Lesson 7 | Sabbath, 15 February 2020
“One great defect in the character of Saul was his love of approbation. This trait had had a controlling influence over his actions and thoughts; everything was marked by his desire for praise and self-exaltation. His standard of right and wrong was the low standard of popular applause. No man is safe who lives that he may please men, and does not seek first for the approbation of God. It was the ambi- tion of Saul to be first in the estimation of men; and when this song of praise was sung, a settled conviction entered the mind of the king that David would obtain the hearts of the people and reign in his stead.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 650.
David at the royal court to help Saul
- What did King Saul decide after the Lord’s victory through David over Go- liath? How did the young man perform the tasks that the king assigned to him?
1 Samuel 18:1, 2, 5 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house…. 5And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
“‘Saul kept David with him, and would not permit him to return to his father’s house…. ‘David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wise- ly: and Saul set him over the men of war.’ David was prudent and faithful, and it was evident that the blessing of God was with him. Saul at times realized his own unfitness for the government of Israel, and he felt that the kingdom would be more secure if there could be connected with him one who received instruction from the Lord. Saul hoped also that his connection with David would be a safe- guard to himself. Since David was favored and shielded by the Lord, his presence might be a protection to Saul when he went out with him to war.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 649.
- What did the women of Israel sing in triumph? What effect did these songs have on the king? How did his attitude toward David change?
1 Samuel 18:6-9 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, sing- ing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 7And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thou- sands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
“Saul, however, did not long remain friendly to David…. When Saul and David were returning from battle with the Philistines, ‘the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.’ One company sang, ‘Saul hath slain his thousands,’ while another company took up the strain, and responded, ‘And David his ten thou- sands.’ The demon of jealousy entered the heart of the king. He was angry because David was exalted above himself in the song of the women of Israel. In place of subduing these envious feelings, he displayed the weakness of his character, and exclaimed. ‘They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have as- cribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 650.
Consequences of jealousy
- What point did Saul reach in his unfounded jealousy and hatred of David? How did God thwart his murderous designs? What spirit was thus seen to control the king?
1 Samuel 18:10-13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 12And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul. 13Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.
“Saul opened his heart to the spirit of jealousy by which his soul was poisoned. Notwithstanding the lessons which he had received from the prophet Samuel, in- structing him that God would accomplish whatsoever He chose, and that no one could hinder it, the king made it evident that he had no true knowledge of the plans or power of God. The monarch of Israel was opposing his will to the will of the Infinite One. Saul had not learned, while ruling the kingdom of Israel, that he should rule his own spirit…. From this frenzy he would pass into a state of despon- dency and self-contempt, and remorse would take possession of his soul….
“One day when the youth was ministering before him, and bringing sweet music from his instrument, accompanying his voice as he sang the praises of God, Saul suddenly threw his spear at the musician, for the purpose of putting an end to his life. David was preserved by the interposition of God, and without injury fled from the rage of the maddened king.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 650, 651.
- What attempts on David’s life did the king repeat? How did the Lord thwart the satanic attacks?
1 Samuel 19:9-12 And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. 10And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night. 11Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain. 12So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. [See End Note 1, 2]
“As Saul’s hatred of David increased, he became more and more watchful to find an opportunity to take his life; but none of his plans against the anointed of the Lord were successful. Saul gave himself up to the control of the wicked spirit that ruled over him; while David trusted in Him who is mighty in counsel, and strong to deliver. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Proverbs 9:10), and David’s prayer was continually directed to God, that he might walk before Him in a perfect way.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 650, 668, 651.
God’s protection and Spirit over David
- How else did the Lord protect His servant?
1 Samuel 19:19-23 And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ra- mah. 20And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. 22Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah. 23And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
“Saul then decided that he himself would go, for his fierce enmity had become uncontrollable. He was determined to wait for no further chance to kill David; as soon as he should come within reach of him, he intended with his own hand to slay him, whatever might be the consequences.
“But an angel of God met him on the way and controlled him. The Spirit of God held him in Its power, and he went forward uttering prayers to God, interspersed with predictions and sacred melodies. He prophesied of the coming Messiah as the world’s Redeemer. When he came to the prophet’s home in Ramah, he laid aside the outer garments that betokened his rank, and all day and all night he lay before Samuel and his pupils, under the influence of the divine Spirit. The people were drawn together to witness this strange scene, and the experience of the king was reported far and wide. Thus again, near the close of his reign, it became a proverb in Israel that Saul also was among the prophets.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 653, 654.
- What experience did the Lord permit Saul to make to warn him of his wrong course? What incident showed David’s righteous spirit? How did the Lord bless him?
1 Samuel 24:3-7 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. 4And 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. 5And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. 6And 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.7So David stayed his ser- vants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
“David had only six hundred men in his company, while Saul advanced against him with an army of three thousand. In a secluded cave the son of Jesse and his men waited for the guidance of God as to what should be done. As Saul was press- ing his way up the mountains, he turned aside, and entered, alone, the very cavern in which David and his band were hidden. When David’s men saw this they urged their leader to kill Saul. The fact that the king was now in their power was inter- preted by them as certain evidence that God Himself had delivered the enemy into their hand, that they might destroy him. David was tempted to take this view of the matter; but the voice of conscience spoke to him, saying, ‘Touch not the anointed of the Lord.’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 661.
- On what other occasion did Saul attempt to kill him? What did David demonstrate several times when the king was in his power?
1 Samuel 26:2, 5, 8-11 Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilder- ness of Ziph…. 5And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him…. 8Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. 9And David said to Abishai, De- stroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless? 10David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. 11The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
“David does not manifest the spirit of an unconverted man. He shows that he has had an experience in the things of God. He manifests a disposition to receive correction from God, and in confidence turns to Him as his only trust…. When Saul was repeatedly placed in his power, and his followers would have killed him, David would not permit them to do so, although he was in continual fear of his own life, and was pursued like a wild beast by Saul.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, pp. 90, 91.
“David’s experiences are recorded for the instruction of the people of God in these last days.” –(Signs of the Times, November 9, 1888) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 1022.
The righteous spared many afflictions
- What do the Scriptures say about the righteous who hope in the Lord? Even though they may suffer many afflictions, what will be their end?
Psalm 34:17-22 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. 20He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. 21Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. 22The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
“In his own strength, man cannot meet the charges of the enemy. In sin- stained garments, confessing his guilt, he stands before God. But Jesus, our Ad- vocate, presents an effectual plea in behalf of all who by repentance and faith have committed the keeping of their souls to Him. He pleads their cause, and by the mighty arguments of Calvary, vanquishes their accuser. His perfect obedience to God’s law has given Him all power in heaven and in earth, and He claims from His Father mercy and reconciliation for guilty man. To the accuser of His people He declares: ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. These are the purchase of My blood, brands plucked from the burning.’ And to those who rely on Him in faith, He gives the assurance, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.’ Zechariah 3:4.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 316.
For additional study
“David’s conclusion that Saul would certainly accomplish his murderous pur- pose was formed without the counsel of God. Even while Saul was plotting and seeking to accomplish his destruction, the Lord was working to secure David the kingdom. God works out His plans, though to human eyes they are veiled in mys- tery. Men cannot understand the ways of God; and, looking at appearances, they interpret the trials and tests and provings that God permits to come upon them as things that are against them, and that will only work their ruin. Thus David looked on appearances, and not at the promises of God. He doubted that he would ever come to the throne. Long trials had wearied his faith and exhausted his patience.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 672.