David Marries Michal

Saul said to David, "Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD." For Saul said to himself, "I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!"

But David said to Saul, "Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?"  So when the time came for Merab, Saul's daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.

When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king's son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented the full number to the king so that he might become the king's son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul's officers, and his name became well known. 1 Samuel 18: 17-19, 26-30

Again we see the love/hate relationship that Saul has with David. He hates him and wants to kill him; then suggests that his daughter marry him! How would you like to have King Saul as your father-in-law? Holiday dinners would be interesting to say the least!

Finally, though, David married Michal, but was still a commander in Saul's army. Scripture also says that David met with more success than the rest of Saul's officers. Showing up your fellow officers time and time again isn't a way to endear yourself towards them. But David knew the Lord was with him. More importantly, Saul knew that the Lord was with David (he still tried to kill him on occasion, but he knew that the Lord had watched over David).

Saul recognized that the Spirit of the Lord was on David. Pray, too, that the Spirit of the Lord will also guide our politicians and leaders. Pray that those who are vocal about their faith will continue to do so.

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Intoxicating Power

The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, "I'll pin David to the wall." But David eluded him twice.

Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns. 1 Samuel 18:10-16

Saul had a love/hate relationship with David. This is the textbook definition of an abusive relationship. Saud tried to pin David to the wall twice with his sword and yet he sent him to command thousands of his military men. Why didn't David run away from this madman? Well, when the King wants you in his presence, you will do it or you will probably die. David would know that kind of power all too well in a few years.

You have to think that maybe God was preparing David for when he took over the throne. God was showing David firsthand the abuse of power, the intoxicating power that the King possessed, and what it takes to please the King (among other things).

Power in positions of leadership is a very interesting thing. If you're not careful, you can let it dominate your leadership abilities.

Once again, we turn to our leaders. They have enormous amounts of power because they control a lot of money. Pray that our leaders will not be seduced by the allures of power and money. Pray that they won't let their power go to their heads.

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Saul’s Jealousy

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands."

Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.  1 Samuel 18:6-9

Even though Saul liked David, he also infuriated the King. Essentially, David was moving in on Saul's popularity. Up to this point, David probably hadn't a clue of what kind of emotions he was bringing out in Saul.

Many leaders are very similar to Saul. They have expended a lot of time, money, and energy into achieving power, and they don't want a young boy to overshadow their spotlight. Even though Saul rose to power quite unexpectedly, now that he was in it, he liked it and wanted to keep it.

We hear stories about the behind-the-scenes tempers of some of our politicians. They want what they want, when they want it, and no little rule or regulation or secretary is going to stop them. I suspect that very very few of them have the humility and patience to deal with the public graciously.

Pray that these politicians won't let their emotions affect their decision-making abilities. Pray that they'll be able to recognize people for who they are, and not what they can do for the politician.

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Hire the Obvious

As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is that young man?" Abner replied, "As surely as you live, O king, I don't know."

The king said, "Find out whose son this young man is."

As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head.

"Whose son are you, young man?" Saul asked him. David said, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul's officers as well. 1 Samuel 17:55-18:4

Prior to this passage is the famous story of David and Goliath. He sees the giant, wonders why nobody defends the Lord's honor, takes out a sling and slays the giant of a man.

Courage. Honor. Doing the right thing. It's all there.

King Saul sees all of this and wants to know more about little David. Saul recognizes his great courage and wants him to be a commander in his army. From nobody to leader overnight.

As a leader, it's an obvious call to make: hire the best and the brightest. Unfortunately our political leaders don't always do that. They put someone in a position because of political favors or they're a relative or any number of goofy reasons.

I know it seems like it's a joke, but pray that our leaders will find and recruit the "obvious" candidate for the positions they fill.

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Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, "Nor has the LORD chosen this one." Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The LORD has not chosen these." So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?"
"There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives."

 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.  Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one."
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:8-13

Samuel anointed David in front of his brothers, and I guarantee you that it stirred up a lot of commotion in Jesse's household that day (and many others afterwards). Seven older boys were passed over to be King of Israel. But what was it like for little David. Saul was still in power so he couldn't ascend to the throne just yet, and even so, what would he do when he got there? It's the stuff dreams are made of.

Our future leaders are kids now. None of them have been anointed but some have aspirations to lead and rule. Thirty years from this will be a very different world. Think of what it was like even twenty years ago. But I believe that God is stirring this generation to do great things, in every country, in every tongue.

Pray that God will raise up Godly men and women to lead our nations. Pray that He will build the skills and minds necessary to solve the problems we are leaving behind.

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Outward Appearances

The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."

But Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me."
      The LORD said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate."

Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, "Do you come in peace?"

Samuel replied, "Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD."

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:1-7

It certainly didn't take long for the Lord to announce the anointing of a new king. And Samuel was ready to make it Eliab. The Lord knew what Samuel was thinking. He knew his thoughts and how he would think, especially since Samuel's mission was to choose one of Jesse's sons to become king.

Obviously God knowing Samuel's thoughts, as interesting as that may sound, is not the focal point of this passage. He was merely pointing out to Samuel that what God sees as important and what we see are two very different things.

  • What do you think about when you see the 18-year-old with a face full of earrings and a blue Mohawk?
  • What do you think about when you see that shabbily dressed couple come into church with their five kids needing a good bath?
  • What do you think about when you go around the slow car driven by someone who must be close to 100 years old?

Exactly. God sees people in a very different light than we do. Oh we put on a good "game face" at times, but I know that I have to work at loving people who don't meet my puny standards of social standing.

Ask God that He would help you see people as He sees them. It's a bold prayer because along with seeing them that way, we've got to be able to love them that way too. But is that such a bad thing?

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Are the Masses Ever Right?

Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God." So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD.

Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites." Agag came to him confidently, thinking, "Surely the bitterness of death is past."

But Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women."  And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal.

Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:30-34

For a third time, Scripture tells us that the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel. It was what the people wanted. They cried out, pleaded, and demanded the LORD give them a king. Have you ever been in a situation where the "mob" was ruling and they actually did the wrong thing because as soon as one person is vocal about something, what he says starts to spread. Unfortunately, like in the game of "Whisper" where the object of the game is to spread a few lines from one end of the room to the other without it becoming all tangled up. Usually, someone mishears it along the way and the message gets shorter and shorter, until someone at the very end decides to embellish the story. By the time, it gets to the very end, it really has no relation to what was originally spoke.

So, what does this have to do with Saul? The people were not happy with the Lord to rule over them so they grumbled. And whined. And complained. Before long, everyone was dissatisfied. The Lord warned them not to take a new leader but they didn't listen. Just like yesterday's reading, there were consequences to them demanding a new leader.

Pray today for the masses of people wandering aimlessly, complaining throughout life, dissatisfied with everything they touch and spreading that dissatisfaction. Pray that God will continue to draw close to them. think of someone you know who fits this description. Pray for that person by name.

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Truth AND Consequences

Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD."
But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!"
1 Samuel 15:24-26

Just like that his favor with the Lord was over. That had to come to Saul as a total shock. It's one thing for a man to reject you, but it's something entirely different when the God you worship rejects you as leader.

The things we do in life have consequences. Yes, we can receive forgiveness for those actions, but they still have consequences. If you speed down the highway and get a speeding ticket, that is just the beginning of the natural consequences for your violation of the law. You still have to pay the fine, incur driving points, and pay higher insurance rates for three years. If you plead for mercy on the court, you'll get a smiley face on your ticket for confessing, but you'll still have to pay the penalties for your actions. The consequences for what you've done are still there. Saul realized his sin, confessed it, but the damage was already done to his leadership.

I think it's a solemn reminder to us that we live in a fallen world. Every day we see the consequences of living without God. We see violence, destruction, and chaos. We see broken homes and broken dreams. We see men and women get away with crimes they've committed. God forgives us when we come to him, but we still must make a difference in the world.

And it should be said that righteous actions also have consequences.

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Needless Striving

"Stop!" Samuel said to Saul. "Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."  "Tell me," Saul replied.
Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD ?"

"But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."
But Samuel replied:
       "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
       as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
       To obey is better than sacrifice,
       and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
       and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
       Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
       he has rejected you as king."

1 Samuel 15:16-23

Even when Saul was "busted" with the truth, he tried to reason with Samuel. The Lord had told Saul (through Samuel), "Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys" (1 Samuel 15:3). The people had become so wicked that every living creature was to be put to death. But Saul disobeyed. The Lord was guiding Saul in truth, but he wasn't willing to obey fully.

God didn't want sacrifice; He wanted obedience. How does that apply to us thousands of years removed from Saul?

God's not so interested in what we do for Him. He's terribly concerned about the inner man, about what goes on inside you that no one else knows about. The sacrifice for your sins (and mine) has already been paid. That's the beauty of it all. That's grace, or as many have stated: God's Riches at Christ's Expense.

Keith Green used to sing these words: "My son, My son, why are you striving? You can't add one thing to what's been done." He's right. We need to drill that into our heads often.

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