TEXT: 1 Samuel 19:1-24
The preceding chapter details Saul’s unsuccessful attempts to eliminate David after his victory over Goliath. The relationship between the two further deteriorated in this lesson. In fact, Saul’s hatred, envy and fear of David became full-blown to the extent that he openly campaigned and enlisted his household in the manhunt for him. His frustration worsened as Jonathan, his son and Michal, his daughter declined from collaborating with him to eliminate David. The basic lesson here is that the wicked may hunt
believers and Christian servants but the Lord “preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10).
UNGODLY DIRECTIVE TO KILL DAVID (1 Samuel 19:1; Exodus 20:13; Psalm 37:12,13; Proverbs 6:14; Psalms 86:14; 94:21,22; Isaiah 10:1)
“And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David” (1 Samuel 19:1). It was awful for Saul to enlist his household in the murderous plot against David. His instruction has far- reaching domestic and national implications. One, by attempting to drag Jonathan and his servants into the murderous plot, Saul tried to infect his household with malice for David. It is ungodly for church leaders to nurse hatred against any worker or member, let alone influence their household to hate, antagonize or even hurt their target. As Christians, we should guard against the tendency to sow seeds of discord and hatred in our children, family members or colleagues in our workplaces. The Bible commands us to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Two, the instruction to kill David had the capacity to generate inter-generational enmity and war between the two families and tribes. Three, the instruction to eliminate the innocent young man was a flagrant disregard for God’s word not to kill (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 19:18). Today, believers are warned to desist from getting involved in any form of murder, including abortion (Romans 13:9; 1 Peter 4:15; 1 John 3:15). Four, Saul’s directive revealed his questionable character. He failed to lead an exemplary godly life for his household and subjects. Believers are enjoined to emulate the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly Christian leaders (1 Peter 2:21; 1 Corinthians 4:16).
SELFLESS DEMONSTRATION OF KINDNESS TO DAVID (1 Samuel 19:2-7; Romans 12:9,10; 13:10; 1Corinthians 13:4,5)
“But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself” (1 Samuel 19:2). Here, Jonathan demonstrated unusual love and kindness to David. Indeed, his love for him was a kind providence as God used him to shield David from harm. Jonathan’s love for David was pure as he refused to imbibe his father’s hatred and murderous intention towards him. The Scripture admonishes that believers should “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil…” (Romans 12:9,10). Love amongst brethren should be characterized by sincerity, kindness, purity, patience and gentleness (1 Corinthians 13:4,5). It is important to underscore here that godly children should refrain from running sinful errands for their parents.
“And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee ward very good” (1 Samuel 19:4). Jonathan played the role of an advocate and intercessor. His intercession for David was very prudent. It was managed with a great deal of meekness and wisdom; and he showed himself faithful to his friend by speaking good of him, even when faced with
the danger of incurring his father’s displeasure. He pleaded convincingly and made his father see why David should not be killed (1 Samuel 19:4,5). Saul’s hands were weakened at Jonathan’s words because he had no justifiable reason for his action. As God’s children, we have nothing to fear because we have an Advocate and Intercessor before our heavenly Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). Besides, our righteous life will speak for us in times of adversity, persecution and unjustifiable attacks from the enemy (Proverbs 11:6; 1 Peter 3:13). In view of this, we should use our tongues positively at all times to build up and not to
destroy (Proverbs 25:11; Ecclesiastes 10:12; 12:11). Christ teaches that believers should be peacemakers who cement relationships in line with the Scriptures (Matthew 5:9).
Having succeeded in his peace initiative, Jonathan brought David to Saul and he resumed his duties in the palace (1 Samuel 19:7). Nothing suggests that David was fearful, vengeful or half-hearted in his service to the king on resumption of duty. He still loved Saul irrespective of the persecution and plots to eliminate him. The Bible declares that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear…” (1 John 4:18). The life of David as an obedient and faithful servant is a lesson to contemporary believers. We are therefore admonished to “be subject to [our] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward” (1 Peter 2:18).
SUSTAINED DESPERATION TO KILL DAVID (1 Samuel 19:8-24; Jeremiah 17:9; John 15:18; Galatians 4:29; 2 Timothy 3:13)
On re-assumption of duty, David took on the Philistines in battle and “slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him” (1 Samuel 19:8). David’s winning streak in different battles over the Philistines unsettled Saul. How David remained unconquerable and unscathed from different attempts at getting rid of him remained a hard nut for him to crack. Rather than getting killed by the Philistines which Saul so much desired, David defeated them over and over. This latest victory increased Saul’s frustration and renewed his desperation to kill him.
Harboring such a murderous intention would not allow him to commend or reward David for his patriotic zeal and feat. Saul’s action confirms the fact that hatred and malice blind the eyes of the unregenerate and backsliders from seeing good things in others. The Jews never saw anything good in our Lord Jesus Christ because of their religious blindness occasioned by hatred for the truth (John 9:39-41).
Meanwhile, David’s doggedness teaches us that persecution and challenges of life should not restrain us from putting in our best into God’s service. As a combination of hatred and plot to kill brewed in Saul, the evil spirit that had been previously exorcised returned to afflict him. As usual, David was more than ready to use his musical prowess to bring relief to the tormented king. But Saul saw this as another opportunity to get rid of him at once. “And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night” (verse 10). From this point on, Saul began the hot chase to hunt him down. He quickly dispatched his hatchet men to his house to eliminate him. This plot was aborted by Michal, Saul’s daughter whom he married. She did not only provide David with the intelligence about the looming danger but personally smuggled him out of the house through a window. In this age of security concerns, we must not ignore reports of intelligence in our communities and circulating same to the brethren. After David’s escape, facilitated by Michal, she tested her father’s resolve to kill David by saying that he was sick and could not report to
the king as directed. But the king insisted that his messengers should bring his sick body from the bed that “I may slay him”. This is the height of wickedness to seek to snuff life out of David, even if he was sick. “So, David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah… he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth” (verse18). By running to Samuel, David made God his
refuge. As a prophet of God, Samuel was in the best position to counsel him on what to do at such a time.
David’s flight did not assuage Saul’s frustration. As far as he was concerned, he would stop at nothing but the termination of his life. Having obtained intelligence report that David went to Naioth with Samuel, he dispatched some messengers to capture and bring him. Lacking respect for God and His prophets headed by Samuel, the three batches of Saul’s messengers entered the assembly to carry out their evil assignment but were all arrested and detained by the Spirit of God. Unwilling to accept any disgrace arising from a failed plot, “he went thither to Naioth” and was also overpowered by God’s Spirit.
It is unfortunate that Saul who prophesied shortly before his coronation causing people to ask: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” has lost all grace and every vestige of godliness and is left to chase a servant in his kingdom. How quickly has his loss of the Spirit turned him into a monster without regard for human lives! Those who manifest gifts without grace, and charisma without character will be turned back at the pearly gate of heaven (Matthew 7:22,23).
Saul with his messengers failed to realize that God’s presence with David was the secret of his protection. Though the devil seeks to devour God’s people and servants, the Lord is always committed to their preservation (2 Timothy 4:18; Psalm 91). He preserved Joseph, the three Hebrew children, Daniel, David, the apostles and Christ from being killed prematurely (Genesis 50:15-21; Daniel 3:16,17,24,25; 6:18-23). And irrespective of what you are going through, “The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121:7,8).