Friday, November 25, 2016

A Tale of Two Kings

There are many lessons to learn by contrasting the lives of two men -- Saul and David, who had both been anointed by God to serve as king of Israel. Let us consider that passage of Scripture in which David lamented the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan. Though Saul was his enemy, who had hunted him down like an animal, David mourned for him, just as he did for his best friend Jonathan. One of the repeated lines in that lament was “How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Sam 1:19,25,27).

Yet Saul himself was responsible for his own defeat and for the defeat of Israel by the Philistines. He was jealous of David, the Lord’s anointed and tried to kill him. Saul was rebellious and arrogant, and the Lord had rejected him as king (1 Sam 15:23). The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit tormented him (1 Sam 16:14). He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord no longer answered him (1 Sam 28:6). God had turned away from him (1 Sam 28:15), so he consulted a medium (a witch), which was an abomination to God (1 Sam 28:7-8; Lev 19:31). And when he saw that the enemy was defeating him, he took his own life (1 Sam 31:4). So while David was very gracious in his lament, the fact is that when Saul had fallen, he was the one who had brought it all upon himself and upon the nation through his own sin.

On the other hand, David had always operated with integrity, meekness, and humility. He never retaliated against Saul. He did not return evil with evil, but with a blessing. If Saul had stopped trying to kill David, he would have remained in Saul’s service, submitted humbly to the king, leading his armies to victory in battle. He was a man of righteousness and honor, who spared Saul’s life on two occasions (1 Samuel 23:14-24:22; 26). In fact, his tender conscience was stricken after he merely cut off the corner of Saul’s robe (1 Sam 24:5). He was a loving and faithful man with a servant’s heart.

Saul was a type that represented the religious leader who operates in the flesh, seeking to control people, rather than love them, and David represented the one who walks meekly and humbly by the Spirit. As a man after God’s own heart, David also represents Christ, the Son of David. The story of Saul and David is a great lesson for all pastors today to follow David’s example and not Saul’s.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Saul and David painting by Rembrandt 1665-60. Saul Attacking David by Guercino (1646).

Author's note:  If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page, such as The Servant of the Lord, The Shepherding Role of Elders, Success in God's Eyes, Accountable, correctable, and teachable, A Personality Profile of the Apostle Paul, Persecuted or Popular?, David, A Man After God's Own Heart, and Having a Servant's Heart. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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