1 Samuel 19

I see visions of old cartoons from my memories of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, both competing for the persons decision. This actually harkens to the Islamic belief of jinn. Regardless of where it comes from, there is some truth to the fact that evil spirits can swing someone's mood and/or entice. In this case, the evil spirit was sent from the Lord.

Jonathon talked sense into his father, and Saul was convinced and wasn't going to harm David. However, it didn't take long before a bad mood brought about Saul's darkest desires, which gave birth to a pursuit of murder.

We can be like Saul, we can also have dark desires and circumstances and a certain emotional state can bring these things out in us. So the question is, how can we avoid those circumstances and emotional state? I don't know what works the best, but often times I simply do my best to avoid those circumstances and/or replace those thoughts with more godly ones. Jesus uses the Word of God to fend off temptation - which is probably the best way to handle any temptation.

1 Samuel 18

David prospered, Saul becomes jealous.

There are two sides to this story; the prosperous one and the jealous one. Let's look at the prosperous one first. It can certainly be said that God caused David to prosper, He caused all the right things to happen at the right time. David needs to be a willing recipient of God's blessing however. This willingness is partnered with patience, faithfulness and obedience. Really patience is inseparable with faithfulness and obedience - but it is key here.

David knew what Samuel had anointed him for, but was willing to be patient and let God work out the circumstances. Not only did he know that he would succeed Saul one day, but he also served Saul faithfully knowing this. I think it is clear that it wasn't David's motivation to supplant Saul, but to serve both him and God well.

Now on to Saul's jealousy, now who wouldn't be a bit jealous when you're king and your people are singing someone else's praises over you. You didn't really want to be king in the first place, but you accepted and you served and worked hard in it. Now someone else is getting a lot of the credit. Yes, I can understand maybe a moment of jealousy. But, this is happening in more than one place, it was happening in all the cities of Israel. So it was becoming a constant and nagging pain.

After having identified with Saul about the issues he faced, really I need to ask. What was the proper response? Maybe as the leader be focusing less on praising one person over the other and focus more on praising the One Who really brought the victory. Saul knew that God wasn't going to let his dynasty succeed, but as leader of the nation he could have been more of a Moses going out strong and less of a sore loser. Even though Moses sinned, he remained faithful and was remembered as godly. Saul isn't remembered that way.

1 Samuel 17

David and Goliath This is a story that most my age had heard growing up in Sunday School. One of the favorites, with songs and metaphors and you know all that.

It has all the elements of a great story, the big bad boss guy named Goliath of whom everyone was afraid. The little boy hero that is yet 'undiscovered,' and one more element - faith in, boldness because and credit given to God. We know that the Spirit of the Lord was with David since he had been anointed, here we see the fruit of it.

You may have noticed that not everyone was around when David first responded to what Goliath said, he had persisted in telling people and in asking people about the situation. So much so that it got back to the king. It may have taken David some time to build up to the point of volunteering himself to fight Goliath, but when it came down to it he trusted his experience that God had given him in the past in trusting God for protection against lions and bears and having the courage to fight them.

Is there a Goliath experience awaiting us in our future? What part will we play? The solder that runs away? The king that does nothing? The young one full of the Spirit of God who recalled the experiences that God had given him and that was incited to react when the armies of the Living God were taunted.

1 Samuel 16

We don't always see what God sees, God looks at the heart. We can only look at the outside. It takes time for us to get to know someone - by what we would consider their heart, we need to get to know them. God knows us so much better than we do and God is able to see so much better than we do. He understands how we are knit together. He knows our hearts.

This process that Samuel went through, I think of what would be akin to an interview. Even though we may be able to look or appear to be the right candidate, man may not be able to tell. However, God knows.

God is working for the people that He chooses, right away here after his anointing we see that David is ushered into the realm of authority in Israel. It doesn't take long (in record) before we see that all this happens. David was 30 when he became king, so the process was filled with a long road, patience and struggles. But we do see that God works right away to work out the process of His plan for His chosen people. We are His chosen people, and even though there are struggles and a long road ahead of us and it takes a lot of patience. We can be assured that God is working out His plan to carry out His promised word. Amen!

1 Samuel 15

Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Every word that Saul was told that God wanted for him to do. You know I can see this happening to me in Saul's place. I am not very detailed oriented, likely because of this I may not make a good king. However, when it is someone important, we are likely to pay closer attention to what they want of us. In this case, this is a checklist that Saul should have had written down and cross off as it has been done.

Instead, Saul or someone else had a 'good idea' to save the best so that they could be sacrificed unto the Lord. Which in most cases would probably have been a great idea. However, in this case, it went against God's word and will. This is where we get a great context for the saying 'To obey is better than to sacrifice'.

I know that this is a challenge for me, I am not so good with details of God's word and it is all there written down for me. I really need to take the time to study it and to know it so I am not caught in a 'good idea' without first considering what God says about it.

1 Samuel 14

I have to wonder if Jonathan became king what kind of king he would have made. There is a lot of David in Jonathan, or could be that there is a lot of Jonathan in David. Jonathan was apparently loved by the people. His confidence was in God and loyal to his father. I believe that he would have been a good king, one that followed God. However, he was the son of Saul - God did not establish Saul's kingdom so it seems that Jonathan was a victim of his father's disobedience.

We also see here in this chapter how important it is to keep your oath. Saul was willing to kill his own son to keep the oath and keep whole with God so as not to incur God's wrath because of disobedience to the oath. Once again we are reminded to think twice about making oaths and promises. Do not make an oath or be rash about making them. Have you made an oath? Do you remember them?