Welcome to the first week of our little bible study together! If you’ve somehow landed on this post and you’re confused be sure to read this post first.
Before we can really dig into David’s life, we have to flip back a couple of pages and look at King Saul, David’s predecessor.
We see the prophet Samuel anoint Saul as Israel’s first king in 1 Samuel 10:1. He did a pretty good job of overseeing his kingdom and was quite an effective military leader. From an outsider’s perspective (I.e, anyone other than God), no one would suspect any trouble in the palace.
Saul’s big fall from the throne was triggered by a weakness that I think the majority of us could raise our hands and admit to having. Fear of man. The frustrating need to please those around us. The desire of having human affirmation and acceptance.
Whilst being King, Saul disobeyed God’s commands on two separate occasions (1 Samuel 13:8-13 & 1 Samuel 15:1-21). He excused himself from God’s command because of his difficult circumstances – he had his people’s expectations to meet and when push came to shove, he chose pleasing them instead of obeying God.
1 Samuel 15:24 – Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.”
Some people mistake being a people-pleaser as being a good Christian. The blunt truth is that we were never created to be people-pleasers, only God-pleasers. If we’re doing something in fear of someone else’s opinion or verdict, we’re doing it all wrong.
Galatians 1:10 – Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Now if you know David’s story, it’s not hard to notice that he also messed up big time during his time as king. His sins were catastrophic, and some may even argue that they were even worse than those of Saul. Why didn’t God take away David’s crown in the same way that he took Saul’s?
Well, Saul definitely disobeyed God, but I don’t think that God was that bothered by his actions alone. The big difference between Saul and David was the condition of their hearts. Though David failed and sinned, God saw that his heart was right. David repented, running back to God and recognising his great need for Him. He worshipped and idolised God.
Saul only came to God with his excuses and burnt offerings. His heart wasn’t open, teachable or even in awe of God. He was all too consumed with himself and everyone else around him. He idolised men.
Psalm 51:16-17 – For the source of your pleasure is not in my performance or the sacrifices I might offer to you. The fountain of your pleasure is found in the sacrifice of my shattered heart before you. You will not despise my tenderness as I humbly bow down at your feet.
God doesn’t want our good deeds, our brownie badges or our well-polished CVs. He doesn’t care for how much money we have in the bank or how many weeks in a row we attend church. He doesn’t want what humans want.
He wants our hearts, as broken and tattered as they may be. He wants us to acknowledge His power and His might. He wants us to bend down on our knees and hold out our worn hearts, ready to be filled with His love. That was the difference between Saul and David – the difference that cost Saul his kingship.
I couldn’t help but wonder about those who were under Saul’s care during his time as king. How many people admired and looked up to him? How many people blindly followed Saul’s leadership, not realising his disconnection with God?
Who are you following? Are your eyes on man instead of God, the only One who doesn’t fail or disappoint? Don’t be misled by people, even if they sit in high-regard or look perfect from the outside. Keep your gaze upwards instead, to the One who won’t ever fall from His throne.
If you want to read the ahead for next week, read from 1 Samuel 15:35 to 1 Samuel 16:12.