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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

David and Saul Continued

          Both David and Saul were sinners. David, however, reacted very differently over his sin than Saul. David eventually fell upon his face before God and confessed his sin (see Psalm 51). David pleaded to God’s mercy and compassion. He repented and asked God to wash away all his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin. David knew that a sin against man was a sin against God because mankind was made in God’s image and likeness. David accepted the blame for his sin. He also accepted and suffered the consequences of his sin. There are consequences for sin, but God’s love remains. God did not stop loving David nor did He remove His covenant promise to David.

Sinner from Birth
David knew that he was sinful from the time his mother conceived him -- like all of humanity. David’s plea to God was “Create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.” Psalm 51:10-13 David knew God in a deep and abiding way. He understood His compassion, mercy and forgiveness. He also knew of God’s ability to create a new heart and spirit within him. David learned through his egregious sins that going against God’s will and ways lead us to make bad decisions. David knew through his deep relationship with God that he could plead to God’s grace, love and forgiveness even before God’s grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ had come into the world. God does not change.

Saul Blames Others and Makes Excuses for His Sin
Saul, on the other hand, blamed others and made excuses for his sins. (see 1 Samuel 13: 11-14) He never fully repented of his sins. Saul was concerned about his image also. (see 1 Samuel 15:21-30) Saul started out being led by God but spiraled downward out of control and out of favor with God. He changed from one who honored God to one who rebelled against God. God had given Saul a “changed heart” (1 Samuel 10:1) and the “Spirit of God came upon him” (1 Samuel 10:6) after he was anointed by Samuel. Saul’s disobedience, however, hardened his heart so the Spirit of the Lord departed Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him. (see 1 Samuel 16:14-15)

Both David and Saul were anointed by God to be king over His people. God gave Samuel permission to anoint Saul as king but also told Samuel to warn the people of what their choice for king would do to them. Saul was anointed by Samuel with a “flask of oil,” (small amount) but David was anointed with a “horn of oil”(larger amount). The Spirit of God came upon David in power. (see 1 Samuel 16:13) A horn symbolizes authority and/or the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, soon God’s people would experience some of the evils through Saul about which God through Samuel had warned them. God knows our hearts and our end from our beginning.

Leaders -- Prepared and Not Prepared
Even though Saul was the people’s choice for king not God’s, God would equip and use Saul for his purpose. When a person is made ruler over a nation, they are to set their hearts outside of themselves and concentrate on what benefits all the people. Selfishness and self-will must go. Arrogance and pride must go. Boasting must go. God’s people will learn a lesson through their decision to insist that Saul be made king over them. The Israelites were in rebellion against God when they made this decision. Rebellion against God will cause them to make a wrong decision. God had been preparing David to be king over His people. Saul was unprepared. The people will see the difference in due time.
At first Saul wasn’t selfish and self-indulgent but he couldn’t hide his innermost being forever. His true colors will be revealed at some point and the result will be devastating. They will see that Saul is thin-skinned, full of fear, boastful, jealous, angry, impulsive, revengeful, depressed and disobeyed God. In the end, Saul is self-willed and without regard to God. Saul went his own way and brought God’s people to the brink of ruin. Words and actions give us a clue to someone’s character. The observation of others can also give us a clue. Saul’s life could have turned out very differently had he obeyed God’s principles. Going his own way brought destruction and death to himself and God’s people.
David was God’s chosen one who would lead His people as King. David showed God that he cared about others because he was caring for his father’s sheep and protecting them. In fighting off the lions and bears who wanted to steal, kill and destroy his father’s sheep, David was being prepared for harder battles like taking on the giant Philistine Goliath. David continued to serve others even Saul, and he became a brave man and warrior who won many victories and restored most of the land of Israel back to God’s people. (see 1 Samuel 16:18) David was successful in all that Saul sent him to do. (see 1 Samuel 18:5, 14) David inquired of the Lord regularly. (see 1 Samuel 23:4) David was humble. Saul was trying to kill him, but David still called Saul king and him Saul’s servant. (see 1 Samuel 26:18) David could have killed Saul three times but spared him. (see 1 Samuel 23:4) David loved his enemy! He understood that he was not to touch God’s anointed one. God would elevate David at His appointed time. David also had faithful followers including Saul’s son Jonathan and his daughter Michal whom David married. Saul, on the other hand, lost the respect of the people of Israel. (see 1 Samuel 22:8)

A Godly Leader
          Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
            Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
            Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  1 Peter 5:2-9

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