1Samuel 15-16

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 22, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

We’ve seen the nation transition from the time of the judges, when God used men like Samuel to guide the nation, to the time of the kings.

Saul was anointed to be the first king and won a huge victory when he saved the city of Jabesh Gilead from the Ammonites.

15:1-9 Saul spares Agag

:1 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord.

:1 heed the voice

It may have been several years since Samuel has given any instruction to Saul.

Now Saul is being asked to pay attention to the Lord’s direction.


Retaking the test

In a sense, Saul is being given a chance to retake a test that he’s already failed once.
One of the things God laid out for Saul was to follow a pattern of going to Gilgal, waiting seven days for Samuel to show up, let Samuel perform a sacrifice, and then follow the instructions that God gave.
We saw in chapter 13, that Saul got a little impatient when the Philistines were invading, he jumped the gun and did the sacrifice himself.
(1 Sa 13:13 NKJV) And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.

Sometimes when we “fail” a test, God gives us a makeup test.

It’s important that we learn from our mistakes.

Remember that the last time Saul responded to Samuel’s rebuke by blaming the people and the Philistines for forcing him to do the wrong thing.

Let’s see how Saul’s grown.

:2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.

:2 Amalek

The Amalekites attacked Israel on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Their method of operation was to attack those who were lagging behind in the daily Israeli march.  They attacked the weak:

(Dt 25:18 NKJV) how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.

Israel had already had one great battle with Amalek.  This was the war where Moses sent Joshua and the army to battle against the Amalekites.

(Ex 17:11 NKJV) And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
Moses had a difficult time keeping his hands held up, and so his friends Aaron and Hur helped Moses keep his hands up.

Though the Amalekites were a real people, we see them being a pretty good picture of our “sin nature”, our “flesh”.

Our flesh attacks when we’re weak.
Prayer and surrender to God is a great aid in our battle with the flesh.

It’s now been close to five hundred years since Joshua battled Amalek. Now it’s finally time to do something about it.

:3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”

:3 utterly destroy

This sounds a bit strong, to “utterly destroy” these people.

If we think of the Amalekites as a cross between al Qaeda terrorists and the pornography industry, we might have a little better idea as to why God wanted the entire nation wiped out.
God doesn’t want anything left of these people, nothing left to remind the world of their depraved and wicked society.

:4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah.

See map. Telaim – “lambs”. A city in the south of Israel. The Amalekites tended to raid Israel from the south. 

:4 two hundred ten thousand

Saul musters a pretty huge army for this mission.

:5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.

:6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

:6 Kenites– these were the people of Moses’ father-in-law (Judges 1:16).

:7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt.

:7 Havilah … Shur

See map video.  These two areas are on the opposite sides of Arabia, from the east coast all the way to Egypt.

:8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

:8 Agag – “I will overtop”. This was the common title of the Amalekite kings.

:9 unwilling to utterly destroy them

They liked the idea of killing the Amalekites, but they had a hard time killing the “good stuff”.

Josephus gives us a reason why Agag was spared, (Antiquities of the Jews, 6:6:137)

“the beauty and tallness of whose body he admired so much, that he thought him worthy of preservation”

Just like the flesh.  Excuses to keep it alive.  The problem is that God told them to utterly destroy everything.

No matter how you look at it, Saul is disobeying the command of the Lord.

He might have had his reasons, but it is still disobedience.


Don’t reinterpret God’s commands

Sometimes we like to have reasons why we can fudge on things God has asked us to do.
We can tell ourselves that this doesn’t apply to us.
All it does is get us into trouble.

15:10-35 Saul rejected as king

:10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying,

:11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.

:11 I greatly regretnacham – to be sorry, repent, regret

:11 turned back from following Me


Who rules the ruler?

This is the second time that Saul has disobeyed what God has asked him to do.
When he was in Gilgal, he didn’t wait for Samuel to arrive.
Now, he spares Agag and some of the spoil, though God had told him to destroy all.

These might sound like pretty small things, but God doesn’t want us to obey “most” of His commands, He wants us to obey ALL of His commands.

If you are in a position of authority, the most important thing you can learn is not how to give orders, but how to take them.

:11 it grieved Samuel

grieved charah – to be hot, furious, burn, become angry

Samuel is pretty upset with Saul disobeying the Lord again.  It’s interesting that Samuel is told all this before he meets with Saul.

(1 Sam 15:11 NLT) Samuel was so deeply moved when he heard this that he cried out to the LORD all night.

(1 Sam 15:11 NASB) And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the LORD all night.


Handle frustrations with prayer

Samuel will confront Saul, but only after spending the entire night in prayer.

:12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.”

:12 Carmel

This isn’t the place in the north, but a village in the south 7 miles south of Hebron.

:12 Gilgal

The meeting place.

Play Carmel Gilgal map video.  Saul has finish his campaign against the Amalekites, stopped in Carmel to make a “monument”, and then moved on to Gilgal, where Samuel will come to from Ramah.

:12 set up a monument for himself

Sounds kind of prideful


Look what I’ve done

When Samuel had lead Israel to a great victory over the Philistines, he too had set up a stone to remember things:
(1 Sa 7:12 NKJV) Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Samuel had given the credit to God, he had set up a monument to God. Saul is setting up a monument to himself.

Saul is out of control.  He’s gone off the deep end.  He’s too taken by himself.

:13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”

Saul is apparently pleased with himself.

:14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

If you have performed the commandment of the Lord to utterly destroy everything, how come I can hear sheep and oxen making noise?

:15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

:15 the best … to sacrifice

Sounds kind of like a noble idea. What’s wrong with that?

:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak on.”

:17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel?

:18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’

:19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?”

:20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

:20 I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites

You might think that Saul has completely wiped out all the Amalekites except for King Agag, but you’d be wrong. Saul has not wiped out the Amalekites.

In just a few years, David will encounter more Amalekites after they’ve invaded the area where he was living (1Sam. 30:1)

(1 Sa 30:1 NKJV) —1 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire,
When David catches up to the raiders, there’s quite a few of them:
(1 Sa 30:16 NKJV) And when he had brought him down, there they were, spread out over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing…

Five hundred years later, another Amalekite will rise to power who will seek to wipe out the nation of Israel. The bad guy in the story of Esther is named Haman, the “Agagite” (Est. 3:1), a descendant of Agag.


Dealing with the flesh

We often see the Amalekites as a kind of picture of our “flesh”, our “sin-nature”.
The way we are to deal with the flesh is to wipe it out, not to reform it.
(Ga 2:20 NKJV) —20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(Ro 8:13 NKJV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
If we think that there’s stuff in our flesh worth keeping, things to be “fed”, then we will end up regretting it.  The flesh will eventually rise up to kill us.

:21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

:21 the people took of the plunder

Saul is always looking to pass blame.  It’s the people’s fault.

Yet as leader, he has responsibility over what the people do.
If he didn’t like what the people were doing, he could have ordered them to change.


Take responsibility

We don’t like feeling like things are our fault.
Sometimes its our excuses that lead us into sin in the first place.

I’m mad at my wife, so I do something stupid.

And afterward when I’m feeling guilty, it’s still her fault.

Yet the truth is I didn’t have to do that stupid thing.  I could have done the right thing.

It’s my fault.

:22 So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

:23 witchcraft … iniquity … idolatry

Those things are obviously wrong.

:23 rebellion … stubbornness

These are just as bad.

:22 to obey is better than sacrifice


Obedience vs. sacrifice

Some people fall into a trap of thinking that as long as they put an extra $20 in the offering at church, that God doesn’t care if they got drunk the night before.
God would rather that you keep your money and that you sober up.
(Dt 10:12–13 NKJV) —12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

God’s commandments aren’t to ruin our fun, but they are for our good.

The Bible says,
(Pr 6:23 NKJV) —23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,

God’s commands to us are good things. They help us. It’s not about ruining our “fun”, it’s about preserving our life.

:23 He also has rejected you

Saul had already been warned once that because of his disobedience in not waiting for Samuel (1Sam. 13:13) that his kingdom wouldn’t be passed on from generation to generation.

But now he is told that God is finished with him being a king at all.

:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

:24 I feared the people

This is why Saul didn’t speak up when he saw the people doing the wrong things.


Who motivates you?

When we become “people pleasers”, we run the risk of disobeying God.
Not all “people pleasing” is bad – accountability groups run on the idea that we hold each other accountable to do the right thing.
But ultimately we get ourselves into trouble when we become more concerned about what other people think than we do about what God thinks.
In Jesus’ day, there were people who could have followed Jesus, but didn’t.
(Jn 12:42–43 NKJV) —42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Peter Cartwright, a nineteenth-century circuit-riding Methodist preacher, was an uncompromising man. One Sunday morning when he was to preach, he was told that President Andrew Jackson was in the congregation, and warned not to say anything out of line.
When Cartwright stood to preach, he said, “I understand that Andrew Jackson is here. I have been requested to be guarded in my remarks. Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent.”
The congregation was shocked and wondered how the President would respond. After the service, President Jackson shook hands with Peter Cartwright and said, “Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could whip the world.”

-- Leadership, Vol. XII #1, Winter, 1991, p. 49

:25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.”

:26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

:27 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.

Saul holds on to Samuel’s upper, official robe, and it rips.

:28 So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.


Just as Saul tore Samuel’s coat, God has torn the kingdom from Saul and will give it to someone else. He will give it to David.

:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”

(1 Sa 15:29 NLT) And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!”

:30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”

:31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

:30 honor me now


Deceptive pride

Saul does admit his sin (“I have sinned”), but he’s got conditions on his confession.
He wants honor.

I think he’s still “afraid” of the people no longer following him if Samuel openly rejects him as king.

Saul isn’t broken over his sin in realizing that he has grieved God.
He’s sad that people aren’t going to give him any more honor.
It’s his pride that keeps him from truly repenting.
The problem is that it’s over.
Too often we want to change the outcome of things that we’ve started, but things can’t always be changed.

:31 Samuel turned back after Saul

Samuel seems to take pity on Saul, so he goes with Saul. But that doesn’t change what God has said.

:32 Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”

Agag thinks that everything is going to be just fine, after all, he’s survived this far…

:33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel give to Agag what he has given to others. He has reaped what he’s sown.

:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul.

:35 And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

:34 Ramah … Gibeah

See map.  They’re only 2 ¼ miles apart, but they’re not going to see each other again.

:35 Samuel mourned for Saul

Samuel never saw Saul again.  And he wasn’t happy about it.

He didn’t “rejoice” over his Saul failing.  He was sad about Saul.

16:1-13 David anointed king

:1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”

:1 How long

There’s a time to mourn over the past, but there’s also a time to move on.

:1 Bethlehemite

See map.  It’s only 10 miles south of Ramah, on a line past Saul’s house in Gibeah.

Bethlehem is a small town, yet it sure seems that a lot of important stuff has happened around Bethlehem.

There will be a couple of kings born in Bethlehem.

The Levite that led the tribe of Dan into idolatry was from Bethlehem (Judges 17-18)
The Levite that had a concubine who died in Gibeah was from Bethlehem.  Her death led to the judgment against the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 19-21)
Naomi brought her daughter-in-law Ruth, back to Bethlehem, where she met and married Boaz (Ruth 1-4).  Boaz and Ruth were the grandparents of Jesse.
Now a new king will be found in Bethlehem.
Oh … and another king will be born there as well …

:1 Fill your horn with oil

Samuel has some work to do.  He has some oil to pour.

:2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’

:3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”

:2 If Saul hears it, he will kill me

Saul was afraid of the people. 

Even Samuel has his own fears.

At this point, he is afraid of what Saul will do if he finds out that Samuel is going to anoint a new king.

:2 Take a heifer with you

I find it interesting that God gives Samuel a way to handle the difficult situation.

:4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”

:4 the elders of the town trembled

Samuel has a bit of a tough reputation. 

He’s a guy known for saying difficult things, like telling the people they’ve sinned.
He called down rain as a sign of God’s judgment on the people.
And after all, he did “hack Agag to pieces”.


We all have fears

Sometimes we are aware of our own fears … sometimes
Sometimes we aren’t even aware that some of our responses are out of fear.

Like being afraid of being rejected.

We aren’t always aware of the fact that other people around us are also dealing with their own fears.
Sometimes things get messy when two afraid people clash against each other.
People tend to react to conflict in one of two ways.
Some people “pursue” – they see a conflict and they face it head on and confront, talk, argue, push, until they see it resolved.
Some people “retreat” – they see a conflict and they back off so they don’t have to face any difficulty, or they don’t want to make things worse.

When a situation develops where two “retreaters” are in conflict, things get quite confusing because neither party wants to get close to the other, and when there’s no communication, things get quite misunderstood.

What if the other person who gives you the funny “stink-eye” when they’re across the room from you – what if they are just as afraid as you are? 

Recognize we are all afraid at times …

:5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.

:5 he consecrated Jesse

This might entail washing their clothes:

(Ex 19:14 NKJV) So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.

:6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”

:6 Eliab – “my God is father”

This is David’s oldest brother.

:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

:7 Do not look at his appearance



I like the idea that Samuel wasn’t perfect.  He did some things just like we would –  he was impressed with Eliab’s external appearance.
Jesus warned us:

(Jn 7:24 NKJV) Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

He might be making the mistake of thinking that since the last king was tall, that God only picked tall men to be king. (1Sam. 9:2)
(1 Sa 9:2 NKJV) —2 And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
Sometimes God likes to do things outside of what we expect.
(Is 43:19 NKJV) Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

What if God wanted to do something unexpected in your life?  Would you be open to God picking a “David” for king instead of a “Saul”?

Has Samuel let Jesse and his boys know what he’s doing?
I kind of get the idea that he’s keeping most of this thing to himself.


God sees hearts

Stalin was short—just five feet, four inches tall. Furthermore, a childhood accident had left his left arm stiff and his hand slightly misshapen. So when the dictator commissioned his portrait, he instructed the artist to paint him from his best angle—from below, a perspective that made Stalin seem to tower over the artist.
To add to the image, Stalin folded his hands over his stomach, making them appear firm and powerful more like the pseudonym he had chosen: Stalin means “man of steel.”  It is human nature to put ourselves in the best possible light. But spiritual growth cannot come merely by adjusting the angle of view. God’s Word is a mirror that shows our true condition.

-- Lew Button Bedford, Pennsylvania.  Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 4.

God isn’t impressed with how we “pose”.  He can see right through our poses.  He knows how tall we really are.

:8 So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”

:9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”

:10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.”

I wonder what Samuel was thinking when they got to son number five, six, or seven?  I wonder if Samuel began to wonder if he heard God right.

:11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.”

:11 There remains yet the youngest


The best place

David, being the youngest, had the least amount of clout in the family.  He was the one stuck with the job of watching the sheep while the rest of the family got to go to the feast.
The “youngest” wasn’t necessarily looked at as the “baby of the family”.  Instead, the “youngest” was the child with the least clout of all.
Jesus said,
(Lk 22:25–26 NKJV) —25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.

Jesus said the “younger” was the better place to be:

God is going to pick the “youngest” to be king.  He’s going to pick the son that has been raised to be a servant.

David is the king that no one expected.

His anointing didn’t come because of his father.  Jesse thought he could miss the feast and that he should be tending to the sheep. 
His anointing didn’t come because Samuel thought he was the most likely.  Samuel would have picked Eliab.
His anointing came because GOD picked him.

:12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”

Estimates are that David was between 10 and 15 years old.

:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

:13 oil … Spirit

The connection between the symbol of the oil representing the Holy Spirit.

David is anointed with oil, and the Holy Spirit comes upon him.

ESV – “the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David”

:13 anointed him

In a sense, David is now king of Israel.

Yet it won’t literally take place for years to come.

God may have something special for you, and may even give you a hint at it.
But sometimes things take time to develop.

It’s hard to tell if Jesse and his other sons realize what it happening right now.

When Elisha sent a prophet-in-training to anoint Jehu as king over Israel (2Ki. 9), Jehu’s friends blew trumpets and shouted that he was king.

 (2 Ki 9:13 NKJV) Then each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, “Jehu is king!”
This is NOT what Jesse and David’s brothers do.
We’ll see next week that they still look at David as the younger, trouble-making nuisance.

Josephus records (Antiquities of the Jews, 6:8:165),

“he took oil in the presence of David, and anointed him, and whispered him in the ear, and acquainted him that God chose him to be their king”

16:14-23 Saul’s distressing spirit

:14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.

:14 the Spirit of the Lord departed

When David his psalm of confession after sinning with Bathsheba he wrote,

(Ps 51:11 NKJV) Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
I wonder if David was thinking about what he had seen in Saul during this time of his life.

:14 a distressing spirit from the Lord

NLT – “tormenting spirit”

ESV – “harmful spirit”

NASB – “evil spirit”

distressingra’ah – bad, evil; disagreeable; sad

If this is some sort of demonic spirit, even the demons have to obey God to some extent.

Even Satan had to present himself to God and report (Job 1).


Christians and demons

I am not convinced that a demon can “possess” a Christian. The Bible says,
(1 Jn 4:4 NKJV) —4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
(1 Jn 5:18 NKJV) —18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
But I do believe that there are believers who are “troubled” by demons.
I think that at times we can allow things into our lives that open up a door to evil working in our lives.
I think that at times we ignore the authority we have over Satan.

(Jas 4:7 NKJV) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The problem is that sometimes we don’t take advantage of that authority.
There is a story about two people who wanted to immigrate to America. They scraped up all their money to buy two tickets on an ocean liner headed for New York.  With their last bit of money, they were able to buy enough bread and cheese to live on for the two week journey across the ocean.  For the first couple of days, the bread and cheese were okay.  But by the tenth day, the bread was getting pretty hard and the cheese was starting to mould.
Every day they would take walks out on the deck and wander by the dining room where they would watch the other passengers lining up and the huge buffet tables filled with all sorts of incredible foods.
Finally, they approached one of the cabin stewards and begged if there was any way they could perhaps work to earn enough to buy maybe one meal up in the dining room.  But to their surprise, they found out that all their meals were paid for with the price of their tickets.  If they had paid attention when they bought their tickets, they could have spent the entire trip in the dining room feasting on roast beef instead of cheese and crackers.
I think there can be a sense in which we as believers do not fully realize all the authority and benefits that God gives us when we “bought our ticket”.  We have been given authority over the devil, and God wants us to use that authority.

:15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you.

:16 Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.”

:16 a skillful player on the harp

The idea is that hopefully some good tunes would put Saul back into a better place mentally.  Remember, no ipods in those days.

Does anybody know a good musician?

:17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.”

:18 Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”

David has a lot of qualities that these servants are aware of.

He’s even called a “man of war” – his battle with Goliath wasn’t his first time in battle.

:19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”

:19 with the sheep

Even though we don’t have the servant saying that David was a shepherd, somehow that’s still attached to David’s reputation.


In training

Isn’t it interesting how God puts things together?
Even though David had been “anointed” by Samuel, he’s still a shepherd boy.  He’s still the “younger” brother.  He won’t be finished tending sheep for a little while longer. 
Even when Goliath will begin to challenge Israel, David will have taken a break from his duties from Saul and guess where he is? 

Back tending sheep.

I don’t think this was because he thought it was good training for being a king.  I think it was because he was the younger brother and his dad and brothers required him to be the shepherd of the family.
Yet David learning to be a shepherd is EXACTLY what he needs to be doing to train to be a king.
Sometimes we look down on certain things we are “stuck with”, but maybe they are just part of our training?
Play Karate Kid clip – “Wax On Wax Off”

Do you remember seeing that scene?  You thought that Mr. Miyagi was taking advantage of young Daniel-son.  But he was really preparing and training him for the battles ahead.

Don’t shirk from watching the sheep.

:20 And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.

Though this might be some type of gift for Saul, I think it’s more practical.  I think this is Jesse’s way of paying for David’s room and board while he serves the king.

I wonder what Jesse was thinking after having seen Samuel anoint this son, then having Saul request this son.

:21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.

:21 he loved him ‘ahab – to love; human love for another.

You’re going to see that David must have been a very loveable kid.  Just about everyone will fall in love with David at some time or another.

:21 became his armorbearer

Literally, “carried his implements” or “carried his weapons”.

Last week we talked about how important it was to be an “armor-bearer”, to be supportive of others (1 Sam. 14).

David has now become Saul’s armor-bearer.
David has been promoted from shepherd to caddy.

It’s going to look in the next chapter as if Saul doesn’t know who David is, but the issue is not knowing who David is, but who is father is (17:58).

Saul will know who David is.

:22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”

:23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

:23 Saul would become refreshed

It seems that music has influence on people.