Posts Tagged 'Trust in God'



2 Samuel Chapter 15

Absalom was the son of David, whom he was reconciled with several years after Absalom had killed his other son. However, the promise and curse to David, was that his house would continue to see the sword from the time that he had planned the death of Uriah. I think that this would mean that he and his family would have great contentions among themselves. The curse from the Lord, goes on to say, “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house” (see 2 Samuel 12:11). David’s future was not going to have peace and joy with his family. This chapter continues to describe the fulfillments of the promises from the Lord, to David and his house. It begins:

1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Absalom begin to build himself an army. He made a place for himslef near the gates of the city. When people came to bring their complaints to the king, which was part of the course of everyday life for David, Absalom would stop them and ask them where they were from. He would tell them that they were right to come there, but no one was able to hear their case. Then he would say something like, “If only I was a judge over the land, when any man would come to me, I would give him justice.” He put on a show of love for all men of Israel. Because he did this, he began to steal away the hearts of the people.

7 And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.
8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.
9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.

After time had past, Absalom asked David if he could leave and pay his vow in Hebron. He said that he had made a promise to the Lord, to serve him, if He would allow him to return to Jerusalem. David allowed Absalom to go to Hebron.

10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.
12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Absalom planned for the people to rise up with him in Jerusalem, at the sound of a trumpet. The people who supported Absalom, were to announce that Absalom reigned. He took two hundred men with him, without drawing attention to themselves. Absalom called for a man named Ahithophel, who was David’s counsellor. Absalom continued to grow in strength with the support of the people.

13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
15 And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.
17 And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.
18 And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.

David learned that the hearts of the people had turned towards Absalom. He took his servants and all but ten concubines, and they fled the city of Jerusalem. Many others left with David.

19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
22 And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.
23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

David told Ittai of Gittite, that he and his people could return to their home, instead of going with David. But Ittai said that he would serve the king and remain with him wherever he was. So, Ittai and all the people with him, left with the king, and all of them escaped towards the wilderness.

24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
25 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation:
26 But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
27 The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28 See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.

Zadok and the Levites that were with him, brought the ark out of the city, but David told them to take it back. He felt that if the Lord wanted him to regain the city, the Lord would bring him back to it. If he did not want him to go back to Jerusalem, David felt the Lord could do what he wanted with him. He told Zadok that he would remain in the wilderness and he would wait for word from Zadok, letting him know he could return. Zadok and his sons returned to Jerusalem, taking the ark with them.

30 And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

David left by way of Mount Olivet. He and all the people with him, went away crying and in an attitude of mourning.

31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.

One of his people, told David that his counselor, Ahithophel, had been among the consipirators. David prayed that the Lord would cause the man’s counsel to be foolishness for Absalom.

32 And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:
33 Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:
34 But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father’s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
35 And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king’s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok’s son, and Jonathan Abiathar’s son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.
37 So Hushai David’s friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

When David had reached the top of the mountain, he worshipped the Lord. An Archite man, named Husahi, came to him in mourning. David told him that he would be a burden to the king, if he stayed with him, but if he went instead and offered himself as a servant to Absalom, he could help by defeating the counsel of Ahithophel. He could be a spy for David, and pass on word to Zadok and Abiathar. They would pass along word to David through their own sons, Ahimaz and Jonathan. Hushai did as David asked and Absalom went into Jerusalem.

There is no reason given, for Absalom’s betrayal of his father. As far as the scriptures show, Absalom should have been grateful that his life was spared after he had killed his own brother. I wonder if David realized how this was a part of the fulfillment of the word of the Lord to him. He must have known that his reign was not going to be peaceful, and that sorrow would come through his own household. I imagine that this action would have made his heart heavy with sadness, and that he may have wondered how the remainder of the curse from the Lord, would play out in his life.

Through it all, David continued to be an example to me of a man who wanted to do what was right. He had made mistakes in his past, but he knew that Jerusalem was the better place for the ark and the priests to remain. He was not going to be a selfish king by taking the ark from the people while he had to hide away. He was using wisdom, by not assuming he knew where the ark should be, but that the Lord would help him to know where he should be in relation to the ark. Moreover, David continued to worship the Lord, even though he was going through hard trials. He did not blame God for the circumstance that he was in. It is clear to me, that David had not become prideful in his position as king, but rather he knew his place and wanted to be the leader God wanted him to be. David accepted this new trial humbly. I hope that I will be willing to accept more of the difficulties that come into my life with humility and trust in the Lord. I know that if we are faithful, God will bless us through our own trials.

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2 Samuel Chapter 10

David ruled in Judah and Israel for forty years. With the strength of the Lord, he was able to keep the people of Israel safe and living in relative peace. He had this strength, because he remained faithful to God. This chapter continues a description of his reign.

1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
2 Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.

David wanted to show kindness to Hanun, the new king of the Ammonites, because his father, Nahash, had shown kindness to David. He sent some of his servants, to comfort Hanun, but the princes of the Ammonites said that David sent the men in to spy on them. Hanun believed the words of the princes and took the servants and abused them. Then they sent David’s servants away, ashamed. Word reached David, he asked for the servants to meet him after their beards had grown back.

6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men.
7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
8 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ish-tob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
10 And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.
11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.
12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.
13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.

The Ammonites hired the Syrians and prepared for battle against David and the Israelites. Joab led men against the Syrians, and Abishai led men against the Ammonites. Joab was prepared to fight for the Lord and his people, so he rallied the Israelites to courage. The Syrians fled from before Joab and his men. When the Ammonites saw that they fled, they also ran away. Joab returned to Jerusalem.

15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
16 And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
19 And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.

The Syrians decided to gather together again. David learned of it and he went up against the men of Syria. The Syrians fled, and David and his men defeated them. The kings made peace with Israel and chose to serve them. The Syrians were afraid to give the Ammonites any help after that point.

The promises of God to Israel, had been that they would be a strong nation. As David led his people with faith and trust in the Lord, they had defeated many nations and gained the strength they were promised. Men are much stronger with the Lord on their side, than they are without. This is true in the battles to defend nations, as well as in the much smaller battles of life. When we face trials, temptations, and enemies of all kinds in our own lives, we can find the strength we need if the Lord is on our side. The Lord promises to be with those who choose to follow and love Him. We do this, by striving to keep the commandments, making and keeping covenants with Him, and doing our best to be good people in this fallen world.

1 Samuel Chapter 31

Saul and the Israelites had gathered together to fight against the Philistine army. Saul had fear and went searching for guidance from any source he could. He was told through witchcraft, that the Israelites would be defeated and that he and his sons would be killed. Meanwhile, the Philistine rulers had sent David away from their ranks, out of fear that he might turn against them. David went to fight his own battles against his enemies and to rescue his family and the families of his men, who had been taken captive. While David was away, these two armies camped and prepared for battle. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
2 And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, Saul’s sons.
3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.
4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.
5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.

The fighting began, and the Israelites fled and were killed. The Philistines went after Saul and his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua. Saul’s sons were killed and Saul was wounded by the Philistines. Saul commanded his servant to kill him, so that their enemy would not do it and worse, to abuse him. His servant refused, so Saul fell upon his own sword. His servant killed himself as well.

This was an awful defeat for Israel, and the end of the reign of Saul and his family. Saul knew well before this battle and seeking out the witch, that it was only a matter of time before he would loose everything. This was because he had been promised by the Lord, through the prophet Samuel, that he would not maintain the kingdom for long. Although Saul had once been anointed by the Lord, he had become a wicked and selfish man, who would not hearken to the Lord’s council. This battle fulfilled the promised curse to Saul and his family.

7 And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.
8 And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
9 And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people.
10 And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.

The Israelites who were in the area around the valley, saw what happened and they fled from their homes and cities. The Philistines took the cities and found the bodies of Saul and his sons among the dead. They made it known throughout their land, what they had done, and they put Saul’s armor on display and hung his body on a wall.

11 And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;
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 Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.
13 And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

When the Israelites men of Gilead heard what had happened and what was done to the body of Saul, several of them went by night and took the bodies of Saul and his sons. They went to Jabesh and burned their bodies. Then they fasted for seven days, which I believe was done after dealing with the bodies of the dead.

The end of Saul, as tragic as it sounds, was expected to come, because it was a promise from the Lord. The sad thing about this story, is that his end, also meant the end of his line. This meant that Jonathan, who was a beloved friend of David, and who seemed to be a man who was trying to do what was right, was also going to die. This was sure to be hard for David to eventually hear.

The lesson I see in this chapter, is that the promises of the Lord will come to pass. They happen in the Lord’s time and not according to our own plans. David expressed that he knew, that the Lord would bring Saul down in his own way and in his own time. He did not need to kill him when the opportunity arose, because the Lord had a plan and it would happen. Because David was not a part of this, he had no guilt or lasting consequences that would effect his eventual rule in Israel. We can know by this, that promises which have been given to men, or to us personally by the Lord, will someday come to pass. We need to be as David was, and trust in the Lord and his timing. I know in my own life that this can be a frustrating lesson to learn, because it seems that the time is too long to bear, or that we have done all we can do. However, when we recognize that it is better to trust God, and we go forward in faith, we can experience greater blessings along the way to receiving the promises.

1 Samuel Chapter 30

David and his army were sent away from the Philistine army, as they went to fight the Israelites under King Saul. The Philistine princes had been worried that David would turn on them during the fight, and the strength of David was known throughout the land. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.

Ziklag was the area where David and his men had lived among the Philistines for a long time at this point. It was a land that had previously belonged to the tribe of Judah, but had become part of the Philistine land. Achish had given the land to David while as he served him. When they arrived at their home, David learned that the Amalekites had invaded, burned Ziklag, and taken their women captive.

3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
5 And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
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.
7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.
8 And David inquired 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.
9 So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.
10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.

David and his men saw that their families were taken and the city was destroyed, and it brought them to tears. David’s wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken. The men were so upset that the talked of stoning David because their families were not protected. David turned to the Lord and was encouraged or strengthened in spirit. He trusted in the Lord and asked the priest to bring him the ephod, or holy garment. David prayed to the Lord and asked if he should go after the Amalekites. The Lord answered that he should pursue them and that they would be able to rescue all of their families. David left two hundred of his men behind at the brook Besor, because they were too faint to continue, and he and four hundred men went to pursue the Amalekites.

11 And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water;
12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.
13 And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick.
14 We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
15 And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.

As they journeyed, David’s men found an Egyptian in the field. After giving him food and water, David went to him. He asked who he belonged to, or who was his master. The man said he was the servant of an Amalekite. He had gotten sick and his master had left him behind three days before they met him. He told them that they had attacked Ziklag, as well as the borders of Judah. David asked the man to bring him to the Amalekite company. The man swore that if they would let him live and promise not to return him to his master, he would take them.

16 And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.
17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.
18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.
20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.

They agreed and he took them to the army of Amalekites. The Amalekites were celebrating their victories with drinking and dancing, when David and his men attacked them. He fought them from about a day and killed all but four hundred men who had been on camels and escaped. David regained all the spoils that the Amalekites had taken, including his wives. All of the men had their families and belongings returned to them. David took the flocks and herds of the Amalekites as his spoil.

21 And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.
22 Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.
23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.
24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.
25 And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.

David returned to his two hundred men who had been left behind and when they came to meet him, the men among the four hundred who were unrighteous and selfish men, said they would not share the spoil with these men. They wanted only to give them their families and tell them to leave. David told them they could not do this with the things that the Lord had helped them to gain, by delivering the Amalekites into their hands. David made a decree that all those who remained and watched over what was left behind, would receive the same from the spoils as those who went to fight in the battle. They would split all things equally. This rule became an ordinance for David from then on, and because of that, it became a rule for Israel.

26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord;
27 To them which were in Beth-el, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,
28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,
29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,
30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chor-ashan, and to them which were in Athach,
31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.

David sent spoils from the fight, to the elders of Judah as a gift, and to the people of all the areas where David and his men would often stay. Again, David was able to show that he was loyal to Israel, because he was loyal to the Lord.

One of the things I learn from this chapter, is the kindness of David when he followed the Lord. In this chapter, David proved again that he was a leader of great strength. Once again, he fought and won, so much so that not one thing had been lost to himself or to his men. His enemies were no match for him, and their only victory had come when he and his men were not present. Other leaders of his day, would have likely taken the spoils and such for themselves. After all, they did the work, they deserved the prize. The pride of leaders like that, would lead them to see those who had been too weak to fight and then give them only what the fairness of men felt they deserved. David was not like this. He knew that all should be blessed by the strength of their army. David knew that they had only been able to be victorious, because the Lord had guided their path and allowed that they would find one sickly, Egyptian servant who had nothing to loose in helping them. He knew that the Lord had blessed them, and it was not their place to determine who was worthy of the rewards. I think that this can be a lesson to us in our own lives as well. If we want to be kind and charitable disciples of Christ, and loyal sons and daughters of God, we should follow his example. When we are blessed, we should turn and bless the lives of others, instead of selfishly keeping these things to ourselves. The Lord blesses the faithful, so that they can care for themselves, for their families, and then be able to give to those around them. He blesses the faithful with the ability to also bless the poor and needy, the widows and fatherless, and those who are unable to care for themselves. In this way, we have opportunities to grow spiritually from experiences where we are His hands. Through these actions, our testimonies can be strengthened and we can come closer to Christ.

1 Samuel Chapter 24

King Saul was jealous of David and the love that the people had for him. Saul wanted to kill David and had spent a lot of time, energy and effort, in hunting for him. Time and time again, David had managed to escape from Saul. In the last chapter, the invasion of their common enemy, the Philistines, had stopped Saul from pursuing a fight with David and his men. Their attentions turned to protecting Israel from the Philistines. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.
2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
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.
5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.
6 And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.
7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

After fighting the Philistines, Saul learned that David was in the wilderness of En-gedi. He returned to his personal mission to find and kill David. Saul and 3,000 of his men went searching for him. Saul found a sheepfold or a cave, where he could rest, which happened to be where David and his men were. Saul did not know that they were there. David’s men told him that the Lord had delivered Saul into his hands. David went and secretly cut the skirt-hem of Saul’s robe, which “smote” David’s own heart. I think he may have felt hurt in his heart for doing something against Saul. According to the footnote, this was the portion of his robe that represented his authority. So, in effect, David would have been symbolically removing his authority as king, which is what he would eventually do. I think it is possible, that for a man of pride, such as Saul, having his authority threatened would have been harder to face than David threatening his life.

While Saul continued to sleep, David returned to his men and told them that the Lord did not want him to kill Saul, because he had been anointed king and master by the Lord. David convinced his men to let Saul go, which they did. Saul was unaware of what had happened. David followed after him, and honored him as his king.

I think that David knew the Lord well enough to know that the Lord would remove Saul in His own time. Until the Lord did so, Saul was still the anointed leader of Israel. Sometimes we are given promises from the Lord, but we cannot rush His plan. We should not take it upon ourselves to force something to happen, just because it has been promised to us. Rather, we should be patient with the Lord’s timing and everything will work out for our good. David was wise and knew he could trust that the Lord would do things the right way. It is possible, that this was a test given to David, to see if he would follow the direction of the Lord, or follow the natural feelings of men, which would have been to take this seemingly perfect opportunity to kill Saul.

9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.
11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.
12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
15 The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

David told Saul, that the Lord had delivered him into his hands and some had told him to kill him, but he had spared his life because he was his anointed master. Then, he pointed out the cut of skirt, which David held in his hand, and which showed how he could have killed him while he was resting. David told him that he had no desire to hurt him, even though Saul wanted to kill him. David said that the Lord would judge between their choices and the Lord would avenge him, but David would not be the one to kill Saul. David trusted that the Lord would deliver him from Saul.

16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.
17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
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.
20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.
21 Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.
22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

Saul recognized the voice of David and cried. He admitted that David was more righteous then he was, because he had desired to do evil against him, when David would not do evil against him. David was showing forgiveness to Saul for his hatred towards him, and desire to hurt and kill him. There may be times in our lives, when others will hate or despise us. There may be no fault in us for something we are blamed for, just as it was for David. When someone chooses to become our enemy, we do not have to follow the ways of the natural man, which would be to go on the offensive. We can choose to have a forgiving heart and instead respect and love all people, friend or foe.

Saul knew that David had spared his life, when he had every reason and the ability to kill him. Saul knew that because of his goodness, David would one day be king. He asked David to swear that he would not cut off Saul’s seed or destroy his name, after Saul was no longer king. David agreed. Saul left and returned to his home, while David went into the strongholds of En-gedi.

We can learn from wise David, the great importance of trusting in God. The Lord loves us. He wants to bless us with many things. He will make promises with us, if we are willing to do what he has asked of us. If we can live our lives faithfully, even when we are tested and tried, he will fulfill the promises he makes to us. The Lord knows what is best for us and for all men. He will fulfill those promises when it is the right time.

1 Samuel Chapter 23

King Saul continued to seek for the life of David. David fled from him, going from place to place. At this point, David had gone to the forest of Hareth, which was in Judah. In his anger, Saul had killed a priest who had helped David. Saul made an example of the priest as well, by destroying his family and the entire city of Nob, where David had hidden. Still, David had gained followers as he went. His story continues:

1 Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.
2 Therefore David inquired 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.
3 And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?
4 Then David inquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
5 So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

David learned that their enemies, the Philistines, were robbing the Israelites in Keilah, which was a city in the land of Judah. David prayed to the Lord to know if he should go and fight the Philistines. The Lord told David to go and save the people of Keilah. Those who had gathered with David, were afraid to go and fight the Philistines. David prayed again, and the Lord gave him the command to go, with the promise that the Philistines would be delivered into his hand. With faith in the Lord, David took his men and they saved Keilah. Abiathar, who had also escaped the hand of Saul, and was the son of the priest who had helped David, went with David to Keilah. He was prepared with a ephod of the priesthood.

7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.
8 And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.

Saul learned that David was in Keilah, and he was pleased. He felt that David had been delivered to him, because the town was closed off and could be besieged by the king and his men. Saul commanded his men to war against Keilah and David.

9 And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.
10 Then said David, O Lord God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.
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.
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.

David knew the desires of Saul. He asked Abiathar to bring the ephod to him, which I think means that he wanted the priest to perform the duties of the priesthood in his behalf. David prayed to the Lord because he knew the town of Keilah was in danger because he was there. He asked if they would deliver him into the hand of Saul. The Lord told David that Saul would come to the town. Then David asked if the people there would turn him over to Saul, and the Lord told him that they would.

13 Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth.
14 And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.
15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.

David took his men and left Keilah, going anywhere just to get away. Meanwhile, Saul learned that David had escaped, so he decided not to go to Keilah. David stayed in the strong holds of Ziph. Saul hunted for him, but God protected David and Saul was not able to find him. David knew that Saul was looking for him. He hid in the woods of Ziph.

16 And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.
18 And they two made a covenant before the Lord: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

Jonathan, Saul’s son, met with David in the woods, and strengthened him. Jonathan gave David comfort by telling him that his father would not be able to find him, and David would be the king of Israel. He told David, that his father knew that Jonathan would be there to support David. The renewed their covenant of friendship with one another and then Jonathan returned home. David stayed hidden in the woods.

19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?
20 Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand.
21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the Lord; for ye have compassion on me.
22 Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly.
23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.
24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.
25 Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.
26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them.

David was hiding in the woods of Ziph, and men of the area went to Saul in Gibeah and told the king that David was hinding there, in the hill Hachilah. The men of Ziph told Saul that they would deliver David into their hands, if he desired to come to them. Saul was glad and told them to prepare for this by searching him out and finding exactly where he was staying at the time. Then, they were to tell him once they knew with certainty, and he would go with them until he found David. The men went to Ziph, while David was in the wilderness of Maon. When David heard that Saul was looking for him, he had left the woods of Ziph and went to Maon. Saul heard and went looking for him there. Saul and David were on opposite sides of a mountain. David wanted to get away from Saul and his men because they were preparing to take David and his men.

27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.
28 Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth.

When they were very close to capturing David, Saul received word that the Philistines had invaded the land. He left his plan to pursue David and turned his attention against the Philistines. The mountain between them, became known for this near battle between Saul and David.

29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi.

David escaped again, to the strong-holds of En-gedi.

I cannot truly imagine what a life on the run would have been like for David. I can guess that it was not easy being forced to flee and hide so many times. And yet, David was still willing to devote his talents to helping those in need if the Lord wanted him to do it. Knowing that word of his helping would reach the king, David still fought for others. The Lord had blessed him with strength and wisdom, and he was committed to being an instrument for the Lord. Something I learn from this chapter, is the importance for us to sacrifice for the Lord. We are all blessed with talents. Some have a few and some are blessed with many talents. If we are doing what is right, we can know how to use our talents, just as David was able to know these things. When we have a willing heart, the Lord will not only allow us opportunities to use our talents, but he will also bless us greatly in other areas of our lives. I cannot help but think that the Lord continued to watch over David as he fled from one place to another, even possibly allowing the Philistines to come into the land, just so that David could once again flee from Saul and his men. I am so grateful for talents and I believe in the need for us to use them to further the work of the Lord, to uplift others, and to do good continually.

1 Samuel Chapter 17

The Israelites were in an ongoing fight against the Philistines. Saul was the acting king of Israel, but he no longer had the support of the Lord or His spirit. David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but he was still young at this point. He had been chosen to be the armor bearer of Saul, and played the harp for him when Saul was feeling troubled. The war with the Philistines continues in the chapter, which begins:

1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

In the land of Judah, a Philistine army gathered together to fight against Israel. Saul prepared his men for the fight. Both armies camped on the opposing sides of a valley.

4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

The Philistines chose to take a different approach, and sent out their champion to represent them. The champion was a giant, named Goliath. He was from Gath, where the remaining giants had been in the land. He was around 9 feet tall and very large. He was heavily armored over nearly his whole body. He and a man bearing his shield, went out of the Philistine camp. He stood and challenged the Israelite army to choose their own champion to fight him. He dared the Israelites to choose anyone who would be able to fight him. Saul and his people were afraid.

12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Beth-lehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Beth-lehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;
18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

Three of the oldest of eight sons of Jesse (Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah) had gone to the battle front with Saul. These sons followed Saul. His youngest son, David, had returned home to the work of a shepherd, when Saul had left to fight. For forty days, Goliath challenged the Israelite army. Meanwhile, Jesse sent David to the battle lines, with food for his sons. He wanted to know how his sons were doing and I think to make sure they were okay.

20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.
26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

David arrived at the trenches, as the host of Israel went out to fight. David ran out to find his brothers, and as he greeted them, Goliath challenged the Israelites again. David heard the words and saw that the Israelites ran away in fear. They told David that any man who killed him, would be blessed by the king with riches, the hand of his daughter, and a family who was free in Israel. David tried to remind the men that this champion was an uncircumcised Philistine, and could not challenge the armies of the Lord.

28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

David’s brother, Eliab, became angry with him for coming and saying these things to their men. He asked why David had come and left his sheep. He called David prideful for desiring to come see the battle instead of doing his own work. David asked what he had done?

30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.

Instead of leaving after the harsh words of his brother, David turned to another and asked the same questions. He got the same reply from others. Eventually Saul heard the words of David and sent for him. David’s steadfastness and determination earned him an audience with the king.

32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

David went to Saul and said the king should not worry about another man fearing, because he would go and fight Goliath. David had the faith and courage to do what was necessary, and did not fear Goliath more than he trusted God. Saul told David he could not do this, because he was just a young man, and Goliath had been trained in battle since he was young. David to Saul that he had had to face a lion and a bear, which had attacked his flock of sheep, and that he had fought them, and after getting his lamb, the animal got up and he killed it and brought his lamb back. David believed Goliath was like the animals, and since the Lord had delivered him against them, he would deliver him out of the hand of the Philistine. Saul allowed David to go and fight Goliath.

Sometimes it is hard to trust that youth can do great things. David was seen as a young man compared to the great men of war around him, and yet he had the faith to do what others could not do. If Saul had already known his servant, he would probably have had more faith in David from the beginning, but he did not and needed to be persuaded by learning of the things which David had been able to do with the help of the Lord. We can have greater trust in our own youth, if we help them to be faithful to the Lord.

In my personal experience, the Lord gives us small steps to build our trust in him, before sending us the Goliaths in our own lives. For David, the Lord had given him the experiences with the lion and the bear, so that he would feel confident in receiving help from the Lord. David knew he was not gifted with strength, and may have cowered with the rest of the army, if he had not been prepared with the other experiences. Because he had chosen to have faith before, he knew the Lord would bless him again. If we accept the challenges that are smaller, and face them head-on with faith in the Lord, we will gain the confidence and trust in God that we will need for the more difficult things in our future.

38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

Before sending him off, Saul put his armor on David. David attempted to make due with the armor and sword, but it was not working for him. David told Saul he could not use them and then he took them off. Instead, he grabbed his own staff and five smooth stones from the brook. He armed himself with his sling and went out to meet Goliath. Goliath and the man who bore his shield, went out to meet David. Goliath looked around for who had come, but when he saw David, he did not see him as a worthy opponent. Goliath felt this was a bit of a joke, like their amry was sending a dog to play with him, and Goliath cursed David by his own gods. Goliath threatened David by saying he would fight him and then give his body to the birds and beasts. David told him that he might come at him with weapons and a shield, but that he came with the Lord of Israel whom Goliath had challenged. David knew that the Lord could deliver Goliath into his hands, so he told Goliath this, and that his death would show to the Philistines the power of the God of Israel. It would show all the host of the Philistines that God could win the battle without the weapons of men, because this was God’s battle with the Philistines. Goliath came closer to David and David quickly went towards him. David grabbed a stone from his bag, and used his sling to hit Goliath in the forehead. The stone hit so hard that it went into his head and Goliath fell face-down upon the ground. David had beaten Goliath with only a sling and stone, so he went to the body and removed Goliath’s own sword, and cut off his head. The Philistines saw this and were afraid, so they ran away. The Israelites went after the Philistines, destroying them. Then they went back to the camp of the Philistines and took their spoil. David took the head of Goliath to Jerusalem, and took his armor to his own tent.

55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.
56 And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is.
57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.
58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.

Saul saw David go against the Philistine and asked the captain of his army who the boys father was. The captain, Abner, did not know. Saul told him to find out. Abner brought David before Saul. Saul asked David who his father was, and David replied that his father was Jesse of Bethlehem.

It is amazing to think of the kind of faith and trust that David had in the Lord. Here, he was among men of war, who would have been strong and brave. By the world’s standard, he was nothing in comparison to them. To men, he was nothing in comparison to the man, who the entire Israelite army feared. This did not matter, because David knew that God would fight the battles with their enemies, if they had faith in Him. The opinions of the world and even our own families, do not matter when we put our faith in God. God matters, and if He has chosen us for some purpose in this life, great or small, God can make it possible. I think about my own purposes in life. Right now, my life is filled with the responsibilities of motherhood. God has called me to this position in life. He has given me my children and placed them in my earthly care. In this calling, I have many battles to fight, especially with the outside influences of the world. What the world may say about how I choose to raise my children, does not matter. What matters is that I trust in God and act in faith. These are His children. These are His battles. God will help me to be victorious. Even though I may seem weak and incapable, with God I have the power to do all that is necessary for my children to have what they need and be faithful and successful in those things that matter most. This is true for anything which places our faith in direct conflict with something of the world. No matter what we may stand against, if our faith is stronger, the Lord will help us.

1 Samuel Chapter 14

Saul was the king of Israel for two years, when he attacked some of the Philistines and provoked them to war. The Philistines brought countless soldiers along with many chariots and horses to the battle. Saul and his army of much fewer men, were unprepared to fight so great an army. Saul had also over-stepped his authority as the king, and in making his own burnt sacrifice to the Lord, had lost the support of God in his leadership. This chapter begins with the following:

1 Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.
2 And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;
3 And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, I-chabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.

Saul’s son Jonathan, decided to go against the Philistines without telling his father. Meanwhile, Saul was with about 600 of his men in Gibeah and Ahiah the priest, who wore the ephod of the priesthood. They were all unaware of Jonathan’s decision.

4 And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.
5 The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.
6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.
7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
8 Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.
9 If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.
10 But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.
11 And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.
12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.
13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.
14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.
15 And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.
16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.
17 Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there.
18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.

In the paths leading to the garrison, there was a place between two jagged rocks. This was the spot between their two armies. Jonathan put his trust in the Lord, who had promised to fight with the Israelites if they would put their faith in Him. Jonathan knew that in times past, the Lord had blessed small numbers of Israelites to have victory their enemy, no matter what the size of their army was. His armor-bearer faithfully stood by his side. Jonathan said they would allow themselves to be discovered by the Philistines. If the Philistines told them to stay where they were and allow the Philistines to come to them, they would stay. If the Philistines invited them to come to them, Jonathan would know it was a sign from God that He delivered the Philistines into their hands. In faith, they would go towards the Philistines. Jonathan and his armor-bearer went through with their plan. The Philistines discovered them and invited them to go to them and be shown something. Jonathan then knew that God had delivered them into his hands. Jonathan began to kill the soldiers in the garrison. He and his armor-bearer killed about twenty soldiers. The Philistines became scared and trembled. Even the earth began to tremble. Saul’s watchmen saw that the host of the Philistines began to melt away. Saul looked to see who had left his men to fight alone, and saw that it was his son and his armor-bearer. Then Saul called for the priest to bring the ark of the covenant to him.

19 And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.
20 And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.
21 Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan.
22 Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle.
23 So the Lord saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Beth-aven.

As Saul was talking with the priest, the noise of the battle grew and so he changed his mind. Instead, Saul gathered with his men and they went to the battle and there was great confusion. The Israelites who had fled when the Philistines arrived, saw that the Philistines were beginning to flee, so they began to gather back together with the host of Israel. The Israelites fought hard and with the help of the Lord, Israel was saved.

24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.
25 And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.
26 And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.
27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.
28 Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint.
29 Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.
30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?
31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.
32 And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.

Saul had told his people to go without food until the evening, so that he would be avenged of his enemies. This sounds like a command for the people to fast for their victory, but as far as we know, it was his own idea, not that of the Lord’s. As the host of Israel moved forward, they came to a wooded area with honey on the ground. No one would touch the honey because of the oath they had made to their king. Jonathan had not been with the people when Saul had made this oath. Because he had not known of the oath, he went ahead and ate some of the honey. He was strengthened by the food. One of the men told Jonathan of the oath they had made. Jonathan saw they the people were weak because they had not eaten. Jonathan felt his father had done wrong and he showed the people that he had been strengthened by the honey. He felt they should have been able to eat the spoils of the battle they had one. The people listened to the words of Jonathan and began to eat the animals in the land, against the oath they had made with Saul, and in a manner that would not have been acceptable to God.

33 Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.
34 And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there.
35 And Saul built an altar unto the Lord: the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord.

Saul was told what his people had done, and he chastised them for their transgression against him. He told them to bring the animals to be cooked and eaten in the way that God had commanded them to eat meat. He did not want his people to sin against the Lord. Saul built his first altar unto the Lord.

36 And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God.
37 And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.
38 And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.
39 For, as the Lord liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.
40 Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee.
41 Therefore Saul said unto the Lord God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.
42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die.
44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.
45 And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.
46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.

Saul told the people they would destroy the Philistines during the night and the people were willing to follow him. The priests told Saul to draw near unto the Lord, so Saul asked the Lord if going down to attack the Philistines was the right thing to do. He did not receive an answer to his prayer. He felt that some sin of the people was the reason for not getting an answer. He called the leaders together, to find out who had sinned. He was willing to put the person to death, even if it was his own son, Jonathan. The people did not answer him. He decided to find out from the Lord who had sinned, so he separated Jonathan and himself from the people, and asked the Lord to select which group he was looking for. Jonathan and Saul were chosen, so Saul asked the Lord again, which person it was. Jonathan was chosen. Saul asked his son what he had done, and Jonathan told him that he had eaten during the time when Saul had an oath of fasting with the people. Jonathan recognized that he should die. Saul said that he would die, but the people together, made a plea for Jonathan because he had been the reason for their victory against the Philistines, and the Lord had been on his side. Because of the words of the people, Jonathan was not killed. Saul decided not to follow after the Philistines, probably because he had not received direction from the Lord to pursue them. Instead, he returned to his own place and allowed the Philistines to do the same.

47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them.
48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.
49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchi-shua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:
50 And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.
51 And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
52 And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.

Saul gathered his armies and began to fight against all of their enemies. He fought the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, kings of Zobah and the Philistines. He attacked the Amalekites also. The Israelites fought long and hard against the Philistines, and any man who was strong or valiant, was gathered to Saul’s army. Saul had 3 sons, Jonathan, Ishui, and Melchi-shau, and 2 daughters, Merab and Michal. His wife was Ahinoam, and his cousin, Abner, was the captain of his army.

Once again, faith in the Lord brought victory to the Israelites. Jonathan was a great example of faith in the Lord. He knew the history of his people, and that the Lord had used few men to defeat great enemies. Jonathan gathered his courage and went without an amry of men, to fight the portion of the Philistines gathered near him. He did this because he trusted that the Lord was on his side and would fight the battle with him. When we do what is right, the Lord will be on our side. During our daily battles with the adversary and temptation, we can trust in the Lord and He will help us to have the strength to overcome, just as he helped Jonathan and the Israelites.

This part of the story of Saul, teaches us the importance of turning to the Lord for guidance, which we can do through prayer. In his own wisdom and pride, Saul was prepared to go against the Philistines in the night, but the leaders reminded him to council with the Lord first. When they did this, they learned that the Lord would not be with them in this fight, and they knew it would be better for them to wait. We can turn to the Lord in every decision in our life. The Lord will give us the answers we need. He will guide us to find the answers when it would be better for us to learn for ourselves. Sometimes he will not answer us immediately, and we can know that the timing is not right, just as it was not right for Saul and the armies of Israel. No matter what the outcome may be, it is always appropriate to council with the Lord on things of importance to our lives. When we humbly seek the Lord’s guidance, He will help us do what is right.

1 Samuel Chapter 11

Saul was anointed and made king over the Israelite people, because of their wish for a king to rule them. Part of his role as their king, was to lead them in their interactions with other nations, especially to deliver them from enemies, but he had yet to assume this role. This chapter begins to tell us what happened with the Israelites as Saul began to rule.

1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee.
2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.
3 And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days’ respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee.

The Ammonites, under Nahash, encamped against the people of Jabesh. Jabesh desired to make an agreement with the Ammonites, so that they would not be destroyed. They told Nahash, that they would serve the Ammonites. Nahash said they would agree on the condition that he remove the right eye of all of them, so that this would stand as an example to all of Israel. This was not going to be the kind of agreement that Jabesh wanted to make. They asked for a week of time to prepare themselves with either help from others in Israel, or they would fight against the Ammonites on their own.

4 Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voices, and wept.
5 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh.
6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.
7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.
8 And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
9 And they said unto the messengers that came, Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, To morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad.
10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, To morrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you.
11 And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.

Messengers were sent to Saul and they pleaded for his help to save them. Saul was angry upon hearing what had happened. He killed an oxen, cut it, and sent portions to all the parts of the land of Israel, calling for men to join him against the Ammonites. Saul’s call came with a threat that those who did not join him and the prophet Samuel, would have their own oxen destroyed. The men of Israel gathered together to fight against the Ammonites. 300,000 men of Israel, with 30,000 of Judah, prepared to fight. The messengers were given a message that they would have help, which they took back to the men of Jabesh. When Israel came to fight the next day, led by Saul, they destroyed the Ammonites and those that remained were scattered.

12 And the people said unto Samuel, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.
13 And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel.
14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
15 And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

Some of the Israelites wanted to kill those who had doubted Saul’s leadership, but Saul refused to allow it. Instead he put the emphasis and glory of their victory on the Lord. Samuel called the people to go to Gilgal, where the kingdom would be renewed. In Gilgal, Saul was made king, sacrifices and offering were given to the Lord, and the people rejoiced. This victory brought greater confidence in Saul as the king of Israel.

Early in his role as the king of Israel, Saul trusted in the Lord and gave God the glory for protecting Israel. I think that he recognized very much, the hand of the Lord in his life. Not too long before this, he was simply a man doing his duty for his family. He had been raised to his position in humility, and recognized that he could not have done this on his own. I believe that we see later, that this was not always the case for Saul. However, we can learn from this story, to follow his example of giving the glory and credit to the Lord, for the good we do in our callings. We can also have a reminder of the blessings that come from going forward in our duty and calling, with faith in God’s plan for us. Saul was not raised by his family to be a leader of armies, but when the gifts of the spirit were given to him as he accepted his new calling, he was able to do it. He trusted the calling from the Lord, and the Lord blessed him to lead the people to a victory.

1 Samuel Chapter 8

Samuel was called to be the prophet of the Lord, when he was a young boy serving with Eli in the temple. He helped deliver the Israelites from the Philistines, through prayer and fasting to the Lord. He had judged Israel for many years of peace. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer-sheba.
3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

Samuel began to get old, and so he caused that his sons should be judges over Israel. They did not serve righteously in their callings, and took bribes for their judgments. Rather than be unrighteously judged, the elders wanted to have a king as other nations had.

6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

Samuel did not think it wise to have a king. He prayed to the Lord, who gave his consent to give the people a king. The Lord says here that Israel had rejected the Lord, not Samuel. I believe this is because the Lord had given them a pattern of judges, and they were now choosing to do things their own way. If the Israelites began to rely on an earthly king, they would no longer seek help from the Lord. They were, in effect, choosing an earthly king over their Heavenly King. The Lord was allowing the Israelites to freely choose their leadership, because He has given us agency and knows that we will only progress if we are given the opportunity to choose for ourselves. Samuel was to allow this choice, with a protest and with teachings of what type of king they would possibly have rule over them. If Samuel did all he could to persuade the elders to change their minds, he, as their prophet and leader, would not be held accountable for this decision.

10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

Samuel told the elders they could have a king, but he also warned them of what would happen when they were ruled by evil kings. He said that a king would make their sons and daughters do what he wanted for himself. A king could claim the fruits of their labors, and they would become servants to him. He also told them that when the day came when they were oppressed to the point of crying to the Lord, He would not hear them. They were choosing a king over the Lord.

There have been other times when men of God have warned their people of this same thing. In Mosiah 29 we read:

13 Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.
… 16 Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.
17 For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!
… 21 And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.
22 For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the commandments of God;
23 And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness.
… 30 And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads.
31 For behold I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings; therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings.

Likewise, earlier in Mosiah, chapter 23, we read the following:

7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.
8 Nevertheless, if it were possible that ye could always have just men to be your kings it would be well for you to have a king.
… 13 …even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you.

For those who heard this in the book of Mosiah, they heeded these words of wisdom and did not continue to seek after the rule of a king. This was not the case with the elders of Israel. Chapter 8 continues:

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord.
22 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

Even with his protest, the elders did not listen to Samuel. They desired strongly to have a king to rule over them and to lead them against other nations. Samuel returned to the Lord and told Him all that the elders had said.

The people of Israel were unhappy with the men who had become their judges, because they were choosing unrighteous dominion over the people. The elders of Israel probably felt that they would have a better life under a king, then what they were living under bribed and easily-persuaded judges. The elders looked at the seemingly great nations around them, and were desirous of that lifestyle. The nation had lost the faith in God to trust that He knew how to lead them. If more of the Israelites had been faithful and true to the commandments of the Lord, they would have been the mighty nation they desired to be. But instead of being personally accountable for the state of their lives and their nation, they wanted a king to make all the decisions for them. They were choosing to very likely forfeit their agency and freedoms, in order to be like the other nations of the world. The Lord let them know, through the words of the prophet Samuel, that this decision would not bring them happiness and they would regret it some day.

We have the promises of God today as well. Throughout the scriptures, the lesson is that those who keep the commandments will prosper and have the protection of the Lord from all enemies. If we loose faith in God, or stop putting our trust in him, and turn to the rule and support of men, we will forfeit our own agency to others. Likewise, the result will not be that we are a happy people, but that one day we will remember what the scriptures teach us. We might then desire for those things that bring true happiness, and we could possibly find that the Lord will be slow to hear our own cries. To avoid these circumstances, we should follow the words of the prophets, ancient and modern, and most of all, we should trust that God knows what is best for us and live according to His plan. This is how we can choose to live after the manner of true happiness.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

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