Mental Attitude Sins Vs. Wisdom
1 Samuel 18:17–30
Samuel Lesson #069
October 25, 2016
“Our Father, we are thankful that we know that You control the details of life. You oversee history. You are the One that is in charge. When we read reports on voting schemes during this election season, and others we are hearing on the news, it is distressing. Part of the reason for it being so distressing is that we feel like there is nothing we can do about it. But we can come to You. We can pray. We can put this in Your hands. We can put our future and the future of this country in Your hands.
“Father, we pray that You in Your grace would counter these nefarious schemes by unknown persons or organizations that are trying to do something to wrongly influence this election. We also know that there are many people and organizations in this country who have a real hatred for the literal meaning of the Constitution that we try to live by that guarantees our freedom, guarantees the observance of our inalienable rights that derive from You and not from government or from society, and that there is a true spiritual warfare on.
“Ephesians 6 tells us that our warfare ultimately is not against flesh and blood, but is against principalities, and powers, and authorities, and darkness. Father, we pray that You would override these devilish schemes to influence this country. We need a nation that is standing firm on the gospel, standing firm for truth, sending missionaries out throughout the world, and continuing a support for Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.
“Father, we pray that You would override these things, and even if it is Your permissive will for the election to go in a bad direction that we would be able to relax and put our trust in You, no matter what takes place, and that we would respond as always to whatever happens with grace and with mercy and with trust in You. We pray these things in Christ’s Name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to 1 Samuel 18. I have entitled this lesson Mental Attitude Sins vs. Wisdom. The contrast that we see between Saul and David through this section in 1 Samuel highlights the difference between Saul, who is living on the basis of his sin nature and consumed by these mental attitude sins that are having a terrible effect on his soul—because that is what happens. Whether it is overt sins, sins of the tongue, or mental attitude sins, they war against the soul.
We have studied this in our study on Thursday nights in 1 Peter 2:11. Peter says that we are to “abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul.” They are self-destructive. We see a great illustration of this in what happens to Saul. This also comes under the category of a form of demon influence, because demon influence is the thinking of the devil as it goes through the intermediate means of various philosophies, theologies, and worldviews. That is the one hand.
We see the consequences of mental attitude sins of anger, hatred, and fear on the part of Saul versus David’s wisdom. David gets his wisdom from the Word of God. We see it played out in the difference in how he handles this situation. One of the things that we should think about as an application structure, for this is that what David is facing; a form of testing that we refer to as people testing.
I know everybody here is surrounded by people who do not have sin natures, they are wonderful, kind, and loving! But we have a real problem often with other people, who let their sin nature run away with them. They are jealous of us. They are hostile. They are cantankerous and grumpy because that is the nature of their sin nature. Sometimes they live with us. Sometimes they live next door to us. Sometimes they work for us. Sometimes we work for them. Sometimes we work with them. It is this area of people testing.
How do you handle people testing without letting somebody else’s sin nature start controlling your sin nature? We see a great example of that even in what I was talking about in the election. That if you have people who steal an election, how does that affect your mental attitude? How does that affect your ability to face life and surmount the testing, whatever it may be? Because as Christians we are not to let our reactions be informed by the sin nature. We have to learn to walk in terms of grace, humility, and trust the Lord, rather than whatever ideas we have to try to handle it in our own strength and in the flesh.
We see a basic outline through this section:
- God has anointed David, sending Samuel to anoint him as the next king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16:1–13.
- God promoted David without David going out to promote himself. The principle there is: “If God does not promote you, you are not promoted.” You may seem to be promoted, but a lot of people who appear to be promoted, it is self-destructive because God has not put them in that position. If you are not promoted by God, you are not really promoted. God promotes David in 1 Samuel 16:14–23.
Without David having to do anything God works out a scenario with Saul where the Spirit of God has left him. God, in His permissive will, allowed an evil spirit to test Saul. In order to relieve him of that demonic oppression, Saul’s own people call on David. They say, “Hey, we know this shepherd who can play the harp. He can come in and relieve the problem. God promotes David. He is invited to the court.
- God gave victory to David over Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:1–54.
- God is protecting David from Saul, who will attempt to kill him again and again and again, 1 Samuel 17:55–20:42.
- God protects David in exile. He will go into exile and live amongst his enemies, the Philistines. God will protect him there, 1 Samuel 21–31, to the end of this book, when God finally takes Saul out and ends his dynasty.
In this section, which covers 1 Samuel 17:55–20:42, God is protecting David from Saul. This is a very interesting passage and a very interesting section. We really see a development of Saul as a poster child for carnality, the poster child of mental attitude sins, the poster child of what happens when you go into complete rebellion against God.
The first focal point in the first section is: Whose son are you? 1 Samuel 17:44–8:4.
Saul wants to reward David. He is basically saying: What is your family background? Who are they? I need to identify them so that I can fulfill my reward to them, take them off the tax roll, as well as the fact that he had promised that whoever defeated Goliath would marry his oldest daughter. That comes in to play where we are going to study this evening.
In 1 Samuel 18:1–4 we see how Saul’s family is beginning to shift their loyalty to David.
1 Samuel 18:5
As a result of that, David’s popularity will increase with the people. He becomes more and more popular with the people. They are singing their song that Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands. Of course, that is a comparison that is not favorable for Saul. It is saying that David is ten times the warrior that Saul is. Of course, Saul is going to react in jealousy. He is going to react in envy, and as a result of that he is going to again want to take it out on David.
In 1 Samuel 18:10 we are told that God protects David, even though Saul is trying to hill him. We talked about this last time, that Saul had tried to kill David. Twice he had attempted to spear David, but God protected him.
In 1 Samuel 18:11, when David came to play music for him, Saul tries to pin David to the wall with his spear. Twice we are told that David escapes. Those are the first two attempts on David’s life.
In 1 Samuel 18:12–13 we are told that God is with David. The source of David’s power is God’s blessing upon Him. God’s blessing upon David is David has walked with the Lord. God’s bottom line on David is He is going to say David is a man after My Own heart. That does not mean that David was perfect. As we get into subsequent chapters we are going to see David, who is far from perfect.
That always gives me great hope, because David is a great example of how everyone is still a sinner, even though saved. We can fail just as miserably as David did. God recognized that even tough David failed miserably, that David’s ultimate desire, what truly motivated him, was to serve the Lord.
It also lets us know that people can truly want to serve the Lord and struggle with their own sin nature, even though their primary focus in their life is to serve the Lord and to do what the Lord wants them to do, they can fail miserably. That does not mean that they are necessarily a spiritual loser or a failure, because we can all find times when we give into our own sin nature. We fail at times.
We learn that God is with David, and because of David’s time in the Word he has developed wisdom.
Again, in 1 Samuel 18:14 it is repeated that “David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.” The Word of God gave him the discernment that he needed to face the issues and the challenges that were in front of him.
The other thing that we see here is: The Cycle of Sin. I talked about this last time, that we can observe this with Saul. I want to go over this again. This is a template that you can think through in terms of your own life when you get angry, when you worry, when you are afraid, when you have other mental attitude sins, whether it is jealousy, envy, hatred, anger, whatever it may be. You can go back and see how it fits into some of the things that we are talking about here to see what is going on in your own soul and your own thinking.
We learned, for example, back in the New Testament, Galatians 5:16–18, that we are either controlled by the sin nature, or we are influenced or walking by the Holy Spirit. It is one or the other. It is not a little bit of one and of another. That is really popular today among a lot of pastors. It is “Well, you have mixed motives in whatever you do.”
Scripture says that a little bit of leaven leavens the whole lump. If you have a little bit of sin it messes up the whole thing. You are either walking by the Spirit or you are walking by the sin nature, one or the other. When we stop walking by the Spirit we default to sin nature control. That always leads to the production of either personal sin or human good. A lot of folks do not realize that the sin nature produces morality. The sin nature can produce a lot of self-righteousness.
That is exactly what we see depicted in the Pharisees during the confrontations with Jesus. They are very religious. They are very moral. They have a façade of doing the right thing. They deceive a lot of people. That is always true of certain kinds of leaders. They say the right thing. They have a façade of doing the right thing, but the reality is that they are corrupt on the inside. They are doing something else.
We can produce morality, which is a cover-up, or we can produce personal sins. Sometimes you produce both because we are complicated as people. Sometimes we can go back and forth from one hour where we are very moral, and the next hour we are not. Then we switch back. That is all part of the sin nature and sin nature control.
1. The result is the longer we are involved in sin nature control it produces spiritual dullness.
We are less and less perspicacious about issues in life and their spiritual implications. We get involved in the arrogance skills of self-absorption, which lead to self-indulgence, which lead to self-justification. Self-justification leads to self-deception. We convince ourselves of our own rectitude when we are just as wrong as we can be. Then we are believing the lie. We are setting up our own standards for our life rather than God’s. That is self-deification.
2. As we continue to walk according to the sin nature the ability to trust God becomes more and more difficult. It begins to shut down. We do not think of the faith option very much. Our own sin, our own emotions, and our own mental attitude sins consume us. We begin to forget the doctrine that we have learned. We begin to focus on wrong issues and wrong priorities.
The result: We suck in more and more false ideas.
By the way, one of the greatest heretics of the 20th century died this last Saturday. One of the great heretics and false prophets who has been responsible for leading millions and millions of Christians around the world, maybe even billions. His name is Peter Wagner. He was the head of Missions Department at Fuller Seminary back in the 1960s and 1970s. He gave birth to what was known as the Vineyard Movement, along with John Wimber, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Peter Wagner was virtually the grandfather of the whole church-growth movement. You think about any of the mega churches in Houston. They are what they are because of Peter Wagner. They do not teach what they should teach because of Peter Wagner. The latest round of heresy that he was involved in was the Apostolic Church Movement. He was going around with several others who were involved with signs and wonders. They were identifying the last days’ apostles.
The degree of exposure that this heresy has brought into many churches is unbelievable. But that is what it is. It is these people who suck up human viewpoint standards and worldliness and ideas. They repackage it and sell it to churches and Christians as the great way to have a big booming church and a godly ministry. They are the devil’s disciples.
3. You have increased arrogance. These arrogance skills increase more and more. The result is that thinking is dominated by foolishness. People are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. It gets to the point where they cannot even discern truth from error. They lose the ability to understand reality as it is.
The result: Foolish thinking dominates; the mental attitude sins will increase fear, anger, and hatred towards Christians and Christianity.
4. The result of this is these people continue to go into idolatry, which is submission to false authorities in the place of God. These can be mental attitude idols: greed, power, and many other things that come along. They idolize emotion, peer pressure, and want popularity and power. They idolize material possessions, the signs of wealth and pleasure, escapism, many false ideologies and religions. These people basically deify the details of life.
The result: Anger, frustration, depression, and fear. These lead to self-induced misery and further attempts to mask the misery through drugs, alcohol, pleasure, various forms of escapism, which opens the door to more demon influence.
One of the things I recently learned, knowing that there was a certain level of drug abuse among the leaders in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and 1940s, but they were doing methamphetamines. They were doing all kinds of drugs that were supposed to produce these Arian super warriors. Drugs were very much a part of the Nazi philosophy.
Drug use is demonism. The word “sorcery” is used in Galatians 5:20. The Greek word used is PHARMAKIA. From this word we get our word “pharmacy”. It has to do with the use of drugs in an illicit way. Drugs are used in order to get in contact with spirits, contact with the gods to develop one’s own powers and things of that nature. This is the kind of thing that can happen even to Christians, to believers.
Last time we got to 1 Samuel 18:12. This verse talks about Saul’s fear, anger, and looking at the verse: “Now Saul was afraid of David.” Fear dominates Saul’s soul. He is afraid for spiritual reasons, because the Lord is with David. Somehow, someway, in Saul’s perception he understands that he is at enmity with David because God has rejected him. God has approved David. That means David is his enemy, because God blesses him.
That is something that unbelievers intuitively understand. This is why I think that many progressives and many liberals who support the influx of Islam into Europe, as well as here in the United States. They do not grasp the reality that the first thing that will happen when the Moslems get in control is slaughter. They will slaughter the homosexuals. They will slaughter the liberal elites. They will slaughter all of those who have influence, the ones who bring them in.
This is exactly what happened in Iran after all of the liberals who were against the Shah of Iran. If you remember back in the late 1970s that after the Shah was finally deposed and they brought in the Ayatollah Khomeini, the first thing that the Ayatollah Khomeini did after he seized power was to kill all the liberals, to killed all of the intellectuals, and to kill all the homosexuals. There was a massive cleansing of Iran.
That is what will happen if Islam gains ower in Europe or the United States. That is their goal and objective. But there is something that the liberals who have rejected God hate more than anything else. That is anyone who represents the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you represent their enemy, God, the enemy of my enemy is their friend. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” If Islam is the enemy of the God I am the enemy of then it must be my friend. The liberals are totally blind to what is actually going on.
One of the things I wanted to develop more this evening is the dynamics of our most destructive sins, the dynamics of fear, love, anger, and hatred. We are going to see how this works in Saul. Saul is a test case for us to see what happens when we give ourselves over to these mental attitude sins. Some of this I covered last time. I have expanded and developed it more and reorganized it.
1. Fear is the core orientation of the sin nature. When Adam sinned, he and Eve were afraid.
When God walked in the Garden, the presence of God came into the Garden, their response was to go and hide because they were afraid. Fear is their motive. They do not want to be exposed as sinners. When God spoke to them and said, “Where are you? Why are you hiding?” Adam responded:
Genesis 3:10, “So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked (exposed as a disobedient sinner); and I hid myself.’ ”
Their orientation is to hide. If the basic drive of the lust pattern at the core of our sin nature is self-absorption, and we are naked emotionally and psychologically because we do not have a relationship with God, and we are spiritually dead, then we try to cover up like Adam and Eve did with fig leaves.
It was non-effective. God had to provide an effective covering. We are in this state of fear from the moment we are born. That is the thrust of your sin nature. We are afraid. We are insecure. We are uncertain. What is the antidote biblically to that fear, uncertainty, insecurity, and dread that is at the core of our existence?
I can go through numerous biblical examples of this. Turn to Psalm 56. This is one of my favorite Psalms. I am amazed at how much is here. I am grateful for the fact that this was one of the exegetical papers I had to write when I was in my second year of Hebrew. It is rich with significance. We are not going to drill down in it too much. I am going to look at exemplar passages of the fact that:
2. The antidote to fear in the Scripture is always trust in God.
Not “Faith in faith”, not “Just believe,” but “Trusting in the promises and the Person of God”.
Each of the psalms that we are going to look at this evening is a psalm that was written by David in the midst of a specific test situation where he is facing a people test. These come later on in his life. Psalm 56 we will study in detail when we get to the section in 1 Samuel when David is hiding in Gath and the Philistines capture him.
“To the Chief Musician. Set to (gives us the music it would have been set to) “The Silent Dove in Distant Lands.” A Michtam (a form of a psalm) of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.”
David writes this psalm. His enemies have captured him. They have surrounded him. This is Gath. Who is from Gath? Goliath is from Gath. He is captured by the Philistines in Gath! David is the one who has killed the hometown hero. He is captured by them and fears the worst. He begins:
Psalm 56:12, “Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up …” David is going to be destroyed by these Philistines. “Fighting all day he oppresses me …” Everything is a struggle and David is constantly being assaulted by his enemy the Philistines. He says, “My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.”
We could apply this to the presidential election, the culture, and shifts that have occurred in America, the culture war that is going on. It seems as if the battle has been lost. Many people are discouraged.
The Philistines of Gath surround David . He is not discouraged because he understands the battle is the Lord’s. If God is for him, who can be against him? That is what we keep seeing all through 1 Samuel 18. God is with David. “My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.” Notice how David uses a title for God that emphasizes the sovereignty of God; that God is the ultimate sovereign Ruler above all. He is ‘El Elyôn, The God Most High above all other authorities.
Psalm 56:3, “Whenever I am afraid …” When you wake up in the middle of the night and you start thinking through all the boogiemen in your life. This could go wrong and that could go wrong. What about this and what about that?
“Whenever I am afraid …,” whenever I worry, whenever I am being overwhelmed by anxiety, what is the solution? Do not wait until morning to get up and have a cup of coffee and read your Bible. Immediately confess sin if necessary and think about trusting God. Rehearse promises. These are some great promises to memorize:
Psalm 56:3, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
The Hebrew word here for “trust” is the word בָּטַח bāṭacḥ, which has the idea of expressing your confidence, relying exclusively, and leaning completely upon something, depending completely and totally upon something. David uses this word three times, Psalm 56:3, 4, 11, in this short psalm of thirteen verses.
In Psalm 56:3 David says, “Whenever”—any situation, whatever the circumstances—“I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
Then in Psalm 56:4 David puts “In God …” at the front of the verse to show the object of His trust and the importance of God. Then David shifts his thought. He has a parenthesis “(I will praise His Word), in God I have put my trust.” Again, the word bāṭaḥ meaning David puts his confidence in God. “I will not be afraid.” That is a dogmatic, indicative statement. Because I am focusing on God I will not be afraid.
This is mental attitude strength. It is not allowing or minds to go down that road where we think:
- We have lost the election.
- We have failed here.
- We have failed there.
- These people are in control there.
- I have got somebody who is always after my job at work.
Whatever the circumstances may be the focus is always brought back to God. I have put my trust in Him, therefore “I will not fear (period).”
“I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” What can they do? If I die I am absent from the body, face to face with the Lord. It may be a few days or weeks or years of misery, but when I get to eternity it will not matter at all. “What can flesh do to me?”
Then David goes on and talks about the situation, his call upon God. He rehearses what they are doing:
Psalm 56:5–6, “All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather together, they hide, they mark my steps, when they lie in wait for my life.”
It sounds like David is paranoid. The only problem with being paranoid is if they are really out to get you, and they were. He calls upon the Lord. Notice Psalm 56:7a, “Shall they escape by iniquity?” Lord, You are righteous. Are You going to allow them to get away with this? Are You going to allow them to get away on the basis of their sin? Are You not going to hold them accountable?
Psalm 56:7b, “In anger cast down the peoples, O God!”
Then David says something fascinating in Psalm 56:8, “You number my wanderings …” Wherever I am going You, Lord, are keeping account of my wanderings. Then David says, “Put my tears into Your bottle …”
What “Put my tears into Your bottle …” refers to is in the ancient world if someone had died and you were grieving and shed tears, you would take a little bottle, a tear bottle, and you would collect your tears of that grief. You would keep that to remember your grief for the loss of your parents, a child, or a spouse, to remember that. You are paying attention to the reality of that loss.
What David is saying to the Lord in his request is pay attention to my suffering. Pay attention to what is going on in my life. “Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” You have written them down. You keep a record of this. I know that you are not oblivious.
Psalm 56:9, “When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back. This I know because God is for me.” God is for him here. In 1 Samuel 18 God is with him. We have seen that three times in the text.
Psalm 56:10–11, “In God (I will praise His word), in the Lord (I will praise His Word), in God I have put my trust; (because David has put his trust he can state dogmatically) I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” That needs to be a focal point for us: “What can man do to us?”
Flip over a few pages to your right to Psalm 112. I want to point out a couple of verses, because what we are learning here is that when we are afraid what do we do? We trust. That is God’s provision for fear and all of the emotional complex of sins that spin off from fear.
Psalm 112 is a psalm. It is not a psalm of David. There is no indication of authorship there. Let me point out a couple of things as we read through the beginning of the psalm. The author says:
1 “Praise the Lord!”
The focal point here is praise. It is a praise psalm.
“Blessed is the man who fears Yahweh,
Who delights greatly in His commandments.”
The foundation is the character of God. Who fears the Lord, has knowledge of doctrine, and who greatly delight in His commandments? What is the result of someone who meditates on God’s Word day and night?
2 “His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.”
That is why the United States was so blessed in the 1600s, 1700s, and into the 1800s. It is because of the foundation that was laid for the Word of God. Those generations were blessed because of the fact that they were applying the Scripture.
3 “Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.”
4 “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.”
That is the character of God.
5 “A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 “Surely he will never be shaken;”
Notice in verse six that “He will never be shaken.” Circumstances are not going to rock the person who has his soul shaped by the Word of God.
“Surely, He will never be shaken.
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
7 “He will not be afraid of evil tidings;”
Getting bad news, you are not going to worry about it when you are sleeping at night. You sleep soundly, because you will not be afraid to get up in the morning and watch the news.
“His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
“Trusting” is the word bāṭacḥ again. It is confidence in the Lord. It is not in politics. It is not in the end result of the election. Whether it goes your way or not, God is still in control.
8 “His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.”
Why? Because he is “trusting in the Lord.” That is the contrast that I want you to understand.
Slides 16 and 17
This is also a psalm of David. It is addressed “To the chief musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said …”
This is a praise psalm after David has learned that Saul has been killed. His time of testing by Saul has ended. He rejoices not that Saul is dead, but that this test has been brought to an end, because God has delivered him. David says:
1 “I will love You, O Lord, my strength.”
Notice the language here.
2 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Look at all those metaphors. All of them speak of strength and power. In verse 2 the word for “trust” is not bāṭacḥ. In fact, this word for “trust” is a word חָסָה chāsā[h], which means a place of refuge, a place where you flee for protection. It is used metaphorically to refer to trust, especially in poetic literature. What does David do? He focuses on the power of God and the character of God. That is the object of David’s trust. Then David says,
3 “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.”
The worry is handled by focusing on the Person and the character of God, and on the promises of God. David goes on to say in terms of his circumstances,
4 “The pangs of death surrounded me,”
Many times it looked like Saul would win.
“And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.”
The word there is not the normal word for fear. It is the word בָּעַת bā‘ath, which means to be terrified. We see a window into David’s soul. David is not some plastered saint who goes through this and always, “Well, I am trusting the Lord and everything is great!” He is terrified at times. Absolutely terrified that Saul is going to win. But he always has to be brought back. He brings himself back by virtue of good strong mental attitude practices to focus on the character of God.
I want to point out, as we look at this issue of hatred, fear, and anger is:
3. The opposite of fear in Scripture is love.
Usually we think of the opposite of fear as being some kind of being relaxed, not being afraid, being happy, but in Scripture the contrast to fear is love.
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love …”
If you are a sinner, unsaved, spiritually dead, operating on fear as the basic emotional orientation of your corrupt sin nature, can you really love? Biblically love? Not at all, because the Scripture says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear.”
That is the virtue love of God the Father that only the believer has. It casts out fear. Focusing on the character and love of God. “But perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
In other words, the one who fears is operating on the sin nature because love is the fruit of the Spirit. If you are walking by the Spirit the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and patience. If you are not walking by the Spirit there is no love.
4. Anger comes when we do not get our way. When something does not go the way we want, then we get mad. When we get mad, then we are giving ourselves over to anger. Anger can spin off into resentment. It can spin off into bitterness. It can even spin off into hatred. Hating the person that is blocking us or preventing us from achieving that which we want. Anger is very significant as a mental attitude sin.
As soon as we get angry we ought to stop. We usually do not because we have already gotten ourselves out of control. As soon as we give ourselves over to anger we ought to stop and say: What am I not getting here? What is being blocked? What is preventing me from being relaxed? I am not getting my way. That is the bottom line. We ought to say is: “Well, what is it that I am trying to get that I am thinking will make life better for me or work for me” or something like that?
What we see with Saul is that he wants his kingdom. He wants to be the king. To be victorious and successful as the king is what is going to make him happy, not his relationship with God. He wants the kingdom to make him happy. He wants that power and prestige. Saul absolutely loses control. He is very angry. He focuses that anger and hatred against David.
5. After time, if we do not get our way, if we do not get that which we think will make life the most meaningful and significant for us, then we get depressed. We get discouraged, and then we get depressed. We think that there is no hope and no happiness. I cannot get “x” so I am going to be miserable. I am going to go home and eat dirt. That is how people often are. They throw a pity party.
6. The other thing that comes along is hatred. Hatred comes when we direct our anger toward the person we believe is preventing us from achieving what we think is necessary for life, for real meaningful happiness and joy. It is not that relationship with God. It is people acting a certain way, events coming out a certain way, circumstances turning out a certain way. If we get that, then we can be happy.
We see that fear leads to anger; anger leads to hatred. It leads to hatred toward God’s representatives. I want to give you a great example of this in Genesis 37. This is the episode that talks about Joseph’s coat of many colors. If we look at the beginning of this chapter we read:
“Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.”
These sons want daddy’s approval. They want to do well in the eyes of their father. At the very least they do not want Jacob getting mad or angry with them. These brothers are 30–40 years old by this time. Remember, Joseph is 17 years old according to the text. He is the next to the youngest. The youngest was Benjamin. Joseph is much younger than these other brothers. They are all the way up into their 30s, and Joseph is going to tattle on the brothers. He is going to report on them.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.”
Jacob made him a garment that was magnificent. It was beautiful. It showed that Joseph was worthy of special privilege from the father. It makes the other brothers angry. What they want is their father’s approval. Joseph is preventing that. They are not getting their way. Joseph is blocking that. The result is that they are going to get angry. They are going to direct that anger at Joseph. They are going to hate him.
“But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.”
This hatred has dominated. Their whole life is characterized by this hatred.
“Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.”
The brothers hated Joseph so much that this eventually leads to the brothers’ attempt to murder him, which is blocked by Reuben, who says to put him in a pit, and later Judah said to sell him. Reuben and Judah block the brothers’ action, Genesis 37:21–28.
The point I want to show is that when you are a representative of God, and you are doing God’s business, then those who are not are going to hate you. They are going to react to you. They are going to call you names and accuse you of all kinds of things that are unjustified. You have to handle that without getting angry, without being resentful, without hating. You have to relax and use the opportunity to minister for the Lord.
7. All of these things are the outworking of the self-absorbed orientation of our sin nature.
Fear, anger, hatred, resentment, bitterness, hostility, all of them are just evidence of sin nature control.
8. In contrast, when our happiness is based on the Lord and not circumstances, events, or people, then we can have joy even when everything is taken from us.
The Lord had joy on the Cross. He has joy even in the midst of the Garden of Gethsemane when He is under so much pressure as He thinks about what He is going to encounter on the next day, that He is sweating drops of blood through His skin. The Scripture says that He was grieving. He was sorrowful. But He did not let those emotions control His reaction to what was coming.
In John 15:11 Jesus told his disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
James 1:2 tells us that we are to “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials.”
That is, every different kind of testing. David is going through this testing. He is going to be tested by Saul. He is going to be accused unjustly. He is going to be persecuted. He is going to be chased. All of these things are going to happen to him, but we have to watch how he responds. It is a tremendous lesson in his humility and grace orientation.
As a result of the way David conducts himself with honor and integrity, all of Israel and Judah loved him. We read this in 1 Samuel 18:16, “But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.” David’s popularity with the people increases.
We see Saul in operation. We will watch his sin nature work as he is trying to manipulate the circumstances. He is going to try to manipulate this situation so that David will die. He wants to kill David. Saul has tried on two occasions already. But now he is going to come up with a plan that will make it look like he was not responsible. He comes with an idea, but as part of this he is possibly trying to get back at David.
1 Samuel 18:17 reads, “Then Saul said to David, ‘Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife.’ ” Saul makes this promise. “Only be valiant …” that sounds like a condition in the English. It is not that. It is really a statement of David’s obligations to continue to be a strong warrior. Notice how Saul brings in the spiritual tone. He is going to use the right words.
So often that is what politicians do. They try to cloak their nefarious schemes in all of the right words and right attitudes. They invoke the name of God. They invoke the name of the Constitution while they are doing just the opposite.
Saul says, “Only be valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles.” But what Saul is really thinking is exposed by Scripture. What he is really thinking is, “Let my hand not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” Saul is coming up with a scheme to trap David.
In 1 Samuel 18:18 we see David’s humility. This is David’s grace orientation. “So David said to Saul, ‘Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel that I should be son-in-law to the king?’ ” This is not a false humility.
David recognizes that his great-grandmother is a Moabitess, that he comes from a modest family, and that he has been a shepherd. He recognizes that he is not someone who has any natural right to be the king of Israel. He demonstrates his grace orientation.
What we see in contrast, because that verse comes in between 1 Samuel 18:17 and 1 Samuel 17:19, is this capriciousness of Saul. He cannot be true to his word. On the one hand he has promised his daughter to whoever kills Goliath, but then he is going to go back on it.
In 1 Samuel 18:19 even though he has said all these wonderful things in 1 Samuel 18:17 he goes right back on his word and gives Merab to “Adriel the Meholathite as a wife.”
We will come back to this, but I ran across this comment in Lange’s Commentary on the Bible, which I thought was particularly appropriate for where we are today. “The finer the words the greater the deceit. Further, he (Saul) would rather see the Philistines triumph than David survive.”
It is a sad thing that there are a lot of Republicans who would rather see Hillary get elected President than to win—total loss of position and power. And frankly, until the Republicans can recognize, like the Democrats, that it is all about power and getting power, which means you unite, you do not shoot each other, Republicans and conservatives will never gain the White House.
The Republicans and conservatives will never gain power, because they are so divided. They are so filled with arrogance and self-righteousness. They are like the Jews in the AD 66 War of Rebellion against Rome. They are so filled with self-righteousness that they would rather shoot each other than shoot the enemy. Until that changes there is no hope in the Republican Party. On that positive note, be reminded that God is our hope, not the Republican Party.
In 2 Samuel 21:8–9 what happens to Merab is that she gets married to Adriel the Meholathite. Down the road David will give their five sons to the Gibeonites because Saul went back on Joshua’s word to the Gibeonites. When the Gibeonites want justice from David, David recognizes the legitimacy of their claim. David asks the Gibeonites what they wanted. They told him they had had their people massacred by Saul, which went against the covenant with Joshua. We want to have Saul’s descendants. We will execute them. That is what they did. Merab’s sons did not have a good ending.
We are told in 1 Samuel 18:20 about Michal, which name looks almost like Michael in English. “Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.”
Here we see Saul’s nasty little conspiratorial mind and his arrogance working, “Ah-h-h, another way to trap David.” He has gone back on his word once, but now has a pang of conscience, “I am still going to give him my daughter. Michal loves him, so I will give her to David.”
This is his thinking, 1 Samuel 1:18:21, “I will give her to him that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.”
This is interesting because Saul has already formulated a plan in order to get a special dowry for Michal that will put David’s life at risk and put him in danger of being slaughtered by the Philistines. Saul could be thinking that the reason she is going to be a snare to him is because since she loves him, David will want to marry her and will do whatever I ask him to do. And that will be the end of David. That is one possibility.
The word that is translated “snare,” מוֹקֵשׁ môqēsh, is a word that is often used of the snare of idolatry. It is used about eight or nine times in the Scripture, and with one exception it always refers to the snare of idolatry.
In Exodus 23:33 God says, “They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods (Canaanite gods), it will surely be a snare to you.”
In Exodus 34:12 God says, “Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.”
Joshua 23:13 repeats this, “Know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you …”
It is repeated in Judges 8:27, Gideon set up an ephod that the people worshiped as an idol. “It became a snare to Gideon and his house.”
Psalm 106:36 says, “They served their idols, which became a snare to them.”
That is the basic idea of “snare.”
At the end of 1 Samuel 18:21 we are told, “Therefore Saul said to David a second time, ‘You shall be my son-in-law today.’ ” Saul had already promised Merab the first time. Now he is going to make a second promise: Okay, I am going to give you Michal, “You will be my son-in-law today.”
1 Samuel 18:22, “And Saul commanded his servants, ‘Communicate with David, secretly, and say …” that the king really likes you. All his servants love you. “Become the king’s son-in-law.” Entice David this way.
But we continue to see the contrast between Saul’s self-absorption and David’s humility, because in 1 Samuel 18:23 repeating what is in 1 Samuel 18:18, “So Saul’s servants spoke those words in the hearing of David. And David said, ‘Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing I am poor and lightly esteemed man?’ ”
David is not seeking power or prestige or position for himself. That is not something that motivates David. David is motivated at this point by his love for the Lord.
This leads to Saul’s third attempt. He comes up with this idea and says to David, “Here is your dowry. You are going to bring me a hundred foreskins from the Philistines. That means that you are going to have to kill them and circumcise them, because they will not stand still for it otherwise.”
1 Samuel 18:25 says, Saul wants “one hundred foreskins.” Saul’s real plan is that David will become endangered and be killed.
1 Samuel 28:26, “So when his servants told David these things word, it pleased David.”
Notice that. This is a warrior! He loves the battle! It pleased him because now he can go kill the Lord’s enemies. He is enthusiastic! “The days had not expired” means that Saul had set some sort of time limit on it. It was not expired yet.
1 Samuel 28:27, “… therefore David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines.”
If you are going to do something for the glory of God you do it to the maximum. David does not just kill one hundred. He kills two hundred. “And David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full count to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law.”
I could go into some interesting evaluation and explanation of what is going on here. But ever since Bill Clinton was the President, the news media has devalued the currency of our language. We are exposed on the news, television, and everything else to all kinds of language and things we never would have heard before it. I am not going to go there. You can use your own imagination.
David brings in the dowry. “Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife.”
In the closing of the chapter, 1 Samuel 18:28–29, we learn that at that point “Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David.” The third time we have seen this. “… and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him; and Saul was still more afraid of David.” Saul is on that mental attitude sin rollercoaster. “Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually.”
Then we are told in 1 Samuel 18:30 that “Then the princes of the Philistines went out to war. And so it was, whenever they went out, that David behaved more wisely …” The contrast between Saul and his mental attitude sins, leading eventually to his self-destruction, and David, wise because of the Word of God, more wise “than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed,” is that David became the hero of all of Israel. Let’s close in prayer.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study through these things, to understand the dynamics, the horrors of giving into sin nature control, of all these mental attitude sins and emotional sins, the sins of fear and anger and hatred, all these things that war against our soul.
“Father, challenge us to be thoughtful, conscientious of our thought life and how we react to those that are against us, and who are against the truth that we might not lower ourselves to their level, but we may take the high road of grace and honor and integrity.
“Father, we pray for this country, that You would protect us from the evil ones that wish to destroy the constitutional freedoms that we have had to establish their own power, their own tyranny. We pray that we might have enough integrity in this election to prevent those who would seek to destroy the Constitution from having a power base. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.”