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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

For Your Good (1 Samuel 19)

 

    Today’s passage will show us that things got much worse for David before they got better. Today, we’ll look at 1 Samuel 19 and the series of attempts that Saul made on David’s life. But that’s not what our focus will be on today. Instead, I want us to look at all the ways that God used these situations where Saul was hunting after Him to do good for David instead, and what that means for us.
    We saw in 1 Samuel 18 that Saul was suspicious of David, that he dreaded David, and that he became David’s enemy. He wastes absolutely no time acting on the suspicion, dread, fear, and hatred he has for David. Let’s start with verse 1, “Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David.”
    The first thing we see here is Saul giving the order to his son, Jonathan, and to all his servants to put David to death. He’s still not trying to directly kill him, but rather, just like in 1 Samuel 18 when he tried to bring David harm by putting him in the Philistine’s way, Saul continues to try to kill David in indirect ways, through orders and trickery.
    This troubled Jonathan, Saul’s son greatly though, because if you’ll recall, Jonathan and David were close, they had a special bond. The verse we just read said that Jonathan greatly delighted in David, right?
    Of course, Jonathan didn’t comply with Saul’s order. In fact, Jonathan does everything he can to persuade Saul not to have David killed. In verse 4, Jonathan reminded Saul that David had done no wrong against Saul, he hadn’t sinned against him in any way. Jonathan reminded his father that everything that David had done had been very beneficial to Saul, that it had been for Saul’s good that David risked his own life to kill Goliath, and that through David God had brought deliverance for Israel, which made Saul, the king, look very good.
    Verse 6 tells us that at first Saul seemed to listen to his son and Saul promised that he would not have David put to death. David was brought back into the King’s presence and peace resumed for a time. Now, it may seem from what we’ve read that David’s life was spared in the opening verses of 1 Samuel 19 by mere coincidence. But, I don’t believe that’s the case. I believe God used the bond that David had with Jonathan to prompt Jonathan to speak on David’s behalf to Saul to save David. I’ll show you why I think that’s the case, but for now, I want you to start to look at these instances of Saul trying to kill David and David escaping somehow as the work of God.
    However, verses 8-10 say, as soon as there was war again, the evil spirit came upon Saul and he was driven insane, and the promise he had made Jonathan was quickly forgotten. Look at verses 9-10, “Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.”
    For a third time Saul tried to kill David with a spear as David was trying to soothe Saul’s mind. Once again, David escaped without any harm done to him. Again, it’s possible that this escape was because David was fast and agile because he was young. But I want us to remember the key thing that set David apart from Saul, and that was that the Lord was with David. Rather than seeing this as a very improbable coincidence that David was able to escape death by spear three times, I believe it is more likely that because the Lord was with David, and because David loved the Lord, the Lord protected David from Saul’s attacks.
    Saul didn’t give up, though. He tried again to have David put to death. Verse 11, “Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.”
    This time David is targeted in his own home, those of his household told to watch him so he could be put to death in the morning. Again, God provides a way for David to escape death when his wife, Michal, Saul’s daughter if you recall, tells him in the next verse to go out the window and flee.
    Michal then comes up with a ruse to protect David a while longer, so it isn’t until the next day that it is discovered that David is even missing. David flees to where Samuel is, in Naioth, to seek Samuel’s help. David tells him all that Saul had done, and he and Samuel stayed together in Naioth. Once again, God uses Samuel, His prophet, this time to keep David safe. Surely by now, as David has escaped Saul three times just in this chapter, we can understand that this was not a coincidence, this was divine providence.
    Saul finds out that David is staying with Samuel, so Saul gets it in his head to send men to capture David so he can be brought back to Saul to be put to death. Look at verses 20-22.
    “Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.”
    Saul sent the first group of men to capture David, and what did God do? They saw the prophets prophesying and Samuel standing over them and the Spirit of God came upon them and they also prophesied. They didn’t lay a finger on David.
    So Saul sent a second group, and guess what? They did the same thing. The Spirit came upon them and they prophesied and left David alone.
    So Saul sent a third group of men to capture David, and again the same thing happened. The Spirit of God moved and David was left unharmed.
    You’d think that Saul might have gotten the hint, right? So far, just in this chapter, God had worked to save David from Saul’s hands six times! I’m not sure why Saul thought at this point he would be successful, but he tries again. This time, Saul himself goes to Naioth to kill David.
    I want to read verses 23-24 to you so you can see what God did to Saul to keep David safe, “He proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
    Even Saul began to prophesy because the Spirit of God came upon him as the Spirit moved to intervene and protect David from Saul.
    The last four incidents we’ve looked at, the events at Naioth, are what help us understand that all the events in this chapter when David escapes Saul do not happen by coincidence. They happen through God’s movement, as He worked to protect David from harm. The Lord was with David, and that doesn’t just stop at the Spirit empowering David to take down the enemies of Israel. The Lord protected him and kept him safe, guided him to where he should go and when he should go there. How do we know this? Because that’s the way the Spirit still works today.
    That’s the way the Spirit of God works. I want us to look at Genesis 50:20 quickly before turning to the New Testament to see that God works to turn intended harm into good. Genesis 50 is the closing chapter of Genesis, and Joseph speaks to all of his brothers after they are reunited in Egypt. This is what he tells them, after all they had done to him, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” God worked what was meant for harm to Joseph to instead bring about good. Just as he did for David. Just as he does for us.
    Let’s turn now to Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This is likely a verse many of us are familiar with. We take courage and comfort from this verse, especially in times of trial, and for good reason, It’s one of the verses that promises good in the Bible, and not just for a specific person like Joseph or David.
    There are conditions to this promise, but overall, the conditions are easy to meet. The condition of this promise is that you love God and are called according to His purpose. His purpose we see throughout the Bible: the salvation of mankind. So, if you have been saved by the shed blood of Christ, and you love God, this is a promise that applies to you.
    Good thing, too, because I myself have found this verse to bring comfort in some very dark times in my life. I spent time this week thinking about the ways that God works things for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose. I want to share some of the ways that I have found God works good for those who this promise applies to. I want us to understand as we go through these ten ways God works for our good, that He doesn’t always work all these ways in each situation. Sometimes it’s just one, sometimes it’s several. But if you look back during difficult times in your life, I guarantee you’ll see God working in one of these ways to turn what was meant for harm into your good.
    First, He provides for us. I can’t tell you how many times I would be going through a lean season and an envelope of money would come in the mail that day. Or money was short for groceries and someone would pay for my next meal. It might not always be through material means, either. In David’s case, he provided a way for David to escape Saul’s murderous attempts. Many times, God will provide for us in difficult situations in abundant ways that we never expected.
    He also works for our good by changing HEARTS. That’s your first bulletin blank this morning. Sometimes God will work for our good by changing hearts. More often than not, God will work by changing my heart in difficult situations. Even when my brother passed away, God worked good for me by the changing of my heart. Other times, He worked good for me by changing the hearts of others about me or about the situation.
    God also PROTECTS. This is what He did for David, it’s what He did for Joseph, it’s what He has done for His people throughout their entire history. Sometimes He works for our good by protecting us from what was intended to harm us. How many tongues has He silenced to protect the reputations of Christians? Or had false-rumors fall upon deaf ears? The Lord protects those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
    God sometimes empowers. During difficult challenges we face, sometimes He gives us the boldness we need to face those challenges head on so we can overcome them in a way that is beneficial. Think about the challenge the Israelites faced when the Philistine Goliath came before them. Every single person, Saul included, was too afraid to face Goliath. But God empowered David to face the challenge, and He worked it for Israel and David’s good!
    God can also work our good by messing up the enemy, messing up the plans of the enemy. We see this in this chapter between Saul and David, especially when Saul kept sending men to Naioth and God’s Spirit kept bringing them to prophesy, and He messed up Saul’s plan this way four times! Who knows how many times someone has designs for our harm but God frustrates and messes up their plans without us even knowing?
    He sometimes works for our good by strengthening us. Sometimes the situation or challenge we go through doesn’t change, sometimes we have to go through the difficulty, but as a result, we are strengthened. I look back on the things I’ve been through, and I marvel because I can now go through difficulties and ordeals that would have broken me ten years ago, all because God strengthened me through those trials.
    This next one I think is true every single time we go through something, as long as we let God do His work: He builds your CHARACTER. That’s the next blank in your bulletin. Think about the ways that He has refined your character over the years, I think you’ll find that most of the time He did this it was through difficulty. James says we should rejoice in our trials because we know that through those trials God is making us complete so we lack in nothing!
    God also uses hard times to heal us. He can heal physical maladies in ways that are miraculous, unexplainable through modern medicine. Sometimes He allows people to go through illnesses so that when they are healed in miraculous ways, His name is glorified among those who saw the healing take place.
    God also works our good by developing your WISDOM. That’s your next bulletin blank. Most of what I have learned about God and about my call and my purpose in life, and what I have learned about what it means to truly follow Christ has come from going through challenges and trials. We go through them, and God gives us wisdom that we wouldn’t otherwise have if we hadn’t faced those difficulties.
    And finally, God works for our good by giving us PURPOSE and direction. That’s your last blank. God called me to ministry through the hardships that I experienced growing up. He has refined that purpose and given me direction in that purpose through many other hard times and challenges. God can and does pull us through storms to give us greater insight into the human condition and experience, so that we can be more effective and empathetic in our ministries.
    Yes, He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

1. What does Acts 13:22 say about the condition of David’s heart? How does that fit with what Romans 8:28 says about who God works good for?

2. How does David’s experience and the Romans 8:28 promise strengthen your faith and your relationship with the Lord?

3. Think of a time of trial in your life, perhaps when someone wanted to do you harm. Write out the ways from the Romans 8:28 list that God used to do good through that situation. Spend some time thanking Him for His goodness.

 

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