1 Samuel 18: Lessons on God’s Blessings to Believers from Saul’s Initial Attacks Against David

Introduction: Here, Saul’s fondness for David after defeating Goliath quickly turned to a jealous and murderous rage after he learned that David was the one that Samuel had prophesied would replace him. But Saul’s efforts to kill David failed and only helped to fulfill the prophecy.

From God’s protection of David from Saul, God reveals several types of blessings available to believers. These include: (1) His love; (2) His faithfulness to you; (3) protection; (4) success; (5) exaltation through your humility; (6) victory in your battles; and (7) respect from your enemies.

First, God loved David as His anointed one. In addition to God’s love, He blessed David with the agape love of his brother in faith Jonathan. From this, God reveals that He offers to bless believers with both His love and agape love from other believers. Second, Saul became jealous of David once he realized that David was the one prophesied to replace him. Yet, as hard as he tried, Saul could not stop God’s Word from coming true. From this, God reveals that He promises to bless you through His faithfulness. Third, Saul first tried to prevent God’s prophecy by trying to kill David. He failed despite two lunges with a spear. God protected David because David submitted to Him. From this, God reveals that He offers to protect you as well from evil when you submit to Him. Fourth, after Saul removed David from the palace, He blessed him in all that he did. From this, God reveals that He also promises to bless you with success when you walk with Him. This success may or may not be financial. Fifth, Saul tried to trap David with a marriage vow to his oldest daughter that would be conditioned in a way that Saul believed would kill him. David declined in humility. His humility later allowed God to exalt him. From this, God reveals that He will bless the humble by later exalting them either here or in heaven. Sixth, David later accepted Saul’s offer to kill 100 Philistines as a dowry. Saul presumed that this would result in David’s death. But God blessed David with victory because David walked in both faith and obedience. From this, God reveals that He may also bless you with victory when you walk with Him. Finally, David gained the respect of even his enemies. From this, God reveals that He may also bless you with respect from your enemies when you walk with Him.

1. Love: God Blesses You With His Love and Agape Love from Others. 1 Sam. 18:1-4.

  • David and Jonathan’s agape love for each other. Immediately after David’s defeat of Goliath, he and Jonathan became bonded in agape love through their faith. Recognizing David’s Spirit-led calling, Jonathan also submitted in love by offering him the symbols of his future claim to the throne: “ Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Sam. 18:1-4). These verses highlight two major themes in this chapter. First, six times God stressed how His Spirit-led believers acted out of agape love toward one another (1 Sam. 18:1, 13, 16, 20, 22, 28). The Holy Spirit is the unspoken seventh reference who knits their love together for His greater purpose. Second, the chapter contains references to Saul’s children as bookends of love in this chapter. Saul’s son Jonathan showed agape love towards David while Saul’s daughter Michal showed an eros love for him. The love of Saul’s children toward David provides a sharp contrast to his jealousy and murderous rage toward David.

David and Jonathan developed an agape love for one another1

  • A Spirit-led leader submits and does not covet power. Jonathan could have tried to hold tight to his claim to the throne as Saul’s firstborn son (1 Chron. 9:39). Instead, he was led by the Spirit to make a covenant with David out of agape love (1 Sam. 18:3). As part of his covenant, he handed to David the symbols of his future claim to the throne. These included is royal robe, his sword, his bow, and his belt (1 Sam. 18:4). Joseph’s coat, for example, symbolized his authority (Gen. 37:3, 23). Likewise, the transfer of Aaron’s garments to his son Eliezar before his death symbolized the transfer of his authority (Nu. 20:22-28). Elijah also gave Elisha his mantle to symbolize the transfer of his authority (1 Kgs. 19:19-21). Like Jonathan and unlike Saul, a Spirit-led leader must not covet power. Moses made this clear through the prohibition on a leader seeking to “multiply horses” for himself to increase his own power: “16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’” (Dt. 17:16). Coveting is not only in breach of the Tenth Commandment, it is one of the leading reasons for a leader to rebel against God and the direction of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 1:23). When Korah led a rebellion against Moses he was joined by 250 “men of renown.” (Nu. 16:2). They coveted the power that Moses had and violated the Tenth Commandment (Ex. 20:17). God also condemned one of last kings of ancient Judah for his covetousness that led to his “dishonest gain” and the “shedding innocent blood and [] practicing oppression and extortion.” (Jer. 22:17). Satan’s pride also caused him to covet God’s power (Is. 14:12-15). Those who “covet” are disqualified from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:3-6). A leader who covets can never satisfy his desires by giving into those desires. He or she will always want more power (Hab. 2:5). Are you content with what God has given you? Or, do you covet more?

  • Love your neighbor as yourself. Some liberal commentators cite to Jonathan’s love for David to suggest that they were involved in a physical same sex relationship. That, however, is not what the text says. Possibly to avoid confusion, the Second Century B.C. translators of the Bible into Greek, called the Septuagint, deleted from the original Hebrew manuscripts verses 1 through 5, along with 10-11 and 17-19. Whatever concern they may have had, these verses belong in the Bible. These verse show Jonathan as a Spirit-led man who was willing to show an agape love by submitting his will to a person who posed a threat to his future claim to the throne. This is God’s second greatest Commandment: “The second is this, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mk. 12:31; Lk. 10:27; Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Ro. 13:9; Ja. 2:8; Lev. 19:18). “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”’ (Gal. 5:14). “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Jo. 13:34). “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (Jo. 15:12). “This I command you, that you love one another.” (Jo. 15:17). “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;” (1 Jo. 3:11). When others pose a threat, do you show love in your response?

  • Love is also patient. “Love is patient,” (1 Cor. 13:4). David could have looked upon Jonathan’s actions as a statement that he would not oppose David’s challenge to the throne. But David was patient to allow God to fulfill His will. This would include 20 years of patient submission while Saul sought to kill or undermine him.

  • Jesus loves you as well. Jesus has such an intense love for all God’s people that He died a brutal death on the cross so that all might live. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:8). “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (Jo. 15:13). “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 Jo. 3:16). How are you showing Jesus your appreciation for His love for you?

2. God’s Faithfulness: God Blesses You Through Faithfulness to His Word. 1 Sam. 18:5-9.

  • Saul’s jealousy at God’s faithfulness in blessing David as his heir. Saul’s fondness for David quickly turned to jealousy when his subjects sang greater praise for David then for Saul. At this point, Saul knew that David was the one prophesied to replace him. “So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.”” (1 Sam. 18:5-9). These verses highlight two additional themes that run throughout this chapter. First, as a Spirit-led and obedient leader, God blessed David with success in all that he did (1 Sam. 18:5, 14, 15, 30). Second, God exposed through testing that Saul was led by his flesh and not the Spirit (1 Sam. 18:8-9, 11-12, 15, 17, 20-21, 29). It was the Jews’ custom to sing songs of praise after a military victory (cf., Ex. 15:1-21; Jdgs. 5:1-31). Yet, when the Jews rightly gave greater praise to David for his faith and bravery, God exposed Saul’s jealous heart and his covetousness for power. The women’s song of praise was also prophetic. Saul undercut his own victories through his foolishness. For example, he limited his troops’ ability to defeat the Philistines when he deprived them of food (1 Sam. 14:24-45). He then allowed the Philistines to escape and regroup. “Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.” (1 Sam. 14:46). In contrast, David would defeat Israel’s enemies and unite the country. Third, having once prophesied himself (1 Sam. 10:10), Saul understood from this prophetic song that David was his “neighbor” who fulfilled God’s prophecy of a leader that would succeed him. “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.”’ (1 Sam. 15:28). “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 Sam. 13:14). Saul would then take steps to try to stop God’s prophecy. But each time he tried he failed. Indeed, his actions would only hasten his demise and elevate David as his heir. Like David, you are blessed because God will always keep His promises to you.

Saul became jealous of David’s success2

Jan Havicksz Steen (1626-1679) “David’s Triumphant Return” (oil canvas 1671)3

  • God is faithful to keep His Word. Just as God was faithful to David, He offers to bless you by keeping His promises to you. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thess. 5:24). “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thess. 3:3). “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). Next to your salvation, this is the second best blessing. It means that every promise of a blessing in the Bible is true if you are faithful and obedient. Yet, if you don’t know God’s promises, how much faith can you have in them?

  • Don’t be jealous of another person’s blessings. Jealousy is a deadly sin. It is prohibited under the Tenth Commandment against coveting (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21). It is also one of “the deeds of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21). It is an anger that comes from someone else having something that you want or feel entitled to. Cain felt jealousy of Abel after God rejected his sacrifice yet accepted Abel’s (Gen. 4:8). Sara also felt jealousy and anger against first Hagar and then her husband after she asked Abraham to sleep with Hagar to give her a son (Gen. 16:3-5). Jacob later created jealousy and strife when he married two sisters. Out of jealousy towards her sister’s fertility, Rachel once proclaimed: “Give me children, or else I die.” (Gen. 30:1). The sisters then had Jacob sleep with their concubines to increase the number of their children. The 12 children through the four mothers then suffered decades of jealousy and conflict leading 10 of the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery (Gen. 37:18-36). Are you jealous of another person’s blessings?

3. Protection: God Blesses You With Protection When You Submit. 1 Sam. 18:10-11.

  • Saul’s first failed attempt to kill David. In an effort to prevent God’s prophecy from coming true, Saul first tried to kill David. Yet, because David submitted to God, He protected David from Saul’s attacks. “10 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. 11 Saul hurled the spear for he thought, ‘I will pin David to the wall.’ But David escaped from his presence twice.” (1 Sam. 18:10-11). Having previously turned his back upon God, Saul removed himself of the protections of the Holy Spirit. Without God’s protections, he was tormented by an evil spirit (1 Sam. 16:14). During his prior service to Saul, David calmed his heart and drove away the evil spirit through worship music (1 Sam. 16:15-23). Here, David tried to again calm Saul’s troubled soul with worship music. But this failed because David was the source of Saul’s jealousy.

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669) “Saul and David” (oil painting 1630)4

Saul tried to kill David5

  • Saul raved under the possession of an evil spirit. The NASB states that Saul “raved” in madness before he tried to kill David (1 Sam. 18:10). Other translations interpret the Hebrew word for “raved” as “prophesied.” (NKJV, KJV, and NIV). Prophesy is frequently used in connection with a person who speaks God’s Word (Nu. 11:25-26; 1 Chron. 25:2; 1 Sam. 10:5-6, 10-11; 19:20-21, 23-24; 1 Kgs. 18:29; 22:8). Yet, it is also used to identify a false prophet who does not need to be feared (Dt. 18:22; 1 Kgs. 22:10, 21-23). As one example, a possessed man identified Jesus as Lord out of fear (Lk. 4:33-34). For two reasons, Saul’s jealousy allowed him to be placed in communion with demons. First, when Saul rejected God’s Spirit, he lost his hedge of protection. “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.” (1 Sam. 16:14). Second, jealousy is a deed of the flesh that (when unchecked) can place a person in communion with demonic spirits. “17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; . . . Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are” . . . enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,” (Gal. 5:17-20; 2 Cor. 2:10-11). But Saul could not blame the devil for his actions. Instead, his voluntary actions placed him in communion with the devil and open to his suggestions.

  • Unchecked jealousy leads to rage and, in some cases, murder. Saul’s unchecked jealousy led him to try to kill David twice (1 Sam. 18:11). Likewise, Cain’s unchecked jealousy of Abel eventually led him to kill his brother (Gen. 4:8). Solomon warns: “For jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” (Prov. 6:34). It is a more deadly emotion than wrath: “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Prov. 27:4). “For jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” (Prov. 6:34). James also warns: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (Jam. 3:16). Paul further warns that jealousy is the sign of someone walking according to the flesh and not the Spirit: “for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:3). “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.” (Ro. 13:13). Are you jealous of anyone else?

  • No weapon formed against you can prevail when God is with you. Saul threw his spear “twice” (1 Sam. 18:11). This means that David stayed because of his loyalty to Saul, even after the first attack. With God’s protection, this was the third attack with a spear that David had survived. He also survived Goliath’s attack from a giant spear (1 Sam. 17:7). As he did with Goliath, David trusted God to provide his spiritual armor: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:11-12). When you wear God’s armor, no weapon can harm you. “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; . . .” (Is. 54:17). God also promises to be a shield to all who submit to Him: “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” (2 Sam. 22:31). “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5). Jesus invites you to pray daily for His protection (Matt. 6:13). If you submit to Him, He will be a hedge of protection against any evil.

4. Success: God Offers to Bless You With Success. 1 Sam. 18:12-16.

  • Saul fears David as God blesses him in all he does. Saul then tried to defeat the prophecy by removing David from the palace and placing him in the army. Yet, God continued to bless David no matter where he was. “12 Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14 David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.” (1 Sam. 18:12-16). These verses highlight two additional themes in this chapter. First, living without God, Saul was fearful (1 Sam. 12, 15, 29). Second, God was always with David (1 Sam. 12, 14, 28). Saul’s attempts to defeat the prophecy only hastened it. Each effort that he took to defeat David resulted in David being blessed with God’s success (Gen. 12:3).

  • The faithful and obedient will be blessed with success. Like David, God will bless an obedient individual or nation in all that is done: ‘“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”’ (Jer. 29:11). “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” (Dt. 28:6). The words “when you come in” and “when you go out” is a literary expression called a “merism.” By stating that the Jews would be blessed when they come in and when they go out, God was promising to bless them in all that they did. For example, as a result of the obedience that came from Abraham’s faith, he was blessed with success in everything he did, this was true even in his old age (Gen. 24:1). Likewise, as a result of his faith and obedience during his testing, God rewarded Job (Job 42:16). This is not a promise that God will make you rich. He will never promote covetousness. Instead, He will make your efforts for Him successful.

5. Exaltation through Humility: In Humility, God Will Exalt You. 1 Sam. 18:17-19.

  • Saul’s second failed attempt to kill David. Saul next tried to defeat the prophecy with a marriage offer that he planned to condition upon deadly combat. David rejected his offer in humility, which God would later use to exalt him. “17 Then Saul said to David, ‘Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lord’s battles.’ For Saul thought, ‘My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.’ 18 But David said to Saul, ‘Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?’ 19 So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.” (1 Sam. 18:17-19). Saul previously promised to give his daughter to the man who killed Goliath (1 Sam. 17:25). Saul, however, showed that he would not honor his prior promises without conditions. Saul planned to use this marriage offer to send David to his death in battle. When David rejected the offer in humility, he tried to defeat David with jealousy. “When David was initially hesitant to marry Merab, Saul tried another strategy. He suddenly gave her to another man, to try and make David angry or jealous.” (David Guzik on 1 Sam. 18).6 Yet, as a humble man, this effort to defeat David failed as well.

Saul offered to allow David to marry his older daughter Merab7

  • God exalts His meek and the humble servants. Through David’s humility, God was later able to exalt him as King of Israel. He offers to bless all who are humble before Him: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14; Prov. 29:23; 16:19). “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”’ (Jam. 4:6). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Jam. 4:10). “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet. 5:5). Do you walk with God in humility?

6. Victory: God May Give Victory to Believers Who Walk With Him. 1 Sam. 18:20-29.

  • Saul’s third failed attempt to kill David. Once Saul revealed the terms of the dowry to be 100 dead Philistines, David accepted the challenge because he knew that God would defeat his enemies. “20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. 21 Saul thought, ‘I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.’ Therefore Saul said to David, ‘For a second time you may be my son-in-law today.’ 22 Then Saul commanded his servants, ‘Speak to David secretly, saying, ‘Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king’s son-in-law.’’ 23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, ‘Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?’ 24 The servants of Saul reported to him according to these words which David spoke. 25 Saul then said, ‘Thus you shall say to David, ‘The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’’ Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days had expired 27 David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife.” (1 Sam. 18:20-27). In addition to killing 100 Philistines, Saul required David to desecrate their dead bodies. He assumed that the Philistines would then retaliate. Saul believed that David would die in a battle, and he would be absolved of any responsibility for David’s death. Yet, Saul’s plan backfired and only cemented David’s future claim to the throne. “Now Saul, who greatly fears David and wants him eliminated, has two of his own family members bound to David by love and a covenant. The chapter begins with the account of Jonathan’s love for David and his covenant with him. The chapter now ends with Michal’s love for David and her marriage covenant with him. Somehow David has managed to win over two members of Saul’s immediate family. Now, the very ones Saul assumed he could depend on to help him be rid of David are on David’s side. Saul, his plans, and his kingdom are falling apart.” (Robert L. Deffinbaugh, 15. David Joins Saul's Family (1 Samuel 18:1-30)).8

God empowered David to defeat 100 Philistines9

  • God also promises you victory over your enemies when you walk with Him. When God stood with the Jews, their enemies could not defeat them in battle. “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” (Dt. 28:7; Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22; Nu 10:9, 35; Isa. 54:17; Gen. 22:17). “So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.” (Dt. 28:10). “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13; Eph. 3:16). For example, He used Gideon’s small army of only 300 soldiers to kill 120,000 enemy Midianites (Jdgs. 7:16-22; 8:10). He also used the female judge Deborah with no military training to help the Jews to defeat the Canaanites (Jdgs. 4:6-7). He further used another judge named Shamgar to defeat 600 Philistines with only a sharp farming tool (Jdgs. 3:31). He also gave Samson the power to kill a 1,000 Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone (Jdgs. 15:15). He also previously used Samuel to defeat the Philistines (1 Sam. 7:10-14). With His help, Jonathon also killed 20 enemy soldiers (1 Sam. 14:14). Likewise, He blessed David with the strength to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). His blessing then caused the Philistines to flee (1 Sam. 17:51). Are you walking in faith and obedience so that the Holy Spirit can defeat your enemies?

  • God alone will deliver you in battle against the evil one. Like David, God wants you to put your faith and trust in Him alone: “. . . ; a warrior is not delivered by great strength.” (Ps. 33:16). “For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me.” (Ps. 44:6; 60:11; 146:3; Hos. 1:7). “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.” (Ps. 20:7; 44:3). Do you trust in God to deliver you?

7. Respect: God Can Cause Even Your Enemies to Respect You. 1 Sam. 18:28-30.

  • Saul’s efforts to defeat David lead to David’s respect. Saul’s effort to cause David to die in battle only cemented his reputation as a feared warrior. This forced even his enemies to respect him. “28 When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29 then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually. 30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.” (1 Sam. 18:28-30). Like David, we may never see God’s hand during our distress. Yet, like David, we must always trust that God is using our struggles for a greater good. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Ro. 8:28). Do you trust God in your struggles?

  • An obedient individual or nation will be blessed with respect. Like David, God will also bless an obedient individual or nation with fear or respect from his or its enemies: 10 So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.” (Dt. 28:10). For example, as the Jews prepared to invade the Promised Land, Rahab told Joshua’s two spies that the Canaanites feared the Jews and their God because God defeated Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea and the armies of two different Amorite kings in Jordan (Josh. 2:10-11). The kings of Canaan later again feared the Jews and their God when they invaded (Josh. 5:1; Ex. 15:15-16). If you act with faith-led obedience, God will also cause even your enemies to respect you.

  • Be wise in the face of evil. David was wise in the face of the danger that Saul created (1 Sam. 18:30). Jesus warns “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16; Lk. 10:3). “. . . but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.” (Ro. 16:19). “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8). “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” (Prov. 3:7). “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.” (Prov. 14:16). “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6). Are you praying for discernment and God’s wisdom in the face of the evil everywhere around you?