Saul is beginning to look at David differently than before. The ‘green eyed monster’ is growing in his heart and David’s life is in danger because of it.
David has won the hearts of the people. But even more disturbing than that to Saul is that David is blessed by the Lord. Saul knows that the Lord’s favor has left him. The spirit that torments him is rock solid evidence of that. He also vividly remembers the words of Samuel about his kingdom being taken from him and given to another. He is putting two and two together and coming up with David as that someone.
David, on the other hand, has done nothing to give Saul cause to doubt his loyalty. He is content to serve Saul in any capacity asked of him. After killing Goliath David goes right back to playing music to sooth the king’s mind. He is NOT pressing for a better job or even a higher place in Saul’s service.
Today’s story starts slowly and gives us a close up on a couple of days. It quickly turns into a story that covers a great deal of time. There is no way I could do it justice trying to put it all in first person for it would take MUCH more time and talent than I have. I want to do the early story in first person though. Let’s see where the Holy Spirit takes us today.
♥ ♦ ♥
Israel’s army had returned from chasing the Philistines all the way home. They plundered the camp and the bodies that had fallen along the way. There were a lot of spoils including new weapons for Israel too. After this was completed it was time to head home.
The procession back to Gibeah found Saul, Jonathan, Abner and David in the lead. David still had Goliath’s head with him. He had put it in a bag to keep from frightening children they may pass but word had spread and everyone along their path knew what the bag contained anyway. People rushed out of every town they passed to see the returning heroes. The women danced on either side of the street calling back and forth to one another. Children ran about excitedly as the troops marched along.
At the beginning of this journey the exuberant displays by the people were endearing. The women’s song of victory was initially welcomed. They sang, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (verse 7b). It sang of the amazing victory the people had just completed.
As that song was picked up and carried along those coming to meet the champions it began to irritate one man in particular. That man was Saul. His thoughts became more and more distressing. “How dare they give David higher praise than their king! He has been in but ONE battle where I have served them faithfully for YEARS! Surely they know this.” When the song had gone on even longer his irritation deepened and real concern for his future replaced it. “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” (verse 8b). David was unaware of the effect this ‘song’ was having on his king.
Another was distressed by the songs that were being sung. That person was David. He was a humble lad. He had slain one, which led to the valiant men of Israel slaying ten thousand. He felt they were paying him praises he did not deserve but there was nothing he felt he could do about it. Saul was unaware of the effect this ‘song’ was having on his servant David.
If only there had been some way to halt the song. But that was not to be. It continued while the procession stopped in Jerusalem to have Goliath’s head mounted on a pike there. It continued into Gibeah where Saul’s own daughters joined in the song. It continued in Saul’s dreams when he was able to sleep. It consumed Saul’s thoughts during the day. It became the voice of the spirit that tormented him.
The spoken version had quieted within a day or two. Its echo left David shortly thereafter. He was more than ready to take up his original duties and NOT be the hero of the kingdom that it proclaimed him. Yet even as it faded from David’s mind its impact on him was not absent. David had no way of knowing how this ‘song’ was torturing his king.
David had resumed his duties as the lyre player for the king as soon as he dealt with his belongings; those brought by the servant from Bethlehem and those taken from the giant. David was overjoyed to be able to offer songs of praise to the Lord. He would lose himself in the music as it also soothed his master’s troubled soul. He had been called on more often lately as it seemed that Saul was always in a black mood. Even David’s music didn’t completely drive it away.
It had been nearly a week since returning from battling Goliath and the Philistines. Today Saul was in an unusually foul mood. David searched his soul for songs that would soothe his king. He had played and sung all he had known. Saul sat on his throne glowering in David’s direction.
David could feel Saul’s eyes watching him. He sent prayers heavenward for his king with his songs. He truly loved Saul and prayed for peace for his soul. After hours of playing and singing, David was thirsty. He reached down beside him to retrieve his wineskin. As he leaned to the left David heard a sound of exertion, a strong breeze stirred his hair and a thud that followed immediately on its heels.
Startled by the sounds, David quickly moved to straightened up. He ran into the shaft of Saul’s spear where it protruded from the wall. It stuck out of the wall in the place where David’s head should have been. David looked across the room at his king who wore a menacing scowl. David’s heart leapt within him and his feet quickly followed. He ran from the room taking no time to collect any of the items he was not presently holding. David run right into Jonathan who was coming down the hallway. Jonathan feels the tremors in David’s body and the look of fear on his face.
“What is the matter David?” Noticing the direction David is coming from Jonathan’s mind turns to his father. “Is my father hurt?”
“I don’t know. I was playing my lyre for him, trying to sooth his spirit. I had been playing all day and when I bent down to retrieve a drink from my wineskin, the spear that had been his hands was now impaled in the wall where I had just rested.”
Jonathan’s brow furrows. He is confused. How could his father have acted this way? Was there another explanation? “I will see to it my friend. Go to the kitchen. Wait for me there. I will bring word to you once I have seen to this.”
Jonathan enters Saul’s throne room. He only pauses momentarily before approaching his father. Saul’s face is shrouded in shadow.
“Father, tell me the meaning of your action against David. The lad tells me you hurled your spear at him and missed by a hairsbreadth.”
“I did? I must have been seized by an evil spirit. I have regained myself. Please bring the lad to me that I may make amends.”
Jonathan is grateful to hear his father’s desire to make things right again with David. Jonathan loves David as his own soul. He cannot bear to have a rift between the two men he cherishes the most.
Saul watches as Jonathan turns and leaves the room. He works hard to suppress his disdain of David. It was good that he was half hidden by the shadows of the room or his son may have been able to read the truth on his face. If only he hadn’t missed this whole thing would be over and he would be rid of that usurper. He must school his features before his son and the son of Jesse return.
Jonathan reaches the kitchen where David waits. “My father is distraught by his actions. He claims it was an evil spirit that seized him and that he has mastered it now. He requests your presence so that he may make amends.”
David breathes a sigh of relief and rises to follow Jonathan back into the throne room. They both arrive to find Saul sitting on his throne, holding David’s lyre. He is strumming it idly with his hand. Saul looks up and sees the two together. He holds out his free hand towards them.
“Come David. I would that you would play for me again. I regret greatly the actions forced on me by the evil spirit. Perhaps your music will free me from its grip even now.”
David walks to Saul’s side and puts his hand forward to receive his lyre. “I would be most pleased to be of service to you my king.”
Saul places David’s lyre in his outstretched hand. David returns to his customary seat to resume playing for Saul but his eye is drawn to the mark in the wall where Saul’s spear once hung. He decides that he will NOT let this evil spirit rob him of his love for his king; the Lord’s anointed. David pulls his eyes away and settles in to perform his duties to his king and his Lord. For the songs David plays are for the Lord as much as they are for Saul. David’s heart can’t help but praise the Lord.
Saul remains silent as David plays. The music is not having the effect it used to hold. It cannot quiet the jealousy building in Saul’s soul, especially when he sees his own son taking up for this usurper.
Jonathan watches and listens for a while. He loves hearing David play. He had intended to speak with his father regarding kingdom business but it will keep. He does not want to upset him, especially when he is already feeling troubled. Jonathan finally withdraws and leaves Saul in David’s hands.
Saul sneers as Jonathan leaves. “If you would only open your eyes to the truth” he thinks. “This BOY is trying to steal the kingdom right out of my hands! And YOU would let him do it!”
David’s spirit is troubled. He feels the need to leave. He finishes the song he had been playing then stands and collects his items. “My king, if I may have leave, I need to refresh myself. My mind is tired and I fear I am offering you no comfort in my present state.”
“You may leave” offers Saul.
David walks to the door of the throne room. At the last moment he dashes through it as if propelled by the hand of God. In that same instant Saul’s spear strikes the wall where David’s head would be if not for his quick movement.
From the other side of the door David hears Saul loose a fierce growl. David will not return to the throne room today. Saul is beyond his ability to help for now.
David returns the next day but is watchful while in Saul’s presence. His music suffers from the divided attention. Several days go by with this strained relationship before Saul calls a halt to these duties.
“I have need of your services in other areas. Your other talents are being wasted here with me. Report to Abner. The Lord has shown that He is with you in battle. Our forces need leaders whom are favored by the Lord. You will be made a leader of a thousand. Lead them well.”
David is confused by this appointing. He has not served but in one battle. Certainly this does not qualify him as a commander of a thousand. But he will do as his king commands and trust the Lord with the rest.
“I will endeavor to serve you well my king. I am unworthy of such a distinction.”
“That may be so but it is yours none the less. Make the best of it.”
David, to his own astonishment, did very well in this role. It took time for those under him to accept him but his willingness to learn and fierce dedication to his men won their hearts. Together, under the Lord’s hand, they would do many mighty works in Israel. The people would love David for the protection he provided them.
The more David succeeded the more Saul feared him. The people’s love for David fueled that fear and hate. Saul knew he could not lift a hand against David. The people would not allow it.
♥ ♦ ♥
We are not given details, at this time, regarding the battles David fought for Saul during this later time. We don’t get to see his early days/months in his new role as a commander. I’m assuming that his troops had a hard time accepting a ‘youth’ as their leader in the beginning. I wonder how long it took to gain their confidence. I’m certain that his defeat of Goliath helped some in this area. But he wasn’t a leader. He had a LOT of learning to do. God carried him through that too. God met him at the point of his need EVERY TIME.
He can be counted on to do the same for us, when we put ourselves in His hands. He WANTS to do good with our lives. He WANTS to give us good things. He WANTS to bless us. But we have to be willing to walk in His ways; go where He sends us. Only then can we see His hand unleashed in our lives and our world.
THIS IS NOT A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS AND UNLIMITED BLESSINGS. It is walking with God so close that you can’t help but be part of the wonderful things He is doing in the world. REGARDLESS of how frightening this world looks today, GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL. Trust Him. David did and you can too.
Father God, I want to walk so close to You that the moves I make are the ones You designed. I want to be Your hands and feet (fingers too). I trust You to lead me where I need to be, even if it is somewhere I don’t feel qualified to be. If YOU place me there YOU will give me what I need to succeed and to bless those around me.
David’s world looks so out of control from where I stand. He wasn’t even allowed to choose his own home. He was caught in the middle. Saul on one side, Jonathan on the other. Satin on one side, You on the other. That’s where we all stand but his life took on a more urgent struggle than mine ever has. But You are just as faithful today as You were in the days of David. The upheavals of today are NOT beyond Your reach. I trust You to care for me every step of the way home. I give You my life, wherever that leads.