Evening Bible Study
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.
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
: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.
It may have been several years since Samuel has given any instruction to
Now Saul is being asked to pay attention to the Lord’s direction.
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.
: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.
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
(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.
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
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.
: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.
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
: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
:9 unwilling to
utterly destroy them
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.
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
: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.”
This isn’t the place in the north, but a village in the south 7 miles south
The meeting place.
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
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.”
: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
: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
: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)
When David catches up to the raiders, there’s quite a few of them:
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
The way we are to deal with the flesh is to wipe it out, not to reform it.
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
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
Yet the truth is I didn’t have to do that stupid
thing. I could have done the right
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
: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
God would rather that you keep your money and that you sober up.
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.
:23 He also has
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
This is why Saul didn’t speak up when he saw the people doing the wrong
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.
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.
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
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
Saul does admit his sin (“I have sinned”), but he’s got conditions on his
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.
: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
:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of
: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
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.
: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.
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
There will be a
couple of kings born in Bethlehem.
: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
: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
: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
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.
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.
“pursue” – they see a conflict and they face it head on and confront, talk, argue,
push, until they see it resolved.
“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.
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.
:6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the
Lord’s anointed is before
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
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.
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)
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.
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”?
: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
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
:11 There remains
yet the youngest
And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise
lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called
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.
:13 anointed him
In a sense, David is now king of Israel.
Yet it won’t literally take place for years to come.
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!”
: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,
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
Christians and demons
I am not convinced that a demon can “possess” a Christian. The Bible says,
(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
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
: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.”
: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.
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
Even when Goliath will begin to challenge Israel, David will have taken a
break from his duties from Saul and guess where he is?
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
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.
: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.