Wednesday, December 09, 2020

2020.12.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 26

Read 1 Samuel 26

Questions from the Scripture text: Who told whom what, where, in 1 Samuel 26:1? Where did Saul go (1 Samuel 26:2)? Who went with him? To do what? Where did Saul encamp (1 Samuel 26:3)? Who saw (1 Samuel 26:3-4)? Where did David come in 1 Samuel 26:5? What did he see? What was Saul doing in the camp? Where were the rest of the people laying? Whom did David ask to do what (1 Samuel 26:6)? What did David and Abishai find in 1 Samuel 26:7? What did Abishai say had happened (1 Samuel 26:8)? What did he ask permission to do? What did David command him (1 Samuel 26:9)? Why? What did David suggest could happen (1 Samuel 26:10)? What does he suggest doing instead (1 Samuel 26:11)? Why didn’t any of the men wake up (1 Samuel 26:12)? Where did David go in 1 Samuel 26:13? To whom did he call out (1 Samuel 26:14)? What did Abner ask? What does David ask in reply (1 Samuel 26:15)? What does he declare in 1 Samuel 26:16? What does he ask about? Who responds instead, and what does he ask (1 Samuel 26:17)? How does David answer? What does David ask (1 Samuel 26:18)? What two options did he suggest for why Saul was chasing him (1 Samuel 26:19)? How did David respond to each? What does David ask, and why, in 1 Samuel 26:20? What does Saul say he had done (1 Samuel 26:21)? What did he ask David to do? Why? How did he evaluate his own behavior? What does David offer in 1 Samuel 26:22? What does he call on Whom to do in 1 Samuel 26:23? But what does David refuse to do? What did he ask Yahweh to do in 1 Samuel 26:24? What does Saul say in 1 Samuel 26:25? Where does David go? Where does Saul? 

Is God for David or for Saul? This is another version of the question that Joshua famously asked of the Lord in Joshua 5:13. And the answer is the same, “No.”

David knows this, and gives the theological underpinnings of that answer in 1 Samuel 26:23 of the chapter before us. Yahweh is for Himself and His own righteousness.

The reason that David is bold to approach Saul’s camp is also the reason that he refuses Abishai’s request to pin Saul to the earth. When Saul had previously thrust that spear at David (cf. 1 Samuel 18:111 Samuel 19:10), he had “stretched out his hand against Yahweh’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 26:9 cuts both ways: Saul cannot be held guiltless (cf. David’s confidence in what Yahweh will do in 1 Samuel 26:10), and David won’t allow himself or Abishai to join him in that category.

Abishai thought they had great boldness because they were about to strike the decisive blow (1 Samuel 26:8), but David’s great boldness instead came from the Lord’s decisive Word. Saul may sound convinced in 1 Samuel 26:25, based upon the success of his action and mercy of his interaction. But for David, it was God’s Word and sign (anointing, cf. 1 Samuel 16:1–13) upon him that was convincing enough to produce such an action. 

But it’s not just Abishai that David here instructs. He instructs king Saul by pointing out that as king he is supposed to be doing the Lord’s bidding, rather than his own (1 Samuel 26:19), which does include punishing evil (1 Samuel 26:18). But, David says, if that’s actually what is going on, David hopes that the Lord would accept a substitutionary sacrifice.

In fact, David’s primary complaint against those who are chasing him is that they are keeping him from public worship (end of 1 Samuel 26:19). Saul is moved more by being spared (1 Samuel 26:21) than by the worship of the Lord. David has no hope that Saul will find David’s life precious, but he has a gloriously sure hope that the Lord will do so (1 Samuel 26:24)!

May the Lord so convince us of His faithfulness to His promises that we would be enabled to take bold and courageous action, while having very tender consciences to honor His command and very eager desires to offer Him His worship!

What are some Bible promises that sometimes feel like they are in jeopardy? Why aren’t they? What bold action might you take in response to them? What difficult obedience might you offer in response to them?

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness, O God My Father”

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