1 – 1 Samuel 16:1 (ESV) The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”
RAF: It is easy to sympathize with Samuel. How quick we are to pronounce the final word on things, when God is not done yet. Yes Saul was God’s anointed. Yes God had set His seal to all of this, even in the face of His People’s rebellion. But no, this was not the end of the story. It was right to mourn what had happened, but not so as to imagine God’s purpose and plan were thwarted. Our trust is in a God who transcends all of these things. Who will yet bring forth even that which is better than we had hoped at the beginning. Trust him.
2 – 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
RAF: It is a common error when a change of leadership is needed – to look for one most like the previous leader. This is especially true when Churches seek new pastors. But they need to consider that the previous era is over. The change in leadership signals a change in a great many things. These changes are not to be feared. God is leading. We are to seek out one, upon whom, God’s hand is evident, and be prepared for a new day.
3 – 1 Samuel 18:3-4 (ESV) 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 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.
RAF: Here, Jonathan too becomes a wonderful type of Jesus. The rightful heir to the throne, loves us as He loves His own soul. He brings us into the New Covenant. He clothes us with His robe of righteousness. He gives us His armor – the Spirit of God. His sword – His own precious Word becomes ours. The bow with which He conquers – Faith – is how we too now overcome. His belt of truth girds our loins. And though we have no natural claim to the throne, He brings us to rule and reign with Him for all eternity. This is the blessedness of our Redeemer.
4 – 1 Samuel 18:8 (ESV) 8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?”
RAF: How different from Christ – who rejoices to tell us: “Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) There is no jealousy in Him, only the desire to see us excel as far as we might in His name and likeness.
5 – 1 Samuel 21:12-13 (ESV) 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 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.
RAF: Fear at times can reduce the very best of us to something we will regret later. Psalm 34 will record David’s resolve never to fear in this way again, but rather to have God’s praises upon his lips. We need never fear if we are His. No matter how dire the circumstances.
6 – 1 Samuel 22:23 (ESV) 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”
RAF: Because we are Christ’s, we share a common enemy. But we need not be afraid, as long as we are with Him. With Him, we shall be in safekeeping. He is our strong tower. He is our salvation.
7 – 1 Samuel 23:9-13 (ESV) 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 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. 11 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.” 12 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.” 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition.
RAF: Our understanding of God’s sovereignty does not make us fatalists. The fact that God told David the men of Keilah would surrender David to Saul, was not a pronouncement of fixed matters. David could take action. And He did, fleeing. The men of Keilah WOULD turn David over – if He should ignore God’s warning. God’s Word pronounces absolute judgment upon sin. But we can hear the Word of the Lord and flee to Him. No one need die in their sins. It is not God’s fixed judgement that is our problem – it is our sinful unwillingness of heart. Paul uses God’s fixed day of judgment as an impetus to call men to repent, not to consider their own situation as without remedy. Oh Father – save us from ourselves! Save us from our hard, unhearing, unwilling hearts.
8 – 1 Samuel 23:21 (ESV) 21 And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me.
RAF: Note that this is neither the first, nor will it be the last time – Saul couches this entire affair in terms of himself only. He has long since abandoned a focus upon God and His Kingdom. He is only wrapped up in how everything affects him. So when things go bad, they are against him. When they are not as he would please, no one cares for him. Self-pity and self-consciousness rule his life. How much we need to guard against the same thing. It is nothing but pride governing us when we see the world and people and circumstances as all arranged against US. Much bigger things are afoot, but we cannot see past ourselves. Father, forgive us.
9 – 1 Samuel 23:26-29 (ESV) 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape. 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.
RAF: We want to standardize God and His dealings with us. But He will not be bound this way. One time He delivers David through the inside information of Jonathan. Another time through his wife’s complicity. Still others, through God’s oracles. This time, through what seems to be a chance occurance. We don’t like that. We want God to do it the same way every time – so we can work the system, count on the pattern. He refuses to work this way so that our faith is in Him, not the pattern. So that we trust Him, not the circumstances, and not the methods or means. He will have us trust Him and Him alone.
10 – 1 Samuel 24:8-10 (ESV) 8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’
RAF: If we are a people given to interpreting circumstances and events as omens, then we would not do as David did – we would take advantage of the situation and assume God had in fact delivered Saul into our hands to kill him. Not David. He is not interested in interpreting the circumstances in order to make decisions. He makes his decisions based upon what He knows of God and His purposes. We need to put away this superstitious way of living, and be more acquainted with God’s Word that we might know His will – rather than reading into the events, things which are not there.
11 – 1 Samuel 24:19 (ESV) 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.
RAF: Every day, at every moment, God’s enemies are delivered into His hand to destroy them. And yet mankind remains. How abundant and beyond our imagining is the patience, mercy and grace of our God? It is beyond telling.
12 – 1 Samuel 25:39 (ESV) 39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife.
RAF: Note that in verse 28, Abigail entreats David’s forgiveness of Nabal – which is indeed extended. And yet, Nabal still pays for his evil deeds. When grace extended does not change the heart, the penalty is still due.