The tragic end of the head and shoulders king

davidandsaulcut

1 Samuel 31 contains Saul's final act. The irony is clear. The man who towered head and shoulders over his contemporaries (1 Sam 9:2) is quite literally cut down to size as his head is removed from his shoulders.The regal first king of Israel is killed and his body is shamefully violated. His line is extinguished. And all along, the one warrior who could have helped him wasn't there directly because of Saul's previous attempts to murder him as a rival. The enemy King who had accepted David and … [Read more...]

How disaster can lead you back to the LORD

Stained Glass Window

In Scripture, being with the people of God implies being in the presence of God. David had been living away from both for some time. It seems clear that his relationship with God was weaker as a result. Certainly no mention of God is there for a few chapters. The fugitive David never looked less like a future king than at the beginning of 1 Samuel 30.He was resigned to sitting out the next great battle between the Philistines who had taken him in and his own people who had rejected him. It is … [Read more...]

King David: As shrewd as a serpent?

Stained Glass Window

When I read 1 Samuel 29 I have a number of unanswered questions. At the top of the list is "Would David really have fought against King Saul alongside the Philistines he had been hiding with?"It is hard to imagine that the answer would have been yes.David told the Philistine king he would have been a loyal subject and fought his fellow Hebrews. The king believed him, but others reminded him of David's long-forgotten past as a slayer of Philistines, and their view prevailed.This is the same … [Read more...]

There is nothing sadder than a rudderless leader

I know I may make a few enemies by this post, but I am going to say it anyway:There are many pastors who should not be leading God's people because they are not conscious of being led by God themselves1 Samuel 28 reveals a desperate King who no longer receives God's guidance. Whatever makes us think we will fare any better than Saul if we are not led by God? The message of the Bible is that if we do things our own way we will fail dismally. If we listen to God and follow him we will … [Read more...]

Understanding the violent age the OT occurred in

I thought it was high time I returned to the long running series of posts about leadership lessons from I and II Samuel. Sometimes as you read Scripture you come to a chapter that at first glance it is hard to get comfort, a teaching, or instruction from. 1 Samuel 27 is one such chapter.  In it we see one of the Bible's leading heroes running away, allying himself with God's enemies, ingratiating himself by raiding other villages and leaving nobody alive, and convincing God's enemies that he h … [Read more...]

Knowing when it’s time to quit

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Sometimes we find ourselves going round and round in circles. Reading 1 Samuel 26 sounded familiar even though I had taken a break from slowly meandering through this book looking for leadership lessons.But it seems David also had a sense of déjà vu and determined enough was enough. He had already determined that Saul could never be trusted again but must not be killed by him.. But here he was again, being hunted by his king and tempted by his friends to take matters into his own h … [Read more...]

Everybody needs somebody to challenge us

Today I want us to look at 1 Samuel 25.  We see here in this passage the best of David and the worst.A leader despised and therefore angeredIn just the last chapter David refused to stretch out his hand to vindicate himself, here he almost makes the exact same mistake. We have to understand the culture of the day to fully appreciate what is going on.  Hospitality at the time was considered obligatory, and to fail to provide it was a major slight. David didn't have a contract with Nabal, … [Read more...]

Returning good for evil even when a relationship is beyond repair

davidandsaulcut

"An eye for an eye" says Leviticus 24:17. We often fail to realise that this was a great gift from God to the Jewish people. In an age when food was scarce, when your enemies were plentiful, and when only the strong survived, it was typical for retribution to be much fiercer. For example, if someone from a neighbouring village stole a bit of corn from the fields, why not pillage and burn the whole village in response? God asked his people to limit their retribution to no more than was taken. A … [Read more...]

What you really need when it feels like the World is against you

There is only so much that one person can take.  Some people have a higher threshold than others, for sure.  But no wonder that David would have felt the pressure as he was eing hunted from place to place, even while he still defended towns from Philistine assault. Then, sneaking out from the camp of David's enemy comes the one man who can help him, Jonathan.  The man who's love for David is the stuff of legends. The man who was content to advance his political rival's cause.  The man who had lea … [Read more...]

How David transformed a ragtag group into a strong army

One of the marks of Saul's leadership was that he attached himself to the strong. David, now an outlaw seems to have a very different approach. In 1 Samuel 21 and 22 we see him make good his escape and establish for himself a base in a cave. In some ways this former darling of the royal court makes a pitiful sight.  He is described as "alone" as the small group of people with him in 1 Samuel 21 seems that way compared to his usual traveling companions.  When established in the cave, a small g … [Read more...]


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