Welcome back, I feel like it is time for us to continue the David story. We have worked through 1 Samuel and some of the Psalms that David wrote at various points in the story. At this point in the story David is in exile, he has fled from his home country and king Saul. He is now living among the Philistines. David reached such a low point in his history that he was about to march into battle against his own people, however just before the battle some of the Philistine leaders sent him and his men away. They did not trust that David would not turn on them during the battle. When David returns to the town he was staying in (Ziklag) he discovers that a group of Amalekites have raided their village and stolen all their possessions including wives and children. They pursue this raiding party and retrieve everything that was taken.
In this story we start to see some of the character of David returning, he spends time talking to God and starts standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves but he is not quite back to himself yet. At this same time the Philistines are fighting the armies of Israel and when King Saul sees that he is surrounded he asks his armour bearer to kill him but the man refuses so Saul throws himself on his own sword.
This is where 2 Samuel starts, with the poor unfortunate person who happened to come across Saul dying on his sword…
David Hears of Saul’s Death
1 After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honour. 3 “Where have you come from?” David asked him. He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.” 4 “What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.” “The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”
5 Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”
6 “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. 7 When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’ 8 “He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ “‘An Amalekite,’ I answered. 9 “Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’ 10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?” “I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.
14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” 15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the LORD’s anointed.’”
How often do people take the law into their own hands and make decisions on behalf of Gods honour? This poor man did what he thought was right, he risked his life to come and bring the news of Saul’s death to David and gets himself killed for his trouble…because he tried to help the king. I know that we don’t do things like help people kill themselves in this day and age but this was thousands of years ago in the middle of a war. David’s accusation against this poor man are not that he committed murder… because David was murdering people all over the place. The problem for David was that the man lifted his hand against “God’s anointed”. If we read back in the story though, we see that God removed His anointing from Saul and gave it to David a long time ago.
The point I am making is that people (we) tend to make decisions for God (in His name) but actually what we are doing is fulfilling our own desires and wants. When we spend our time trying to defend the “codes of God” or the “righteous ways of God” we are often not focused on our intimacy with Him. Being in God’s presence somehow transforms us into people who have grace and compassion. We understand our place, we know that we are loved and forgiven and our hearts are brought into alignment with God’s heart. The most telling sign for me here is that David has not written any Psalms at this point in the story. David is a man who is known for his worship of God but for some reason he is not worshiping. Our focus should always be to return to His presence to draw close to Him, to renew our relationship with Him. In this place our heart is restored, our purpose is restored. When we try to fix things by doing works that we feel we should do to improve our faith… that’s were things tend to go wrong. Forget about all the things you think you need to do and just draw close… you know you are being restored when worship is your response.