1 Samuel 19-20 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
Let's turn in our Bibles to the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 19, 1 Samuel, chapter 19. When we left off last time, there was already tension growing between Saul and David. There was a song that had become quite popular. Saul was used to getting all the accolades from the battles that were fought. But now David, his name is inserted into the victory song. And he didn't like that lyric.
The women came out with tambourines and dancing, and they said, Saul has slain his thousands. And he arched his back, and puffed out his chest, and smiled real big. And he loved the lyrics so far. But it was the second verse that he took offense to.
For it went this way. Saul has slain his thousands, but David has slain his tens of thousands. So from that moment on, he put two and two together, knew that David was the one God had appointed. And we left off in chapter 18, verse 29. "Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David's enemy continually."
What we're going to observe now is that he becomes irrational, paranoid, even schizophrenic, when it comes to David-- like, I'm going to kill him. OK, I won't kill him. I'm going to kill him. OK, I won't kill him. And he's torn. And he loses-- it's like his mental faculties have become addled a bit.
And I believe that when a person rejects God in their lives, that they lose some of their capability to make sound judgments. It's skewed. There's spin on it. There's paranoia attached to it. There's something they're trying to protect themselves from. And Saul certainly fits into that category.
Jealousy begins to eat away at Saul. It's destroying him. He sees God's hand and God's favor upon David, and he wants to eliminate the threat. especially since, in chapter 15, Samuel the prophet said, God has torn away the kingdom from you and has given it to one of your neighbors who's better than you are. Ooh, that irritated him. Now he's dying to find out who that neighbor is. And because David shows himself wise and wins battle after battle, he now knows this is the Lord's anointed.
So the prophet has told him, the kingdom is no longer yours. It's being taken away. But Saul is trying to hold on to what is not rightfully his. Yes, he's the king. But he's going down. And the prophet of God said, the kingdom doesn't belong to you. It belongs to somebody else. So rightfully, it is David's. And David will be the next king.
But Saul doesn't want to let go. Saul wants to hold on tight to what is not rightfully his and to keep what he has by force and to eliminate by force the threat of David. Now, in this area, Saul becomes a type of Satan. Because Satan, Jesus even said, is the prince of this world, the god of this age. Paul said he's the one that rules in the children of disobedience.
He has rulership over the world. Again, the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this age Jesus called him. Satan even said to Jesus, concerning the kingdoms of the world, for they are mine, and I give them to whomsoever I wish. Jesus did not argue that point with him.
But God has raised up to rule the world Jesus, the Son of David, to sit on the throne, to rule and reign forever and ever. Satan is trying to hold on to his rule by force and doing everything he can to eliminate Christ and the Christian cause. I recommend reading, not now, but later on, Revelation chapter 12 and how he wants to eliminate the male child that would be born to the nation of Israel.
But one day, Jesus will return and rule and reign over what is His, given to Him by his Father. So Satan is-- or Saul is like a type of Satan, and David is, in this case, in this consideration, a type of Christ. So chapter 19, verse 1-- "So now Paul-- or now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants that they should kill David. But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David."
Now, you recall twice, Saul tried to pin David to the wall, tried to execute him right in the palace by throwing his spear at him. And David got the point.
And so he got out quick. He ran away quick, just to see-- I do that to see just if you're listening or not.
So now, because David has fled Saul's attempt at destruction, he decides to take a contract out on his life, to hire assassins to go get him. He has a dispatch of men to go kill him. But it says Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David.
There is a translation called the Berkeley translation. I really love how it renders this verse. It says that Jonathan highly prized David. That friendship was a gift to him. It was a prize to him. Even though Jonathan knew that, on normal circumstances, he would be the next King, he knew that he wouldn't be the next king, that God anointed David to be the next King. And he would rather have David as the next king, because he so prized the relationship, so love David as his own soul.
And so Jonathan would rather do God's will than become king. And we saw in chapter 18 that their souls were knit together. And they gave each other a covenant of friendship, a covenant of love.
Actually, Jonathan and David would have made a great team together. And unfortunately, you're going to see, if we get to it in time, you're going to see where they part company tonight, and they won't see each other at all the rest of their lives. They go two different directions.
But you know, the Bible often has great teams. There's Paul and Timothy or Paul and Barnabas or Paul and Silas. Often, he was together with somebody. There's Peter, James, and John-- great team. There's Aquila and Priscilla-- great team. There's Ruth and Naomi-- great team.
David and Jonathan made a great team. They loved each other. So Jonathan told David, saying, "my father seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning and stay in a secret place and hide. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you. Then what I observe, I will tell you.
Now Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, let not the king sin against his servant David-- against David, because he has not sinned against you and because his works have been very good toward you. For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine. And the Lord brought about great salvation for all of Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood to kill David without a cause?"
Saul discovers the plot to assassinate David. He tells David to go and hide. Let me go have a chat, a little talk with Dad. And so he gets Saul, and he says, you know, Dad, basically David is the best thing that ever happened to you. You'll never have a more loyal servant. If you remember, he was the one that risked his own life, put his own neck on the line, without any armored all, faced Goliath, won the battle, took his head off. You loved David when that happened.
So he's vying for him. He's reminding his father of the recent past. So verse 6-- "So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan. And Saul swore, as the Lord lives, he shall not be killed." Victory, temporarily. "Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. So Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past.
And there was war again, and David went out and fought with the Philistines, and struck them with a mighty blow, and they fled from him. Now a distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand." Here goes. "And David was playing music with his hand. Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear. But he slipped away from Saul's presence, and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night."
There was for the time being a reconciliation between Saul and David, a temporary reconciliation. David was restored to the royal court once again, after Jonathan had that little talk to his dad. Dad said, yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. I love David. Bring him back.
So David once again is playing music. But once again, a distressing spirit-- which we read about a few weeks ago-- from the Lord tormented him. It is possible, though I do not believe at all that a Christian, a child of God, can be possessed by a demon-- I think that's abundantly clear from the scripture-- I do think we can open ourselves up to the work of demons and the work of Satan. The Bible says, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
But sometimes, you don't resist the devil. And when you don't resist the devil, he won't flee from you. Resist the devil, and he will flee. Don't resist the devil, and the devil will frolic, not flee. He'll play around. And he desires to get a foothold. He desires to make your action a habit, and then a lifestyle, and then a bondage.
So Saul opened himself up to that arena. And he was not a saved man, so it's not the same thing as a believer. But once again, this distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul. So David fled, it says at the end of verse 10, and he escaped that night.
Now, this is probably a good time to just consider how to handle life when spears are thrown at you, when your enemies say things against you or attack you. How do you handle it when that happens? Number one, duck.
That's number one. David ducked. David didn't stand there. He just sort of ducked and ran. Now, David had an advantage. The spear came his way, stuck in the wall just above him. He could easily have taken that same spear, pulled it out of the wall. David was a much better aim than was Saul. He could have just easily said, oh, really? And thrown it right back at him-- which would have been a whole lot more fun for David, like vengeance always is for any of us.
You know, whenever we take vengeance, whenever we talk back or get back or do something that hurts an opponent that tried to hurt us, there is an immediate sense of gratification. Admit it. We love it. We go, oh yeah, they deserve that. I admit to you, when I drive--
--vengeance comes so easy to me. Because there's so many poor drivers. And I am so prone to judge them all and in my mind, correct how they could do it better. But the Lord would have us duck, number one. That's the first thing, duck. When the spear comes your way, when an insult comes your way, duck.
Number two, do. Duck-- number one; number two-- do. Do right things. David went back to battle. David humbled himself. David went to work in the palace. Do things that are right and righteous. Don't end up doing good works before the Lord.
Don't let the antagonism of others destroy your enthusiasm. You're enthusiastically serving the Lord. They're attacking you sometimes just because you believe in God. Don't let that take away your zest, your zeal, your joy. So duck, do, and then number three, devote.
Be devoted to the Lord. Devote yourself to the Lord's cause. Let the antagonism and the insults become-- and the pain and the suffering become fuel for your prayer life, for your devotional life. You may not know this, but David is entering in a period of several years, where it's going to be the dark day of David's soul.
David is going into a period of almost a decade, where he's going to be hunted like an animal by King Saul. He's going to have to go from cave to cave, from dwelling place to dwelling place, from city to city. But during this dark time, listen to how many psalms were written because of it. Psalm 18, Psalm 34, Psalm 52, Psalm 54, Psalm 57, Psalm 59, Psalm 63, Psalm 124, Psalm 138, and Psalm 142 were written because of this. So allow that pain as fuel for your devotional life.
So verse 11-- "Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal"-- or the Hebrew pronunciation Michal, but I probably will just henceforth, call her Michal, because it's which we're used to-- "and Michal David's wife told him, saying, if you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed." So they went to his house. They watched his house. They're scoping out his house.
Now, keep a marker here. You don't have to turn to it, if you don't want to. But I'm going to read to you the inscription just above Psalm 59. So you can turn to it if you want. You don't have to, if you don't want to. But we're going to, the Lord willing, end up there.
In Psalm 59, at the very top, it says, "To the chief Musician, set to Do Not Destroy"-- I guess that was a popular song-- "a Michtam of David, when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him." Now you are reading the account of when Psalm 59 was birthed in the heart and by the pen of King David. It's always good to do that. So Lord willing, we'll get back to that. But let's go on.
"So Michal let David down through a window. He went and fled and escaped. And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed. Put a cover of goat's hair for his head and covered it with clothes."
You remember doing that as a kid. Right? You did it for your brothers or sisters, or you did it for your parents. I did it. They said, go to bed. So I'd put something in the bed. Then I'd go in the corner and turn on a flashlight and read something or do something. And they might come in and it looks like I'm fast asleep. And then they'd leave. And then I'd turn the light back on and do it again-- so one of those kind of things, only different.
"So when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, well, she's sick. Then Saul sent messengers back to see David, saying, bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him. And when the messengers had come in, there was the image in the bed with a cover of goat's hair for his head. And Saul said to Michal, why have you deceived me like this and sent my enemy away so that he has escaped? And Michal answered Saul, he said to me, let me go. Why should I kill you?"
Now, she's fudging it a little bit. She let him out, warned him, said, hey, get out of here. My dad's going to kill you. But she said, look, he threatened my life. You know, I had to let him go.
Here's what I find ironic. Two of Saul's own children, Jonathan and Michal, know that David is right and are on his side. They know their dad's whacked. They know he's a wing nut. He might be the king. He might be in charge. He might give all the orders. But he's nuts. So it's like, no, we're not going to do what he says. That's ridiculous. Go hide.
What also is interesting to me is that Saul refers to David as my enemy. Jonathan referred, in verse 4, to David as your servant. He's really your servant. And he was. He wouldn't even touch God's anointed throughout his entire life. He wouldn't raise a hand. He wouldn't take a piece of his robe. He wouldn't kill him when others said he should kill him. He wouldn't raise a hand. He served Saul. But Saul sees him as an enemy. He's paranoid.
"So David fled and escaped and went to Samuel"-- remember Samuel the prophet-- "at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth." Now, that little word Naioth, Naioth in Hebrew, Naioth actually means-- is the Hebrew word for dwellings. And it refers to a compound of homes, like condominiums.
So Naioth, or dwellings, this little compound, is where the prophets lived with Samuel. Samuel had like a little school of ministry, called the school of the prophets, where he would train these young men in prophesying in ministry. And he went to Ramah, which was Samuel's home, and went to this compound, this Naioth, these dwellings, and found Samuel.
"Now it was told Saul, saying, take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah. Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When Saul was told, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And then Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well that is at Sechu. And he asked and said, where are Samuel and David? And someone said, indeed they are in the dwellings at Ramah. So he went there to Naioth in Ramah, and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah."
Now evidently, these messengers from Saul, these assassins, they're going in to find David. They get so overwhelmed by the Spirit of God, that they're held captive. They're captivated by it. Some commentators believe they were rendered limp, put on the ground, and they slept. I don't know if that's the case, because it says they prophesied. They entered into the praise of God or uttering spiritual truths of some kind.
And then three groups came. And then finally, Saul himself says, you know, I don't know why I send the kid to do a man's work. I guess I got to do it. So he went. Same thing happened to him.
"And he also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and laid down naked all that night-- and all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, is Saul also among the prophets?" Now, let me tell you what this is not. This is not a case of being, as some call it, slain in the Spirit. I don't know if you've ever heard that term.
Slain in the Spirit is a term used in Pentecostal circles for somebody who's so overtaken by the Spirit of God, that they collapse. So you may have seen televangelists lay their hands on somebody and get very charismatic with them and go, Yay! And they go, oh. And they fall back, and there's people who catch them. And they're professional catchers, and they go--
--seriously, come and be blessed. And their blessing is they get knocked out, and they haul them over and lay them down. They call that experience being slain in the Spirit. I find that nowhere in scripture.
This is not being slain by the Spirit. Number one, they are unbelievers. They are assassins. They are murderers. They're not getting a blessing. They're not being slain in the Spirit. They're being restrained by the Spirit. Even Saul was.
It's like God is pinning him to the ground, making him utter praise to Him, so that David has time to escape. That's what this is. David now can have an escape route. He can get out.
But I think there's a point to be made. Whatever happened to Saul and these assassins, it is possible to have a profound spiritual experience and still be unsaved. Oh, you know, that person went and said this and did that, and I got goosebumps, and I fell over. Or I went on a pilgrimage, and I saw that statue, and I was overcome. OK, good. Wonderful. We're glad. Hallelujah. Now what?
How are you living today for the Lord? How has that changed your life? Saul had a wonderful spiritual experience. Didn't change him. He's as unsaved coming out of it as he was going into it.
Now, just want to clear something up in verse 24. It says, he stripped off his clothes, and he laid there naked. Most scholars believe this is a reference to taking off his armor and becoming royally naked. That is, he took off his royal robes, his kingly robes, that he wasn't in the nude. He took off his-- he humiliated himself, so to speak, took off his royal garments, and was exposed in that way.
OK, so from this point on, David's life gets dark. He becomes a refugee. He's going to be hunted from place to place. He lost his position in the palace. He lost his wife. He's going to be hunted by his father-in-law for about a decade, waiting on the Lord's timing. The Lord said, you're going to be the king. But He didn't say when he's going to be the king.
So whatever promise the Lord has given you, be patient. You may go through hardship. You may have some spears thrown at you. Don't say, well, Lord, You promised this. So then if He promised it, it's going to happen. Be patient.
This incident, though, reminds me of something I heard the first time I went to India with my wife Lenya. We met a young man who was an evangelist, named Steven. He was raised in a Hindu home. He was the son of a Hindu priest. And he had an incredible conversion experience with the Lord, filled with the Spirit, loved Jesus, happy as could be. You'd never know by his joy what his background was.
He said, when I gave my life to Christ, I went home and told my parents, knowing they would be displeased. My father, a Hindu priest, was so displeased, he took up a knife and tried to kill me, and drove me out of the house. And he said that he would kill me and sacrifice me to the Hindu gods that he worshipped.
He said, so I ran away from home, and I have not seen my parents since. And I mean, I'm heartbroken by his story. He goes, oh, don't be heartbroken.
And he said, because that night, I found in Psalm 27 that great promise, where God said-- or where David said, when my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. And he was so filled with joy. So David is now on the road.
Chapter 20, verse 1-- "Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and went and said to Jonathan, what have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father that he seeks my life?"
Notice the questions of David-- what did I do? How have I sinned? How have I gone wrong? How have I misread this? You know what's interesting? When we walk with the Lord, we get confused when life doesn't turn out the way we think it should, when people come against us and say things or do things against us. We get confused, and we think, well, what did I do wrong? You may have done nothing wrong. You may have done everything right.
The fault wasn't on David's end. The fault was on Saul's end. Sometimes just following the Lord, just loving God, just trusting Jesus, is enough to get unbelievers to hate you. That's it. I love the Lord. I hate you. You're what's wrong with the world. And they will spew their vitriol only because you love God.
And so you go, man, what did I do wrong? Nothing. But we get confused. It's easy. Like David, you go, what did I do? Is it my fault?
"So Jonathan said to him, by no means! You shall not die! Indeed, my father will do nothing either great or small without first telling me. And why should my father hide this thing from me? Is it not so?"
Now, apparently, I'm just guessing some time has passed between the last chapter and this chapter, because Jonathan was the one that informed David, look, my dad wants to kill you. And now David goes, you know, your dad wants to kill me. No, he don't want to kill you. Like, that's so done. It's so over. It's so much yesterday's news.
And maybe this is on the heels of what happened in Naioth. Maybe he goes, look, man, my dad was prophesying. The Holy Spirit came over the guy. So he's thinking, he's good now.
"Then David took an oath again and said, your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your eyes. And he says, do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved. But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death."
Look at that verse-- there's a step between me and death. How true that is. David lived in the conscious awareness that his life at all times was hanging by a thread.
Now, we typically don't think this way. In fact, especially when we're young, we think we're invincible. And we might carry that thought through into our middle age and even maybe into our older age. We think, oh yeah, we get life all planned, right? It's going to happen this way, and I'm going to grow old that way.
And probably that's good that we have sort of that feeling. Because otherwise, we would be afraid to go to sleep at night. You think, well, who knows? The ceiling might cave in and crush me. Or I might get in the car, and it might blow up. It's possible to live in fear, and that's no way to live. So we usually push those thoughts out, and we don't plan for it. However, the truth is, there is but a step between you and death.
My brother died when he was 24 years of age in a motorcycle wreck, instantaneously. Didn't see it coming. When I got the phone call-- some of you have been in this situation. I get the phone call from my dad. It was like denial. No, that couldn't happen. It didn't happen. These things don't happen to us, not to our family. It doesn't happen to me. It happened.
When my father was diagnosed with what he was diagnosed with, I read the medical report. I called my brother, oldest brother Jim, and I said, Dad has about, if I'm judging this correctly from the report, about a year to live. And I remember my brother yelling at me. How can you say that? That's such a mean thing to say.
I said, you know what? I'm not a doctor, but I have a little bit of medical background. Just judging on what I read and what his condition is, he's got about a year. I'm making this phone call so you'll make the most of this year. Within that year, he died.
There's a step between us and death. There's no guarantee that COVID won't take you out, that a car won't take you out, that a number of things won't take you out. You know it's appointed under every man once to die. You know that. You, I hope, as a believer, are mature enough to realize, you're not getting out of this alive.
The thing is, God hasn't told you when that appointment is. You'll find out. You'll wake up one day, and oh, hi, God. I guess today's the day.
There's a step between you and death. But you know what? There's also a step between you and life. There's a step between you and eternal life, and that step is to put your trust volitionally, intentionally, in the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you're walking the fence, and you're thinking, oh, I got time, I got time. You might. You might not.
And to gamble with the certainty of your death in spiritual matters, the most important matters, is the height of what it means to be a fool. If you know that you're going to face eternity and face God's judgment, but you don't give your life to Christ and secure that, you're foolhardy. So there is a step between you and death. But there's one step between you and eternal life. Take it. Go there.
"So Jonathan said to David"-- verse 4-- "whatever you yourself desire, I will do it for you. And David said to Jonathan, indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, David earnestly asked permission of me that he might run over to Bethlehem, his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family."
And real briefly-- a new moon is the beginning of every Jewish month. The new moon is what appears in the Western sky. When there is no moon at all, when it's black or there's just a sliver, that's the beginning of the month. That's the new moon.
And you know that in the Old Testament of Judaism, they worked off of not a solar year, not the Gregorian calendar, not a 365 and a third day year calendar, but a 360-day calendar, more off a combination of the lunar and solar years. So their months were different, and they would mark them by the moon.
According to Leviticus, when you'd have a new moon, it was a civil holiday and a spiritual holiday. So they would have one, and some months, they would have two days of a feast. Now, if you worked for the king, especially if you were a bodyguard for the king or a soldier for the king, as David was, you were expected to be at these feasts to show your loyalty and support to the king. David knew that.
But David said, tell Saul that I'm going to Bethlehem. Now, it could be that he wasn't lying. It could be that there was a feast in Bethlehem that his brother and father had and that he was called to it. But he was going to hide instead to find out the temperature, the decision of Saul toward David.
"If he says"-- verse 7-- "it is well, your servant will be safe. If he is very angry, then be sure that evil is determined by him. Therefore, you shall deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. Nevertheless, if there is iniquity in me, kill me yourself. For why should you bring me to your father?"
Look, Johnny boy, if I've sinned, just kill me. If I've done something wrong, I'd rather you be the one to kill me-- capital punishment, you're the king's son-- rather than have the king himself do it. "And Jonathan said, far be it from you. For if I knew certainly that evil was determined by my father to come upon you, then would not I tell you? Then David said to Jonathan, who will tell me, or what if your father answers you roughly?
And Jonathan said to David, come, let us go into the field. So both of them went out into the field. And Jonathan said to David, the Lord God of Israel is witness. When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with you as he has been with my father.
And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live-- and you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die, but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth." Now, again, it's pretty clear that Jonathan knew that he would not be the next king, the heir apparent, even though that was typically how things were done.
In those days, it was a dynastic succession. The right of succession fell to the son. But he knew that David was God's anointed. So he just says, look, let's make a covenant for the future, for my progeny, that you protect them.
"So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, let the Lord require it at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him. For he loved him as he loved his own soul."
You know, it is human nature, even though we love someone, that when we love someone, we want that someone to reaffirm their love for us verbally over and over again. You never get used to, or it never gets old, hearing somebody you love say, I love you. Imagine if I were to tell my wife, come on, I told you that I loved you when we got married.
I made that promise. You don't need to hear it from me again. I'm a man of my word. How wonderful would the relationship be? Not very. She likes to hear it all the time. I love you. [LAUGHING] David and Jonathan had that warm friendship, and they made that covenant bond again.
"Then Jonathan said to David, tomorrow is the New Moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. And when you have stayed three days, go down quickly and come to the place where you hid on the day of the deed and remain by the stone Ezel."-- some monolith or outcropping of stones. And then I will shoot three arrows to the side of it as though I shot it at a target. And there I will send a lad, saying, go find the arrows.
If I expressly say to him, look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them and come, then as the Lord lives, there is safety for you and no harm. But if I say thus to the young man, look, the arrows are beyond you, then go your way, for the Lord has sent you away. And as for the matter, which you and I have spoken of, indeed the Lord be between you and me forever. So David hid in the field. And when the New Moon had come, the king sat down to eat the feast."
Now, why this clandestine game of shooting arrows? I mean, they're talking face-to-face right here. Why not just say, look, I'll find out what the deal is, and then I'll come, and we'll have a meeting like this?
Well, probably because Jonathan wasn't sure. If my father has indeed plotted against David, he may be watching me to go tell David. Because he knows that he and I have this relationship of loyalty to each other. So they might be spying on me. And so just to make it safe, we've got to come up with a code of some kind. So to keep me safe and David safe, he came up with this plan.
"Now, the king sat"-- verse 25-- "on his seat, as at other times, on a seat by the wall." That's a position of honor. "Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side. But David's place was empty. Nevertheless, Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, something has happened to him. He is unclean. Surely, he is unclean."
According to Leviticus chapter 7, there were certain obligatory stipulations. To eat at a peace offering, you had to be ceremonially clean. You had to go through oblations. That happens, that a person could be unclean. A soldier could be from time to time. That is not beyond the pale of possibility.
"So it happened on the next day, the second day of the month, that David's place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan, why has the son of Jesse not come to eat either yesterday or today?" Notice that Saul hates David so much, he can't even say his name. Where is that son of Jesse?
"So Jonathan answered Saul, David"-- calling him by name-- "earnestly asked permission of me to go to Bethlehem. And he said, please let me go, for our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. And now if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me get away and see my brothers. Therefore he has not come to the king's table. Then Saul's anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, you son of a perverse, rebellious woman."
OK. You know what he's saying. There are other translations that color that up a little bit. "Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.
And Jonathan answered Saul his father and said to him, why should he be killed? What has he done? Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David."
This is what happens when you become a thrower of spears, when you attack other people. When you attack other people, and you're always-- you want to make sure they get your point-- you're attacking them. You're going to make this point. You're going to yell at them or tweet something or say something.
Eventually, it's going to affect your family. You're going to enter into a way of thinking, that if you're living in that kind of attack mode, you'll attack your son. You'll attack your daughter. You'll attack those that are in your own household.
"So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully. So it was in the morning, Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David. And a little lad was with him. And he said to the lad, now run and find the arrows which I shoot. And the lad ran, and he shot an arrow beyond him." That was the code that they established.
"When the lad came to the place where the arrow was which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried out after the lad and said, is not the arrow beyond you? And Jonathan cried out after the lad, make haste, hurry, do not delay. So Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows and came back to his master. But the lad did not know anything. Only Jonathan and David knew of the matter.
Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, go, carry them to the city. Now, as soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another, and they wept together, but David more so.
Then Jonathan said to David, go in peace, since we are both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, may the Lord be between you and me, between your descendants and my descendants, forever. So he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city."
This is the very last time they will see each other. The next time Jonathan comes really into David's life, it will be when he hears that Saul and Jonathan and Malchishua had fallen slain on Mount Gilboa, at which time David will cry, oh, how the mighty have fallen and the glory of Israel taken away.
One wonders if Jonathan shouldn't have gotten up and gone with David. It would have been a great team. He could have defected from his father's kingdom. He could have gone on the road with David in hiding.
But David goes into hiding. Jonathan goes back to the court, perhaps thinking, I need to be a buffer between my dad and David. Maybe I can have an influence over him. I did it once. Maybe I'll have that opportunity in the future.
But I want to close, since we have just five minutes left, with that psalm that I mentioned, that I made reference to, and I read you the inscription at the beginning, Psalm 59. Because this teaches us how to pray when people attack us. And it is called, incidentally, an imprecatory psalm. An imprecatory psalm is when you call down an imprecation on someone, you're basically unleashing God to do whatever God wants to do.
Now I'll warn you. This song is rated R in the sense that, though God is God, and God will do whatever God wants to do, David is going to be very upfront and pointed and honest with God toward his enemies. So Psalm 59, "To the chief Musician, set to Do Not Destroy. A Michtam of David, when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him. Deliver me from my enemies, O God. Defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity. Save me from bloodthirsty men."
Notice how definite David is, to the point he is. He's not vague. Sometimes our prayers are just so vague. And if we wonder why sometimes they're not effective, that could be one reason. Some people are just, Lord, we just lift up all their needs, spoken and unspoken.
No no, not unspoken. Speak them. Not I bring you unspoken needs. Speak them. Speak the needs. Say the needs. None of this, just bless everyone everywhere with everything.
[LAUGHTER] Well, first of all, how do you want God to bless you? Deliver me-- that's to the point. Defend me-- that's to the point. Save me-- that's to the point. Help. Be definite.
"For look, they lie in wait for my life. The mighty gather against me, not for my transgression or for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. Awake to help me and behold. You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations. Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors."
Now, when you pray like this, it doesn't necessarily mean God's going to say yes to that prayer. Because God is merciful. God is kind. God is just. But I'm saying that it's OK to make your feelings known to God. Be honest with Him.
If you're mad, be mad in your prayers-- not at God. But God already knows how you feel. Be honest with Him. Don't hide it from Him. Don't fill it with pious verbiage. Be real. Be authentic.
"Awake to punish. At evening, they return. They growl like a dog. They go all around the city. Indeed they belch out with their mouth." Now, this is a heavy prayer. Like, God blow them out of the water. They're a bunch of burping dogs.
It gets better. Verse 8-- "You, O Lord, shall laugh at them. You will hold the nations in derision. O You, his Strength, I will wait for You. For God is my defense. My merciful God shall come to meet me. And God did. God will see my desire on my enemies"-- which He did. It took a while, but He did. But look at this. Look at this one. Verse 11-- "Do not slay them, lest my people forget. Scatter them by Your power and bring them down, O Lord our shield, for the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips.
Let them even be taken in their pride and for their cursing and lying, which they speak. Consume them in wrath. Consume them, that they may not be. And let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth." Whoa! That's a worship song. It is amazing what you find in the scripture.
Now, I'm going to read that one verse, a couple of these verses, in a translation called The Message. Have you ever heard of that translation, The Message, by Eugene Peterson? So listen to this.
"Don't make a quick work of them, Yahweh, lest my people forget. But bring them down in slow motion. Take them apart piece by piece. Finish them off in fine style. Finish them off for good." That sounds like a prayer the godfather would pray.
This is so mafioso. It's like, kill them, God. I want You to really take them apart limb by limb.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you go mafioso in your prayer life, but that you get oh so honest in your prayer life. And don't be afraid to report anything you are feeling into the ears of a loving, all powerful, all knowing, all merciful God. He can handle it. He can handle your prayer.
And then you leave it to Him. Father, thank you. Thank you for Your goodness to us. Thank you for Your word, that surprises us. Our lives are in Your hands. The issues that the world faces in terms of a disease, in terms of earthquakes, famines, hostile armies, we don't understand why You allow so much of what we see.
But once again, Lord, we are brought back to Your word, and we learn that You are sovereign. You are working things out. Life is short for all of us. We have a chance to make a difference. While we live, there's a step between us and death.
But tonight we choose life. We choose to walk with You and to serve You and to honor You, and to march into our future without fear and without compromise. In Jesus' name.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching in our series Expound.