I Samuel 26:
“Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph.” (Verse 2)
Saul after his encounter with David in the cave in chapter 24- appeared to be touched by David’s sincerity and realizes David has returned good for evil. David has spared his life and he tells David, he is more righteous than he is. Saul says: “And now I know indeed you shall surely be king.”
David was anointed by Samuel and assured by Samuel he was God’s choice to be king. Abigal has confirmed it. Jonathan has confirmed it. And now even King Saul has stated he knows David will be king.
What the challenge for me in this lesson is to determine what this second encounter, which David boldly seeks to make happen is all about. Why did David enter the camp of King Saul and put himself in such a dangerous position? Why did he seek to have this bizarre close encounter the 2nd time?
A JUG OF WATER AND THE KING’S SPEAR
Let’s focus on King Saul first. When Israel looked for a king, like the other nations, outward appearance was more important than character. And Saul certainly looked the like a king- handsome and tall, he was also rich. It is often assumed rich people are better, smarter and certainly envied. In fact, wealthy men often seek political office and the power it represents. We also can observe with wealth and good looks, pride is often the result. Pride would be one of King Saul’s besetting sins. His pride and ego could not tolerate anyone else being more popular than he, or receiving more praise them he received. Saul would do it his way, not God’s way. And if there was failure- it was someone else’s fault not his. But if there was success, it was because of his efforts, his brilliance and his talents.
His first encounter with the enemy after being named king was a successful one and King Saul appeared to be a spiritual man and a capable leader. He enlisted Samuel’s help and spiritual guidance and gave credit to the Lord for their first victory over the Philistines. But he would soon show his true character when he did not wait upon Samuel to make the sacrifice and did it his way.
But from the moment, David, the shepherd boy killed Goliath; there was a love-hate relationship between Saul and David. In their last close encounter David cut a piece of Saul’s robe and recognized King Saul as his king, as the one anointed by God to whom he meant no harm. Saul says David is a better man than he, and he will surely be king. Saul recognizes David has returned good for the evil he had received from Saul.
Now in the account before us in chapter 26, this seems to be ‘déjà vu’ all over again. Here we go- the second time around. What has caused David to seek out this encounter? The first encounter was not sought out- it was providentially arranged by God to test David and teach him the principles of: kingdom authority; letting God avenge you; returning good for evil; and letting God define what is good. But no sooner than David had been taught this lesson, he was tested when Nabal returned evil for the good David and his men had provided him. David was set to avenge himself and in anger set out having forgotten the lesson he had just been taught. Fortunately Nabal’s wife intervened and David realized how close he had come to taking revenge and treating Nabal, like Saul had treated him.
When last they met and David spared King Saul’s life, Saul had acknowledged that David would surely be king of Israel. He asked David to swear by the Lord he would not cut off his descendants and not destroy my name from his father’s house. David swore to Saul. So why had Saul upon learning of David’s whereabouts from the Ziphites come down to where he was with 3,000 chosen men and armed to the teeth? His previous confession was soon forgotten and Saul wants nothing more than to destroy the man who would be king. David now wants to test the sincerity and honesty of Saul’s confession from their previous encounter. For it appears Saul has once again taken up arms to destroy David.
Isn’t this like the flesh, our old nature? He will swear he will never do it again, just please don’t punish him, don’t take his life. Spare him, let him live. This is why Jesus said we must take up our cross daily. Our old nature cannot be used by God. You cannot put new wine in an old wineskin. There is no good thing in our flesh, our old nature. David wants to see if Saul has changed. If he is really willing to live in peace with David? This meeting will be their last.
David is a picture of the Lord Jesus here in this encounter. Remember what Jesus said from the beginning of his earthly ministry? He would often say, “My time (hour) has not yet come.” He was invincible. He was unbeatable. He could walk through crowds who had gathered to kill him, unharmed. He could teach in the temple right under the noses of the very Pharisees who wanted to destroy Him. But then Jesus turned toward Jerusalem and knew: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly I say unto you, unless a grain of seed falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12) And the in prayer to His Father, Jesus prays: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You.” (John 17:1)
David, I believe, knew he would be king of Israel. David had been anointed by Samuel, and confirmed by Jonathan, Abigail, Saul and hundreds of men and their families who followed David. So like Abraham who believed God would raise Isaac from the dead, and Jacob believed he would return to the land he left; and Joseph knew they would someday return to Israel and take his bones to be buried in his homeland- David was assured. Blessed Assurance. God would fulfill His purpose in David’s life. Even though he was on the run and outnumbered, David had a hedge of protection around him.
Saul is a picture of the flesh – the sinful nature of man who has a veil over his eyes when he looks at the Word of God. This veil can only be removed by Christ when a person turns to Christ. Paul writes in Romans 11 regarding Israel and their rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah: “God has given them a spirit of stupor; Eyes that they should not see; and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.”
When David and Abishai enter King Saul’s camp where 3,000 soldiers lie sleeping, they are in a spirit of stupor. God has caused a deep sleep to fall upon the whole group and David and Abishai walk right up to where King Saul is asleep. His spear by his head and Abner by his side. David takes his spear and the jug of water as proof he has been in his presence and could have easily killed him. But God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is not willing that any should perish but all would come to repentance.
The spear represents the weapons of war as well as the king’s authority. Remember what Jesus said to Pilate? Pilate had asked Jesus, “Do you not know I have the power to crucify You, and the power to free You? Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given to you from above.” (John 19) Paul explains: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God and shall bring judgement on themselves” (Romans 13:1, 2)
The Lord is the One who ultimately places people over us in our work or country. Our responsibility is to honor God first and to obey the laws (except when obedience is to disobey God) and pray for our leaders.
Our country is divided today over those who have been placed over us by the Lord. The God Most High, who is the God who fulfills His purpose for our lives is in control. When man tries to usurp God’s rule, God overrules. His will cannot be thwarted. David knows this in his heart of hearts.
His weapons of war have been taken away. His authority has been given by God and can be taken away by God by the man God chooses. Our weapons are mighty to the pulling down of stronghold. (2 Cor 10) Our weapons are divine; they are based on righteousness, faith and truth. No weapon formed against us will prosper.
Saul’s jug of water has been taken from him. Water represents both the Spirit of God and the Word of God, which cleanses us and refreshes us. The weapons we possess are mighty. And the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. The Word of God also refreshes us so we will not grow weary in well doing. The Spirit of God which had come upon Saul had departed. It departed the same time it came upon David. From that moment on, Saul was man of the flesh. Now Saul is without weapons and without the refreshing which comes from the One who gives strength to the weary.
THE TRUTH WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL.
King Saul’s last words to David were: “May you be blessed, my son, David! You shall bot do great things and you shall prevail.” The truth always prevails.
David senses the army which follows King Saul will one day be his army. They must know David is truthful when he says he means no harm to King Saul. David recognizes King Saul is the king God has set over Israel at this time. He wants the men to know he respects the office of the King of Israel. This conversation is heard by this armed force of 3000 men. The hear the truth from David and the acknowledgement of this truth by Saul.
He also wants them to know for the second time he could have taken the kingship from Saul by killing him, but did not. He will not return evil for evil. Paul writes in Romans 12: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Jesus at the cross asks His Father to ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Men have attacked the Word of God for centuries, but it still stands. The Truth prevails. Men die, the Word of God last forever. Men’s works are forgotten and return to dust. God’s Word lasts. It is still the Gospel which saves men’s lives. The Word of God is alive and powerful.
When we mediate upon it day and night and obey the Word of God it is able to transform and renew our minds. It builds a grid within our mind which serves to filter every thought which enters our mind. The entrance of light into our minds comes through our vision system. We must guard what we take in through our eyes in what we view on television and movies, what we read and also to what we listen. From birth to age 12, we receive 80% of our knowledge through our vision system. The battlefield is the mind of man. Satan placed an idea in Eve’s mind and she began to see the world differently. When light enters the eye it brings information which enters directly into our minds. The enemy today is correctly called, ‘the prince of the power of the air.’ The media which fills the airwaves with entertainment, advertising, opinion and everything from world events to the interpretation of world events, sports, weather reports and pornography wants to reshape our thinking. It can impact and reshape a culture and a generation. Media can place ideas in minds and create dreams and ignite the imagination.
Our eyes are the entrance to our hearts and minds. They provide access to our very souls. This is why they are referred to as “the windows of our souls”. We must be able to perceive good from evil. Satan can appear as an “angel of light.” He intends to blind us to the truth and corrupt our minds. He uses our eyes to gain entrance to our hearts. He deceives us into believing these things we look upon will make us happy. Today there are many who call darkness light and light- darkness. Jesus said the lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness. (Matthew 6: 22, 23.)
The Bible contains light to direct you; food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is a lamp unto your feet and a light upon your path.
God’s Word generates life. It is our doctrinal guideline. Faith comes from hearing it. The Word of God has changed my life and transformed my mind. It produces change, it frightens the devil, it causes miracles. The Word of God builds character. It overcomes adversity. It releases power and infuses hope at the same time. It cleanses our minds, brings things into being and guarantees our future forever. Read it to be wise. Believe it to be safe. Practice it to be holy.
Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. It is given to you in life, will be opened at the judgement and be remembered forever. (Gideons International)
Build your life upon these sayings and you will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. The storms of life came, but it did not fall. A life built on the Truth will prevail. On the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.