God-Hearted #4 — 1 Samuel 18 Shaped

Theme: God shaped David through a friendship and success, but also by the downward pull of Saul, redeeming it all for His purposes. God will to shape you as well.

With A Friend (1-4)

1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

  • Explanatory notes:
    • 1 As soon as he had finished speaking with Saul after the fight against Goliath, and the subsequent skirmish with the Philistines.
    • 2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return: He became permanent staff, rather than the temporary harp player of years past.
  • 1-4 Jonathan:
    • Identity:
      • Saul’s son.
      • A great and godly warrior in his own right.
        • He had said: 1 Samuel 14:6 (ESV) — 6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
    • When Jonathan saw David defeat Goliath, a transaction occurred within his heart.
      • 1 His soul was knit to David’s.
      • 1, 3 He loved David as his own soul.
      • 3 He made a covenant with David.
        • He signaled this covenant by giving David his robe, armor, and weapons (sword, bow, belt).
        • The meaning of his covenant was clear: David will be king and I will support him.
          • He was willing to submit to God’s plan, even when his own father wouldn’t.
            • Like John the Baptist: John 3:30 (ESV) — 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
    • David was shaped through Jonathan’s friendship.
      • Spoiler alert: He would keep this covenant multiple times, all the way to the point of his death.
      • Jonathan was a bit older than David, a man worthy of emulation.
    • God wants to shape you with good with friends.
      • Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV) — 17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
      • Good friends are godly friends.
        • Gospel friends:
          • To remind you of grace.
          • To remind you of Christlikeness.
          • To remind you of the mission.

Through Success (5-7)

5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

  • 5 The sight of all the people: Everyone approved of David’s ascension.
  • 6-7 The women / singing and dancing / with tambourines / songs of joy / Saul has struck / David his ten thousands: Common post-victory response in Israel.
    • Note the difference.
      • Miriam and the women who followed her: Exodus 15:21 (ESV) — 21 And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
        • They did not magnify Moses, but God, and the Red Sea victory was far great.
  • David was shaped through his successes.
    • His heart was true:
      • Psalm 24:7–10 (ESV) — 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!
  • God wants to shape you through your successes.
    • God would shape David through trials, just as He will for you.
    • But another word for “trials” are “tests,” and some of our greatest tests come after victory.
    • How will you respond to success?
      • Will financial security give you false confidence?
        • 1 Timothy 6:17 (ESV) — 17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
      • Will career advancement become the idol you worship?
      • Will the discovery of a gift of the Spirit fill you with pride?
      • Will the growth of a family cool your love for God?
      • Will the fruitfulness of your church dry up your prayers for it?
        • Laodicean church: Revelation 3:17 (ESV) — 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
    • The gospel is a lifeline, but also a way of life. Jesus is to be the hero, and remain the hero.

Despite The Downward Pull (8-16)

8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on. 10 The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. 11 And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the LORD was with him. 15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.

  • 8-9 Ascribed to David ten thousands: Now, Saul could have easily celebrated their celebration of David, but he was not that kind of man, so he eyed David from that day on.
  • 10 Saul had his spear in his hand, while David had a harp in his. This is emblematic of their entire relationship.
  • 11 David evaded him twice: The first two assassination attempts from Saul on David.
  • 15-16 Great success / fearful awe / loved David:
    • David was shaped through Saul’s actions.
      • God was elevating David, but Saul’s whole desire was to end that process.
    • God wants to shape you despite the downward pull.
      • The gospel elevates humanity, taking each believer on a journey of glorious redemption.
        • By the gospel, you come under the law of the Spirit:
          • Romans 8:2 (ESV) — 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:4 (ESV) — 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
            • License: minimize the law’s demands.
            • Legalist: end up in despair.
            • God’s plan: living through his people, enabling them to live a righteous life!
      • The world system, the body of sin, and the devil all attempt to counteract the elevating work of the gospel/Spirit in your life.

Through Redemption (17-30)

17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my elder daughter Merab. I will give her to you for a wife. Only be valiant for me and fight the LORD’s battles.” For Saul thought, “Let not my hand be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 And David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my relatives, my father’s clan in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” 19 But at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law.” 22 And Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in private and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now then become the king’s son-in-law.’ ” 23 And Saul’s servants spoke those words in the ears of David. And David said, “Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and have no reputation?” 24 And the servants of Saul told him, “Thus and so did David speak.” 25 Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’ ” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, 27 David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.

28 But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29 Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually. 30 Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle, and as often as they came out David had more success than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was highly esteemed.

  • Explanatory notes:
    • 19 Saul withdrew Merab from David.
    • 20 Michal loved David, however.
    • 21 Saul thought Michal would be a snare for David, which might say something about her character, or he may have simply thought David would die securing a dowry for her.
    • 23 Saul’s servants told David, on Saul’s behalf, and David again responded with humility.
    • 25-27 The bride-price Saul suggested pleased David, so much so that he paid double!
      • It is awkward to us, that David would give a dowry like this, but was not as awkward to ancient Israel.
    • 28-30 After their marriage, Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David. He also saw Michal’s loved for David and that David was his most successful servant. For all this, he was even more afraid of David.
      • What are we to do with this?
      • What would the original readers glean from this?
  • David was shaped through the redemption of his trials.
    • Saul had a plan, but God also had a plan. God’s plan won, so much so that God actually used Saul’s plan to further His own.
  • God wants to shape you by redeeming the enemy’s plan.
    • The Philistines, Saul thought, would kill David. Instead, the Philistines were redeemed to help exalt David.
    • Satan thought:
      • The abuse will crush them…
      • The disease will stop them…
      • The abandonment will ruin them…
      • The betrayal will destroy them…
      • The pressure will break them…
    • A process:
      • Philippians 3:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.