An explanation on our Chronological Reading Plan: Today’s Scripture reading covers not only 1 Samuel 18-20, but also Psalm 11 and Psalm 59. This latticework that pulls together various passages will become a pattern as we read the Scriptures chronologically. For instance, the events in 1 Samuel 18-20 are patterned in both Psalm 11 and Psalm 59. Because the Scripture passages are long, I will limit the length of my devotional commentary.
1 Samuel 18-20
We find David residing in the king’s palace, befriended by Jonathan, the son of Saul (18:1-4; 19:1-2). The slaying of the Philistine giant Goliath had propelled David from shepherd and court musician to national hero. David’s fame as a warrior, and the affection of the people, had stirred jealousy in the heart of the king. Believing David was a threat to his reign, Saul determined to kill him (18:5-30).
Nevertheless, the bond between Jonathan and David was never broken in spite of Saul’s attempts to kill him (1 Samuel 20:1-23). Jonathan, believing David was God’s anointed and the heir to the throne, vowed to befriend, support, and love David to the end of his life (20:35-42). Thrust out of the kingdom by the king’s attempts to kill him, David began a ten-year journey of hardship and loneliness. Separated from his friend and his father’s household, the future king would live in the wilderness, hiding and seeking refuge in caves.
A Lesson from David’s Life: Serving God does not come with a guarantee of comfort or favor. Faithful servants of God are not insulated from criticism.
Psalm 11 – There are times when retreat is the wiser choice.
David fled from Saul when the king attacked him. In Psalm 11 we do not know if the foe David faced was within or without his kingdom; however, the threat was significant and the king’s counselors advised him to flee (11:1b-2). David answered his frightened counselors saying,
Psalm 11:1 – “In the LORD put I my trust [confide; flee for protection; make refuge]: how say [speak; command] ye to my soul [life; person; mind], Flee [disappear; remove] as a bird to your mountain?
The counselors reminded the king the plot of the wicked was to destroy the just and upright (11:2), and as king, he was the moral pillar, the foundation of the nation (11:3).
Psalm 11:2-3 – “For, lo, the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] bend their bow, they make ready [prepare; set up; fix] their arrow upon the string, that they may privily [secretly] shoot at the upright [right; just; righteous] in heart [mind]. 3 If the foundations [purpose; support; moral pillars] be destroyed [thrown down; broken in pieces], what can the righteous [just] do?”
David’s counselors reasoned, not only was his life at risk, but so also were the lives of the people and the future of the kingdom (11:3b). In other words, what will become of the righteous should the king fall?
We find David’s response in Psalm 11:4-7.
Psalm 11:4-5 – “The LORD is in his holy [sacred; hallowed] temple, the LORD’S throne [seat] is in heaven: his eyes behold [perceive; look; gaze], his eyelids try [examine; prove], the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth [proves; examines] the righteous [just; law-abiding]: but the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] and him that loveth violence [injustice] his soul hateth [as a foe].”
What a great reminder! Regardless the threats of an enemy or his demands, we must not compromise our integrity. The LORD has not abdicated the throne of heaven; the ways of the righteous will not go unrewarded, nor the ways of the wicked unpunished!
Our devotion ends with the assurance, “the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright” (Psalm 11:7). The righteous are the objects of the LORD’s love!
Is there is an enemy who haunts your life with threats, maligning gossip, or with disapproving gazes? Take confidence in this…the LORD loves the righteous and He is just. Trust the LORD!
Isaiah 40:31 – “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith