David, under the guise of “body guard” is with the Philistine king, Achish, while they gather to attack Israel. In the meantime, Saul goes to see a witch in order to get some kind of a message from God. The prophet, Samuel, who is long passed away by this point, materializes and gives Saul the fatal news.
17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” 1st Samuel 28:17-19 niv 2011
tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.
The question I have on that is this: What is Samuel talking about? Obviously the eternal life, but did Saul get to go to heaven?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and be really hopeful for Saul. He had a great start (See 1st Samuel 11) and there were some good fruits early on. He proved himself a real believer. As well, Saul was specifically chosen by God to lead Israel. I think when Samuel tells Saul that he and his sons will be with him, he means that they’ll see one another in heaven. It’s just what I think. You don’t have to agree with me.
I think our New Testament provides detailed proof in that if a saved person falls off the wagon, he/she will still go to heaven, no matter how egregious the sin. 8For it is by grace you have been saved,[Saul was anointed, definitely chosen, which would indicate that he was covered in Grace] through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works [there are good works and bad works, don’t forget] so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 niv 1984
Saul had a lot of bad works…but he had a few good ones, which included:
9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. 1st Samuel 10:9-10 niv 2011
Back to the narrative with the witch:
20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night.
21 When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.”
But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.
24 The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. 25 Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left. 1st Samuel 28:20-25 niv 2011
This woman perplexes me to no end. She obviously has pity on Saul and his situation. I think something has happened in her business that she’s never seen before and it moves her to serve the king one last time. After all, he is still the king – so she gives him her very best.
And while all this is going on, the Philistines are amassing their forces against Israel. David and his men are with King Achish, and David has eluded that he will most definitely fight against Israel.
David is in a bad place. When we befriend someone of the world – someone who doesn’t share our beliefs in the Lord God Almighty – in order to protect ourselves from wounds and continuing pain that’s been inflicted by our loved ones, we put ourselves and our spiritual gifts into their hands, and resultantly, the effective use of God’s enemies.
But the Philistine rulers (some translations say “princes of the Philistines”) were nervous about David and his men being among them. They’d experienced Israelite defectors before – in the battle near Micmash (1st Samuel 14). In that battle, the Israelites who’d gone into the Philistine camp suddenly jumped ship and went back over to fight with Israel. The Philistines became confused and started striking each other with their swords. Eventually, the Philistines got their rear ends handed to them in that battle, and I’m sure they didn’t want a repeat performance. They remind Achish that David has killed even more Philistines than Saul, and what on earth is to keep him from cutting off their heads in order to regain favor with his estranged king?
The Philistines might be great fair-weather friends, but they’re not stupid. Whatever you do, don’t ever underestimate a Philistine.
So Achish sends David and his men back to Ziklag. David doesn’t fight the Israelites after all. What amazing grace of God Almighty.
[David] protested that he should be allowed to enter the fight against “the enemies of my lord the king” – even though these enemies were his own people. David had lied to Achish before and this was probably another attempt to deceive the Philistines. If, as seems unlikely, he actually intended to fight against Israel, God prevented it and saved him from the shame of killing his fellow Israelites and strengthening the arm of the Philistines against them.
—William McDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary
Saul had been anointed by God to rule Israel – and he’s run amok. David is also anointed – but he’s run amok as well. One of these anointed will soon repent.
When David and his men return to Ziklag they find it burned-out, and empty. The Amalekites have been there and they took the women and children with them.
6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1st Samuel 30:6 niv 2011
The word that’s translated to strength in verse 6 can also be translated repair.
David had been living a duplicitous life. His heart had to have been a wreck. Here was a man who’d been after the Lord’s own heart since his youth, only to be drawn into fellowship with a wicked king. As a result, David’s actions became wicked as well. His heart needed repair.
Was this possibly a judgment of God upon him for joining the Philistines? If so, David showed his great insight into the character of God, because he went to Him for comfort when everything and everyone was against him.
—William McDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”
“Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” 1st Samuel 30:7-8 niv 2011
David once again sought after God’s own heart – and not only was he given direction in the midst of tragedy and crisis, but a solution to the problem as well.
How often do we find ourselves in the midst of tragedy and crisis and we hunker down in our own counsel, hoping to figure the thing out ourselves? This is a perfect opportunity to inquire of the Lord and repair our hearts before Him. David had to inquire through a priest, but we have direct access to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 niv 1984
David finds that place of Grace, and God tells him what to do.
Join us next week for Between two Kings Part 2C as we conclude the last episodes between David and Saul, God’s anointed kings of Israel.
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