Sunday, December 08, 2013

[Matt's Messages] "May The LORD Be With You"

“May The LORD Be With You”
A Heart for the Heart of God: The Message of 1 Samuel
December 8, 2013 :: 1 Samuel 18:1-20:42

I had a hard time coming up with a title for today’s message.

Marilynn always asks me on Fridays if I have a title yet, and most weeks I don’t.

But most of yesterday went by, and I still didn’t have a final title.

I had a lot of good runners-up, though.

And I thought I’d share them with you.

Chapters 18, 19, and 20 cover the period in David’s life after David kills Goliath but before he has to leave Saul’s service as a fugitive.

So, here are some of the titles I came up with for this message:

“Everybody Loves David”

Kind of a play on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” because in these 3 chapters nearly everybody does love David. Saul’s son Jonathan does, Saul’s army does, the women of Israel do, Saul’s daughter Michal does, and clearly the Lord does.

Everybody loves David.

Except his enemies. The Philistines don’t love David.

And neither does his boss King Saul.

No, King Saul is jealous of him and murderously angry and afraid of him.

So, here’s title #2: “The Jealous Eye, the Loyal Guy, and the Unstoppable Holy Spirit.”

What do you think?

You like the rhyme?

How about this one?  (I’ll warn you that Heather personally voted this one down.)

Title #3: “A Kid in King’s Saul Court.”


Here’s what I eventually settled on: “May the LORD Be With You.”

Which are the words that Jonathan blesses David with at the end of today’s story (chapter 20, verse 13) and reflect the statement made again and again in chapter 18 that the LORD was “with David.”  “The LORD was with David.”

We’re going to see how that played out in his life over 3 chapters in God’s Word.

And we’re going to see today that “If God is with you then who can be against you?

When we left off last week, David had just killed Goliath by hitting him with a stone out of slingshot and then taking Goliath’s own sword to kill him and cut off his head.

He took that severed head with him to see King Saul who wanted to know who this guy was, and David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of [the little town of] Bethlehem.”

Chapter 18 starts right where chapter 17 leaves off. V.1

“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.” Stop there for a second.

Remember Jonathan from chapters 13 and 14?

He was Saul’s son, a valiant warrior, and someone who truly believed in the LORD.

He probably had wanted to go up against Goliath himself and wasn’t allowed.  We aren’t told.

But we are told that after David’s win against Goliath, Jonathan became “one in spirit” with David. Close personal friends. He loved him as himself.

In fact, he made a covenant with David because he had such great affection and care for David. They were the best of friends and sealed their friendship with promises to one another.

David was no longer allowed to go back to Jesse and to the sheepfold, but that was probably alright with him, especially now that he had a best friend in the king’s own son.

But it seems like it was more than that, doesn’t it?  Verse 4 says, “Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.”

Those are the royal robes, the tunic of the crown prince, the weapons of the man who would be the next king.

Does Jonathan know about David’s anointing?

It seems like it’s been a secret up to till now, but Jonathan almost acts like he’s swearing allegiance to David as the next king.

Whether he knows it or not, he has just made a covenant with the next king of Israel.

And David continues to prosper. V.5

“Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul's officers as well. [He was popular!] When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.

As they danced, they sang: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’”

Ouch. That might have been a little much in that top 40 song.

And Saul did not take it well. V.8

“Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?’ And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”

“A jealous eye.”

Up until right now, Saul has liked David.  When he played the harp to soothe him. When he took down the giant. I’m sure that Saul was really happy for the win that day.

But at this moment, he turns a jealous eye on David.

And jealousy is a wicked thing.

In fact, Saul pretty much goes mad with jealousy. V.10

“The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, ‘I'll pin David to the wall.’ But David eluded him twice.”

David doesn’t know what kind of trouble he’s gotten himself into.

The very next day after those women were singing that song, Saul tried to kill him.

He was “prophesying” in his house. Not sure what that means. It definitely seems more than just praying or singing, but it’s some kind of worship. But Saul’s not under the control of the Holy Spirit, he has an injurious, troubling spirit on him–and when that happened in the past, David’s harp would help.

But this time, Saul has his spear in his hand (why, I don’t know!) And he tries to pin David to the wall.

Twice!  But David gets away. Why? V.12

“Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul.”

Not only was David popular, but he was protected because the LORD was with him.

Notice in v.12 who was afraid of whom.

David just got attacked twice by the king, but it’s Saul that’s afraid.

“Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul.”

Now, this “the Lord being with someone” clearly means more than just that being present. God is with everyone right now in the sense of being omni-present.

But this “with God” stuff must mean something more.  Something more personal, something more powerful.

I think we could say that “God was with David to bless Him.”

He was “for” David in a special way.

We know that it was God’s Holy Spirit from chapter 16, verse 13. “...from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.”

The LORD was with David. And that scared Saul. V.13

“So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.

When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.

But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.”

Jealousy is a wicked thing. It comes out as anger, but it’s based on fear. Fear of losing out. Fear of not having something good. Fear of someone else having something you want. Saul was afraid of David. And he kept trying to look for a way to eliminate him. V.17

“Saul said to David, ‘Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD.’ For Saul said to himself, ‘I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!’”

We’ll let the Philistines do the dirty work. V.18

“But David said to Saul, ‘Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?’ So when the time came for Merab, Saul's daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.”

When I read that, I wonder, “How come he didn’t get Merab after killing Goliath? Wasn’t that the deal?”  Apparently not, in Saul’s mind.  You gotta do more than that.

And David apparently thinks so, too. He is humble. We know that he’s anointed, but he still doesn’t think that he’s worthy to be the son-in-law of the king. V.20

“Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. ‘I will give her to him,’ he thought, ‘so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.’ [Saul knows what kind of a deal Michal is!] So Saul said to David, ‘Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.’

Then Saul ordered his attendants: ‘Speak to David privately and say, 'Look, the king is pleased with you, and his attendants all like you; now become his son-in-law.'’

They repeated these words to David. But David said, ‘Do you think it is a small matter to become the king's son-in-law? I'm only a poor man and little known.’

When Saul's servants told him what David had said, Saul replied, ‘Say to David, 'The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.'’ Saul's plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines. When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king's son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented the full number to the king so that he might become the king's son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

Saul continually plots against David. Here the plot is to get him killed fighting for Michal’s hand in marriage and if he survives he gets a wife who probably won’t be worth very much to him.

David doesn’t realize that Saul is working against him. He thinks that he just has an occasional dangerous fit when he’s prophesying. David doesn’t know that Saul is out to get him.

But it doesn’t matter. God has David’s back. God is with him. V.28

“When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul's officers, and his name became well known.”

Popularity, Protection, and Prosperity, all because The LORD was with David.

Nothing Saul tries will be successful to stop it.

Because if God is for you who can be successfully against you?

Now, I want you to notice something. Just because God is blessing David doesn’t mean that it always feels like it.

David is being blessed and at the same time he has just made a life-long enemy.

Sometimes when God is with you, it doesn’t feel like you might expect it to.

We expect that if God is for us, we won’t feel that anyone is against us.

But that’s actually the exact opposite of how it is.

But if God is with us, no one can be successfully against us. That’s what Saul found. Chapter 19, verse 1.

“Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. [cabinet meeting of the top brass, top of the agenda, let’s kill David. That’s what the king wants, you might think that’s what the king gets. V1.] But Jonathan was very fond of David and warned him, ‘My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I'll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.’

Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, ‘Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine.

The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?’

Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: ‘As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death.’ [Apparently change of heart. V.7]

So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.”

Ok. Things are fixed. Or are they? V.8

“Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him. But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.”

Things are not fixed! David has to go on the run. V.11

“Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, ‘If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed.’

So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats' hair at the head. [Why does she have one of those?]

When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, ‘He is ill.’

Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, ‘Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.’

But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats' hair. [I guess that idols are good for something!]

Saul said to Michal, ‘Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?’ Michal told him, ‘He said to me, 'Let me get away. Why should I kill you?'’

Something tells me that Michal is not worth a lot as a wife. She helps David get away but she’s so full lies–even slanderous lies about David. And she keeps idols around.

But God uses it all to keep David out of Saul’s grasp.

In fact, David Samuel!  Remember Samuel?  This is his book, and here is again.  V.18

“When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there.  Word came to Saul: ‘David is in Naioth at Ramah’; so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came upon Saul's men and they also prophesied.

Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Secu. And he asked, ‘Where are Samuel and David?’ ‘Over in Naioth at Ramah,’ they said.

So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.

He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel's presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’”

Now, again, I’m not altogether sure what “prophesying” is here. Perhaps it’s kind of like holy possession sort of thing. I don’t know.

But the point is that they don’t get David. They can’t grab David because of the Holy Spirit of God.

The LORD is with David, and nothing that Saul tries against David will succeed.

At the end of the day, the Holy Spirit of God will arrest Saul personally!  And lead him to take off his robes.  (Is there symbolism here that Saul takes of his royal robes like Jonathan did?)

This is the last time before Samuel’s death that Saul see him. But there is no reconciliation. There is just a humiliation of Saul.

“Is Saul also among the prophets?” Not really. But there he is.

The point, I think, again, is that you can’t stop the Spirit of God.

Now, David takes this opportunity to run back home and try to get some help from his friend Jonathan. Chapter 20, verse 1.

“Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, ‘What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?’”

And Jonathan is out of the loop. Last he heard, this had all been worked out. V.2

“‘Never!’ Jonathan replied. ‘You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It's not so!’

But David took an oath and said, ‘Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, 'Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.' Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.’

Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I'll do for you.’ So David said, ‘Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow.

If your father misses me at all, tell him, 'David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.' If he says, 'Very well,' then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me.

As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the LORD. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?’

‘Never!’ Jonathan said. ‘If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?’ David asked, ‘Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?’

‘Come,’ Jonathan said, ‘let's go out into the field.’ So they went there together.

Then Jonathan said to David: ‘By the LORD, the God of Israel, I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know?

But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father.

But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family–not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth.’” Stop there for a second.

Did you catch our title there in verse 13?

Jonathan prays for David, “May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father.”

But he also asks for David to be with him. That is that David show unfailing kindness to him. That’s the Hebrew word “hesed,” that we learned about last year in our study of Ruth. I talked about it at the community Thanksgiving service, as well.

It’s the word of what will follow David all of the days of his life in Psalm 23.

Hesed is loyal love. Covenant love. Kindness. Grace. Unfailing love. It’s hard to translate because so much good is wrapped up in it.

Jonathan asks for David to show hesed to him and to his family.

And not just any hesed, but (v.14) hesed “like that of the LORD.”

“David, love me and my family like the LORD loves with an loyal, unfailing love. Please!”

Notice in verse 15 that Jonathan predicts a day when David’s enemies are all destroyed. And that would probably include Saul and his family.  But not Jonathan. And not his family.

It will be interesting as we progress in 2 Samuel to see how this request plays out.  Because they both agree to this. V.16

“So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the LORD call David's enemies to account.’ And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.”



“Then Jonathan said to David: ‘Tomorrow is the New Moon festival. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel.

I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. Then I will send a boy and say, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say to him, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,' then come, because, as surely as the LORD lives, you are safe; there is no danger.

But if I say to the boy, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then you must go, because the LORD has sent you away. And about the matter you and I discussed–remember, the LORD is witness between you and me forever.’

So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat. He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David's place was empty.

Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, ‘Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean–surely he is unclean.’

But the next day, the second day of the month, David's place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, ‘Why hasn't the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?’ Jonathan answered, ‘David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. He said, 'Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.' That is why he has not come to the king's table.’

Saul's anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, ‘You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?

As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!’

‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ Jonathan asked his father.

But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

[It’s out in the open now.]

Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the month he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father's shameful treatment of David.

In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, and he said to the boy, ‘Run and find the arrows I shoot.’ As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.  When the boy came to the place where Jonathan's arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, ‘Isn't the arrow beyond you?’

Then he shouted, ‘Hurry! Go quickly! Don't stop!’ The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. (The boy knew nothing of all this; only Jonathan and David knew.)

Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, ‘Go, carry them back to town.’

After the boy had gone [they took a big risk], David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together–but David wept the most.

Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'’ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.”

If I am reading my Bible rightly, these two only see each other one more time.

But they remain loyal hesed friends all of their lives.

In fact, to do that right now, David has to flee and Jonathan has to stay behind.

David has become a fugitive. And, he is one for an awful lot of his life.

The best thing about it is that we get some awesome psalms out of his experiences of being chased around Palestine.

The truth is that the LORD is with him.

Even though he’s on the run.

Let me draw 3 points of application from this story as we close.


Everything Saul tried, failed.

Even personally going to stop David at Samuel’s place at Ramah–Saul gets waylaid by the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Now, the first answer to that is, “A lot of people can be against us!”

We do have a lot of enemies!  The world, the flesh, the devil. They are against us!

Just because we are blessed doesn’t mean that we don’t have enemies.

But Paul means that our enemies will fail.

“If God is for us, who can (successfully) be against us?”  And the answer to that one is, “No one.”

And here’s some goods–if you belong to Jesus Christ, then God is for you, and God is with you!

If you belong to Jesus Christ, then God is for you, and God is with you!

And that might be the best news you hear all day!

Here’s a second application of this story.


And by “jealous,” here I mean “envious,” as Saul was in chapter 18.

He let jealousy eat him inside out.

As Christians, we have everything we need because God is with us. We don’t have to be jealous. We don’t have to be envious.

We don’t have to want what other have–whether it’s things or relationships or popularity.

We don’t even have to cling to things that we did have–like Saul’s throne.

Christ is enough.
Christ is enough.
Christ is enough.

Jealousy will eat you alive if you let. And it will bring destruction on others.

Do you need to hear that today?

Does somebody else have something you want and you’re letting it get to you?

I doubt you’ll throw a spear at someone over it, but you might throw some pretty ugly words that don’t need said.

Christ is enough.
Christ is enough.
Christ is enough.

Jealousy is a wicked thing.


Don’t you just love the picture of David and Jonathan? Fast friends, best friends.

They are pulled apart by Saul, but they are never separated in heart.

And they pledge their loyalty to each other and then keep their pledges! No matter what.

How beautiful!  How godly!  How Christ-like.

Remember what Jonathan said in verse 14 of chapter 20?

“Show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD...”

Because that’s how He loves.

We love, because He first loved us.

How do we know?

Because of Immanuel.

And what does Immanuel mean?

“God with us.”

“May the LORD be with you.”


A Heart for the Heart of God

01. Hannah's Prayers
02. Those Who Honor Me I Will Honor
03. Speak, LORD, for Your Servant Is Listening
04. God In A Box
05. Who Can Stand in the Presence of the LORD, This Holy God?
06. Be Careful What You Ask For
07. "Go and Look for the Donkeys."
08. From Here On
09. Who Knows?
10. How to Grieve the Lord
11. The Lord Looks at the Heart