1 Samuel 18:1-16 The Man Who Fears God Fears No One
1 Samuel 18:1-16
Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said,
“Saul has slain his thousands. And David his ten thousands.”
Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.
Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice.
Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.
David’s introduction into the court of Saul was not in the least straightforward. Although, he was immensely favored by Jonathan and loved by the servants of Saul, his overwhelming success in his military campaigns made King Saul his number one enemy. Despite his demotion, David continued to prosper in what he was given to do and he received ardent support from the people. This passage teaches us that the man who fears God, fears no one and he will continue to prosper under all circumstances.
Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. – David was lionized as a result of his victory over Goliath. David’s act in facing off Goliath singlehandedly was a reflection of Jonathan’s own heroic incursion at the Philistine garrison (1 Samuel 14). Jonathon was drawn not so much to David’s prowess but to his spirit of valor. Jonathon’s ideals resonated with David’s and they made an alliance together: the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Alliances are essential for survival in the court of Saul. Jonathan stripped himself of his robe and armor and invested in David the elements of his own princely status. Because of his deep love and respect for David, this gesture accorded to David a royal standing that made David his equal.
Saul has slain his thousands. And David his ten thousands – David exploded into the political scene, garnering overwhelming admiration from the population at large. Wherever Saul sent, David faithfully went and succeeded. David’s appointment to higher levels of command was well received by all and even his rivals. David’s rise from oblivion proved too much for Saul when the women’s victory song seemed to have presented David in a more favorable light than Saul. In Hebrew poetic culture, “thousands” and “ten thousands” are occasionally used in parallel for cumulative effect. It would be hard to imagine the women deliberately singing a “politically incorrect” tune that might spell trouble for them. Nevertheless, the “usual” but insensitive victory theme stirred up within Saul the seed of jealousy that took on a intractable life of its own: Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.
Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. – Saul consumed by his own insecurity and desire for recognition was incessantly tormented by an evil spirit. As usual, David was called upon to perform his duty, only this time Saul took occasion kill him with a spear. In a bid to contain David’s rise, Saul subsequently demoted him to commander of 1000. Nevertheless, David continued to prosper in all his military campaigns and his popularity grew throughout Israel and Judah: But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them. Saul has grown to fear David, because he knew that God has rejected him as king and the Spirit of God has departed from him in favor of David.
- Christ will accord His princely status to those who share His ideals concerning the Kingdom. – Jonathan upon seeing David’s valor and devotion towards God and to Israel accorded to him his princely status. Similarly, God will accord to us His princely status and call us His brothers when we take on the mission of Christ and His Kingdom. Hebrews 2:11-12 say,
Christ is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”
Christ’s princely status includes His authority and insights to solve difficult problems. Jesus says that those who believe in His ideals and carry His passion will be given divine power to do His works,
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. John 14:12
- The man who fears God fears no one. David feared no one because he feared God and God is with him. Conversely and ironically, Saul feared David even though he is king of Israel. Saul was afraid because he knows that God is with David and evil will not prevail over the righteous. The Psalmist says,
The wicked will not rule the land of the godly. Psalm 125:3
On the other hand, the righteous is always at rest because he is well aware that no calamity is allowed to come near him without God’s permission. The Psalmist says,
A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand. But it shall not approach you. Psalm 91:7
David was bold and courageous in all his battles because he knows that God is with him. Proverbs 28:1 say, “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing. But the righteous are bold as a lion.” As long as a man fears God and embraces God’s disciplines in his life, he remains bold to prosper under all circumstances.
- Righteous and courageous people are attracted to a leader who is secure. Because a secure person is not driven by personal interest but by God’s vision to build His Kingdom, he attracts people of like virtues. A secure person is not threatened by one who seems more capable than he, because he knows his appointment and authority comes from God. A secure person knows his place and is focused on fulfilling the tasks given to him for he has no other motives except to do his duty. David continued to carry out his duty with the best of his abilities even though he was demoted and removed from Saul’s presence. A secure person does not create enemies, for even his rivals were at peace with him: Saul set David over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of … of Saul’s servants. In the later part of David’s career, with skillful hands and integrity of heart he built a team of righteous men of valor that helped him unite Israel. 1 Chronicles 11:10-47 provides a record of these mighty men of David and their achievements.
Conversely, an insecure person will not be able to groom a team based on vision and trust. Because an insecure person trusts no one, and is self-serving, he demotes and oppresses those who present the slightest threat. Saul’s sense of insecurity is shocking, in that he would destroy even those who risk their life fighting the battles for him.
- Do you share the same ideals with Christ concerning your career, finance, family and ministry? Would you put the work of the kingdom as the top priority of your life? If you share the same ideals and passions as Christ, then He will prosper you and entrust you with greater authority to do His work.
- Are you feeling insecure because you perceive others as better and more gifted than you are? God has a special purpose for every person; it is through this purpose that you find your area of gifting and fulfillment. When you are properly installed in your function, no one can threaten you or displace you.
Dear Lord, I desire to share the same ideals as you concerning the Kingdom. Help me overcome my insecurities and my doubts concerning my abilities. As I endeavor to be faithful to the tasks entrusted to me, strengthen my giftings so that I could be of greater service in your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.