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The path to David being King Part 2.
1 Samuel 24 David spares Saul's life

The journey to David becoming King over Israel -part II
1 Samuel 24

Scripture reading: Psalm 57

Last week I noted that the book of Samuel is dominated by 3 people-- Samuel (Israel's last Judge), Saul- Israel's first king, and David- Israel's most revered king and as for Christ's human lineage- his ancestor.

Saul became king because the Israelites wanted to be like the nations around them-- so God gave them Saul, a king like the nations had around them. Saul was unworthy and because of this God had Samuel go and anoint a replacement for Saul--- David.

At the time of his being set apart to be king, David was a mere 15 years old-- the youngest of 8 boys of a man named Jesse of the town of Bethlehem.

The big question that our text generates is this-- How will David come to be king???-- seeing as he's only 15 years old and regarded as insignificant by his family , seeing as Saul is King and bent on holding on to the kingship, seeing as the Philistines were bound to trying to conquer all of Israel- that they might take the land for themselves.

What unfolds for us from 1 Samuel 16 through 2 Samuel 5 (covering 15 years) is the account of how God took David and put him on the throne of Israel over His people. This amazing story (and a true one at that) demonstrates how sovereignty of God and human free will intersect without conflict and how God's Word always comes to pass. It's a story meant to inspire us to stay true to God, holding on to him in faith, now matter what obstacles and troubles may come our way.

This morning, we are going to take a look at 1 Samuel 24 together- which features David sparing Saul's life--- though Saul was doing everything in his power to kill David.

At this point in the journey of David to becoming king, at least 8-9 years have passed from when Samuel anointed him.

A tracing of David's steps towards his being king-- up to 1 Samuel 24

a. Anointed by Samuel 1 Samuel 16
b. Brought into Saul's service on a part time basis as a harp player-- to calm Saul's ragged nerves (for he being afflicted by God by an evil spirit for his continual disobedience to God) 1 Samuel 16
c. David, incensed when he hears a Philistine warrior and giant named Goliath mocking Israel and God, engages him in battle (though everyone else feared the man) and kills him. The result was that Saul took notice of David's prowess as a soldier and so took him into military service
d. Saul's son Jonathan-- heir to Saul's throne, seeing in David a kindred spirit (though he was more than 10 years older than David) becomes friends with David. This friendship benefited David a lot-- for later on Jonathan would warn David of his father's actions to harm him
e. As a soldier under Saul's command David met with success no matter where Saul sent him. 1 Samuel 18. This elevated David's standing in Israel but also resulted in the EXTREME jealousy of Saul who heard of how the women would sing "Saul has struck down his thousands and David his ten thousands"
f. The day after Saul heard of this song he threw his spear at David and tried to kill him. He missed and became fearful of David
g. Because of Saul's fear of David he removed him from his court and sent him out to battle the Philistines on pretty much a full time basis. David had even more success- which made Saul even more afraid of David. 1 Samuel 18
h. Wanting David dead but fearing to do it himself, Saul dreamed up a plan to have the Philistines kill David. Saul's bizarre and quite gross plan is detailed in 1 Samuel 18:17-30-- the end result--- and you'll have to read it for yourself is that David-- on his way to becoming King over Israel-- becomes Saul's son in law.
i. Having failed to have David killed in battle at the hands of the Philistines - and after of having David in his service for about 7 years-- Saul changes tactics--HIS NEW TACTIC-- he decides to brand David as a traitor and enemy of the state and so seeks to kill him personally by the hand of his army. This is detailed for us in 1 Samuel 19 and on.

For about 8 years of his life David was chased around the country by Saul. Every once in a while Jonathan would help him out by warning him of what his father was up to. In trying to get away from Saul, David fled into Philistine territory, then the territory of Moab. David also hid in a forest and then in caves in the wilderness. Along the way David held on to his faith in God-- even writing a number of Psalms along the way (i.e Psalm 54, 57, 59)


THOUGHT BEFORE READING 1 SAMUEL 24: As hard of those days were for David, God -through the trials David faced- was shaping and preparing David to serve as King. We need this view in our lives as well. As much as we would like a trouble free life, hardship is a great teacher, difficulty serves as God's way of refining us, challenges that we face prepare us for future ministry in God's service.



1. RESPECT FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY- no matter how crazy they might be- IS REQUIRED OF US. See 1 Samuel 24:5-9

As much as we'd like to say that Saul was not worthy of respect-- or just fill in the blank of your boss, the police, our local politicians, etc-- when a person holds an office and position of authority, we are to show them respect-- respect in how we talk to them, talk about them, interact with them

A big lie that many believe is this: "Respect is earned" or "Give respect, get respect". It sounds logical. It sounds good-- but it's not Biblical.
Note David's example and words-- He will not kill Saul -- for he recognizes that Saul is the LORD's anointed king (this is in light of Saul's constant attempts to kill him)

Other examples of showing respect

Paul on trial, without knowing who ordered him struck, he calls the high priest a whitewashed wall! When told that it was the high priest, Paul immediately said to his accusers; "Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.' " Acts 23:5

Romans 13:1-7 also says; "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.


In verse 5 we are told that after David had snuck behind Saul while he was going to the bathroom, and cutting off one of the corners of his robe that "David's heart struck him"

David had a sensitive conscience-- and that's a good thing. David had a tender heart-- a heart that wanted to please and live for good.

It's a bad thing in our lives when we are not bothered when we do what is wrong in the sight of God or don't care about what is right or wrong. O that God would give us tender consciences.

Some more on David's heart: He had a heart that was very conscious of God and His presence

Note how he clearly realizes that he's living out his life before God and how it is God whom he wishes to please

This reminds us of his call when the Lord said to Samuel ""Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

3. TEMPTATIONS COMES IN MANY IN FORMS-- we must resist them however they may come. v.4

What a scene-- David and his men are hiding in this cave and in comes Saul to go to the washroom. The men who are with David see this as a perfect God given opportunity to strike Saul down and end the life of the man committed to killing David and likewise them.

Rather than submit to their logic (which on the surface must have sounded very appealing) David knows about God and how He wants him to live-- He knows that one is not to raise their hand against those who are anointed of the LORD. He also knows that God is the one who is supposed to avenge and not us-- when harmed.

Comment: David had obviously been taught well- for he knew the right way to respond.

We can know the right way to respond whatever situation we find ourselves in if we attend to the Word and keep our ears open to the Holy Spirits voice.


Every day we face temptations-- most come from within us and our own evil desires, some come right from the Devil, others come from those around us who urge us to join in with them and do the wrong thing in the sight of God.

We must resist the Devil- for he will flee from us. We must say NO to our flesh


1 Corinthians 10:13 says; "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

4. EVEN IF THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF, WE ARE NOT TO TAKE REVENGE-- Leave the righting of wrongs to God! v.12-13

While David's companions thought that a perfect opportunity had come to even the score with Saul, David knew that wasn't God's way**

Sometimes when we are attacked physically or verbally we respond in an almost automatic fashion-- seeking to retaliate (that's our wiring, it's a response of the flesh)

We need to pray and ask God for patience- for our first responses are not always the right ones. As hard as it might be, we need to learn to leave it and the righting of wrongs to God--- For God is a God of perfect justice and righteousness.

As Romans 12:16-21 says; " Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

"I will pay them back. I will get even" are not words or thoughts we are to have.

5. TEARS ARE NOT ALWAYS INDICATIVE OF A REPENTANT HEART. There's a difference between remorse and repentance. See 1 Samuel 24:16-21

In 2 Corinthians 7:10 it says; "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

A strange thing in our text is when David, convicted in his heart about cutting off a piece of Saul's robe, goes out to Saul. After respectfully bowing down before Saul, David confronts Saul about his innocence as it regarded Saul and Saul's evil behavior. In response to this, in verse 16, it says; "As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And Saul lifted up his voice and wept."

If we could stop at v.22 it would seem as if Saul had come to his senses-- that he was repenting of the evil that he had done against David-- but such was not the case, for Saul kept on trying to kill David

When confronted by our sin the only right response is true repentance

-such repentance manifests itself in godly sorrow, a turning to Christ (who alone can forgive sin), confession, a change in our thinking and action/our behavior.
-the fruit of true repentance is a changed life

1 John 1:8-9 says; "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


NEXT week: Part 3 of David's journey to being King over Israel