The Lonely and Confused Life of the King in waiting without a Mentor

The Greater “King to be” learning how to handle the dethroned “king in situ.”
(1 Samuel 19:18-20:1a)
The ten to twelve year old child who Samuel had drenched with a full horn of oil, was now a man. The fresh faced youngster that reminded Samuel of the days when he was first hearing the word of God from the divine Lord, was now a bearded soldier.  The arms of the child that embraced the lambs, now swung a sword, as well as a sling, better than most in Israel. The sheltered and excluded youngest son of Jesse was now a bar-mitzvah’d and engaging young man possibly in his early to mid twenties. The youth that once surveyed and studied the lives of sheep, was now a leader and teacher of men, who surveyed the whole nation of Israel in his meditations. The innocence, and lack of knowledge of childhood, had dissipated into a deeply spiritual and perceptive man of God, exploring deep things of the Spirit, not to mention the hardships of life, with every breath he took. All this had developed without any mentoring or teaching from Samuel, just the mentoring of the Spirit of God who sat and remained upon him, and his own listening ear.
Just where had Samuel gone after that day he anointed the child David? Where had he been for those 15 years or so? Didn’t David need him?

At this point of the real-time of our story, this fighting, fearless, anointed, future king was under more pressure than he had ever been hitherto in his lifetime. He had been bold and courageous for Yahweh, and had destroyed Goliath who had intimidated thousands of warriors and blasphemed God. He had walked in purity of spirit all his life hitherto. The fact that people sang, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands,” in no way had spoilt David’s frame of mind. Stuff like that didn’t touch the future monarch, it was nothing but the popular voice that could praise him today and want him dead tomorrow. Crowds have always been the same. It was best to ignore it, and David did just that. Even with He who was far greater than David; it was, “Hosanna! Blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord” on Sunday, and “Crucify Him!” less than a week later. But Saul allowed that same pop song to rot his very soul. He brooded over it. He allowed the words to keep him awake at night. On top of that he kept company with an attached demonic spirit that encouraged and fed the jealous impulses of hell within him. This thing from the devil’s bosom had come only to kill, steal and destroy. And he was doing a great job with Saul. The jealousy that Saul’s heart vomited with every thought of his lost dynasty, went spiraling downwards to a bottomless well of hatred.

 
The son of Jesse was utterly innocent in this regard. As far as the scripture tells us, Saul’s thoughts were actively plotting and planning against David. It seems, however, that nobody, at first, had a clue of the animosity Saul accounted against the sweet psalmist of Israel. Perhaps he was projecting the animosity he held against Samuel, towards David instead. He was afraid of expressing that animosity against Samuel. David seemed easy prey. Who knows the depths of the psychology of death and corruption that was encrusting the soul of Saul ben Kish? At first the court of the king, as well as the general public, thought that Saul appreciated David in the same way as they did. It was Saul that invited him to stay with him, to look after the royal suit of armour and to sing to the king when appropriate. It was Saul that promoted him within the ranks of the military. It was Saul who seemingly wanted David to be his son-in law … seemingly! Seemingly, Saul loved David. Little did the populace know.  But where was Samuel while Saul’s environment of intrigue was getting darker and stickier, and David’s life was in the balance, never mind his sanity?
 
The demonic plots of Saul to rid himself of the man that was more popular than he was, were rampant in his creative evil. At first David was welcomed into the family circle. Saul kept David with him from the day of Goliath’s death (1 Samuel 18:2). No ill motive is indicated at that point.  Although the malice of the king is not mentioned until the ladies of the nation started singing their song, with all things considered, if the King, who was the tallest man in the whole State of Israel, had trembled for nearly six weeks under Goliath’s braggadocio, surely it would be inconsistent with the overall biography of Saul, to think he kept David with him simply because of love and appreciation. Perhaps Saul was merely subscribing to the philosophy that calls on a person to keep one’s friends close, but to keep one’s enemies even closer.
Fear of any superior seeming character must have touched him from the moment Samuel told him that the kingdom was going to another who was better than him, even if it was subliminal at the beginning.  He was the tallest, and he was the king, and he had, to a point, shown himself to be brave in battle. Yet for nearly 6 weeks (40 days) he had failed to act and lead the armies of Israel out into battle against Goliath and the host of the Philistines. This youth, in his mid teens, had done what nobody else could or would do. If jealousy was not birthed in Saul between the moment that Goliath fell to the ground, and the next moment when David decapitated the giant, I would suggest that King Saul was walking in New Testament apostolic grace – which he definitely was not. Chagrin, fear and jealousy must have gripped Saul’s heart when he saw the giant fall. But how silly, for a mature man who must have been on the throne for around 25 years at the time of 1 Samuel 17, to fear a 15 year old. Saul must have fought a dreadful and bloody battle within his mind and lost. Should he love David for his music? Or despise him because of his popularity? The balance of Saul’s mind was under siege, and there was a demon that desired to push him off the scales.

David was coming to grips with the battle’s of life while Samuel was off the national and international scene, as far as we know. What was Samuel thinking? How did he keep himself busy? Why hadn’t he seen David at all during the fifteen years since he had anointed the little lad?  

David’s anointing brought him success in everything he put his hand to.  When David told Saul that he had killed lions and bears whilst defending his sheep, it undoubtedly took place after the anointing that Samuel performed upon him (1 Samuel 17:34-37). Once David reached 20, and joined the ranks of the military, he was incredibly successful in every sortie he was sent on.  David was promoted to a high rank in the army because of his valour and leadership, and the text suggests he was famous, known and sung about all over the country (1 Samuel 18:5). He was even extremely popular amongst all the senior military leaders of Israel. I find it also difficult to believe that Saul smiled all the way through David’s ascent into battle glory as well as into the hearts of the nation. Samuel must surely have heard of the national joy and merry making of the up and coming son of Jesse. He must have known what was happening in the court of the king as affection and support was heaped on his new general. Did the people have any love left for Saul?

What Saul missed completely, was what was most obvious. David’s success, popularity, and development of love, support and followers, was not a natural thing at all. It was a God thing. It was an anointing that just sat upon David’s life. Success and victory just followed him like a lap dog wherever he went and whatever he put his hand to. Saul must have had the mental facility to see and perceive this, as it was the very same process and exactly the same Spirit of God that had been with him when he had been chosen, anointed, in his early days as king. The demonic cloud that now pervaded his understanding simply held him back from seeing it or understanding who David was. The eyes of his understanding were utterly blinded to the phenomena of David’s personage and the trail of success and blessing that he left behind him wherever he went. His insecurities and fears caused him to see David as nothing but a young, “upstart,” that was challenging his own popularity. Oh the evil contrivances of a spirit of jealousy. Oh the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

It was in the earlier days of David’s ascent that Saul heard the hit song about David doing better as a soldier than he was. It was from Saul’s first hearing of the popular ditty that the king finally allowed his tormented spirit, and the demonic stronghold that was filling his mind, to take over. It was, “all demonic systems go,” in Saul’s heart from 1 Samuel 18:8 onwards. From that very moment Saul kept a jealous eye on David (1 Samuel 18:9). “Kept,” means it was a continuous, sustained eye on the man who was to be his successor. 24/7.  “Kept an … eye on David,” means that his animosity became an obsession. It suggests it was Saul’s secret addiction. The fact that this compulsion was birthed in and sustained by jealousy means it was from hell. Jealousy led to lusting for David’s death. That spirit of murder lead to sinful murderous actions. Those actions would take Saul’s self control away from him.  Oh the anguish of the situation! Quite literally, an animalistic tormented  spirit of murder was ruling Israel in the person of the king.

Sentiments of death were ruling the promised land of life and prosperity. David, at that early point of time was completely ignorant of what Saul’s thoughts were feeding on, as, I suspect, was the entire royal court. Was Samuel made aware of the king’s dissipation of character and mind? I wonder! Did Samuel have any idea how the little lad whom he had anointed to be king, was faring? I feel certain that Samuel was either told from heaven, or by his those people who reported to him. Did Samuel know all of David’s bundle of life? Does a fish swim in the sea?  Does God do anything without telling His prophets (Amos 3:7)? I am convinced when I chew over the sacred text, that Samuel knew the whole story.

Saul had weakly and wilfully opened the door. Demonic infestation quickly followed. The very next day an evil spirit came on Saul, “forcefully.” That is exactly what the scripture tells us. His darkness was complete. Note the moment that the demon burst upon Saul. It states that “Saul was prophesying in his house.” The gifts of God, without the character of God within, are no protection for an evil heart. The jealousy made it legal for the spirit to enter. Saul was prophesying whilst David was playing music to soothe the King’s mind. The scripture says, “…as he usually did.” David played to Saul regularly, and it did not only subdue the demon and allow Saul to prophesy, but through the prophesying Saul’s reason and perception obviously returned. So in the midst of anointed music and prophecy, the demon breaks out of the routine of normalcy, choosing to surface in Saul’s consciousness,  and decides to take hold of Saul; and the Javelin/spear that Saul had in his hand that was being tape wound, perhaps, or admired, suddenly became active in the mind of Saul as a weapon of death. Of a sudden, like being struck by a death blow, Saul thought to himself about pinning David to the wall. The spear was thrown at the musician in a blatant attempt to kill him.

1 Samuel 18:11 says that David eluded the throw of Saul’s attempt at murder twice. Whether it means twice in the same day, or on different occasions we are not informed. But we now have the rising star of Israel’s hopes on the battlefield, having to hide from the king of the nation he served. What an incredible anomaly! In his early twenties, how was he to process his own desperate situation in the machinery of his own understanding? What was David’s state of mind under this kind of pressure? Was he going to lose his integrity in the choices he had to make in order to cope with death threats from – of all people –  the king? By any standards, it must have seemed utterly surreal to the young soldier. It was such a paradox of reality, it must have seemed like a contradiction to David. It was a complete oddity. The man who had lost the anointing was on the verge of killing the one who would succeed him. There was an absurd ambiguity in the fact that the one who had lost the kingship was in a superior position, trying to use the people of the kingdom over whom David was to rule, in order to kill him. How was David handling the enigmatic inconsistency of being pursued to death by his own people? What was going through David’s mind as Saul’s priorities developed to the point where at times he was to ignore the Philistines and other enemies of Israel, and drag the armies of Israel along with him in pursuit of the outlawed son of Jesse?

The monarch was afraid of David, because he could see that consistent success and achievement was with him, that same achievement and victory that had left him because of his shocking series of choices. So now, Israel had a king filled with jealousy as well as fear, both of which characteristics were stirred and blended into a murderous obsession towards David. Didn’t Samuel have something to say that would pour oil on these troubled waters? Where was the prophet of God when he was so desperately required?

What should David do? Where should he go?

 

 

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Categories: 1 Samuel 19 :18 - 20:1a, The greater pursued by the lesser, The Lonely and Confused Life of the King in waiting without a Mentor, The madness of King Saul, The silence of Samuel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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