We saw in last week’s post how Saul’s jealousy grew into fear, bitterness and a murderous anger. He became paranoid toward David with brief intervals of appearing rational only to have his jealousy erupt again and again. The scene was set for the covenant of Jonathan and David to be manifest in action. Jonathan rose to David’s defense.
Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David…Jonathan spoke well of David to his father, Saul and said to him, ‘Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason? Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death. I Sam. 19:1, 4-6
I have often wondered when reading this passage whether this incident was the inspiration so many years later for David’s son, Solomon, to write in his Proverbs, ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath.’ Proverbs 15:1 Jonathan’s respectful appeal to his father had that very effect.
Jealousy is a powerful emotion, but love is even more powerful. For the moment, Jonathan’s loving loyalty towards David calmed his father’s rage. Unfortunately, not for long. Saul was persuaded at the moment but he failed to acknowledge or confess his anger as sin and therefore did not repent, but was only momentarily appeased. Jealousy and anger do not disappear with appeasement; only true repentance leads to deliverance. This is true of any sin. Saul needed to recognize the wickedness of his jealousy and the destructive power of his anger, a force more deadly to his own soul than to David. Sadly he did not.
Before long the king was on a rampage again. He threw a spear at the young David once again and once again, David escaped. He sent soldiers to kill David but his wife, Michal, warned her husband and helped him escape. Then she put an idol in the bed to make it appear as if David was sleeping. (I Sam. 19:11-13) Saul had thought that he could trust his daughter, Michal, to manipulate David into being Saul’s puppet, but he didn’t count on her loving David as she did. She came within inches of her own life and was spared for helping David escape, only because she convinced her father that David threatened to kill her if she didn’t help him escape. David, of course, did nothing of the sort.
Having escaped the palace, David sought out the prophet, Samuel, the one who had anointed him to be king. Wouldn’t you love to have overheard that conversation between the young David and the aging prophet? One thing is sure, the prophet welcomed David and no doubt, reaffirmed the call of God upon his life.
In seeking to follow God’s will for our lives, we often face times when we wonder, ‘Did I really hear from God?’ or ‘Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?’ or ‘God, if this is what you want me to do, why am I being so maligned and persecuted?’ In those times, what a blessing it is for a godly friend or mentor to reassure us that we are on the right path and to remind us that nothing valuable comes without a price. And when we are talking about obeying God’s call upon our lives, the price often includes being misunderstood and misjudged by others. Why? Because we humans have an inherent tendency towards wanting the approval of others and if we are to fulfill God’s purpose for our life, we will have to learn – one way or another – to value His approval more than men’s. Easily written – not so easy to achieve.
We said earlier that love is more powerful than jealousy. The next thing we learn from David’s experience is that the Spirit of God is even more powerful.
When Jonathan’s rebuke to his father produced only temporary results, the Spirit of God stepped in to restrain Saul. The king learned that David was with the prophet, Samuel, so he sent soldiers to capture him there. As the first soldier entered the presence of Samuel and his prophets, the Spirit of God fell on him and he began to prophesy. Saul sent another soldier and another and each time, the same thing happened. In the presence of the prophet, they were powerless to apprehend David! Foolishly, Saul decided he would go himself. (Imagine thinking that you are more powerful than God’s Spirit!)
So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. I Samuel 19:23-24 In the end he returned home without David.
God is able and willing to protect His own. If love is powerful, the Spirit of God is far more powerful. The more we learn about David’s life, the more we grasp the power of the psalms he wrote, like this one: The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1
For David, these weren’t just ‘nice words’. He lived this truth. He learned in the most threatening of situations that indeed there was no one to fear, for the Lord was His defense, his light and his salvation.
We may not be a David but each of us has a divine purpose. God put you on this earth to complete a task, a mission, that no one else can complete. It is unique to you and important to God. As you apply yourself to walk out His mission for your life, you can trust in the Lord’s protection and guidance. The challenge is to recognize and embrace it, to nourish your faith and trust in Him by meditating on His Word, just as Joshua was exhorted to do: This book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8
Do you make time every day to read and ponder passages from your Bible? If feeding your body healthy food each day is important, how much more important is it to feed your soul from the Word of God? Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Deut. 8:3