1 Samuel 18-20
(David and Michal)
March 26th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.

- 1 Samuel 18:12 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

The story of David continues with a set of interesting twists. He becomes best friends with Saulís son Jonathan, and marries Saulís daughter Michal. At the same time, Saul became jealous of Davidís success and popularity and devised numerous ways to kill him.

Chapter 18 reports that David was a successful military leader on behalf of Saul and the nation of Israel. He defeated the Philistines in battle again and again. Nevertheless, one of Saulís devious plans was to send David on a suicide mission to Philistine. The extra incentive was Saulís pledge to give David his daughter Michal in marriage, if David succeeded. The LORD was with David, so he always succeeded. The LORD allowed Saul to be possessed by evil spirits; therefore, he was constantly jealous and enraged. The LORD did this because Saul had disobeyed the LORD and failed to properly fulfill his role as the first king.

Saulís futile attempts to terminate Davidís life continue in chapters 19-20, but he is repeatedly saved and protected by the children of Saul: His BFF Jonathan and his wife, Michal. At one point Saul and David were re-united with the help of Jonathanís intervention, but then Saul tried to kill him again, and again. Chapter 20 ends with David running away for his safety and Jonathan pledging his eternal friendship:

    Jonathan said, "Go in peace! The two of us have vowed friendship in God's name, saying, 'God will be the bond between me and you, and between my children and your children forever!'"

    -1 Samuel 20:42 (MSG)

Reflection and Application

There are many contrasts to observe and consider in these groups of chapters. David did not let his popularity twist his perception of his own importance (at least not at this point in his life). But Saul had a fiercely twisted perception. He had been anointed king of the entire nation, he had armies of people at his command, possessed great wealth, and presided over bountiful feasts with his family and friends - but that was not good enough for him!!! He was not comfortable with anyone else receiving attention and praise. A good leader is happy when his or her people are praised. A bad leader fights against that positive attention by spreading lies or seeking to eliminate that person.

When we succeed we can choose to be like David, who was humble and loyal; or like Saul, who was insecure, proud, and spiteful. David had a heart for God that is manifested in his behavior. In subsequent chapters we will study situations where he made bad choices that led to great tragedies, but he always sincerely sought forgiveness. This attribute may have been the most important distinction between these two men and was a reflection of Davidís humility. David also expressed his praise for the LORD with poems, songs, and dancing. When we read the Psalms later this year we will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful and painful verses that he expressed from his heart.

Jonathan and Michal applied Godís law in choosing their loyalty to David over obedience to their father. This action seems to be in contrast to the commandment to honor thy father and mother, but this commandment does not apply if a person is asked to break other commandments (such as thou should not kill). Jesus notifies us about the choices that we will have to make if we want to follow him. For example, there may be times when following Jesus means that we have to abandon other relationships, as Jonathan and Michal did in choosing to save David and obey Godís law rather than fulfill the evil desires of their father. We later learn that Michal inherited some of her fatherís jealous traits, which causes a problem later in their marriage, but on this occasion she did the right thing.

We also should consider Godís law and his will so that we can overcome any tendencies to make the wrong decisions when choosing between priorities and people.

"Overcome," performed by Jeremy Camp

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Who was your best friend forever (bff) when you were a child or young person?
    2. What situations can you think of in your life or in someone's public life where a leader demonstrated bad leadership traits like Saulís (i.e. a jealous leader who does not want his people to be praised)?
    3. What choices do you have in front of you today in which you have to choose between priorities and people?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know that you delight in the success of your children. Please forgive us for any times when we may have envied others' successes and help us to make the right choices regarding your priorities.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who have been our best friends

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 1 Samuel 21-24 (The Fugitive)

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