RESISTING GOD’S WILL
Loving Lord, open my heart, my mind, and my hands to feel, understand, and share your marvelous love.
Read 1 SAMUEL 18:17-30
17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”
18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So[a] when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.
20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”
22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’”
23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”
24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.
30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.
- 1 Samuel 18:19 Or However,
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.
‘Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts”’.1
Saul’s efforts to get rid of David continue with increasingly unscrupulous and devious actions involving the exploitation of the king’s own daughters. Unacknowledged sin and resistance to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to repent, or to God’s will more generally, can lead one into a deeper and deeper quagmire of deceit and double-talk. The gap between appearance and reality is a frightening aspect of the story. Saul’s pious talk about asking David to ‘fight the battles of the Lord’ (v 17) and his message to him through his servants that he delights in David (v 22)2 stand in stark contrast to his murderous intent. Christians particularly need to watch that they don’t fall into hypocrisy since the pressure to conform to a godly standard is strong.
What David thinks or feels about all this will not be revealed until subsequent chapters. For now, we only see Saul’s perspective and his futile attempts to thwart God’s plans. It is not until his last stratagem fails and David becomes a member of the royal family that God’s part in all this becomes clear to the king (v 28). Even then, the truth engenders no repentance, only fear and antagonism toward God’s choice. Being in the grip of our desires, it is hard to acknowledge the truth that what we want is not God’s will, but only doing so and then aligning ourselves with his purposes bring release and peace.
Saul’s machinations have achieved the opposite of what he had hoped for and brought David closer to the throne. For believers on the receiving end of false talk and manipulation, the encouragement is that God cannot be thwarted and will achieve his plans for those who love him, regardless. He will also hold to account those who resisted his will and caused harm to others in the process.
‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’3
Mighty God, I need a fresh vision of who you are and what you can do. Encourage me as I seek to faithfully follow you through all the minefields of life.
1 Ps 95:7,8 2 The Hebrew for the NIV’s ‘the king likes you’ is a stronger word than the colorless ‘like’ 3 Ps 51:10
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.