The death of Saul

1 Sam 31:1-13

Today we finish the book of 1 Samuel on a tragic note as Saul and his sons were killed in battle. This is the endless warnings Saul had been given by Samuel. The judgement of God eventually came as Samuel had warned. As the arrows flew all around Saul was caught by one of them, and rather than being killed by the Philistines, he asked his armour bearer to slay him, but the young man was too afraid to do it, so Saul fell on his own sword. the armour bearer to killed himself  once Saul was dead.

The Philistines defeated Israel that day, capture Saul’s body and cut off his head, they then hung his body on a wall. However, mention must be made of the bravery of the men of Jabeshgilead, who went all night to retrieve the body of Saul and his sons. They brought back the bodies and cremated them.

God’s judgement eventually comes even if it tarries. The better thing is to be in right standing with him lest we become fearful of his judgement. Do not let your life be like Saul’s obey God today.

Some verses to remember

vs 12 All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.

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David’s Recovery from the Amalekites

1 Sam 30:1-31

When David and his men returned to Ziklag after being dispatched by Achish, the found out that the Amalekites had invaded the land and burnt it with fire. They had also captured all their wives and children and all they had. This brought about great pain and sorrow for David and his men, as they wept all day long. It got worse to the point that David’s men were angry with him, and almost stoned him, but David encouraged himself in the Lord.

He called Abiathar the priest and inquired of the Lord if he should pursue after the Amalekites, and whether he would overtake them and recover all they had stolen, the Lord answered him yes. Here we see again David’s dependency on God, even when all around him was crumbling, in the face of great sorrow and deeply felt rejection from his own men.

So David and some of the men went to pursue after the Amalekites, with the remaining two hundred waiting behind as they were to tired to go. God answered David’s prayer using an Egyptian slave they found on the way. The young man had been abandoned by his Amalekite master because he was too sick to continue the journey. David asked that they should feed him and help him regain his strength, and in return he showed them where the Amalekites camped. So David and his men fought with Amalekites from that evening till the next, and slaughtered them with a great slaughter. They eventually recovered all that the Amalekites stole – wife, schildren, animals, and even much more of the loots of the Amalekites.

God helped David again, restored the confidence his people had in his leadership, provided for him and his men, and made his wax stronger and stronger in influence. When leadership gets lonely, you can still  call on and depend on God, he has the answers when everything else fails. Trust him!.

Some verses to remember

6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

8 And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

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David dismissed from the Philistine army

1 Sam 29:1-11

As we read yesterday, the armies of the Philistines and those of the Israelites were gathered for war. Having seen what befell Saul, attention was cast upon David, the one to soon become king. David however at this point in time was in a very difficult, compromising situation.

Let’s remember that he had been with Achish, the Philistine king, all the while, enjoying security and protection from him. Naturally, he was obliged to repay the loyalty of Achish to him, who rightly felt that David was on his side, and would battle against  the enemies of the Philistines. So, as would be expected, David and his men lined up with the Philistine army to battle against Israel.

Not sure exactly what David’s game plan was if he had any. Would he really fight against his own people, the Israelites, who are also God’s people. What would that do to his being king in the future? Also, who he turn and stab Achish at the back, repaying evil for all the good the king had done to him? In this very difficult situation, God in his providence eventually provided a way out for David.

The Philistine princes questioned Achish about what David was doing with the army, telling him of the risk they stand if he turned against them at war, probably used their heads to win his reconciliation to Saul. Although Achish tried to defend David’s loyalty to him since he had been with him, the princes insisted angrily that he should make David leave, lest the one sang about that he destroyed tens of thousands turn his back on them in battle.

So Achish told David about the decision to have him leave, he reassured him that he found no fault in him but it was the decision of the princes of Philistine. So David had to leave early the next morning, and though he pretended not to be happy with the decision when told by Achish, am sure he would have been very grateful for the near escape the Lord provided him with.

Are you in a fix, and finding it difficult to find a way out. Hold on and trust in God, for he makes ways where there seems to be none. He would come to your rescue at the right time, and provide a way of escape.

Some verses to remember

vs 9  And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.

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Saul and the Witch of Endor

1 Sam 28:1-25

It could be amazing what a man can do when the spirit of the Lord departs from him. Saul had lost every connection to God to the point that he went to endorse what he himself had banned from the land before – the practice of those with familiar spirits.

It was war time again, and the Philistines were gathered to face the Israelites. When Saul saw the multitude of the Philistine army, he was sore afraid. Every attempt to seek counsel from God proved futile, and as a last resort he condescended to seeking counsel through a medium, someone with familiar or evil spirit. They told him of a woman in Endor who could bring up the spirit of the dead. So Saul went to this woman in the night, disguising himself so that he would not be known to be the king. The woman initially refused citing that she would be in danger of being killed by the king, but Saul swore to her that she would not die.

Once the woman started to call up Samuel’s spirit, she immediately saw that it was Saul, but Saul reassured her to go ahead. When Samuel’s spirit eventually came, he spoke with Saul asking him why he was disquieted. Saul told him about the Philistines and his inability to hear God, and to this Samuel made Saul understand that what he had predicted would come to pass. God would take away the kingdom from Saul and give it to David, Saul and his sons would fall in battle as so would the Israelite army, all because Saul did not obey God with respect to destroying the Amalekites completely.

When Saul heard these words, he fell down and was sore afraid, his strength left him as he had also not eaten anything all day long. The company of his men and the woman had to encourage him to eat for strength. It was clear that he had eventually come to the end of his reign and his life. We could understand fully now when David himself prayed to God never to cast him away from His presence nor take away his Holy Spirit from him. There is no better place to be than with God and having his presence, and no worse place than the place of the absence of his presence. Abide in His presence, abide in His love.

Some verses to remember

vs 15  And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

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David dwells with Achish the Philistine.

1 Samuel 27:1-12

After multiple attempts on David’s life by Saul, he finally decided to escape to the land of the Philistines, since he was sure Saul would not come seeking him there for fear of the Philistines. So David went to Achish, the king of Gath. Although no details were given, am really surprised at how Achish welcomed David to stay with him, up to the extent of providing him a special city to stay in Ziklag. Let’s remember that this David killed Goliath, the Philistine, and also at a point in time was seen by the same Achish behaving like a mad man, with Achish declaring he did not need more of such men around him (1 Sam 21:11-15). So definitely, he one way of the other gained favour in the sight of Achish and shelter was provided him from Saul, as he stayed there for a year and four months.

While staying with Achish, David went to attack the Geshurites, Gezrites and Amalekites. He destroyed them all and spoiled them. He in a way completed the work Saul did not when he went to war against the Amalakites. However, on returning from his exploits, when asked by Gath, he said he went against the south of Judah, Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites, as he knew if he told Achish the truth he would be in danger of being expelled. So Achis beleieved him and though that David had made his own people to hate him, and so would be his servant forever.

One thing I liked about the description here was the fact that it was natural and nothing was hidden. David clearly reacted in fear of what could happen if he told Achish the truth about his whereabouts. This is not justifiable, and as commented by Matthew Henry, it is one of the things David himself usually mention in his meditations and prayers, when he says, ‘remove me from the way of lying’. It was indeed a difficult way he walked, resulting in the awkward position he found himself, and he just needed to depend on God’s mercy for such a way.

No matter the situation you are in, always trust God and put him first. Even when you have failed him, turn to him for he is there when you trust in him. When we seek him truly we shall find him, and then we would know that he loves us still, he loves us despite us, and he wants to be our God.

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David spares Saul’s life again

1 Sam 26:1-25

It was actually surprising for me to read that Saul again pursued David in order to kill him after the incidence of a few days back. We saw David spared Saul’s life that day, with Saul asking him to promise not to cut off his seed when he becomes king. The only explanation I could have is that the evil spirit troubled him again, and he decided to have another go at killing David as he had always done.

This time around, Saul came with three thousand men, and also the captain of his army, Abner. David sent out spies and understood that Saul was indeed come after him, so he hid himself in the wilderness. Very early in the morning, he and Abishai made their way to the camp where Saul pitched with his army, they took his spear and a pot that was beside him, but David prevented Abishai from killing Saul, saying he is God’s anointed, and that the Lord would punish him himself.

When they got to the other side, David shouted out to Abner, and asked him why he should be captain when he could not watch over the king. It was actually God that put a deep sleep on all the people in Saul’s camp. Saul too woke up and was surprised that he had just escaped death again from David’s hand. His folly was again revealed to him and he conceded that he had sinned, promising to never harm David again.

God has a way of preserving those who are his. He will not allow the enemy yo prevail against them, but will make their enemies look like fools. On whose side are you?

Some verses to remember 

vs 8-9 Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless?

21  Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.

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David, Nabal and Abigail.

1 Sam 25:1-44

“Why do good girls marry bad boys”? Am sure you probably have heard this saying before. The truth is that I am not sure I knew the true answer or else I would have been able to explain how a wonderful, virtuous woman like Abigail ever got married to Nabal. Maybe the custom of the day predetermined that she would be married to him, or maybe her family was owing Nabal’s rich family, or maybe his wealth woed her initially. Whatever the  reasons, in terms of character the two were mismatched.

David, still on the run,, heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep nearby, and sent servants to him asking him to provide him and is men whatever he could seeing that his men had always provided shelter and security for Nabal’s servants when they feed his sheep. Nabal however insulted David, saying, “who is David or the son of Jesse? Some servants ran away from their masters”! When the servants delivered this message to David he and his men girded their swords ready to go and attack Nabal.

However, one of the servants told Abigail what Nabal had done despite the security David and his men provided them. Abigail then prepared bread and wine and other food items, laid them on asses and went to meet David. She fell at his feet appealed to David and apologised for her husband’s foolishness. She also presented him with the provisions, and begged him in the Lord’s name that he did not have another man’s blood in his hand.David was surprised by the contrast between Abigail and Nabal, he blessed Abigail for preventing him from shedding unnecessary blood, and took the provisions from her.

When Nabal was told what happened by Abigail, the Lord smote him and his heart went dead. After ten days, he eventually died. David was told of his death, and he decided to have the virtuous Abigail as one of his wives. Without knowing, Abigail had already passed her auditioning before time, and David took her as his wife.

Apply wisdom in all you do, for you never know who is watching and when reference would be made to the decisions and actions you have taken wisely.

Some verses to remember

vs 18  Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

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Saul “on a platter of Gold”!

1 Sam 24:1-22

What will you do, if you were handed the opportunity to destroy an enemy who has been pursuing your life, the chance on a platter of gold?

Saul went back to continue to chase David today in the holdings of Engedi with three thousand men. David was however on the other side. While Saul went into a cave and covered his feet, an opportunity was presented David to kill Saul once and for all. In fact his men told him that it was the day God has promised to deliver his enemy unto his hand. David however refrained from killing Saul and warned his men also not to touch him because he was an anointed of the Lord. Am sure those men would be wondering whether David was mad, after being chased all these days, living in fear and danger, probably in the cold of the wilderness, an opportunity finally came to end it all, but their leader chose otherwise.

David showed today that he had a good heart unlike Saul’s evil heart. He understood the things of God, and God’s order. He was already living the way God would expect under the new testament where his people would be required to love their enemies and pray for those who spitefully use them. He understood not to touch the Lord’s anointed or do his chosen harm. Indeed, David was a man of strong loyalty and character, a faithful man that Saul himself would do well to have on his side.

So David only cut a portion of the cloth of Saul, and when Saul came out of the cave, David called out to speak with him. He addressed him with word like my lord, my king, and my father, asking him why he believed men saying he wanted to have him killed. He showed him that he could have done that as the Lord gave him the opportunity. At this Saul saw that he was wrong all the while about David. He admitted that David was a better man than him, saying if he a man found his enemy, would he let him go well away?. He even went ahead to declare that he definitely knew that David would be king and sought his favour in preserving his name and family.

When the way of a man pleases God, even his enemies will be at peace with him. Saul had no choice than to recognize that God was with David, and agree with what God had already declared – that David would be king and the kingdom would be established under him.

How are you responding and reacting to your “enemies”? Can you walk in the love of God towards them, and allow God to be the avenger? Others will see God in you when you walk in love and they will finally admit that you are blessed of the Lord.

Some verses to remember

vs 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.

vs 19  For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.

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Saul Chases David

1 Sam 23:1-29

After Abiathar joined David, Saul still continued to look for David in order to have him killed. At the beginning of the passage David heard that the Philistines had gathered against the people of Keilah- a small town. He inquired of God if he should go and help the town and God told him he could. Initially his men told him of their fear for the Philistines in such a closed, small town but after being reassured by God David went with his men and they defeated the Philistines in Keilah, saving the inhabitants of keilah and spoiling the Philistines.

However, Saul heard that David was in Keilah, and called all his men to besiege David and his men in Keilah. We could however see David’s dependency on God when he got wind that Saul was coming. He never assumed that because he had rescued Keilah, the people would be loyal to him. He asked God whether Saul would come looking for him there, and whether the men of Keilah would hand him over to Saul. God told him “yes”, and he therefore left Keilah for the wilderness of Ziph. This is a classic example of what must happen need not necessarily happen, if we ask God, he could guide us, and we could avoid dangers.

Later on, the men of Ziph went to Saul and told him they knew of David’s whereabouts and were willing to hand him over. Saul therefore again gathered his men to pursue David. When David heard, he went to a rock in the wilderness of Maon, and Saul actually closed him down being on the other side of the mountain. David was afraid that Saul and his men had encompassed him and his men and would take them, but there came a messenger that told Saul that the Philistines had invaded the land, and Saul needed to make haste. So saul left pursuing David to fight the Philistines. David then left for the strongholds at Engedi.

God continued to be with David, delivering him from the hands of Saul and other enemies around him. He had been chosen of God, he trusted God and God showed him he could be trusted.

Some verses to remember

vs 2:  Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

vs 11: Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.

Vs 12: Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

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Saul chases David

1 Samuel 22:1-23

David continued to run away from Saul like a fugitive. After faking madness with Achish yesterday, he escaped to the cave of Adullam. We learnt that his brethren gathered unto him, about four hundred men in all, and he became their captain. He also approach Mizpeh the king of  Moab to provide him some refuge for his father and mother, while he sought the will of God. Gad told him to leave the hold he was hiding in and go to Judah, which he did.

Saul however, continued to search for David. he questioned the men of Benjamin about their loyalty to David, and at this point, Doeg who had spotted David with Ahimelech told Saul how the priest had helped David (see yesterday’s notes). So Saul called Ahimelech and questioned him  also, and although Ahimelech told him he was unaware of David’s plans and intentions, Saul ordered him and his whole family to be killed. Although Saul’s men were unwilling to carry out this command, Doeg went ahead and smote the priest and his family, and the whole of Nob, the city of the priests.

However, Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech, escaped and told David all that had happened. david felt sorry for bringing the harm to Ahimelech’s way and requested Abiathar joined him, promising to provide protection for him.

Saul had really grown worse in his evil deeds, being bold enough to destroy a whole city of God’s priests. When we fail to obey God and give way to evil in our hearts, things go worse, we deteriorate, and commit great evil that even we could not imagine. Do not allow this to be the case with you.

Some verses to remember

vs 21  And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’S priests.

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