His daughter loved the guy (1Sam. 18:20). His son’s soul was so knit to him that he was ready to hand over his inheritance to him (1Sam 18:1-4). But their father, King Saul, well, he determined to be David’s enemy continually (1Sam. 18:29). And honestly, as I chew on Saul’s reaction to David’s success, I can’t help but pity him. A slave to his feelings, in chains because of his ego, he fought against the one he should have loved.
Because of Saul’s inclination toward sort of obeying, his imitation of sacrificial offering, and his determination towards self-justifying, the LORD purposed to remove Saul from the throne of Israel and set a man after His own heart in Saul’s place (1Sam. 13:14, 15:22-23). And David is eased into Saul’s house as a lowly servant, but bursts upon Israel’s stage as a mighty soldier. And Saul couldn’t deal with being upstaged.
He’s fit to be tied when he hears the women singing, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (18:7). His unbridled ego spawns the disease of jealousy and rage burns towards his most accomplished servant. “From that day on,” says the holy record, “Saul eyed David” (18:9). Rather than look upon him with admiration and appreciation, he looked at him with an evil, spiteful, malicious, and envious eye.
And what makes so little sense is that, as Saul watched David’s success, he knew the LORD was with David (18:12, 28). It was evident by what David accomplished. But it was also familiar, for Saul too had once known what it was for the LORD to be with him (10:9-10, 11:6). And rather than repent, it says that he was afraid of David. And instead of that fear humbling his heart towards God’s chosen man, he determined instead to set his face, his will, and his strength against the man after God’s own heart.
“Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. So Saul removed him from his presence . . . ”
(1Samuel 18:12-13a ESV)
He removed David from his presence. God’s chosen, rejected by Saul. The object of the Spirit’s anointing, the target of Saul’s scorn. The person upon whom the power of God was present, banished from the king’s courts.
How tragic! Saul the mighty, victor over thousands, had fallen victim to his own press clippings, to his own self-aggrandizement, to his own ego-enslaved heart.
And I wonder how many reject Jesus for the same reason?
Though something deep down whispers that this Man really is the Man of God’s sending. That more than just a Man, He really does present as the Son of God. And more than being the Son, that He just may be the Savior that men know in their hearts they need to remedy their sin and the brokenness that comes from sin.
Jealous of His righteousness for it reveals the wickedness lying below their own pretense of self-righteousness. Afraid of His claim to not only the throne of heaven but to the throne of every man and woman’s heart, they banish Him from their lives. Their prideful self-importance and self-sufficiency such that, instead of bowing knee, they instead shake their fist.
Oh that men might reject the self-absorbed spirit of Saul and instead be wooed by the Spirit of a loving God.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
Such is His great grace. To Him be all glory.