Sunday, January 29, 2023

David Promoted to Leadership in Saul's Army

David is coming off the greatest moment of his life, his victory over Goliath. He could easily be tempted to become arrogant or proud. But that is not what happens next.

We saw at the end of chapter 17 that after David defeated Goliath he was brought before Saul and Saul doesn’t even remember who he is. He had met him before, but he doesn’t even know his name. So he asks David who he is.

Then it says in 1st Samuel chapter 18, “When he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, so that Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not permit him to return home to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul. 4 So Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, even his garments, his sword, his bow, and his belt.”

At this moment David makes a true friend. Jonathan the son of Saul is that true friend to David. He admires David. He loves David. He has decided David will be his friend. He knows David is a great warrior, so he even gives him his armor and weapons to wear.

Our first point about David’s character today is this, as you live out the heart of God, you will find people who come around you and want to join with you in that mission. They sense the Spirit of God within you, they sense you are yielded to God’s leading in your life, and they want to be part of that.

They will be a blessing to you. They will encourage you. They will fight beside you. They will correct you when you get off base. They will point you toward God in your struggles. They are a blessing because they love you as themselves. Which is a great and rare and beautiful thing.

David remains with the army of Israel now, and he begans fighting battles and winning great victories, many months go by, most likely, and then the Israelites return from the wars they’ve fought.

It says this then, “6 When they came home, as David was returning from slaying the Philistine, the women came out from all cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. 7 The dancing women sang and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

8 Saul became very angry, and this saying was displeasing to him. Therefore he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what remains for him to have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul was suspicious of David from that day and forward.”

Point number two today, as you submit to God’s leading, and follow your Father wherever he leads you, and fight in His strength, and believe in Him and let Him work through you, you will shine more and more brightly. This like we said in point one draws people toward you who want to fight beside you, but it also draws people to be jealous of you, and to hate you.

Point number two is people will despise you, be jealous of you, and try to begin to work against you and your ministry. But they aren’t really fighting you, as much as the Spirit of God within you, and in that case, you’ll have the victory in the end.

But it’s very common, as a leader begins to shine, that others become jealous. It was temptation for me leaving seminary, and my friends were getting plum assignments and I struggled, am I going to get jealous? Am I going to let that in? And I decided that I would not.

Many may become suspicious of you over time, they will watch everything you do, perplexed at what is going on, they watch from the background even hoping that you’ll make a mistake so they can accuse you. But your best rebuke to that is simply going even closer to God and continuing to shine in Him. They may even accuse you of being arrogant, because you’re speaking out, you’re shining for God, but don’t believe it. Unless it is true, then repent of pride immediately.

It says that Saul became so jealous of David, that when David was playing the harp for Saul, Saul grabbed a spear and threw it at David, then a second time attempted to pin David to the wall, but David evaded the spears both times.

It even says in verse 12, “12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.”

You may actually be feared by people as you follow God’s leading. Jealousy and fear and hate.

So since Saul feared David, he sent David away and into battle again, he made him a commander over 1000 men, and sent him out, hoping that he might be killed in battle. But David wasn’t harmed.

Point number 3, you’ll have God’s divine protection as you serve Him faithfully. As you live out what it means to be a man after God’s own heart, you’re safe in His hands. He won’t let your enemies harm you as you do His will.

So King Saul hatches a new plan, he offers David to marry his daughter, but listen to David’s response.

He says, “18 But 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?” 19 So when it was time that Merab, daughter of Saul, should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.”

Point number 4, David was very humble. There was no pride in David. He was incredibly humble, despite his victory against Goliath, being promoted to a leader in the army, he could’ve gotten puffed up and proud but he didn’t.

Remember that in your own life. When you have a good thing happen, remind yourself, stay humble, don’t get proud. Pride will destroy everything you’ve won so very quickly. Pride is cancer, destructive, vicious, and corrupting.

So Saul’s first daughter is given to another, but Saul’s second daughter Michal really likes David. And Saul hears that Michal longs for David, so he hatches another plan, he says to David, alright you’re too humble to become part of the royal family, but I’ll offer you this, if you kill one hundred philistines and bring their foreskins back to me, I’ll give you my daughter. King Saul is hoping again that David will die in battle.

But David is pleased with this offer, and so he goes immediately to battle.

And it says this, “David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins and they gave them in full to the king, that he might be the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife.

28 When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, his daughter, loved him, 29 Saul was yet the more afraid of David, and Saul became the enemy of David continually.

30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to make war. And when they went out David was more successful than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was highly honored.”

And that’s how chapter 18 ends. David meets a wonderful woman, she loves him, they get married, David is safe in his battles, he kills twice as many philistines as originally requested, and for King Saul, he can tell God is with David. It’s clear as day, God is with Him.

As a result King Saul becomes David’s constant enemy. He knows deep within his heart that David is meant for the throne, for his throne. And he hates that.

Once again more battles come and David leading his thousand men is more successful than any other commanders. He’s increasingly loved by the people of Israel, respected by the leaders of the army, and his name is increasingly highly honored amongst all peoples.

Last point today, God will honor your name if you serve Him humbly. As you serve Him, fight the battles he has for you, as you carry the gospel, plan to serve people and do it faithfully, as you live your life for Him, he will honor your name. You will be honored, people will respect you, some will hate you, but many will love you and respect you.

In conclusion, I think we really see the fruits of David’s heart for God in this chapter of 1st Samuel. The fruits of humility, of devotion to God, of skill in battle, of submission to God’s plan, of obeying the will of God is victories. Honor. New friendships. A marriage. Honor among the people. But also enemies like King Saul.

1. People will join you as you serve God

2. People will also begin to be jealous of you and hate you

3. You’ll have God’s protection as you serve Him

4. David’s response to victories in his life was intense intentional humility

5. God will honor your name as you serve Him