the Forgotten Children of Eritrea living in the Mai Ayni Refugee Camp.


[1] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “3083”


David Acting Like an Elder BrotherElder Brothers usually think they have things figured out. Even if things get tough they tend to hunker down and press on. Elder Brothers tend to see obstacles as big stepping stones. It might be big and obtrusive, but they’ll figure out a way to go around or even climb it if they have to. While David was a younger brother, when it came to Goliath, he acted like an Elder Brother. Goliath was just a big giant of an obstacle that could be brought down with a well-placed stone.

david anointed (2)Though the people sang his praises and Samuel anointed him with oil, David was not ready to lead his people. God required a man who was truly after His Heart. Saul had failed to obey. David showed the heart of a King, a man after God’s heart. But all Elder Brothers must learn something that David still needed to learn. God took David to a place that was so dark, it was impossible to see a way out or over or around. God took David to the deepest darkest cave, and in that cave David learned what every Elder Brother must learn.

Isaiah 50:10 says ” He that walks in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay (lean) upon His God.” Most Elder Brothers in such a dire situation start to light their own fires as verse 11 indicates. And Elder Brothers who walk in the light of their own fires will lie down in torment as God’s Word says. David could have kindled his own fire, and Saul and his army would have discovered him and killed him.

caveDavid did a very unusual thing for an Elder Brother. David did what EVERY Elder Brother must do regardless of the obstacle facing us. If we fail to do this, we will fail to know the Father’s heart. David wrote in Psalms 57 what he did in this dire situation deep in the blackness of the cave:

My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Psalms 57:4-5

David did two things: 1. He asked God to come between Him and the obstacle. 2. He asked God to be glorified in the situation. (REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME!)

David did not ask God to rescue him, nor did he ask God to get rid of the obstacle. He simply said “God, I don’t want to see the obstacle except as you see it. I want you to be before my eyes”. David took his focus off the problem and placed it on God his Father. Then He simply said, “Be exalted O God, above the heavens”. I don’t care how this situation works out as long as YOU O GOD are exalted through it!

David-Surrounded-in-the-CavThis is an Elder Brother after the heart of His Father!

When your way gets dark, when obstacles are all around you; don’t be an Elder Brother who starts lighting your own fires to see what you can figure out. Be like David, and ask the Father to be exalted and take charge of the situation. Trust in your Father, and lean upon Him! He will reveal His heart to you!

Father: Be exalted in every situation I am facing. May I not react as a typical Elder Brother, but may I be a man after your Heart!



authorityhonorrewardHonor is a lost thing in America. Everyone is in love with themselves, they seek their own. We have entered an age of skepticism. There is even a new term for it: “Snark”, a combination of snide and remark. A snark is “biting, cruel humor or wit, commonly used to verbally attack someone or something.” Snark is a way of life in political commentary, news reports, editorial writings. We have made “dis-honor” funny and even trendy! God revealed to me in a dream (nightmare actually) that this age of “snarkism” is the fault of that great American show ‘Leave it to Beaver’.eddie-haskell

Most of you are thinking…didn’t Beaver honor his parents and Miss Landers? Yes, he did. But in episode #six America was introduced to a guy we know as Eddie Haskell. Eddie Haskell was the original “Snark”. He made dishonor funny. He made disrespect OK and even cool. The disappearance of Honor and respect for authority began in 1957 with the introduction of Eddie Haskell. It has been downhill ever since. Here are some examples of Eddie-isms:

Eddie Haskell: Wally, if your dumb brother tags along, I’m gonna…

Oh, good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I was just telling Wallace how pleasant it would be for Theodore to accompany us to the movies. -“Leave It to Beaver” (1957)

Eddie Haskell: Gee, your kitchen always looks so clean.

June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.

Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here. -“Leave It to Beaver” (1957)

full-reward1I pray that we will rediscover the value of Honor in our lives, in finding God’s Pathway of Blessing. In order to restore Honor to our lives, we need to remember that God’s ways are so much higher than ours, but they are so much better. If we experience and know God’s ways, if we submit to following God’s ways, God promises to show us His Pathway of Blessing. God promises to Reward our lives with His Rewards. Consider again what John wrote: Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. (2 John 1:8)

I’m not talking about heavenly rewards. I’m talking of the rewards of our Life in Jesus Christ! Jesus came to give us an abundant standard of living! There is meant to be rewards for following Jesus! We’ve lost sight of the Power of the Path of Following Jesus! When the apostles preached the doctrine of Jesus, people were changed, lives were energized, rewards were poured out upon the people. It was powerful to be a follower of Jesus Christ. That Power affected their work, their home life, their marriage, their possessions, their way of living. it also affected their outlook toward struggles, toward persecutions, toward thieves, towards personal losses. Why did followers of Christ subject their lives to such drastic changes, changes that effected every aspect of their life? Because of the REWARDS!

God’s Way is a Pathway of Blessing, it is a Pathway of Prospering.

The Honor Principal

  • Honor: “to value, see as weighty and precious”
  • To honor a person in authority means to regard them in your heart as well as in your actions with respect and even reverence.
  • Webster’s “to revere, respect, to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to”
  • Submission to authority is an aspect of true honor.

False Honor

To say we honor authority and not submit and obey it is to deceive ourselves. Jesus said “Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say?” The Roman Centurion was a man who submitted to authority. It was a part of his being, it was in his heart. As a result he honored Jesus, knowing that Jesus had greater authority. Somehow he knew that Jesus had authority over all things, even sickness and disease. He honored Jesus, and believed in Jesus authority to speak and command the servant to be healed. As a result, the Centurion received a full reward!

Four Divisions of Authority

Christ established his Kingdom when He was here on earth. It is not yet visible, but it is here, in our hearts. The powers for this Kingdom are Heart powers. Your ability to see the Kingdom of God depends upon your heart responses to this world we live in.

Let every soul be subject to the (higher) governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:1,2)

  • This is a Command: “every soul”;
  • This is a Promise with a Condition: God promises us that no authority exists without His approval and appointment. NONE. Since this is true, He assures us that if we do not honor the authorities, we resist the ordinances of God, and we will bring judgment on ourselves.

Who are the “governing authorities”?

humanauthoritychisel1You could say this verse only relates to governmental authorities, yet I believe that it is much broader than that, and I believe the Scriptures will back me up. In considering our relationship with governing authorities, we can find Four distinct divisions of delegated authority that effect our lives: Civil, Social, Family & Church.

Years ago I used to draw this little drawing which Bill Gothard taught in his seminars. This little drawing irritated more people. He told the story of a teenager and his parents. This teenager was resentful of their rules and rebelled. The pressure of his mom and dad increased until he finally had enough. He left home and joined the army! Guess what, the hammer and chisel got bigger. But what irritated so many people was associating the hammer with the man and the chisel with the woman.People considered it a statement that it’s ok for a man to beat on a woman etc. That wasn’t the point. The point was that God is behind authority, and he uses authority to shape our lives, to produce that beautiful jewel that He sees for each of us.

Whether you don’t like authority or think you are justified in disobeying authorities for whatever reason; Jesus gives us a choice, and that choice is stated in Matt 10. We can chose to honor the people God brings into our lives, whether you consider them and authority or not, and the way you honor them WILL determine the reward you have in life.

Matthew 10:40-42 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

In Matthew 10, Jesus spoke of three levels of people we encounter, prophet, righteous man, and little ones. The way we honor them determines our reward in this Kingdom of God. The Bible gives specific guidelines for each authority, but many counsels of God’s Word cross the borders and extend to all the areas of delegated authority.

Let me say one thing: I have learned the hard way that my number one problem in life is honoring authority. Most of the hard but but fruitful lessons of my life have grown from my encounters with authority.tompkinspaving

One thing I learned from my 15 years in asphalt and concrete, many of the guys who worked for me, and I had all kinds of guys, had some kind of problem with authority. I think that was why God put us together, so I could learn the value of honoring authority. No matter what the situation of the guys who worked for me, I came to respect them. But it always pained me to see certain guys having the same problems over and over again because they resented and even rebelled from authority.

I will lay it out plain and simple for you. The Bible says “Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft (divination)”

For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23 (ESV)

rebellion-sin-of-witchcraftRebellion (merî) is a word derived from (marah) bitterness. Truly rebellious people are hurt people, they are bitter people. Rebellion is the visible manifestation of their hard hearts.

When you get bitter over confrontations with authority, when you allow that bitterness to harden your heart, when you allow that hardness to manifest itself in visible rebellion, you might as well get the black witches hat on and start hopping around on a broom. You might as well start gazing into a crystal ball. It’s time to start looking for eye of newt and toads and a cauldron. Start reading the “horror scope”, holding seances, start calling on the devil. Rebellion is the sin of witches, divination, those that seek after the devil. When you rebel you are opening yourself to Satanic influence.

So whether you agree or disagree, God uses authority in our life, he has established authority in our lives.

Civil Authorities:

While Jesus spoke of a Prophet, which could also refer to church authority, this truth extends to civil authorities. Paul makes this plain as we continue in Romans 13:6. I like The English Version for its understandability:  “That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all.” Civil authorities are appointed by God and are working for Him. In honoring them we honor Him who appointed them; God in turn will honor us. It’s the Honor Principle.

Social Authorities:

“Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.” 1 Tim 6:1. We might understand this better if we said: Let all employees under hire count their bosses or managers worthy of all honor. Let all students under education count their teachers worthy of honor. It would be the same for athletes and coaches or any other relationship that involves submitting one to another.

Family Authority:

Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” This is a promise with a condition. The promise of wellness and long life requires you to honor your mother and father. And might I add, your father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Church Authority

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NLT) “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.”

The Kingdom

You may not see it, but we live in the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is just that, a Kingdom. There is order according to God’s rules. There are delegated authorities. American Christians have a hard time understanding the Kingdom of God because we have such a democratic mind-set.

We are trying to understand Kingdom principles with a democratic mind-set. This Kingdom is not a democracy. If we bring our democratic values into God’s kingdom, we will not relate properly to His authority and so we will be without the protection of His authority and will miss out on His rewards.

We disregard authority in our culture. We question authority. This is the age of “SNARK”. This is the fruit of “Eddie Haskell”. Why else do you think there is such a spiritual and moral decline in America?

With loss of authority comes loss of honor.

All legitimate authority is from God, and is given for protection, provision and peace.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36 (NKJV)

We are to walk by faith, we are to see by faith. We see and live in God’s Kingdom by FAITH. We follow God’s Word and Christ’s Commands because we realize we live in a SECRET INVISIBLE but ALL POWERFUL KINGDOM! There are REWARDS to all those who live according to Christ’s Commands!

All who name the name of Christ should have respect and honor for authority. Jesus says we will know His believers by their fruits. John the Baptist said you must bring forth fruits of repentance. So called Christian sects that teach civil disobedience are an affront to God’s Kingdom principles. To deny authority is to deny the God who established that authority. God in Romans 13:1 says that authorities that exist are appointed by God. You may think they are elected, but God casts the final ballot. Appointed means to assign, ordain or set. There is no “by chance”, there is no surprise to God when there is a coup or a new dictator assuming power.

Many Evangelical Christians were not pleased with the election of Barack Obama. Worries about Supreme Court justices, abortion, crime concerned us. God in His purpose caused Obama to be elected. Whatever happens will be for God’s purpose. We are commanded to pray for Obama and to honor Him. In so doing we will live peaceable lives. In so doing we will honor God and enjoy the rewards of His Kingdom. Now this does not mean that abortion will stop, and righteousness will prevail. In many countries there is persecution that is going on and God says He has established all authorities.

There are two kinds of persecution

Self-Inflicted: For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? If tomorrow you see flashing blue and red lights in your rear view mirror after speeding through a school zone, don’t blame the devil. Why-because this is one reason God has set up authorities- to punish evil doers. Obey authority and you will have no problems. 1 Peter 2:20a (ESV)

For Righteousness Sake: There is persecution that happens even though you did nothing wrong. 1 Peter 2:20b But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. There may be times when you have to follow convictions that honor God and His word. This is going on throughout the world as we speak. Christians are suffering death and torture because of their public faith in Christ. Or perhaps you face a milder form of persecution. If you work in a non-Christian environment, and are persecuted in some way, God says you are blessed when you endure it. When you are mistreated and continue to be a good employee, a good student, civilian, church member, this is honor at its highest.

There is no excuse for behavior that is against what Jesus commands. If you suffer for disobedience when you are wrong and against Scripture, that is not true persecution. There may be persecution when you chose to obey God rather than men. But that obedience must me in accordance with God’s structure of authority. Only the fear and reverence for God in our hearts would allow us to continue to treat as valuable those who have mistreated us. Even Jesus honored a corrupt civil and religious authority. He reubuked but he never rebelled. Even when they were beating and crucifying Him, he honored them by saying “Father forgive them”.

in-his-stepsMany Christians have the attitude that “I am free in Christ, I am to obey God alone, I don’t have to put up with this! I’m out of here!

And so we get rid of teachers, spouses, pastors, youth leaders. I know parents that have moved their children out of one teachers class just so they can get a better teacher. I have been in churches where the pastor was dishonored and trampled upon for no godly reason, I have seen youth pastors vilified by parents because of some oversight toward their teenager, I have seen marriages crumble and fall apart because one or both simply can’t stand the other person anymore. Paul wrote in Galations 5:13 “For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh”. We are called as Christians to regard and react to unfair treatment correctly. Listen to what Peter goes on to say in verse 21: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”

What was Jesus example? He was punished by authorities for doing wrong when all He did was right. Yet He still honored their authority!

What About Ungodly Authorities and when they mistreat us?

ungodly-authoritiesI know that in each of your minds a picture has popped up. That picture is someone in your past, an authority that God had in your life-it could be a boss, a manager, a pastor, a ex-spouse, a government agent that you thought was the biggest jerk in the world and there was no way in HECK that you would ever honor them. Why they did so and so…They treated you like dirt and there was nothing that you did wrong. It is true, many authorities are mean, tyrannical and unjust jerks. The Bible is full of them in fact.

But God’s Word tells us that all authority is of God, but it does not say all authority is godly. God’s Word reveals that He has put ungodly men in authority:

Pharoah:

Ex 9:16 “I have raised you up”. Paul confirmed it in Romans 9:17 “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Nebuchadnezzar:

“Behold I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, MY SERVANT, and will set his throne: (Jer 43:10)

King Saul:

“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night”. 1 Samuel 15:11

David, the only person called in the Bible “a man after God’s heart” was placed under Saul’s authority. Saul treated David with kindness and favor in the beginning.

Saul Tries to Kill David

king-saulOnce Saul perceived David to be a threat to his throne, Saul became violent with jealousy. He made it his personal mission to destroy David. For the next 14 years david was forced to live in caves, in the wilderness, even in a godless foreign land. From the ages of 16 or 17 until 30 or 31 David could not go home not even for a visit. He lived as a fugitive on the run.

Why would God do this to a young man after God’s own heart? A man who killed Goliath only for the honor of God’s name? How did David react? Did he conspire to launch a coup d’état to get rid of King Saul? No, David honored Saul.saul-tries-to-kill-david

You Say NO WAY! How could mighty David, who killed his 10,000 Honor a man who was out to kill him? Why, if he could kill Goliath with one stone, surely he could have killed King Saul. Yes he could have. In fact I Sam 24 details one situation:

After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’”. 1 Samuel 24:1-4 (NLT)

David Cut’s Off a Corner of Saul’s Robe

david-cuts-off-robeNow the men were pleading “King Saul is a maniac, he’s destroying Israel, he has murdered innocent families and priests. The prophet Samuel anointed you to be our King. God is for it. Now David, if you don’t kill Saul, he will certainly kill you. David was not convinced, but he did do something. He crept up to where Saul was and cut off a corner of his robe. He could use this to try to convince Saul that his heart was pure, because he could have killed the King, but chose not to. But even after doing this, his conscience was bothered. He knew that he had dishonored the King.

“The Lord knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king,” he said to his men. “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 1 Samuel 24:5-7 (NLT)

Saul left the cave and went to his 3000 men. As he did, David called out to him:

“Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me. “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 1 Samuel 24:9-12 (NLT)

david-holds-up-robeDavid honored Saul. He even called him “my father”. Saul was amazed at the goodness of David. He even started crying. And He said: “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil“. 1 Samuel 24:16-17 (NLT)

Did Saul leave David Alone?

Unfortunately, David would be tested one more time. After David had done the honorable thing, bring Saul to tears, Saul once more proved the kind of man he was. After hearing a report that David was hiding in the hills of Hakilah, Saul took 3000 of his elite killer forces and went to hunt David down in the wilderness of Ziph. David had to realize the truth, Saul was nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer. Even the most forgiving man would have become enraged! “This is how you treat those who honor you” Why you no good….You will really pay for this! His chance came, because David heard that Saul and his army were camped on a hill near Hakilah. The Lord had put the entire army into a deep sleep. David asked for a volunteer to go with him into Saul’s camp. Abishai stepped forward. He was the bloodthirsty brother of Joab. They found Saul in a deep sleep surrounded byhis closest body guards. Saul’s spear was stuck in the ground right next to where he lay in a deep sleep.

Abishai whispered to David: “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!”. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!”

david-takes-spearI can see David hesitate. I can just see him thinking how this could be God bringing a deep sleep on Saul. This could be a sign from God that it was ok to take Saul out. After all he was a horrible man. He was a man who did not deserve to be honored. Saul had done all sorts of horrible things to David. He had even taken his wife and given her to another man. (I Sam 25:44) He took all of David’s possessions. I can hear Abishai saying “What’s going on David? Why are you not giving me the command to slay this monster?” Still no answer. “David, don’t you remember how you were anointed by Samuel to be the next King? He murdered 85 priests of Nob plus their wives and little babies in cold blood, just because they gave us bread to eat! David, give me the order and he’s toast! Why do you think God put his entire army into a deep sleep! God is giving you the go ahead!

Finally David said “No! Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!” 1 Samuel 26:1-11 (NLT)

Why did God put the army into a deep sleep? He wanted to see what was in David’s heart! He wanted to see if he was still a man after God’s heart or if he had become aman like Saul who took matters into his own hands. God wanted to see if David would honor Him by honoring his appointed authority over Israel-King Saul. This was a truly life-defining moment for David.

God gave David His Full Reward!

“I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will beat down his foes before his face, And plague those who hate him. But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him…I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.“ Psalms 89:20-24, 35-37

David saw beyond the cruelness of Saul and saw the authority given him by God. He Saw Him WHO IS INVISIBLE! David lived the Honor Principle.

break-chainsNow hopefully you have seen that God establishes authority. He gives us authorities that we are to honor. Now all authority is established by God, but their cruel behavior is not originated by God. That leader will give an account of his behavior, but we must give an account for our behavior. Are we willing to live in God’s Kingdom, where God is the authority, and our honoring our authorities brings a full reward from God? Or do we want to live in our own kingdom, man’s kingdom, where we do what is best for us, where we honor only those who have earned the right to be honored? What do you do if your authority is so harsh and insensitive that it is destroying your health, and affecting your walk with God? We will look at that next week.

What wicked King has God put in your life?

There is one wicked King you do not have to honor. Satan. Come to King Jesus, throw off the chain of Satan! Honoring Authority doesn’t enslave us, it frees us to let God Work! It frees us to enjoy God’s Full Reward!