Living with Impossible People

Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.

But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, "If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed." So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. Then Michal took an idol [b] and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats' hair at the head. 1 Samuel 19:8-13

Nothing speaks love and affection greater than your father-in-law throwing a spear at you while you're playing a harp! I am certainly glad I didn't live under that abusive man. You just never knew when his personality would change!

Entire books have been written about "How to Live with Impossible People." As a subject or servant, you need grace, plenty of grace. God will give you that Grace when you need it. Unfortunately, many need that kind of grace every day! He will give it Every Day. Thank the Lord for that!

Getting Good Counsel

Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father 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 all 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."

So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before. 1 Samuel 19:4-7

Leaders need good advisers and counselors. The Book of Proverbs is full of verses that mention wisdom in counsel and insight. Leaders rarely get good counsel. The primary issue that prevents good advice from reaching the leader is self-interest of the counselor.

Think about it. You now believe a program is great but it just happens to go against what you originally proposed 2 weeks ago. What do you do? Do you make yourself look bad by advising against your previous program or do you stick with what you originally said? If your job is on the line, you will not make yourself look bad. Therefore, is your counsel worth anything? Probably not. On the other hand, if you give counsel and your advice is taken, you look like a genius.

Continue to pray that the leaders of the Free West get good counsel, and that the leaders of those nations choose them wisely.

Some People Won’t Like Us

Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David and warned him, "My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I'll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out." 1 Samuel 19:1-3

Clearly Saul is out of line. And he makes it no secret about his hatred for his new son-in-law. Jonathan "gets" his father. He doesn't like it or approve of it so he informs David. David must not have believed Jonathan so Jonathan gives him proof.

It's a fact of life and none of us like to admit it, but there are people in this world who do not like us. There are managers and supervisors and business owners who do not like us. Sometimes the dislike is subtle; sometimes, however, it is very blatant and vocal. And often times it's nothing that we can change in our lives to modify their view of us. It may be our faith or our attitude or our language or it may just be our personalities clash.

So, pray for that person. Not that you would be liked but that their hearts will be softened. Similarly, we may not like someone for almost the same reasons described above. The important thing for us is to be able to recognize that dislike and ask God to reveal our hearts (because often we may not be able to pinpoint the reason). Then pray that God will help you to see redeeming qualities in that person. Pray that God will help you love that person.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dreams

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.

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?