During this class Dr. Dean mentioned an article entitled Warming Alarmists Redefine What a Hurricane is so We'll Have More of Them.
“Our Father, we are challenged through the Scriptures, through example, and through specific instruction to think about You, to reflect upon You, and to think through your various attributes, especially when we look at the challenges facing us and the world around us: challenges both in our own nation, challenges in our families, challenges with our work life, finances, and all kinds of things.
“We are challenged to think about them in light of Who You are and what You have provided for us—that there is nothing that we face in life that You did not know about in eternity past. There is nothing that You did not make provision for. There is nothing that You have not provided for. The problem is that we need to relax and rest and trust in Your provision. That we need to learn to walk with You. We need to learn and know Your Word.
“Father, as we study through the life of David, one of the examples that we see here is the importance of truly knowing Your Word and applying it consistently. Father, we pray that You would challenge each of us as we go through this particular study.
“Father, we also are reminded of many who are in this congregation who have health problems. You know who they are. You know every person who is listed on our prayer list. We pray that You would provide for them, sustain them, and give their caregivers especially great patience and wisdom in taking care of them.
“Father, we pray for us tonight that we might be able to focus on Your Word. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.”
We are moving tonight out of 1 Samuel 17 into 1 Samuel 18. I have titled this lesson, “The Lord is With …” The Lord is with David. Three times in this chapter the statement is made that the Lord is with David. I think that is the theme. That is what is being demonstrated in the next two or three chapters. It is God’s protection for David. David understands that. David knows that in 1 Samuel 16 that he has been anointed to be the king of Israel. He knows that that is God’s plan for his life.
We do not quite have those same assurances. We do not have special revelation telling us what is going to happen a year or two or three or four down the road. But David knew that he was eventually going to be king. That meant that he had great confidence that when he goes into battle against Goliath, when he is dealing with the opposition with Saul, when he is dealing with living among his enemies, the Philistines, that God is going to protect him, because God has given him a promise. God is going to fulfill that promise. He can relax because he knows what the future is going to be.
We do not always know what the future is going to be. We know that God is going to protect us, but part of that protection may include taking us to Heaven tomorrow. We have to understand that we do not have quite the same situation or circumstances that David had. Nevertheless, there are a lot of things that we can learn. We also know, as we talk about the Lord being with David, that the Lord is with us.
Roman 8:31b, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
God plus one is a majority. It does not matter what the external circumstances may be in terms of politics or economics or health or opposition from people within our circles. The Lord is for us. We need to be walking with the Lord.
As we come to this part of Samuel I am going to lay out the basic outline for the second half of 1 Samuel. We saw in 1 Samuel 16:1–13 that God sent Samuel to anoint David. Again, I am showing you that in contrast to every outline you look at on Samuel or any other book in the Old Testament I try to always structure my outlines with God as the subject as much as I can. Especially in historical narrative literature. These are hero stories all the way through. God is the hero, because God is the One Who is working out His plan.
What we see here is:
- God anoints David to be the next king, 1 Samuel 16:1–13.
- God promotes David, 1 Samuel 16:14–23.
You are not promoted unless God promotes you. You can manipulate. You can try to maneuver things. You can try to do all kinds of things in order to make things work for you. You may even appear to be promoted in the eyes of the world, but unless God promotes you, you really have not been promoted. God promotes David.
We saw that God sent Samuel to anoint David in the first half of 1 Samuel 16. In the second half of the chapter we saw that Saul was being oppressed by a demon. God was ultimately allowing this demon to come in through God’s permissive will to oppress Saul. Saul needed relief. Saul’s advisors, his servants, said, “We know someone who can do this.” That was David. God is the One who brings David out of the sheepfold and into the presence of the king. That is the first time we see David promoted. We saw over the last three lessons how:
- God gave victory to David, 1 Samuel 17:1–54.
We see David as a real spiritual champion, and because he is a spiritual champion he is able to be the military champion for Israel. This is where we stopped last time.
- God protects David from Saul, 1 Samuel 17:55–20:42.
We see over the next three plus chapters that God is going to protect David from Saul. David cannot protect himself. David cannot manipulate the situation. He cannot do anything. Saul is bent on killing him, but David knows that he can relax and trust God. God is going to protect him from these murderous assaults from Saul.
- God protects David in exile, 1 Samuel 21–31.
David flees Saul and goes to live in the midst of his enemies, the Philistines. That covers the rest of 1 Samuel.
Let’s begin to look at the text. We have a lot of narrative in this section. It is going to go a little more quickly than some other passages. We see something of a transition here as we move David from being out in the sheepfold to being at the heart of the kingdom, in the presence of Saul, and in the presence of the court.
What we see here is that God is protecting David from Saul. This starts in 1 Samuel 17:55 through 1 Samuel 20:42. In this first section, 1 Samuel 17:55–1 Samuel 18:4, the key question is: Whose son are you?
1 Samuel 17:55 takes place as a flashback. By this time David has already killed Goliath. David has cut his head off. David has taken his head to Jerusalem. He has mounted the head on a spear as a warning to the Jebusites in Salem that their time was coming. Their days were numbered. Of course, this eventually happens. David is the one who defeats the Jebusites and conquers the city for Israel.
After all of this has taken place we have this flashback, 1 Samuel 17:55–56, “When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner (his General, who is also David’s uncle), the commander of the army, ‘Abner, whose son is this youth?’ And Abner said, ‘As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.’ So the king said, ‘Inquire whose son this young man is.’”
The basic thing that Saul is asking is who is this boy’s daddy? As soon as I read this this morning I got a flash in my head about a cookbook. It is one of my favorite cookbooks that is a Cajun cookbook. What Saul is asking what his lineage is? What is his background? What is his family like? Because Saul has made promises that whoever kills Goliath, the person’s extended family is going to live tax free. The champion is going to marry Saul’s daughter. Saul is thinking of who his in-law is going to be.
The title for this Cajun cookbook is: Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu. I always thought that was a great title for a book. I guess for Jews it would be Who is Your Daddy, are you Jewish, and Can You Get Me a Bagel?
This is what Saul is asking. Who is David? What is his background? Who is the family that is going to come into Israel?
1 Samuel 17:57–58, bringing it back from the flashback, “Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine.” This is immediately after David has killed Goliath.
“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?’ What is your lineage? Who is your family?
“So David answered, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.’ ”
There are some people, liberals, who do not trust the Word of God. They say, “Well, wait a minute.” We already have this situation back in 1 Samuel 16 where David has come from the sheepfold. He is playing before Saul. He asks at that time whose son he is. There is a different context. There Saul is asking for some identity. But now, some time later, Saul has made these promises about the family of the person who kills Goliath. He is promising the champion his daughter.
There is now more of a personal urgency or significance to this family. Saul is asking a more specific question because now he needs to take Jesse off the tax rolls. He needs to find out who the extended family is. He needs to get more precision, more details. Whereas the earlier question was a more general question. This brings in David’s background. It sets up the transition. It flows directly into the beginning of the next chapter.
That immediately takes up from this point. What we see in the first four verses of 1 Samuel 18 is the shift of loyalty that begins to take place in Saul’s own family, and to some degree with Saul. But he has problems, as we are going to see. In the next four verses we see that Saul’s family begins to shift their loyalty to David.
1 Samuel 18:1, “Now when he had finished speaking to Saul the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
There are a couple of things that we ought to point out here. I think this verse, more than any other verse, specifically tells us a tremendous amount about Jonathan and his character. If we take a look at the chronology of these events, we recognize that David at this point is not quite old enough to serve in the army of Israel. That age for serving in the army was 20 years old, according to the Book of Numbers.
David is less than that. He is probably 18 years old. He might even be 19 years of age. We are going to err on the side of making him as old as we can. Let’s say he is 19 years old. Jonathan is quite a bit older. Jonathan, as we saw in the battle of Michmash, is already at that time somewhat of an experienced warrior, an experienced soldier.
If we make Jonathan as young as we could, let’s say that by then he is married. He is about 25 years of age at the time of the battle of Michmash. That battle is difficult to date precisely in relation to the battle with Goliath. But let’s say it is somewhere between five to ten years prior to the battle with Goliath. If it is only five years, then that would mean that Jonathan was ten years older than David by this time. Jonathan would be around 30 years old.
Some people have placed the difference in the age of Jonathan and David as much as 20 years’ difference in age, that Jonathan is between 35–40 years of age. When you think about that and look and hear that this 19-year-old young man is befriended and given the loyalty of a man that is almost twice his age, that shows something about the humility of Jonathan.
Jonathan is the crown prince. He is the recognized heir of the throne of the kingdom. He has already experienced all of the privileges and trappings that would go with that. Yet Jonathan recognizes that David is the one who is going to be the next ruler of Israel, not himself.
Jonathan gives David his loyalty. That is what we see in this verse as Jonathan has been observing this whole situation with David. Jonathan responds with a love and a loyalty to David. We are told that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.”
This is the Hebrew word קָשַׁר qāshar, which means to bind something together or to tie something together. This is the same word that is used in Deuteronomy 6:8 in order to express the fact that “You shall bind them (the words of the Torah) as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”
This is when the men would take the phylacteries and tie them around their foreheads and on the back of their hands. It is binding. It is also a word that is used to show deep affection and love for other people. It is used of the love of Jacob for Joseph. After Joseph was sold into slavery and Jacob was told by his sons that he had been killed, Jacob went into profound grief. Genesis 44:30 says that Jacob was bound with the life of Joseph.
We see the same word, qāshar, is of Jacob and Joseph to show this intimate love between two adults. The word that is translated “love” is the general word for love in Hebrew. It is the word אָהַב ’āhav.
- It can refer to parental love.
- It can refer to romantic love.
- It can refer to the love of friendship.
- It can refer to loyalty.
At that point it begins to approach a similarity to the word חֶ֫סֶד ḥeseḏ, pronounced chesedh, which is used many times of God’s loyal love. It is the word that is translated “lovingkindness.” If you have a New American Standard Bible, it is usually translated “lovingkindness.” Some versions translate it “faithful loyal love.” It always has to do with God’s loyalty to His covenant.
אָהַב ’āhab is used to describe this as well. The reason I am pointing this out is that especially in today’s environment when the liberals want to come along and every time you see something like this you want to make it a homosexual relationship. It shows that the liberals have an agenda. They are going to impose that agenda upon the Scripture. That is just absolutely absurd.
You have a number of places in Scripture where the idea of the love of one person for another is mentioned. In fact, in 1 Kings 5:1, Hiram, who is the ruler and builder of Tyre, has a love for David. It is the same word. It shows loyalty to another person. That is the idea here. Jonathan is loyal to David. He loved David as his own soul. Jonathan is going to be loyal to David.
The reason we can say that is—I’m going to skip 1 Samuel 18:2 and go to 1 Samuel 18:3–4—because the immediate context tells us that we are talking about a covenant relationship. It is incumbent upon anyone who wants this to mean something else violates the context here, because we are talking about loyalty to a covenant.
1 Samuel 18:3, “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant ...”
This is like becoming blood brothers in an American Indian environment. They are going to pledge their loyalty to one another. They are of one mind.
Remember, in 1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan is the one that when he was going into the battle of Michmash he took his armorbearer with him. They went outside of the lines of Israel. They crossed extremely rugged territory and terrain. They climbed up these cliffs in order to attack the Philistine garrison. Jonathan said at that time to his armorbearer, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised …”
That is the same kind of language that David used when he approached the Philistine. Jonathan shows his spiritual perception here. He understands that this is a spiritual battle and a theological battle that the Philistines are uncircumcised. They do not have a right to the land, because circumcision is the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, where God promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the very land on which they stood.
Jonathan has a theological perception. He has the moral and battle courage as a result of that. He says, 1 Samuel 14:6, “… it may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by a few.” Jonathan shows great spiritual perspicacity. He shows great spiritual application. He is trusting in the Lord just as David does.
You can see why when David comes to the tent of Saul and begins to tell him what he can do and how the battle is the Lord’s. As Jonathan listens to David he is saying, “He sounds like me! He sounds just like me!” We have the same mind. Jonathan and David enter into a long relationship. It says so much about Jonathan. Jonathan is often seen as a background figure, but he has great character and great humility. It is a real tragedy that he is killed along with Saul on Mt. Gilboa.
What Jonathan does as a result of entering the covenant with David is to take off his robe. He is the crown prince. His uniform probably had certain markings and indications that he was Saul’s son. This is traditional throughout all cultures, that the son of the king is going to wear special clothes, special garments. Jonathan takes off his robe and he gives it to David. This has great significance.
Giving David his robe shows that Jonathan recognizes that David is the one who has the right to wear these special clothes, because he is the one who will become the heir of Saul. Jonathan also gives David his armor, even his sword, bow, and belt. He takes all and gives it to David. This is a sign that he recognizes that David is the one who has the right to be the next king of Israel.
This event would not have been something that was unknown. The people would have heard about this. The people would have seen that Jonathan had given these things to David. The word would have gone out. The people would have recognized that Jonathan understands that David is the one who will be the next king.
We skipped 1 Samuel 18:2 so we will go back to it briefly. After the battle with Goliath Saul probably has another reason why he wanted to find out who David’s family was, because Saul is going to tell his father that because of the bravery of your son you are off the tax rolls, and before you start celebrating I am going to take your son. He is going to come and permanently live and be garrisoned with me and become one of my chief military commanders.
We are told in 1 Samuel 18:2, “Saul took him (David) that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore.”
What happens in 1 Samuel 18:3–8 is David’s popularity not only has increased with Saul’s own family, but it increases with the people. This begins to really anger and upset Saul.
1 Samuel 18:5, “So David went out wherever Saul sent him …”
This terminology is military terminology. It is telling us that Saul is sending David on various military missions. David goes on those missions and carries them out well. It says, “… and behaved wisely.”
The word used for behaving wisely is a significant word. It is the word שָׂכַל sākhal in the Hebrew, which means “to be wise, prudent, or a man of understanding.” That has particular theological significance, because he is going out into various battle scenarios, but he is functioning as the commander of the king of Israel. Yet this demonstrates that David is spiritually wise. That he is not just militarily capable, but he is spiritually wise and that informs his military capabilities.
This is a term that is significantly used in Deuteronomy and in Joshua in relationship to taking and conquering the land.
In Deuteronomy 29:9 as Moses is beginning to wrap up what he is telling the Israelites he says, “Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.”
In the rest of Deuteronomy 29 Moses is going to warn them about what happens when they do not obey. But Moses tells them that if you keep the words, obey the words, then God will prosper you. In the context that means that you are going to defeat the enemy. You are going to conquer the land. You are going to take the land. There will be a great success in building a new nation.
It is also used later at the opening of Joshua. These are a couple of great verses to memorize, especially if you understand the context. Joshua is told by God:
Joshua 1:7, “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”
God is telling Joshua that he is going to have victory over the enemies of Israel, over the enemies of God in Canaan, if you will just obey the law and not turn from it to the right or the left. You will prosper.
Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
That word “prosper, prosperous” is the same word שָׂכַל sākhal that is used in those other places. It indicates David’s character in 1 Samuel 18:5 that “he behaved wisely.” God is taking care of him and providing for him. When we get into the New Testament the concept of prosperity is different.
Prosperity is used in a couple of different passages:
1 Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper that there be no collections when I come.”
This is the word EUODOO in Greek. It also means “to prosper.” Here it clearly has the idea of material or economic prosperity.
3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
What is shown in the second part of the comparison is that the soul can prosper, but that does not mean that there is necessarily physical health and financial health prosperity. It is interesting that over the last 40–50 years in the charismatic community they developed this whole theology called:
- “Prosperity Theology” or
- “Health and Wealth Theology” or
- “Name it Claim it Theology”
however, you want to term it. That lead to some big scandals in the 1980s. The scandal was Jim Baker and the “Praise the Lord” televangelism ministry. I am sure many of you remember some of the things that went on. Jim Baker ended up going to jail because of the financial misdealing of the Heritage Community that they had developed. They had misused the funds that Christians had sent to the ministry.
I can name about ten seminaries that are doing the same thing right now, but that is another story. Remember, these guys have a pulpit persona. Every time they are on television they were in this character. But when Jim Baker got let out of prison there was an interview that I saw on television with him. It was one of the few times I have ever seen a great example of genuine repentance.
You may remember that at the same time Jimmy Swaggart came out after his sins were discovered. He was weeping and emotional. But Jim Baker came out and said in a very normal everyday persona. He said that while he was in prison that he had a chance to study Greek. That he did not have a whole lot else to do. I studied Greek and came to understand that this verse, 3 John 2 (the proof text for the “Health and Wealth Theology”) in the verse and word did not mean what we said it meant. We were wrong. There is no biblical foundation for “Health and Wealth Theology.”
That was it. That was a great example of genuine humility and genuine repentance. I really had to respect the man for being able to do that. We have to distinguish that in the Church Age prosperity is different for the believer than in Israel because of the promises that God had made.
Let me give you three points of summary:
1. Success is measured differently.
Prosperity is measured differently in the Old Testament and the New Testament. They are not the same. In the New Testament prosperity primarily focuses on spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. It does not imply necessarily physical, economic, or material prosperity.
2. In the Old Testament demonstrations of God’s blessing in the Torah were tangible and concrete.
The people are told “If you obey Me there will be rains in season and out of season.” The crops will be productive. The economy will be good. When enemies attack one will put to flight a thousand. All of these things were very physical.
If you obey God the wild animals, the predatory animals will all go away. If you obey God and obey the Law then women will be fertile, the wombs will not be barren. But if you disobey Me, then the rains will not come. The sky will be like bronze. The earth will be like iron. The crops will not be productive. The wombs will be barren. The enemies will come and you will be destroyed by various military powers.
Physical and material blessing was a barometer for Israel to determine whether they were obedient or not. One of the tithes that were taken every year was to be used for an annual party, an annual celebration of the grace and the goodness of God. If they were doing really, really well, if they had a gross domestic product (GDP) of five trillion dollars, and if they took 10% of that and had a party, that would be a heck of a party. You would have the best food, the best champagne, the best beer, the best scotch, the best everything.
But if you were disobeying God, and your GDP was a hundred million dollars, and you only had ten million to spend on a party, you would be getting some kind of canned beer that was mass produced. You would be getting some counterfeit bubbly to use instead of the best champagne. You would be getting chicken instead of steak. It was a real physical, visible barometer for whether you were obeying God or not.
One year you would go to this party and it is not so good. You are eating hot dogs and chicken burgers. You might turn and say, “You know, I remember when I was a kid we use to really have these great, great national celebrations. The food was tremendous! What has happened?”
What has happened is that you have become spiritually idolatrous and disobedient. My point is that prosperity, physical, material, financial prosperity in the Old Testament was linked to spiritual maturity. But that is not true in the New Testament.
3. In the New Testament prosperity is marked by a spiritual strength and maturity that is not connected in any way with physical or financial prosperity. Your financial situation is not necessarily a barometer of your spiritual situation.
That does not mean that if you are a believer and applying the wisdom principles of Scripture that you will not be materially and physically prosperous. That works out that way for many people because they make wise decisions, but it is not a necessary connection. That is what we have.
We conclude from that that in the New Testament physical, material, and economic prosperity is not guaranteed or related at all to spiritual prosperity, though in some cases it might be. If a person is living wisely on the basis of God’s Word, then he will often avoid the foolish decisions with money, which plague those who live for purely selfish ends.
But it is not a necessary barometer. Just because you see someone who is impoverished or going through difficult times, that does not mean that they have been a failure spiritually. God may be taking them through those tests because that is exactly what they need in order to grow.
Wrapping up the rest of 1 Samuel 18:5, “And Saul set him (David) over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.”
Initially David’s success is tied to his military skills. Then this verse says that as he was successful then he began to be accepted by the people, and also by Saul’s close advisors, his cabinet. His upper echelon of leaders and associates began to accept David. It was because he is oriented to God’s grace. He is oriented to God’s Word. That is what enables him to trust in the Lord. Because David has strong faith God is blessing him. Everyone is beginning to accept him.
The problem begins because of Saul’s sin nature. In 1 Samuel 18:6, “Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine …”
This is a few days later. The army is now returning back to Gibeah, where Saul had established his headquarters. As they go through the various villages, the people throw ticker tape parades for the army. They have celebrations. The women are coming out. They compose ditties to sing to praise David and to praise Saul. The women come out with their musical instruments.
“… that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments.”
These are not tambourines like we know it, but something similar. The word for tambourine is a timbrel, which is like a tambourine without the jingles. You have metal rings on a tambourine that jingle. The Israelites did not have those. It was a round hoop that had animal skin over it. They would beat that. It did not have the jingles.
There was a lyre. There were different kinds of lyres. It was usually a three-stringed instrument that were different shapes. You can see these in the slide. The women would come out and sing. They would dance. This reminds us of other situations in the history of Israel.
After the crossing of the Dead Sea Miriam composed a hymn. The women came out and danced and sang. This is their celebration of victory. It also happened in Judges 11 with Jephthah’s daughter, as she came out the women of Israel came out and celebrated Jephthah’s victory over the Ammonites.
The women come out. They are singing and dancing to meet king Saul with their musical instruments. What they are singing is a very simple phrase, but it really angers Saul.
1 Samuel 18:7, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
The comparison is clear. Saul may be a great warrior, but David is ten times greater. This gets right to Saul. Remember, he is operating on his sin nature. He is totally self-absorbed, completely concerned about his own prestige. He is also probably embarrassed that this young shepherd has come out of nowhere to defeat this giant. Saul and everybody else in the army cowered in their tents. They did not come out to try to defeat Goliath.
We are told about Saul’s response. This happens a lot. What happens is that people hear something, see something, or are exposed to something. They react in anger because of the threat that is present by the circumstance or situation. This is described with Saul.
1 Samuel 18:8–9, “Then Saul was very angry (literally, ‘burned greatly’), and the saying displeased him (literally, ‘it was evil in his eyes’); and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousand, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ So Saul eyed [with suspicion] David from that day forward.”
Hebrew is a very concrete language. Literally the idiom is Saul’s nose burned. But it does not use the full idiom here in this verse. It just uses “he burned.” When people get mad and really angry they get red in the face. Their nose gets red. That is what the idiom was, that their “nose burned.” It is saying that Saul is very or greatly angry.
The saying, this song that they are singing, displeased Saul. Literally in the Hebrew it says, “it was evil in his eyes.” Saul is really angry! He is going to throw a tantrum. “They have ascribed to David ten thousand, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?”
It becomes clear to Saul at this point that the only thing left is that David is going to take the kingdom from him. Saul is beginning to realize that David is his competitor. What we see here is that Saul recognizes that what he desires the most. Remember, in the beginning Saul did not want prestige. He did not want power. He did not want the kingdom. Now it is going to be taken from him. He sees David as the one who is going to do it. He focuses his anger on David. From this point on it says Saul eyed with suspicion. It is a negative concept.
Saul is looking at David. He is watching him. He is eyeing him suspiciously from that day forward. Saul expects that David is going to do what he would do. That is something underhanded, something manipulative in order to take the kingdom from Saul. Things are going to go from bad to worse because now that Saul is mired in all this emotional sin, these mental attitude sins of anger and resentment and fear and vindictiveness.
It sounds like one of our presidential candidates. Does it not?
1 Samuel 18:10–11, “And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit …”
That is the word you saw before. It is an evil spirit. It is God’s permissive will allowing a demon to oppress Saul.
“… that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul.”
We have already studied this. I do not need to go into this in detail. It is not demon possession. The demon does not go into Saul. It is from an outside position. It is demon influence, demon oppression. It comes upon Saul.
“and he prophesied inside the house.”
Is that not interesting? What is the connection there with prophesy? I have taught this before, that we think prophesy we think of as articulating the Word of God. But it is also used in relation to singing. It is used of the various temple musicians who played their instruments and prophesied to God.
Miriam was said to be a prophetess. The only thing we know that she did was she composed a hymn. You also see that with Deborah. Deborah was called a prophetess. She composed a hymn. There is a meaning within this word prophet that focuses on singing praise to God.
Saul is prophesying inside the house. I cannot go any further than that. Nobody has any idea what that actually fully means.
“So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, ‘I will pin David to the wall!’ But David escaped his presence twice.”
What we see here is that where Saul is, his spear is near at hand. He decides that this is a great opportunity for him to kill David. Saul grabs the spear. He is thinking, “I will pin David to the wall!” Then we are told that twice David escaped. This happened more than once. This is the first two times that Saul tried to kill David. We are going to catalog these as we go through Samuel.
David does not retaliate. He does not retaliate for two reasons:
1. Because Saul is the Lord’s anointed.
2. This is very important. Saul is not going out and trying to kill anyone else like this. David knows that God is going to protect him. He can relax no matter what. Saul is going to do all kinds of stuff. David does not have to do anything to protect himself because God is. David can relax and trust in the Lord.
What we see by observing Saul and observing the others we can summarize the sin cycle. I want you to think about this. This is what can happen to each and every one of us when we get apart from the Lord. We are no longer walking according to the Holy Spirit, but we are walking according to the sin nature.
The Cycle of Sin
1. As soon as we stop walking by the Spirit we make that volitional decision to stop depending on the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:16. Control of the sin nature takes over. In Galatians 5:17–18 there is a war between the Spirit and the sin nature, but the sin nature is in control. When the sin nature controls it leads to more personal sin or human good or both depending on your make-up.
Result: Spiritual dullness.
Control of the sin nature leads to spiritual dullness. At that point we start to lose. If we confess sin and recover quickly, then the effects of that are limited. But the longer we stay walking by the Spirit the more dramatic those results are going to be as we start living in the house of the sin nature.
2. If this continues then our trust in God begins to shutdown. It begins to deteriorate. We no longer think about that as an option. We look to solutions in terms of our own abilities to manipulate or to challenge things. Our faith toward God begins to shut down. We begin to forget the doctrine that we have learned.
Our sin nature has an affinity to human viewpoint solutions and pagan solutions thinking that the flesh can solve the problem. It changes the way we think. We start focusing on the wrong issues. We focus on the wrong priorities. Our decision-making process begins to become seriously impaired.
Result: Inhale human viewpoint/worldliness.
Rather than taking in the Word of God we are taking in human-viewpoint paganism. We are inhaling worldliness. The worldly concepts that provide rationalizations for our sin nature begin to dominate.
3. Increased arrogance: arrogance skills increase.
We have talked about these many times. The basic orientation of the sin nature is self-absorption. As soon as we start walking by the flesh everything is about “me”. That is want we see in Saul. Everything is about him. Everything is about what he thinks is necessary to have meaning and happiness, to be able to have a legacy, all of these things are bound up in his ego and his sense of what will make him fulfilled as an individual.
As a result of that self-absorption, Saul wants to indulge himself. He is going to give into that sin nature and it is going to dominate. That leads to self-justification. We rationalize our disobedience because everyone else is doing it, or whatever the rationalization is. There is a justification for every kind of spiritual rebellion. That leads to self-deception. We can no longer think objectively. We think subjectively.
We have a whole country like this. It is amazing to listen to what the man on the street talks about and says in relation to the problems facing us. They have no clue what is going on. They are so divorced from reality. That includes most Christians and many Christian pastors. I am amazed at what is going on in this country. We have lost our anchor to the Word of God. This Scripture says that this results in self-deification. We are worshiping our self. We become the ultimate standard of right or wrong. That is what we see with Saul.
Results: Increased arrogance results in foolishness. Foolishness is always contrasted with wisdom in Scripture. Romans 1:18ff culminates in the fact that “professing to be wise they became fools.”
Those who rejected the existence of God are fools. They may have triple PhDs in scientific studies that you and I cannot pronounce, but the Bible says that because they have rejected God they are fools. The result is foolish thinking dominates. There is a loss of reality orientation due to truth suppression. They are living on the basis of a lie.
One of the great myths that are going around the world today is the myth of global warming. I was reading an article. I posted a link to it on my Facebook page this morning. I think the original link came off of the Drudge Report, but it linked to a news article that was describing a meeting of pro-global-warming activists.
What these pro-global-warming activists want to do is change the definition of a hurricane, because after hurricane Matthew, it was not as devastating as the global-warming people wanted it to be. They want all these horrible meteorological disasters to take place to justify their mythology, to justify their false understanding of the weather.
If they can reduce the definition to say that a hurricane starts at 50-mph winds instead of 74 mph, then now we are going to have more hurricanes. Then we will have more disasters. See, we were right after all. They are living in their own fantasy bubble. They want the rest of us to join them. That is insanity. That is psychotic. Yet we have a scientific community and a political community in the White House and in Congress that buys into this kind of garbage. It is like buying into evolution. It is a fantasy.
If you are a Christian you cannot give any credence to any of this, but it is a result of truth suppression. They are totally divorced from reality. As a result of that they get more and more upset, more and more angry. Mental attitude sins increase. That is what we see in Saul. He is angry. The text says that he is going to be afraid of David, using the everyday Hebrew word for fear. Saul is going to intensify. He is going to dread David. You see how Saul’s soul is beginning to be destroyed by sin nature control.
This leads to all kinds of:
4. Idolatry: increased arrogance and foolishness leads to various forms of idolatry.
Idolatry is where you are worshiping wood or stone or metal. You are submitting to all kinds of false authorities. You are submitting to emotion and peer pressure. You are submitting to material possessions. I have to have things. I have to have the things that money can buy because that defines happiness and success or pleasure.
You have the incredible rise of sexual orgies and sexual fantasies played out today that are being exacerbated by the Internet, pornography, and many other things. This intensifies the breakdown of marriages, the breakdown of family, and the breakdown of personal relationships. Then you get into various forms of escapism. Life is miserable, so I am going to escape.
You are going to do it through drugs. You are going to do it through alcohol. You can do it through entertainment, through pleasure, through eating. You can do it through all kinds of things. You are worshiping these things as that which defines life. Then there are all the false ideologies and religions that come along that people worship.
Result: Increased mental attitude sins and fragmentation in the soul. Anger, frustration, depression, and fear that leads to further self-induced misery and more attempts to mask the misery and to deny it. This is all part of demon influence and demonic destruction. It characterizes our country.
Let me give you a couple of other observations here. We are going to talk about Saul and fear. Fear is the basic emotional orientation of the sin nature. It is basically focused on self-absorption, but when self is threatened in any way, shape, or form the immediate response is fear. This is what we see in Genesis 3:10 after Adam and Eve had sinned, and God came to walk in the Garden with them.
Genesis 3:10, “So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ ”
There is a lack of security. There is an exposure before God there. The basic emotional sin is fear. Fear comes when we realize that we have no security. Fear comes when we realize that our hopes and our dreams are in jeopardy. It may be our physical health. It may be our physical security and our safety is being threatened. The response is fear. When we are afraid, we try to deal with the fear by solving the problem on our own without depending upon God. This leads to further problems.
One of those further problems is anger. I think anger represents a complex of sins. We get angry when we do not get our way. We start off being afraid because there is no security. There is no safety net. We are afraid that we are going to lose everything.
The fact that we might lose everything means we are not going to get what we think we have to have in order to be happy, in order to be safe, and in order to be secure. What happens is fear produces anger. Anger comes basically when we do not get our way. When things do not go the way the think they should. We perceive that something is blocking or preventing us from achieving what we think will make us happy.
We can think about this in a lot of different ways. A lot of people get angry about the political situation, because they think that for the country to be the way they want it to be so that they can be secure, so that they can be happy, and so that they can have the kind of life that they want to have, that the political structure has to go a certain way. When that political structure wants to go in a different direction, then what happens? You get angry. You get mad.
You get mad at all those people out there that are voting the wrong way, and all those politicians that are going in the wrong direction. You get angry because you are not getting your way. It is like a little kid who wants his way. His parents say, “No, you cannot have it.” He gets angry. Angry is just not getting our way. But when anger goes on for a while, and eventually we realize that we are never going to get our way, that it is never going to change, then we go into depression.
Then we say: “We will never have stability! We will never have happiness! We will never have security! Why should I even live?” You get into depression. Depression is a long-term anger that recognizes that there is no ultimate solution to any of my problems. This is what we see being depicted in Saul as opposed to David.
David’s happiness is not based on people, on circumstances, or on events. That is the way the believer should be. It does not matter if the Constitution gets shredded next year and we get a communist dictator. My happiness is dependent upon my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, not who is in the White House or in the Capitol, or sitting on the Supreme Court. But there are a lot of Christians who, unfortunately (I believe if things do not go right at the next election) are going to be absolutely miserable because of what happens! That is going to expose the fact that the believer is not focused on God as the Source of happiness and stability.
There have been Christians who have lived their entire lives under some of the most oppressive regimes in history and had great happiness, great joy, great stability, and great ministries to people. That does not mean that things were good for them, but the Lord was in control. They were relaxed. We need to recognize that our happiness is based upon the Lord and not based on circumstances.
In John 15:11 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jesus says that only one of you (disciples) is going to live past martyrdom, not die from martyrdom.
Jesus knows what is going to happen to every one of them. Jesus is saying that each one can have joy in the midst of all the torture, persecution, and oppression just as He had joy when He went to the Cross. When He went throughen all the physical torment and everything else associated with the cross. Jesus is bequeathing His joy to us.
James 1:2–3 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith …”
The idea here is the testing of your ability to apply the Word of God produces endurance, and endurance will have its maturing effect. That is the difference between a Saul and a David.
What we see here, 1 Samuel 18:12 is the focal point of this lesson. “Now Saul was afraid of David.”
Saul is responding in mental attitude sins. Why? Because the LORD was with David. See, we are going to have a whole culture that is mad at Christians because they recognize the Lord is with us. They are jealous and mad, and they do not want to be convicted. They are going to be attacking Christians. If you do not get some doctrine in your soul and start applying it now when it is easy to apply it, then it is going to be worse.
1 Samuel 18:13, “Therefore Saul removed him from his presence …”
That is the best way to get rid of somebody who is convicting you of truth by their life. You send him somewhere else. Saul sent David somewhere else. Saul made David “a captain over a thousand; and he went out and he came in before the people.”
1 Samuel 18:14, “And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him.”
There is the Hebrew word שָׂכַל sākhal again. “and the LORD was with him.” The Lord was with David. He is with us. If God is for us, who can be against us?
“Father, we thank You for the opportunity to study these things, to be reminded that what matters is our focus upon You and our trust in You. That no matter what the circumstances may be we need to recognize that happiness, joy, peace, stability, tranquility are ours. Not because of what we have or do not have, not because of our friends, not because of our position, but because of Who You are in our relationship with You.
“Father, we need to be like David, spiritual champions, and not like Saul, who is a sinful failure. Challenge us. Help us to have the insight and the courage and strength to apply the Word. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.”