Updated: Mar 19
1 Samuel 24-27
For those just joining us on our Bible in a year adventure here is a catch-up...
The book of Samuel initially follows the life of a messenger for God, (known as a prophet), called Samuel. God’s followers began to grumble that they didn’t have a king ruling over them as the surrounding nations did so they pleaded with God, against all advice, to establish a majesty, stating: “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20).
The first King was Saul. He looked exactly as all thought a king should be; described as ‘handsome as a young man can be… and a head taller than anyone else’. Unfortunately, as time passed Saul’s rule and reign became less and less godly. He acted in ways that displeased God. This led God to promise Samuel that a young boy named David would surpass as King. The focus was moved from physical beauty to Godliness. You may be familiar with God’s verdict: “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused [Saul]. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Fast forward to today’s reading (1 Samuel 24-27) and as you can see we have a game of thrones at play. Saul is on the hunt for David’s life, he doesn’t want to give up his throne. He seemingly knows and sees that David’s lifestyle is more apt for a King of God's people but remains unwilling to relinquish the throne. Meanwhile, David is given two opportunities to slay the man after his own life, yet is unwilling to do so. David is keen to establish his rule without fear and warmongering.
These passages to me oversee two ways a Kingdom can be established. Fear or Love. The Kingdom of God is one of love, we read elsewhere in the New Testament ‘perfect love casts out all fear’. We, like David, can choose to engage with those who are against us in a loveable way. Despite the animosity between Saul and David, David still chose to call Saul ‘My Lord and King’ (24:8+26:17). What a toxic relationship! Today we are invited to call our God our Lord and King. For us, this isn’t a toxic relationship but a perfect one. Our Lord and King isn’t trying to kill us but heal us. God wants to dwell in unity with us. He has already proven this for us through the life of Jesus. Who came to Earth and established a Kingdom of peace.
The middle chapter about Abigail is fascinating. She is a peacemaker that saved lives (25:18). Knowing the right thing to say wasn’t enough. She was wise enough to discern when and what to say at the right time (25:36). We also are message carriers, God has given us a ministry of reconciliation. We have the amazing news of Jesus but need to be wise in how we share it.
This is how Paul expressed this sentiment in the New Testament:
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience... 14 Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.