The Death Of Saul

4 Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
1 Samuel 31:4 (NLT)

We have come to the end of 1 Samuel. Personally, this is a milestone in this blog ministry. I started in writing on specific verses. Then I proceeded to write a series on some chosen chapters. Today, I have just ended in my writing on the entire book of 1 Samuel. This is called progression in life. God’s will for all Christians is always to improve and progress. No matter what God is calling you to do now, he expects you to improve in it and he will provide all the necessary blessings to help you with it.

If you are a teacher, he wants you to teach better. If you are a swimmer, he wants you to swim faster. If you are a writer, he wants you to write better. God loves to think big. There is no limit in his mind. If you are poor, God wants you to be a millionaire. If you are a millionaire, God wants you to be a billionaire. If you are a billionaire, God wants you to be a trillionaire. Don’t you think it is great to have a God who wants you to have the best in life?

1 Samuel ends with the death of King Saul. After Saul had visited the medium. He had lost all hopes. He was lost before the battle begun. As a result, the entire war was nothing more than the slaughter of the Israelites. How can we expect the Israel soldiers to fight valiantly when their king had already given up hope? So, the war was basically about Philistines chasing and killing the Israelites. It was a total disaster.

King Saul was wounded. At his last breath, he displayed some courage. He told his armor bearer to kill him. He did not want to give his enemies the privilege to humiliate and kill him. His armor bearer refused and he resorted to kill himself. That marks the end of the first king of Israel.

Let us review the life of King Saul. He was born in quite a rich family. His family has flocks and servants to take care of them. Not only that, he was born with good looks and he was the tallest man around. Don’t you wish you were born in the same environment?

When the Israelites wanted to ask God for a king because they wanted to look good to their neighbors, God chose Saul. Saul was chosen to be the first king of Israel. At that time, Israel did not have a proper national government. The only form of government they had were tribal leaders. At the national level, they had a judge who was theoretically the head of state. However this judge was only a single individual. He had no means to enforce his rule. He could only rely on his charisma to persuade the people to obey him.

When Saul was formally announced as the king, the people cheered for him but after the party everyone went home. No one cared about him anymore. Nothing physical had changed about him. However, God did not abandon him. God was blessing and preparing Saul for his kingdom. Samuel had trained Saul for the job. This guy is very privileged. He is the first man in the history of Israel God had chosen to be king.

The heads of state before him from Moses to Samuel were judges. They were just people doing their jobs but they had no privileges. They had no power to demand taxes from the people to build their own palaces. Saul was different. As the king, he owned the entire country. Theoretically he had absolute power to impose taxes and spend them in ways he pleases although he could not implement that at that moment.

His time to shine came when Israel was attacked. As the king, he rallied his people to unite and fought off the invaders. His fame grew. The neighboring countries were terrified of his potential and attacked him from every side but God was with him. Saul fought them all and won. At that time, Saul managed to establish Israel’s first permanent and professional army. Saul had the means to impose his rule over Israel. Saul’s kingdom was born.

Unfortunately, when he faced troubles, he lost focus. He allowed himself to be controlled by fear and sinned against the Lord. At last God had had enough and withdrew his blessings from Saul. Saul was on his own.

Saul’s kingdom had been facing constant attacks from the neighbors. Fortunately for him, David appeared. David had served him faithfully and valiantly. David had successfully fought off the enemies and secured Saul’s kingdom. However David was too successful. Saul became jealous and wanted to kill David. David ran away. Saul had lost the only man who had the capability to secure his kingdom. He diverted his attention from protecting his kingdom from the neighboring countries into David’s capture. He fell into David’s hands and David spared him for 2 times. This had caused Saul to feel ashamed of himself.

Without David, Saul’s kingdom was very shaky. When the Philistines launched a massive force against him, he panicked and resorted to consult a medium. The devil took advantage of that and inflicted a lethal psychological blow on him. Saul had lost all hopes. The final battle was a complete disaster. It was a one sided affair. The Israelites ran and the Philistines chased. King Saul died together with his sons. It was ironical that the man Saul tried so hard to kill was the one who could save him and his kingdom.

Let us revise our lessons from the story of King Saul. All of us (with the exception of theologians) want to be greatly blessed by God. We want to have the best in life. At the same time, our God is pleased to fulfill all our desires. So we obey God, do every thing he wants us to do and finally get what we want.

The potential pitfall is when we stop obeying God after we get what we want. Some of us may think that obeying God is only a means to an end. What is the use of obeying God after we get what we want? The truth is, obey God is more than just a means to an end. It is the lifeline to the continuous prosperity in our lives. Why is that so?

Let us go to the true definition of obedience. When I was in my religious church, I considered obedience to God is something I must do or I might face disasters from God. At that time, I had a very theological view on God. God is a pervert. If you show him any form of disrespect or disobedience, he will do perverted things on you. After all, he is God. He can stoop to any evil. Ironically, even if you obey him, he can still give you some disease called “thorn in the flesh” to teach you his sufficient grace.

Of course, God had shown me the truth. The truth is God is not a pervert. He loves you and wants to have the best in life. When he tells you to do something, he has already planned to bless you in the thing he asked you to do. He always has our best interests in his mind. His greatest wish is for all of us to prosper and be in health as our souls prosper. Obeying him means we are placing ourselves into positions where his greatest wish for us is being fulfilled. We will prosper and be in health as our souls prosper.

However, we will never be forced to obey. You can choose to disobey God. When you disobey God, you will be in the position where the opposite of God’s wish will manifest in you life. When that happens, it is not God’s fault. You have chosen your own destiny. God will never punish you when you disobey him just like he will never give lung cancer to the smokers. Neither will God kill those who commit suicide. We obey God because we choose to, not because we have to. Unlike the theologians, we are not blackmailed into obedience.

As for me, I choose to obey God because I want to have the best of everything he has to offer. I am sure the theologians will pass their judgement and condemn me for my honesty but that is not going to change the truth. I have experienced been under both the teachings of theology and the teachings of Jesus. My final verdict is: Jesus is better. I choose Jesus and reject theology. How about you?

Get Back What Is Yours

7 Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it.
8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
1 Samuel 30:7-8 (NLT)

Yesterday, I took a break from 1 Samuel to answer a challenge from a religious person. I don’t really expect this person to repent and turn to Jesus after reading my articles. I wrote it because it is a good opportunity to expose another lie of theology. Here is the summary of it. Religious people like to use Jesus words on asking the rich man to give away his assets to prove that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is false. However, they themselves do not obey it. This is another proof of religious hypocrisy.

Let move on to the story of David in the book of 1 Samuel. After David was expelled from the Philistine expedition to attack Israel, he settled in a town called Ziklag. David had 600 men with him at that time but they were not alone. They brought their families and possessions along. One day, when David and his men were out of the town, the Amalekites raided the town. They took all the properties, women and children with them. Even David’s 2 wives were taken.

When David and his men returned. They were devastated. They had lost everything they held dear. The men responded like typical men when they were in trouble, they looked for someone to blame. David was the obvious target. As their leader, he became the source of bitterness among his men. They even wanted to kill David. How did David deal with this?

3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families,
4 they wept until they could weep no more.
5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured.
6 David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
1 Samuel 30:3-6 (NLT)

David had a secret weapon that can handle every crisis. He had the Lord. I like the last part that says “But David found strength in the Lord his God.” God has the answer to all our problems. The wisest thing you can do in every crisis is to seek him. Do not waste time in indulging in pity parties, thinking and talking negative. Seek the Lord.

This is what David did. He took out the ephod and asked the Lord. What did the Lord say?

7 Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it.
8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
1 Samuel 30:7 (NLT)

God’s answer is clear, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”

What do you think will happen if David were to ask a theologian instead? The following will be the answer he would get:

“God has allowed this robbery to take place. It must be His will for you and your men to be robbed. Surely this robbery is caused by God for his glory. God is glorified when you get robbed.”

Thank God, David did not have theologians there. Whenever David was in trouble, he asked the Lord. He never allowed himself to be deceived by the lies of theology. The Lord’s answer to every trouble is always the same: Go and get back what is yours. I am with you all the way.

This is God’s answer to all our troubles right now.

 Are you poor? God wants you to go and get rich.

 Are you sick? God wants you to go and get well.

 Have you failed? God wants you to go and achieve victory.

It is never the will of God for us to be robbed, killed or become victim in any kind of disaster. As I have mentioned before, the idea that God is the pervert who wants us to be poor and sick is nothing more than theology, a lie from the pit of hell.

Let us move on with David. David took all his men to chase after his enemies. Halfway through the journey, 200 of them were too tired to move on. So, David continued to pursue with the remaining 400 men. They met an Egyptian who had been enslaved by the Amalelites. This slave was abandoned when he was sick. David fed him and asked him to lead him to the Amalekites’ camp.

When he reached his enemies’ camp, David launch a surprise attack on them. The Amalelites were totally defeated.

16 So he led David to them, and they found the Amalekites spread out across the fields, eating and drinking and dancing with joy because of the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the Philistines and the land of Judah.
17 David and his men rushed in among them and slaughtered them throughout that night and the entire next day until evening. None of the Amalekites escaped except 400 young men who fled on camels.
18 David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives.
19 Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back.
20 He also recovered all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock. “This plunder belongs to David!” they said.
1 Samuel 30:16-20 (NLT)

David had managed to get back everything those Amalekites had stolen from him plus much more. In other words, he made a profit out of this. However, another problem rose when the 200 men who stopped half way wanted to get back their possession. Some men among the 400 who fought with David thought it was not fair for those “quitters” to have their share.

21 Then David returned to the brook Besor and met up with the 200 men who had been left behind because they were too exhausted to go with him. They went out to meet David and his men, and David greeted them joyfully.
22 But some evil troublemakers among David’s men said, “They didn’t go with us, so they can’t have any of the plunder we recovered. Give them their wives and children, and tell them to be gone.”
23 But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us.
24 Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.”
25 From then on David made this a decree and regulation for Israel, and it is still followed today.
1 Samuel 30:21-25 (NLT)

David had wisely diffused the situation. After all, it was the Lord who gave them the victory. It was only right that those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment to share equally the plunder from the battle. That became a decree for Israel from that day onward. What do you think will happen to those 200 who stayed behind? Do you think they would continue to behave the same? I don’t. I think they were going to work harder and be more courageous in the next battle to redeem themselves. David had a more powerful fighting force.

After the battle, David made a very strategic political move.

26 When he arrived at Ziklag, David sent part of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends. “Here is a present for you, taken from the Lord’s enemies,” he said.
27 The gifts were sent to the people of the following towns David had visited: Bethel, Ramoth-negev, Jattir,
28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa,
29 Racal, the towns of the Jerahmeelites, the towns of the Kenites,
30 Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach,
31 Hebron, and all the other places David and his men had visited.
1 Samuel 30:26-31 (NLT)

David sent some of his profits from the battle to the elders of Judah. Why Judah? Judah was his own tribe. He was enlarging his power base. His indirect message to them was: This is David. I am still alive and well. If King Saul cannot make it, I am available to take over the throne. By the way, I am one of you.

This move marks the beginning of David’s ascend to the throne of Israel.

Let us stop here to revise the lessons from this story.

The first lesson is, there is always setbacks in life. David himself faced many of them in his life. The existence of setbacks does not mean God has abandoned us. Religious people like to use setbacks to prove that God has become a pervert and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is false. You can see a lot of them in their comments in this blog. It does not matter to them what the Bible says. As long as they can see a single Christian who is sick or poor, they concluded that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is false. Jesus did not die poor for us to live rich. Jesus did not take away all our sicknesses and diseases.

If you are to behave like them, I can tell you for sure that your setback will not change. We need to use our faith to overcome our setbacks. When you are facing some setbacks right now, it is time to use your faith. The dumbest thing you can do is to give up your faith when you are facing setbacks.

David faced a serious setback. He lost his family and property. All his men put the blame on him and wanted to kill him. However, instead of indulging in pity party, he sought the Lord. We need to do the same. If you happen to face a setback that is so bad that you cannot think straight, you must seek the Lord. God has the answers to all our problems.

How did God answer David?

“Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”

Go and take back what is yours. If you have been robbed, it is not the will of God for you to be robbed. It is the will of God for you to take back what is yours. The most important engineering truth in the Bible which theologians can never understand is this: God is not a pervert.

If you are poor, God wants you to get rich.

If you are sick, God wants you to be healthy.

If you have failed, God wants you to be successful.

Why is that so? It is the will of God for every Christian to be rich, healthy and successful because God himself is rich, healthy and successful. Godliness is to be like God. It is the will of God for Christians to be godly.

When David’s expedition met the 200 men who had earlier stopped, he had graciously let them have their property back. He knew that it was the Lord who gave them victory and not his men. He did not behave like a theologian in condemning those men. This is grace in action. In doing so, I suspect David had improve his men loyalty toward him.

Finally, he knew his politics well. He knew that his 600 men could never establish his kingdom no matter how good they were in fighting. He needed a strong political base. The best place to start was his own tribe, Judah. He was already famous in winning battles. The only thing he needed to do was to send some gifts to say hello to the elders. He used the plunder from the battle as gifts. The modern term for this is reinvestments. He reinvested the returns from his war to finance the establishment of his kingdom.

So, don’t spend all the money God has given to you. Seek the Lord and asked him on how to invest them for higher returns. David got a kingdom. How about you?

Saul Lost All Hopes

20 Saul fell full length on the ground, paralyzed with fright because of Samuel’s words. He was also faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.
1 Samuel 28:20 (NLT)

After David had spared Saul for the second time, he knew he could never trust Saul again. Saul could behave like he had truly repented from his mistakes but after a while he repeated them again and wanted to kill David. So, David decided to move away from Israel territories with his men. They settled in the land of Philistines.

It was not an easy life for David and his men there. I suspect David chose a lesser evil. While he was there, he knew the Philistines had mixed feelings about him. First, they must have high regard for David who had defeated them many times. They must have felt David’s switching to their side as a great tactical advantage. On the other hand, they knew David was an Israel’s hero. They could not deny the likelihood that some day David might betray them. David was walking on thin ice. Any wrong move could cause him and his 600 men to be killed.

So, David and his men spent their days putting up acts to assure their host on their loyalty. They would attack people far away, took their plunder to their host and reported that they had attacked the settlements in Judah. Of course, they were careful in killing all the witnesses. Thus, they gave their Philistine hosts the impression that they had turned their backs on their country of origin and there was no turning back. The Philistines bought their story. David and his men were temporarily safe in the land of Philistines.

One day, the Philistines decided to attack Israel. David must have played his game so well that the Philistine ruler asked him to join them. That was a disaster for David. If he joined them, he would be seen as a traitor to his people. The people of Israel would never trust him again. If he refused, he would be killed instantly. David had no way out.

However, he still had God’s blessing in him. The ruler of the Philistines trusted in David but not his commanders. Those guys were still suspicious of David. They were afraid David might attack them from behind. So they demanded for David to be excluded from the expedition. David was delivered from this dilemma.

On the other side of the border, King Saul had lost all hopes.

5When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.
6 He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets.
1 Samuel 28:5-6 (NLT)

He responded in fear. This means he had lost before the battle had even begun. He sought the Lord but he had no answer. In the past he had David to help him in such situations. However, he acted irrationally and wanted to kill David all because David did his job too well. After that event, I suspect none of the military officers in Saul’s army dared to perform too well in their jobs. After all, who wanted to suffer David’s fate? In short, Saul had no able people to help him.

At last, Saul resorted to a medium. That was a sin under the Law.

7 Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.”
1 Samuel 28:7 (NLT)

Saul disguised himself, visited the medium and asked her to summon the spirit of Samuel. Surprisingly, the medium actually delivered results.

15 “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul “Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.”
16 But Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy?
17 The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David.
18 The Lord has done this to you today because you refused to carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites.
19 What’s more, the Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The Lord will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.”
1 Samuel 28:15-19 (NLT)

Saul was devastated hearing the results.

Let us stop here and analyze the situation. The question, did the medium really managed to summon Samuel? Let us consider the possibilities.

Possibility 1: The medium really summoned Samuel.

If this is true, then God must have a very lousy security in heaven. Just imagine, you died and go to heaven. You were there playing golf with Abraham but all of a sudden you find yourself on earth because some idiot hired a medium to summon for you. How will you feel? The security system in heaven must be really bad for mediums to summon anyone they like from heaven. This must be a bad reflection to God. So, it cannot happen.

Possibility 2: The medium faked the entire process.

In other words, she acted everything there. She must have seen through Saul’s disguises. Saul could disguise his face but he could not hide his height. The Bible tells us that Saul was the tallest man in Israel. So, it was not impossible for her to act out the entire scene. If that is true, there are 2 unanswered questions?

1. How did she know of the Amalekites’ incident? The only people on earth who knew about it were Samuel and Saul.

2. If she was only trying to make a living, why did she not say something good to get some reward?

Obviously, this possibility cannot be true.

Possibility 3: Demons were involved.

After we have eliminated the earlier 2 possibilities, this must be it. It was not Samuel who talked to Saul. It was a demon. It knew about the incident of Amalakites because it was part of the plan. Saul’s insecurity had made himself an easy prey for the devils. In this incident, the devil was delivering a final blow to Saul that caused him to be totally defeated even before the battle begun.

As we read further, we can see that Saul had given up every hope. He did not even have the strength to stand. The medium had to feed him or he could have died there. What do you think will happen when the battle begun? Do you think the Israelite soldiers were motivated to fight for their country when they see their king had given up. It was a recipe for defeat. Israel was defeated before the battle begun.

Let us stop here to review our lessons. The main lesson here is on the devil’s tactics. No matter what variation of attacks the devil can deliver, the objective is always the same. It is to get us to give up in the inside. In other words, the devil wants us to give up our faith. Once we have given up our faith in God, we become easy prey. The devil is capable to use whatever at its disposal to get us to stop believing. They can use the physical circumstances, what others are saying, our past mistakes and theologians as long as it can get us to give up.

That is the objective. Therefore the only way to counter the devil’s tactics is to focus on God and not the circumstances. If you are poor, focus on how Jesus died poor to make you rich. If you are sick, focus on how Jesus took all your sicknesses and diseases at the Cross. No matter how bad the situation appears to be, God is working behind the scenes to deliver you. If you have made a firm commitment in your heart that you will not give up your faith no matter how bad the circumstances appears to be, there is no power in hell that can stop you from receiving your prosperity.

This is the reason why David had been winning even is situations where the odds were against him. If you want to be rich, healthy and success as God wants you to be, you have to make up your mind that you are going to believe in God even if the situation says the opposite.

David Spared Saul Again

21 Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong.”
1 Samuel 26:21 (NLT)

In the previous articles, we have seen how Saul tried to hunt David down. In his operation, Saul found himself trapped by David. David spared him. Saul repented and returned to his palace. In his mind, he knew David had no intention to take his throne. However, his heart was still very insecure. All it took was for someone to stir up his insecurity and he wanted to kill David again.

1 Now some men from Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah to tell him, “David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which overlooks Jeshimon.”
2 So Saul took 3,000 of Israel’s elite troops and went to hunt him down in the wilderness of Ziph.
1 Samuel 26:1-2 (NLT)

At that time, David’s 400 followers had grown into 600 courageous warriors. It was a great improvement in terms of quality and quantity. This tells us that David had never stop improving even though he was no longer a high ranking officer of the king’s army. However, he was still outnumbered by Saul’s 3,000 elite troops. The only way for David was to opt for guerrilla warfare, which relies on ambushes and avoid direct confrontation.

David had another advantage. He had the Lord’s blessing on him. He could never lose. The only way for him to lose was for he to give up himself. Yesterday, I received a comment from a lady who said she had been happily tithing but ended up being unemployed for a long time and her mother had cancer. She had since given up tithing and sowing. She considered God’s words on tithing and sowing to be fairy tales. I replied by telling her that there are setbacks in the real world. If she is to give up because of the setbacks she faced, her life will never change. The Bible has many stories on godly people who faced various setbacks. Despite that, they refused to give up and succeeded in overcoming them.

The same will happen to every Christian. The world that we are living in is full of setbacks. If you have been following the news, the once seemingly infallible mighty banks and insurance companies are facing bankruptcy. They need their governments to use tax payers’ money to bail them out. This incident tells us that if we are to rely on the world’s system for our prosperity, we are standing on shaky ground. We need to rely on God and not the world for our prosperity. The world’s economy can go up or down but if you are living in faith, your prosperity can only go up.

In David’s case, he was up against Saul’s best troops. They were the elite. Today’s term is “commandos”. How was David’s 600 men going to fight Saul’s 3,000 commandos? God helped him by putting Saul and his commandos into deep sleep. David and one man could just walked into Saul’s camp unopposed. He was in position to kill Saul and end his misery.

8 “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!” Abishai whispered to David. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!”
9 “No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? 10 Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle.
11 The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!”
12 So David took the spear and jug of water that were near Saul’s head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the Lord had put Saul’s men into a deep sleep.
1 Samuel 26:8-12 (NLT)

David still considered Saul to be God’s anointed. Killing Saul was the equivalent of dishonoring God. All he did was taking away Saul’s spear and jug. Despite the troubles he went through and all the unfairness life threw at him, David had not given up on God. Why was that so? He was already convinced beyond doubt that his God will deliver him. The last thing he wanted to do was to kill God’s anointed and dishonor God. This is the mark of true faith.

After he reached at a safe distance from the camp, David called out to Saul’s camp.

13 David climbed the hill opposite the camp until he was at a safe distance.
14 Then he shouted down to the soldiers and to Abner son of Ner, “Wake up, Abner!”
“Who is it?” Abner demanded.
15 “Well, Abner, you’re a great man, aren’t you?” David taunted. “Where in all Israel is there anyone as mighty? So why haven’t you guarded your master the king when someone came to kill him?
16 This isn’t good at all! I swear by the Lord that you and your men deserve to die, because you failed to protect your master, the Lord’s anointed! Look around! Where are the king’s spear and the jug of water that were beside his head?”
1 Samuel 26:13-16 (NLT)

Saul woke up.

17 Saul recognized David’s voice and called out, “Is that you, my son David?” And David replied, “Yes, my lord the king.
18 Why are you chasing me? What have I done? What is my crime?
19 But now let my lord the king listen to his servant. If the Lord has stirred you up against me, then let him accept my offering. But if this is simply a human scheme, then may those involved be cursed by the Lord. For they have driven me from my home, so I can no longer live among the Lord’s people, and they have said, ‘Go, worship pagan gods.’
20 Must I die on foreign soil, far from the presence of the Lord? Why has the king of Israel come out to search for a single flea? Why does he hunt me down like a partridge on the mountains?”
1 Samuel 26:17-20 (NLT)

Saul was again confronted with the truth. It was the truth he could not deny. His actions were irrational and based on the insecurity inside him. So, Saul repented again and tried to make up with David.

21 Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong.”
1 Samuel 26:21 (NLT)

By then, David must have realized that Saul was not the man of his words. Saul’s promises could be broken any time. Staying with Saul was the most dangerous thing to do. David returned the items he took, gave a goodbye message and left.

22 “Here is your spear, O king,” David replied. “Let one of your young men come over and get it.
23 The Lord gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the Lord placed you in my power, for you are the Lord’s anointed one.
24 Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles.”
1 Samuel 26:22-24 (NLT)

The above words show us that David had been living by faith. He looked to the Lord for his reward and deliverance. No wonder he was so successful in his life. As mentioned earlier, if you choose to rely on the physical world for your success, you are on shaky ground. Nothing in this world is reliable. Once upon a time, multinational banks were considered the anchors of the world’s financial system. They were the biggest and the strongest companies around. Investing in them was the wisest thing to do. After all, how can you lose money in owning banks?

We see the truth today. Those banks have been falling like dominos. They resorted to begging their respective governments for funds. Those who had believed in those great and mighty banks, and invested heavily in them are now in a rude shock. If you happen to be one of them, it is not too late. Turn to God. He will deliver you and bring you prosperity. God will never go bankrupt. Living in faith is the best investment you can ever have.

The Value Of Loyalty

40 When the messengers arrived at Carmel, they told Abigail, “David has sent us to take you back to marry him.”
1 Samuel 25:40 (NLT)

In the previous article, we have seen how David spared Saul. Saul regretted his actions and left David alone. David was no longer a fugitive. Unfortunately, neither was he the king’s army commander. He moved his team to another place called Maon where they helped to protect the flocks of a rich man.

The man’s name was Nabal. He happened to be the descendent of Caleb. Let us go through some history. Caleb and Joshua were the only two out of the twelve spies Moses sent that delivered positive news on the Promised Land, while the other ten gave negative news. As a result of the unbelief of the Israelites, God denied that generation right to enter the land. Joshua and Caleb were the only people in their generation that set their feet on the Promised Land. Caleb asked for a mountain inhabited by giants and defeated them. He became very rich.

Since Nabal was a descendent of Caleb, he came from a family of faith and inherited part of Caleb’s vast fortune. Unfortunately he was only rich outside but poor spiritually. In other words, he only inherited the physical wealth and not the spiritual wealth of his ancestor. The Bible says he was crude and mean in his dealings. This means he was not the type of person you like to spend time with. He must be very oppressive to the people around him including his family members and employees.

When it was time for sheep shearing, David sent his men to asked Nabal for some provisions as payment for their services. Why did they ask at that time? It was the time where the sheep were sheared and their fur was available to be sold. It was the equivalent of harvest or payday. Nabal had a lot of money then. He even organized parties on such times.

In David’s mind, his team had protected Nabal’s animals so well that not a single one lost. That was a great achievement because it was common in those days that some animals to have ended up becoming meals to the predators. So, asking for some provisions was reasonable. However, Nabal had a different opinion. He did not care what David and his men had done to protect his property. As far as he was concern, he preferred to keep all his money in his own wallet.

10 “Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.
11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?”
1 Samuel 25:10-11 (NLT)

He refused to acknowledge the work David and his men had done to protect his animals. He even insulted them. Basically, the reason was he refused to pay them. He would rather spend his money on parties.

David got very angry and he prepared to attack Nabal’s household.

12 So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said.
13 “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment.
1 Samuel 25:12-13 (NLT)

Nabal was in trouble. Fortunately, he had a godly wife called Abigail. Abigail knew what her husband did was evil and could have harmed the entire household. She prepared some provision and personally sent them to David. When she got there, she pleaded to David to spare her husband. David was so impressed by her loyalty that he agreed to spare Nabal for Abigail’s sake.

After Abigail had succeeded in getting David’s assurance of her husband’s safety, she went home. When she reached home, she found her husband drunk in the party. So, she did not tell him what she had done. You may have noticed that she had no intention to deceive her husband. Everything that she did was for him despite his character. She remained faithful to her husband even though he was not a good man.
The next morning, when Nabal was sober, Abigail told him what she had done. It must be a great blow to him when he knew that his wife had given so much to others. He got a stroke and became paralyzed.

36 When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day.
37 In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone.
38 About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died.
1 Samuel 25:36-38 (NLT)

Please note that the phase that says “the Lord struck him” is not meant to be literal. As I have proven in previous articles, this was the way those folks expressed an event. It does not mean that God intentionally killed Nabal. Nabal died of stroke. He got stroke because he could not take the news that his wife had given a lot of money away. The real killer was his love of money, not God.

Today, we have the phase “acts of gods” to describe earthquakes or events that are beyond the control of humans. It does not mean that there are gods out there that are busy making earthquakes. Likewise “the Lord struck him” is not literal.

What happened after Nabal died? First of all, no one mourned for him. David thought he got what he deserved. David proceeded to ask Abigail to be his wife. Abigail married to a better man. Why would David want to marry Abigail in the first place? Apart from the fact that she was physically beautiful, I suspect David saw her loyalty and dedication to her late husband to be irresistible. So Abigail was not only released from having to live with a brutal man like Nabal, she became the wife of a future king.

There are 2 lessons here for us to learn from the persons of Nabal and Abigail. Let us start with Nabal. This guy was born in a prominent family. His ancestor was Caleb well known for his faith. Caleb asked Joshua to give him a mountain where the giants were living. He went up there, defeated those giants and possessed the entire mountain. He became very rich. So, Nabal was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Unfortunately, he ignored the spiritual wealth of his ancestors and focused narrowly on material possession alone. He was physically rich but spiritually poor.

I am sure there are many people like that, especially those who have inherited billions from their parents. They may have their parent’s physical wealth but they do not have their parent’s inner wealth. As a result, the inheritance ended up harming them. They have no direction in life and made a lot of silly mistakes like getting into drugs, addicted to gambling or infected with diseases due to their promiscuous lifestyles.

In Nabal’s case, he held so tightly to his money that he refused to pay David for protecting his assets. He almost got himself killed in David’s hands. However, God did not abandon him. He had a sensible wife who took immediate action to save him. Unfortunately, when he learned about how much money his wife had given away, he had a stroke and died ten days later. His love of money had killed him.

The lesson for us here is we must be spiritually rich before we can be physically rich. It is extremely important for us to build up our spiritual wealth before we receive our physical wealth. If you happen to have a lot of money suddenly through inheritance or any form of dumb luck, don’t touch them before your are spiritually prepared. Otherwise you will be harmed.

If you are already established in your riches, make sure your children are spiritually rich before they inherit your physical riches. You want to give them physical riches to bless them, not to harm them. Physical riches without spiritual riches are dangerous.

Next, let us look at Abigail. Other women could be envious of her for marrying a rich man but I don’t think she had a happy marriage. He husband was crude and mean. When she went out to meet David, her husband did not even know about it. He was busy getting drunk. This shows us that he did not care for her at all. Despite all these, she remained faithful and loyal to him.

When she learned that her husband had made a serious mistakes that could caused the entire household to be killed, she took immediate action to personally bring provisions to meet David and pleaded for him to spare her husband. I am sure everyone in David’s camp was impressed with her loyalty.

In the end she had a good ending. That mean husband of hers died and she married to David, the legend and the future king. This tells us that loyalty is very attractive.

How should we be loyal? First of all, it means no backstabbing. If you don’t like about someone, you can talk to this person privately. Don’t go around talking bad things about people behind their backs. Personally I find those who do that to be very ugly and repulsive. Think about it, if you can talk bad about others in front of me, what makes me think that you will not talk bad about me when I am not around? Backstabbing is a betrayal and those who do that are plain repulsive.

Secondly, loyalty means never resort to sabotage. If you think your boss is bad, find a new job and quit. Do not resort to any form of actions that causes troubles for him. Never say bad things about your present boss in your job interview. It will make you look bad. Your prospective boss values loyalty. Your disloyal behavior toward your present boss will only turn him off. God is the same. He wants us to be loyal. Loyalty is attractive to him.

David Spared Saul

6 “The Lord knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king,” he said to his men. “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”
7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
1 Samuel 24:6-7 (NLT)

In the previous article, we have seen how David bounced back from being a fugitive to a folk hero. He was down for a moment but he always bounced back. Why? He was a king in the inside. The difference between winners and losers is the attitude inside them. When a loser loses, he loses. However, when a winner loses, he will eventually win back. Winners cannot help but win.

In David’s case, he was already a king inside him. Even though he was running and hiding like a fugitive, he could still attract hundreds of men to follow him. When the nearby town faced attacks, David’s immediate reaction was to help them as though he was their king. He was behaving like a king even before he was officially crowned as one. This tells us that every blessing of God begins spiritually.

The ultimate failure of socialism lies in its assumption that riches are only external. In a socialist’s mind, the rich oppress the poor. Their solution to end poverty is simple, take the money from the rich and give to the poor. Everyone will live happily ever after. However the facts say otherwise. The largest communist country in the world has become capitalist. Countries that adopt socialist welfare system have to impose high taxes on their wealthy citizens. Such taxes will only hinder their drive to achieve or simply drives them away.

The world has realized that giving money to the poor will not end poverty. Once the poor have finished spending their money, they will be poor again because poverty is inside them. Prosperity must begin from the inside. We have to be spiritually prosperous before we can be physically prosperous. David was such a man.

So, David became a hero again. Unfortunately, the news of his achievement had reached the king. This incident had exposed his location. King Saul mobilized his army to attack David.

8 So Saul mobilized his entire army to march to Keilah and besiege David and his men.
1 Samuel 23:8 (NLT)

The king’s army could not have marched in secret. The news of the army marching toward Keilah had reached David. David still had one advantage. When he first escaped, he took along a priest and the ephod with him. The ephod was the equivalent of a mobile phone to God. It was used to seek God’s directions. So, David used it to seek further directions from God.

9 But David learned of Saul’s plan and told Abiathar the priest to bring the ephod and ask the Lord what he should do.
10 Then David prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, I have heard that Saul is planning to come and destroy Keilah because I am here.
11 Will the leaders of Keilah betray me to him? And will Saul actually come as I have heard? O Lord, God of Israel, please tell me.” And the Lord said, “He will come.”
12 Again David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah betray me and my men to Saul?” And the Lord replied, “Yes, they will betray you.”
1 Samuel 23:9-12 (NLT)

He had 2 bad news. First, King Saul will come to capture him. Secondly, the leaders of Keilah will betray him to save their lives. So, the only way out was to leave the city and hide in the wilderness. Meanwhile, Saul arrived and started to hunt for David.

Both teams played cat and mouse game. There was a break in the middle of the game when the Philistines made trouble at the borders. So, King Saul stopped the hunt to deal with the problem. However after he settled the Philistines problem, he was back to hunt for David again.

One day, as Saul was relieving himself in a cave, he stumbled into David’s ambush. It was David’s opportunity to kill Saul to solve his problem.

4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.
5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.
6 “The Lord knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king,” he said to his men. “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”
7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
1 Samuel 24:5-7 (NLT)

However, David refused to kill Saul. In his mind Saul was still the king, anointed by God. When David was first anointed by Samuel, the prophet never mentioned the word “king”. At that time, no one on earth except Samuel and Saul knew that God had chosen another king to replace Saul. So, David believed that killing Saul would be dishonoring God.

How was he going to solve his problems if he did not kill Saul and seize his kingdom? Obviously, David must have believed that God will make a way. His faith was fully in God’s faithfulness to him. He trusted God to deliver him even if he did not kill Saul. This is faith.

David called out to Saul.

8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.
9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you?
10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’
11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.
12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you.
13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. 14 Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea?
15 May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”
1 Samuel 24:8-15 (NLT)

His logic was perfect. The piece of Saul’s robe in David’s hand had proven that David had never intended to seize Saul’s throne. The entire speech above has shown that Saul was totally wrong. As a result, Saul regretted his actions.

16 When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry.
17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil.
18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it.
19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.
20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule.
21 Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”
1 Samuel 24:16-21 (NLT)

In his repentance, Saul had mentioned something very interesting. Saul first got jealous and wanted to kill David because of the latter’s military success. He suspected David was the one God had chosen to replace him because of the military success. In Verse 20, Saul was convinced that David would be the new king anointed by God. Why? David showed him mercy. He even wanted David to swear that his family would not be harmed when David took the throne.

This is the power of mercy. David’s mercy toward Saul had overcome Saul’s determination to kill him. The world sees mercy as a weakness but God sees it as strength. When we are acting in mercy, we are acting in the power of God. No other power is greater.

What is mercy in the first place? It is the willingness in not returning evil for evil. Saul had been trying to use any means to kill David but when he fell into the hands of David, David spared him. David could have killed Saul but he didn’t. Saul recognized that as God’s anointing on David. Saul pleaded David not to harm his family when he become king.

The lesson for us here is we should not be ashamed to show mercy to those who have wronged us. Mercy is a powerful force from God. There will definitely be people who will take advantage of your mercy. In situations like this, let God deal with them. Those who take advantage and abuse your mercy had placed themselves as the enemies of God. Don’t feel angry with them, fell sorry instead. Being the enemy of God is not an enviable position.

David Became An Outlaw Hero

4 So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.”
5 So David and his men went to Keilah. They slaughtered the Philistines and took all their livestock and rescued the people of Keilah.
1 Samuel 23:4-5 (NLT)

We continue with the story of David. In the previous article, we read on David settling in a cave in Adullam. His brothers and relatives joined him there. He had attracted 400 men who were in trouble, debt and discontented. One day a prophet told David to move to Judah. So, David lead his group to settle in the forest of Hereth, in the territory of Judah.

Meanwhile, King Saul was in an offensive mode. Based on his words, we can see that he was not exactly a fair king. He favored those from his tribe for high positions in his government. Today, we call this “cronyism”. King Saul reminded his cronies that without him, they would never have enjoyed the high positions they had then. Therefore, it was to their interest that they should help the king to eliminate every threat to his throne. They were to help the king to capture and kill David. The operation begun.

They arrested the priest who gave David a sword and some bread. When the king interrogated the priest, his answer was he did not know at that time that David was an outlaw. So he treated David like who he knew David to be, an army commander and the son-in-law of the king. Such answer did not satisfy the king. As a result, King Saul had the priest and his entire family killed. King Saul had become a cruel tyrant. Fortunately for David, King Saul did not know his exact location. So, David was temporary safe.

One day in Keilah, David received a news report.

1 One day news came to David that the Philistines were at Keilah stealing grain from the threshing floors.
2 David asked the Lord, “Should I go and attack them?”
“Yes, go and save Keilah,” the Lord told him.
1 Samuel 23:1-2 (NLT)

Please note that at that time, David was a fugitive himself. He was in deep trouble. Yet, he was ready to help the community there when they had trouble with the Philistines. This tells us that David did not spend his time wallowing in self-pity. He was not a negative person. He did not have pity parties with the 400 troubled men that followed him. If David had been wallowing in self-pity, he would not have been so eager to help. He asked the Lord and the Lord told him to go to save Keilah.

However, he had some problem with his followers.

3 But David’s men said, “We’re afraid even here in Judah. We certainly don’t want to go to Keilah to fight the whole Philistine army!”
1 Samuel 23:3 (NLT)

Let us face the truth. Those 400 guys were not exactly first class warriors. They were negative people. They were afraid to move on to big things. The idea of going to Keilah to fight the Philistines was too overwhelming for them.

David asked the Lord again.

4 So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.”
1 Samuel 23:4 (NLT)

The Lord not only asked David to go, he gave the assurance that he will help David to win. At last David’s men were willing to go. I suspect that must be the biggest challenge they faced up to that time.

5 So David and his men went to Keilah. They slaughtered the Philistines and took all their livestock and rescued the people of Keilah.
1 Samuel 23:5 (NLT)

They won. The Lord kept his promise. Those 400 men had achieved the greatest victory up to that time.

Let us see what we can learn from this story. This story took place when David was in deep trouble himself. He was running away from the king. The king wanted to kill him because he was too successful in carrying out the king’s orders. Don’t you think this is very unfair for David? David had practically lost everything he worked for. He had worked hard and risked his life fighting for the king. Yet the king wanted to kill him.

What will you do if you were in David’s position? I am sure many will start to give up hope, complain, talk negative and indulge in pity parties. Some may even resort to drugs. Life is so unfair. David did not do any of those. He remained faithful to God and maintained positive attitude. He was convinced that whatever the king meant for evil, his God can turn them around for his good.

He was so positive that he attracted 400 men who were in bad situations themselves. Why do you think they followed David? Were they after money and ranks? David had none of those. They must have seen hope in David. David must have been talking positive to them and gave them hope. If there were theologians around at that time, they would have labeled David as a “Prosperity Preacher”.

When David heard of the trouble the community faced, his first response was to go to help. He seemed to have forgotten that he was in bigger problem himself. Why is that so? I suspect David did not allow his troubles to stop him from following his heart. His heart was to help his people. In other words, David did not spend his days in thinking about his problems. He must have spent his time encouraging his 400 followers and thinking of ways to help his people. This explains his eagerness to help when he heard of trouble faced by the community. He immediately asked the Lord for direction and mobilized his men for battle.

However, those guys were too scared to fight. Instead of passing judgement to them like a theologian, David asked God again and got the assurance of God’s help. At last he managed to persuade his followers to go to battle with him. They fought and won. Winning battles may be a routine for David but it meant a great deal to those 400 men who were in trouble, debt and discontentment. They had achieved something that they never dared to imagine. This battle must have caused them to overcome their limiting beliefs and start to think big. I suspect these men had risen from negative mindsets. David had succeeded not only to help the people of Keilah to get their grains back, he had helped those 400 men to gain confidence and positive outlook in life.

David accomplished all these when he was a fugitive himself. God had used him even before he formally become king. God can do the same for us. I have a religious guy telling me that God can still use me even if I am poor (as though I don’t know that). Of course, God can use us when we are poor and sick but it does not meant that we must always remain poor and sick for God to use. God used David when he was a fugitive but David did not live as a fugitive for the rest of his life. He became king. God wanted David to be a king.

Likewise, just because God can still use us when we are sick and poor, it does not mean that he wants us to be sick and poor. It is the will of God for all Christians to be healthy and rich. At the Cross, Jesus died poor for us to live rich. By His stripes we are healed. So, if you are sick and poor right now, start believing to receive your abundance of health and wealth for God. At the same time, do not hesitate to help those around you in whatever way you can. In doing so, you will be sowing seeds for more prosperity to come. This is what David did. If you read more about him, he lived to old age with great prosperity. The same can happen to us if we believe and don’t give up.