AN INSECURE LEADER
Dear God, I ask that you open my eyes to see you, my lips to praise you, and my hands to share you.
Read 1 SAMUEL 17:55 – 18:16
55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?”
Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.”
56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.”
57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head.
58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him.
David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”
Saul’s Growing Fear of David
18 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
10 The next day an evil[a] spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
- 1 Samuel 18:10 Or a harmful
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre there areas of your life where you feel particularly insecure? Ask God to deepen your trust and help you find your security in him.
The reward for killing Goliath was to be marriage to Saul’s daughter (17:25). No wonder Saul now wanted to know more about David’s background (v 55). But in fact it was Saul’s son Jonathan who had the close friendship with David (vs 1,3). David’s success in battle won him many friends (v 5). When Saul and his men returned from fighting the Philistines and killing Goliath it was to a hero’s welcome (vs 6,7).
Powerful people can be massively insecure – it doesn’t take long to think of present day examples. So Saul could not cope with the praise showered on David. But perhaps he had good reason to be concerned: in the back of his mind would have been the worrying words of Samuel. Was David the one Samuel was referring to (15:28)?
‘The next day an ugly mood was sent by God to afflict Saul, who became quite beside himself, raving’ (v 10, The Message). In a moment of madness (or probably several moments) Saul was quite out of control and hurled a spear at David (v 11). David escaped, but things would only get worse for Saul (vs 14,15).
A fierce temper is a dangerous thing for everyone around. Does Saul remind you of anyone you know? How do you pray for that person? For those around them?
Lord, I confess I am sometimes envious. Help me to recognize these feeling and guide me to a place of graciousness and even celebration for the triumphs of others.
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