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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Family knots (1 Samuel 18)

Is it unusual to be loved by a son and daughter of a man who hates you? Whether it is unusual or not, David found himself in this situation when the son and daughter of Saul opposed their father with regard to David.

Of course, there are many forms of love and in the friendship of David and Jonathan we have a beautiful example of godly brotherly love. This friendship would be a great encouragement to David for the next few years. It is ironic that David’s natural brother Eliab provided no encouragement for David whereas the son of Saul, who would have expected to be the next king, was delighted to encourage the one who would become king.

Jonathan expressed his brotherly love for David by giving to him gifts that indicated his estimation of David. He provided David with attire and weapons that befitted a leading soldier in Saul’s army. Having received them, David quickly rose in the ranks of the army and the esteem of the people. Yet Jonathan, in having given what may have seemed to be an unimportant present, helped David in the path laid out for him by God. I suppose we should ask ourselves, ‘How am I helping a fellow believer serve God?’ Little things can help often as much as big things.

David’s success brought out the worst in Saul who became furious with envy and even attempted to kill David. When that did not work, Saul resorted to intrigue, first making David a commander of a troop. This also was an attempt to get David killed, this time in battle. How far can jealousy make a person go? Sadly there can be jealousy in the hearts of Christian leaders, accompanied by malicious thoughts and words, and sometimes actions. Saul’s attempt to destroy David failed because the Lord was protecting him. We should ask God to protect our spiritual leaders.

Saul also was prepared to use his own children to demean David, as in the case of his elder daughter Merab whom he promised to David and then gave to another man. He then discovered that his other daughter Michel loved David, and Saul saw in this relationship a way of having David killed in battle. He devised a plan that would involve David having to kill one hundred Philistines and then he would have Michel as his wife.

Again the scheme failed and all it accomplished was to make known in a wider way the competency of David who managed to slay two hundred of the enemy. God over-ruled all the attempts of Saul to diminish David and because God did this David increased in ability and esteem. Need we fear the antics of opponents when God is on our side? We should use those occasions as opportunities to discover God-given abilities that we can use in the service of his kingdom.

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