1 Samuel 19:18-24 Finding God’s Favor Amidst Injustice
1 Samuel 19:18-24 Finding God’s Favor Amidst Injustice
So David escaped and went to Ramah to see Samuel, and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then Samuel took David with him to live at Naioth. 19 When the report reached Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah, 20 he sent troops to capture him. But when they arrived and saw Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men, and they also began to prophesy. 21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent other troops, but they, too, prophesied! The same thing happened a third time. 22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah and arrived at the great well in Secu. “Where are Samuel and David?” he demanded.
“They are at Naioth in Ramah,” someone told him.
23 But on the way to Naioth in Ramah the Spirit of God came even upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy all the way to Naioth! 24 He tore off his clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet.”
With Saul hot on his heels, David escapes to the sanctuary of the prophets. Saul having caught wind of David’s whereabouts sent his men after him only to be overcome by a mysterious influence. God has established boundaries that the agents of evil cannot cross so that the righteous may be protected. Today’s passage teaches us to rest in God’s protection from the agents of evil; God will show us favor when we remain righteous despite being treated unjustly. No sickness, poverty or disaster will be able to touch us without God’s express permission.
They are at Naioth in Ramah
David, being sidelined and relegated as a fugitive, now seeks divine counsel. It is not hard to imagine David’s despair, having risked his life in service and but with unrequited loyalty lost his family and all that he possessed. When the report reached Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah, Saul sent his troops to pursue him.
What? Is even Saul a prophet
Samuel, having retired from public ministry continues his daily activities in the school of the prophets unperturbed by the arriving troops. The Spirit of God descends upon Saul’s men causing them to prostrate in the presence of the prophets. When all three of his companies of men subsequently collapsed under the mysterious influence, Saul sets out for Ramah determined to apprehend his rival himself. Little did he realize that he was even more susceptible to the mysterious influence than the men that went ahead of him. He became drunk as if prophesying being overcome by the Spirit while on the way to Naioth. Saul arrived at Naioth in a state of disarray and humiliation, disrobed of his dignity and authority of a king. The divine Spirit, which anointed him, now works against him in the interest of his neighbor David. God personally intervened and shielded his servants that day as Saul found himself going deeper into enmity with God.
Do not be perturbed when you suffer for doing what is right, for you will find favor with Him.
It is commonplace that the true workers and contributors in the company are not treated fairly; some may even be used and blamed for doing what is right. But if you endure it patiently and do not retaliate, God will honor you and show you favor.
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 1 Peter 2:20
And God will protect the righteous and will cause the wicked to be exposed. The Psalmist says,
He (God) will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Psalm 37:6-9
David is prepared to die protecting his country, but the raw fact is that Saul wants David killed so that no one can be seen as more popular and powerful than he is. Saul is hunting someone who gave his life unreservedly to serve him, whose only sin is his fierce loyalty and fury in protecting the kingdom. What happened in Ramah is God’s way of showing His personal presence and protection over David’s life because he endured it patiently. By causing Saul to be immobilized in a drunken state of prophesying attest to Saul’s increasing enmity with God; it is clear that the same Spirit, which previously anointed him have now turned against him. Saul saw for himself first hand the Spirit actively fighting for David. David also saw first hand for himself how the Spirit personally intervenes in his favor.
God has ordained suffering for the righteous in order that they may learn to focus on fulfilling their calling and depend on Him regardless of circumstances. God has established boundaries that the agents of evil cannot cross so that the righteous may be protected. Nevertheless, God has predestined the crown of Christ for all who would carry the cross.
Believers must seek above all to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts will follow.
The Spirit can use anyone regardless of his spirituality to demonstrate His power. God can use the righteous as well as the wicked to manifest the Spirit’s power. Jesus says, there are many who supposed their supernatural abilities attest to God’s condonation of their evil,
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. Matthew 7:22-23
Hence, we should not dictate how God is to use us, but just be the right person that He could use. Saul, even in his despicable wickedness displays gifting of that of a trained prophet: The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet.” Paul warns against using gifts to establish one’s spirituality:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
The difference is this: spiritual gifts demonstrate God’s power and His knowledge. But only a spirit-filled person can draw people to God to be changed by Him. Thus, only a spirit-filled person can be used as an instrument to speak the truth in love and to change hearts. And God can use a spirit-filled person to demonstrate His power more effectively than one who is fleshly.
Therefore, we must seek above all to become like Christ in His virtues. It is on the foundation of the fruit of the Spirit that the gifts can be manifested meaningfully and received holistically.
Are you being blamed for something that you did right? Or are you unjustly treated by some in authority? Be patient and do not be perturbed, for God will vindicate you and cause your righteousness to be made known to all.
Do you carry a fear that some sickness or evil may come upon your family? Be at rest that God has ordained boundaries that the agents of evil cannot cross. Speak to the fear that constantly weigh on you and command it to go in Jesus’ name.
Dear Lord, I thank you for surrounding me with a shield of protection. No evil will be able to come near me without your permission. Teach me to remain righteous and composed despite being treated unjustly, and help me to be patient while I await your vindication. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.