David's Friends (1 Samuel 22:1-2):
So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.
Saul's Friends (1 Samuel 22:17-19):
And [Saul] the king said to the [Jewish] guards who were attending him, "Turn around and put the priests of the LORD to death, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not reveal it to me."
David said to Ahimelech, "Now is there not a spear or a sword on hand? For I brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's matter was urgent."
1 Samuel 21:8-10
David defeated Goliath, the giant from Gath without a weapon. Now because of fear or lack of faith David runs to Gath with the weapon of a Gittite (man from Gath is a Gittite), and he is utterly impotent.
Why do believers trade the armor of God for the weapons of the defeated enemies of God? You can't win a war against the flesh with weapons of flesh. The flesh is already defeated. Its weapons have been proved to be of no use for God.
If you are fighting with five stones that are exactly like five thousand other stones from the river, your trust is in God, and you win. When you are fighting with the best sword in the world, the sword with no equal, your trust in the sword; and you lose.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David,
1 Samuel 18:1-3
Jonathan's love came with a huge price tag. Jonathan's love for David meant the loss of everything for Jonathan. Jonathan's love for David cost him his own father's love. Jonathan was siding with God against his father's house. Greater still, Jonathan was taking sides with God against his own life!
When you love the Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, you are taking God's side against yourself and against your own family. You are embracing the overthrow of everything you know and love. You are accepting the loss of even your own life.
Why didn't Jonathan leave his father's house, where he must die? Why didn't he join with David with whom he would have lived? I asked myself the same question. Why don't I leave Adam's house where I must die? I can't. My heart is knit to Christ in whom I live, but my body is the property of the house of Adam. It must die, and I cannot take it with me to Christ. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50; 6:9). Loving Jesus is an admission that my body must die. Of all the things that must be counted dead for the sake of Christ, my body is at the top of the list. It is part of the price tag.
At the jewelry store, clever salespeople turn all the tags upside down. They hope you will love their rings and watches before you know the cost. The good news is not clever. It is foolish. God shows you the cost before you ever see the jewels. It is not good marketing, but it is the wisdom of God. Are you sure you want the one that costs your life?
Do you love Jesus?
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…
"What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine?" 1Samuel 17:26
1 Samuel 17:4, 8,16
"Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span…He stood and shouted to the RANKS [ARRANGEMENTS] of Israel and said to them, 'Why do you come out to DRAW UP [ARRANGE] in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.'…The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand."
I picked out one key word from this chapter (actually two), "arrange" and "arrangement." Israel arranged their army. The word is used for making rows, or sorting things, or arranging bread on a table, or pieces of meat on an altar, or arranging an argument to win a debate. For forty days, Israel's battle plan was to rearrange soldiers. Israel's strategy was to rearrange faithless men, but no matter how many times Israel or the church changes its meeting times, its speaker rotations, or its duty rosters; arranging and rearranging faithless men will yield a fruitless work.
Are you a man or woman of faith who will believe God and step out of the ranks today? What will be done for you? I can only imagine what riches God has for you.
Why did the God Who Sees (El Roi) make your eyes?
1 Samuel 16:7
Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature,
because I have rejected him;
for God sees not as man sees,
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are open and laid bare
to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her,
for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!
It is no surprise that God sees. He created eyes and ears!
What takes my breath away and makes me faint? What surprises me?
One day, maybe today, my eyes will see the God who sees me.
1 Samuel 13:13-14 Saul stole Samuel's work:
Samuel said to Saul…"But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."
1 Samuel 15:28-29 Saul failed to do his own work:
So Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you. "Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind."
1 Samuel 15:33 Samuel had to finish Saul's unfinished work:
And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the LORD at Gilgal.
God is not a god of numbers (1 Samuel 14:6)
"Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, 'Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.'"
What about you? Jonathan and one young man did what Saul could not do with the entire nation of Israel. He put the enemy to flight! What can God do through you? Jonathan said "perhaps." Maybe yes and maybe no, but you don't know until you try.
No time to seek God (1 Samuel 14:18-19)
"Then Saul said to Ahijah, 'Bring the ark of God here.' For the ark of God was at that time with the sons of Israel. While Saul talked to the priest, the commotion in the camp of the Philistines continued and increased; so Saul said to the priest, 'Withdraw your hand.'"
So much commotion (=busy and disturbing motion or activity) today! Are you too busy to seek God's face? After a short attempt, Saul said, "Stop," or "Withdraw your hand." Saul lost the help of God because he stopped seeking God. It was a terrible loss for Saul and his nation. There is a lot of commotion today, but just let the world commote without you while you wait on God. Then go join the commotion.
Win Win! (1 Samuel 14:21)
"Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan."
Many Jews left the losing camp and joined the winning camp. When God gave success to Israel again, they left the losing camp and joined the winning camp. Humanly speaking it was a win win situation.
The writer of 1 Samuel calls the defectors who loved their own lives "Hebrews." He calls those who remained who did not love their own lives "Israelites." Physically every Jewish person descends from Eber through Abram and Jacob. Spiritually the Jewish race descends through Abraham, the friend of God, and Israel, the prince of God. The men and women who deserted the people of God were Jews by birth but not Israelites by behavior.
The win win, lose lose principle is explained by the Lord Jesus in Mark 8:35:
For whoever wishes to save his life
"Faith without work is dead," but this story from the life of Saul teaches that, "Works without faith is deader!"
1 Samuel 13:6-9
"When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were hard-pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, 'Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering.'"
=== John Darby's Synopsis of the Bible ===
…whatever might be the result, he should wait for Him;
…it was useless to do anything without Him,
…he ran no risk in waiting for Him.
A faithful God could not fail him…
But he looks at circumstances: the people are scattered,
and Saul seeks to bring God in by an act of devotion without faith.
Saul acts in fear and offers a sacrifice as an act of devotion to God not because he trusted God, but because he distrusted God. Faith would have looked to God in obedience to His word and waited for God to act. God's word to Saul had been very plain, "Wait." In difficult straits it is expected that the people will hide and defect. They did it in Israel, and they do it today in the assembly. The leaders however are not to hide or defect. More is expected of them by God.
When all went away from the Lord Jesus in John 6, He did not ask His disciples, "What can we do to retain the multitudes?" He waited in faith and asked, "Will you also go away?" He presented an open door to them. If they stayed with Christ it would not be out of compulsion, but choice, faith and love.
Don't substitute feverish religious activity (acts of devotion) for obedience and faith. You may force the appearance of fruit, but not eternal fruit.
Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily [at Gibeah]
1 Samuel 11:6
At Gibeah Saul responded in anger to the promptings of the Spirit of God. Anger is not a very good foundation for the work of God. God's Spirit was responsible for stirring Saul's heart, but was not responsible for Saul's anger. When God stirred Saul's heart, the awful dirt at the bottom of Saul's heart was brought to the top and overflowed.
Have you ever done the right thing in the wrong way? Believers can do the will of God in the flesh. We need to guard our heart from wrong motives especially when we are doing the will and work of God.
Saul's hometown, Gibeah, has a bloody angry history. Gibeah is the city that refused hospitality to the Levite in the book of Judges and then abused his concubine. Gibeah is also the home of Saul. From Gibeah Saul sent out the twelve pieces of oxen to the 12 tribes just as a few years earlier the Levite sent twelve pieces of his concubine to each of the tribes of Israel.
1 Samuel 11:7 Oxen killed in Gibeah and sent to 12 tribes
He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, "Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.' Then the dread of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out as one man."
Judges 19:29 Concubine killed in Gibeah and sent to 12 tribes
When he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel.
Gibeah of Saul was devastated by the civil war against Benjamin. It was this city that was the home of Saul.
God gave back to Saul more than Saul ever lost.
1 Samuel 9:3 First Saul lost his donkeys.
"Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, 'Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys.'"
1 Samuel 9:7 Then Saul used all his bread.
"Then Saul said to his servant, 'But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?'"
1 Samuel 9:20 Then God restored his donkeys.
"As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found."
1 Samuel 10:4 Then God restored fresh bread.
"…and they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand."
1 Samuel 10:6 Then God gave to Saul what he never had, the Holy Spirit and a new heart.
"Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man."
For me to live is Christ.