1 Samuel 23:7b, “Then Saul said, God has cast him off into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a city that has gates and bars.”
How sad. Just because present circumstances were to Saul’s liking at that moment, Saul declares that God is on his side. It is natural to do this. But Saul’s whole expedition – to kill David – was evil. He should have accepted God’s will, and abdicated gracefully. His pride - his place before others, his status - drove him on. 1 Sam. 23:14b, “And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give [David] into his hand”. How like the position of Christ, the anointed One, among the elders of Israel. Constantly they took counsel how they might put him to death.
It is so natural for us to think that some favourable circumstance is “proof” of God’s support of our mission. It may be nothing of the kind. The first question is: Am I in the will of God in the thing that I am undertaking? Never mind something that seems to support my direction of thought. In Acts 27: 12-13, the helmsman and ship owner ignored Paul’s counsel, and went with the desire of “the most”. The “fair wind” only confirmed their decision; but it led eventually to the loss of the ship.
Saul had previously acknowledged that God was with David. See 1 Samuel 18:28-29, “And Saul knew that Jehovah was with David… And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul was David’s enemy continually.”
In 1 Sam. 24:4, 10, Saul had now been given into his hand and David’s men had suggested that he kill Saul. David’s answer was gracious – he would not harm Saul who had been chosen by God to rule; and although David had been anointed himself, the kingdom had not yet been given to him.
So the Lord Jesus answered the “voice of adjuration” – the demand of the High Priest – to declare who He was. He recognised the Jewish system and its ordinances, although He knew it would soon be set aside. He recognised the authority placed in Pilate, the Roman governor; nor did He harm His enemies.
Furthermore, Christ, although now glorified, has not yet been given the kingdom. See Hebrews 2:7-8, “… But now we see not yet all things subjected to Him, but we see Jesus…” Note the “now” and “not yet”.
Saul acknowledges David’s destiny - “I know that thou shalt certainly be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand”, (1 Sam. 24:20). “And Saul went home; and David and his men went up to the stronghold” (1 Sam. 24:22b). Compare John 7:53 - 8:1, “And every one went to his home. But Jesus went to the mount of Olives”. They went to read the scriptures to prove that no prophet arises out of Galilee; He went ‘His way’ - to pray. Using figurative language, He went to the ‘stronghold’.
Again the process is repeated – David and his men come upon Saul asleep. Abishai, David’s accomplice, uses a similar expression to that earlier used by Saul – “God has delivered thine enemy into thy hand this day”, 1 Sam. 26:8. Saul has to acknowledge that “thou shalt do great things, and shalt certainly prevail. And David went on his way, and Saul went to his place”.
How sad that nothing really changed with Saul; he went back to his place. Despite acknowledging that he had sinned, he did not change - evidence that he was not truly repentant. He went back to his place, or ‘business as usual’.
How many know that the place or denomination that they are linked with is wrong? but remain there – held there either by fear, fame, family or finance.
How many know that Christ should be pre-eminent in their lives, but will not give up their associations of life, their status in this world, etc. for Him.
Jonathan had a deep appreciation for David, and knew that he would be king. Jonathan wanted to be second to David (1 Sa. 23:17) but was not prepared to be with David in his rejection, in his sufferings. He wanted the place in the court of the king, that of Saul his father, yet he expected to have a place with David in his kingdom. He lost both. Jonathan died alongside Saul.
We cannot have Christ and the world.
MM August 2009