From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/26:

During a time when kings go out to battle with their men, David, now comfortable in his mighty position as king, stays back relaxing on his rooftop while Joab leads the men in war. David’s eye catches sight of beautiful bathing Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah, two of David’s mighty men. David has Bathsheba brought to him, sleeps with her, and she becomes pregnant. Now David is making plans to cover up his adultery, which ultimately ends in David having Bathsheba’s husband, the faithful warrior Uriah, killed in battle. Then David sends a message to Joab telling him not to mourn over the death of Uriah, whom David setup to be killed in battle, because these things happen in war. 

However, the Lord isn’t going to let King David get away with adultery and murder. So He sends Nathan to David with a story about a rich man taking a poor man’s only lamb. Since David doesn’t realize that the story is about himself, David gets angry, says kill the rich man, and now is interested in following the book of the law by saying the lamb should be restored fourfold (Exodus 22:1). Nathan points out that the rich man is David and says as punishment there will never be peace in David’s household, which we will see later in the story.

Nathan also tells David that the Lord said He will “raise up adversity against you from your own house, and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.” This is exactly what will happen, and that neighbor will be one of David’s sons.

“So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’”  

Under the weight of his sin, David repents and cries out to the Lord – “Against You, You only, have I sinned… Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow… create in me a new heart… Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous spirit… Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation… You do not delight in burnt offering… The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.” This is what makes David a man after the Lord’s heart – His repentance is out of true love for the Lord and a desire to be in right relationship with Him.

The Lord hears David’s repentant heart and He restores him. After the death of their first son, David and Bathsheba give birth to another son, Solomon, who will grow to become the wisest man ever to live. However, even the wisest man can make poor decisions when it comes to women, as we will see with Solomon. But before we get to the story of Solomon, tomorrow we will read another tragic story when David’s oldest son, Amnon, allows his lust for a woman to overcome him. Keep reading. (1 Chronicles 20:1, 2 Samuel 11:1-12:14, Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 12:15-25, 2 Samuel 5:14-16, 1 Chronicles 14:3-7, 1 Chronicles 3:5-9)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/25:

After David requested to build a temple for the Lord, he started thinking of ways he can show kindness of God to others. Today we see two different responses to David’s acts of kindness:

1) David remembers the promise he made to Jonathan regarding their descendants (1 Samuel 20). David asks if anyone is alive from the house of Saul “that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Ziba, a servant of the house of Saul, tells David about Mephibosheth, who is lame in his feet, and hiding out in Lo Debar. Remember that Mephibosheth became lame in his feet when his nurse dropped him while fleeing at the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. The nurse hid Mephibosheth because it was customary in those days for the new king to kill any heirs of the previous king to ensure that his throne would not be challenged. But David loved Saul’s son Jonathan and wanted to honor the covenant that he made with him, so Mephibosheth is brought to David. However, Mephibosheth does not know David’s intentions, therefore he “fell on his face and prostrated himself” before David. David calms Mephibosheth by saying, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” Mephibosheth responds, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” 

The grace shown to Mephibosheth is a beautiful picture of the grace found in Christ. Jesus will later say, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-15). Jesus will also say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). David understands this to be true as he shows Mephibosheth the kindness of the Lord. Mephibosheth receives this grace and will become one of most loyal and faithful men in the kingdom.

2) After showing kindness to Jonathan’s son, David attempts to show kindness to Nahash’s son for the kindness Nahash showed David. When Nashash died, his son Hanun became the new king. “So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.” However, Hanun is suspicious of David’s kindness and humiliates his men by shaving off half their beards, cutting their garments at their buttocks, and sending them away, which was a direct insult to King David. Hanun’s false assumptions of David’s act of kindness leads to war, and the Lord provides Israel victory over their enemies.

So Mephibosheth was blessed by David’s act of kindness, and Hanun was wrongly suspicious of David. This just proves that you have no control over how someone will respond to your kindness. Be kind anyway. 

Paul will later say to the Christians, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).

Today we read about David’s acts of kindness and generosity, but tomorrow David makes a fleshly decision based on lust of the eye, which leads him into more sin than he probably ever thought he was capable of committing. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are never going to sin, but it is how you respond after a fall that sets you apart. Keep reading to see how a man after God’s own heart recovers after major moral failures. (2 Samuel 8:15-18, 1 Chronicles 18:14-17, 1 Chronicles 6:16-30, 50-53, 31-48, 2 Samuel 9:1-10:19, 1 Chronicles 19:1-19)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/24:

“Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.’” David desires to build a house for the Lord. However, the Lord says that David isn’t going to build a house for Him, but that He is going to build David’s house – “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

In response, David humbly says “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” David praises the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to His people, and he ends his prayer saying, “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.” David is a man who knows that God’s word is true and that He never breaks a promise. We will see partial fulfillment of this promise through David’s son Solomon and total fulfillment through the coming Savior Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David.

When we reach 1 Chronicles 22:8-9, we will learn that the Lord didn’t choose David to build His house because he was a man of war – “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.”

We also read about many of David’s battle successes today. After the victories, King David dedicates to the Lord the silver, gold, and bronze “from all the nations which he had subdued— from Syria, from Moab, from the people of Ammon, from the Philistines, from Amalek, and from the spoil of Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah…And the Lord preserved David wherever he went.” 

Then David writes Psalm 60 with the intent that it be used to teach others how to rely upon the Lord during times of conflict – ”Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.”

Tomorrow David meets Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, so keep reading! (2 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, 2 Samuel 7:18-29, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27, 2 Samuel 8:1-14, 1 Chronicles 18:1-13, Psalm 60)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/23:

When David hears that Obed-Edom, a Levite, and his house are blessed because of the ark of God, he decides to try once again to bring the ark to Jerusalem. This time David handles the ark per the Lord’s instruction in the Book of the Law by saying,“No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.” So David gathers the head of the Levites and says, “‘sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. For because you did not do it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.’ So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.”

The Levites bring the ark to Jerusalem and all of Israel celebrates with shouting and music, and David dances before the Lord with all his might. “So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.”

“On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord: Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! … Talk of all his wondrous works… Remember His marvelous works which He has done… Remember His covenant forever… Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day… For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place… Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

“So he left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister before the ark regularly, as every day’s work required; and Obed-Edom with his sixty-eight brethren, including Obed-Edom the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah, to be gatekeepers; and Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord at the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the Law of the Lord which He commanded Israel.”  At this time in the story, before the temple is built in Jerusalem, worship is occurring both in Jerusalem, where the ark is in the tent David built, and in Gibeon, where sacrifices are made at the altar at the Mosaic tabernacle.

After the corporate celebration, David returns home to bless his household, and there he encounters an angry wife. Michal, Saul’s daughter, rebukes David for dancing unashamedly in the streets in front of the maids of his servants. Michal is so focused on status and prestige that she misses out on worshiping the Lord. David tells her that his worship was for the Lord alone who appointed him as king over her father – “Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” 

“Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” David’s son Solomon will later write in Proverbs 21:9 – “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” Maybe Solomon learned this from his dad or maybe he learns it from the one thousand women he will go on to acquire. We will get to Solomon’s story soon, but first, in tomorrow’s reading, David will ask to build a house for the Lord. Keep reading to discover God’s response to his request. (2 Samuel 6:12a, 1 Chronicles 15:1-28, 2 Samuel 6:12b-16, 1 Chronicles 15:29, 2 Samuel 6:17-19a, 1 Chronicles 16:1-43, 2 Samuel 6:19b-23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/22:

“Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying, ‘Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’” So David is anointed as king over all of Israel. “All these men of war, who could keep ranks, came to Hebron with a loyal heart, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king.” Samuel first anointed David as king when he was a youth, but David doesn’t actually take the throne as king over all of Israel until he is thirty years old. The Lord has used these hard years to prepare David for the important mission ahead of him. David will reign over the Lord’s people for a total of forty years, seven years in Hebron and thirty three years as king over all of Israel. 

Now when the Philistines hear of David’s new position as king, they set out to attack him. We see David’s faith as he inquires of the Lord regarding fighting against his enemies. David waits on the Lord to respond and direct his battle plans. Notice that the Lord gives David different instructions in the two battles against the same enemy, showing that just because one way worked once doesn’t mean that it will work again. That is why we can’t assume we know how to fight our own battle – we must have faith in the Lord and wait on him to direct our steps. 

Then David goes on to capture the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites. Jerusalem will become the capital of Israel’s Kingdom and the location where the Lord’s temple will be built. After all the pain and heartache that David had to go through while being chased by Saul, “David went on and became great, and the Lord of hosts was with him.” David takes more wives and concubines and has more children in Jerusalem. Some of David’s greatest future struggles will be a result of his multiple wives and children. Soon success is going to get the best of David and he is going to take another man’s wife, showing that sometimes it is easier to follow the Lord during times of trials than times of success. 

But currently David is so successful that Hiram, king of Tyre, befriends him and sends him resources to build his palace in Jerusalem. “So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.” 

David’s next move as king is to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem from the house of Abinadab in Kirjath Jearim. So David and all of the house of Israel celebrate the arrival of the ark, but they are not careful in handling the ark as the Lord instructed in the wilderness. The Levite priests are to cover the holy items and place them on carrying beams – “And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die” (Numbers 4:15). Unfortunately, David doesn’t follow the Lord’s instructions and places the ark on a new cart without using the Levites during the transportation. 

“And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day.” Therefore, God followed through with the promise He made in Numbers 4:15 and killed Uzzah.

“So David would not move the ark of the Lord with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all his household.” 

Now David is questioning, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” The answer to his question can be found in his Bible – the one he should be reading daily per the Lord’s instructions for a king (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). 

Will David attempt to move the ark again? Keep reading to find out. (2 Samuel 5:1-3, 1 Chronicles 11:1-3, 1 Chronicles 12:23-40, 2 Samuel 5:17-25, 1 Chronicles 14:8-17, 2 Samuel 5:6-10, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9, 2 Samuel 5:13, 4-5, 11-12, 1 Chronicles 14:1-2, 1 Chronicles 13:1-5, 2 Samuel 6:1-11, 1 Chronicles 13:6-14)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/21:

Today Ishbosheth, the new king of Israel, accuses Abner, Saul’s cousin and army commander, of sleeping with Saul’s concubine. This accusation infuriates Abner, so Abner tells Ishbosheth that his loyalty to him is over. Abner says, “May God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David as the Lord has sworn to him— to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 

David agrees to make a covenant with Abner on one condition – “But one thing I require of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” Remember that Michal was David’s first wife to whom he was betrothed for a hundred Philistine foreskins, but she was later given to another man. So Abner strips Michal from her new husband and brings her to David. “Then Abner said to David, ‘I will arise and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.’ So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.”

However, Joab doesn’t trust Abner, who in self defense killed his brother Asahel. So Joab and his other brother Abishai ruthlessly murder Abner “for the blood of Asahel his brother.” When David hears about the murder of Abner, he curses Joab’s household but does nothing more to punish him. Then David mourns greatly the death of Abner. “Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them… For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s intent to kill Abner the son of Ner.” David states, regarding Joab and Abishai, “these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.” Later in the story, before David dies, David will instruct his son Solomon to execute judgment against Joab. 

We end the reading with two men killing Ishbosheth, king of Israel, while he is napping and bringing his head to David. Apparently these men didn’t hear what David did to the other man who claimed to kill the king of Israel. So David explains to them how he killed the man who claimed to kill Saul, “the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?” Then David has these men executed for the shameful way they killed the king of Israel.  

Tomorrow David becomes the new king over all of Israel, so keep reading. (2 Samuel 3:6-4:12)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/20:

Today the Lord instructs David to go to the city of Hebron in Judah. “Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” David will reign in Hebron seven years. “But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim; and he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over all Israel.” 

When Abner, commander of Ishbosheth’s army, and Ishbosheth’s servants meet Joab, a commander of David’s army, and David’s servants at the pool of Gibson, Abner picks a fight with Joab’s men. Joab’s men defeat Abner’s men, and afterwards Joab’s younger brother, Asahel, relentlessly pursues Abner. Abner warns Asahel to turn away, but Asahel does not heed the warning and ends up being killed by Abner. Joab will avenge his brother’s death in tomorrow’s reading. 

“But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” In Hebron David has six sons, Amnom, Daniel, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream by six different wives. We also meet David’s thirty-seven mighty men often referred to as “the Thirty”. His three mightiest men are Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah. We see their love and loyalty for each other as the three mightiest men risk their lives entering the Philistine camp to bring water to thirsty David. However, David refused to drink the water but he “poured it out to the Lord. And he said, ‘Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?’ Therefore he would not drink it.”

You might have noticed that Joab’s two brothers, Asahel, who was killed by Abner in today’s reading, and Abishu, are included in the list of thirty-seven mighty men, but Joab is not. Joab’s ruthless and self-serving acts, which we will read about soon, may possibly be why he got cut from the list. As the saying goes, “It’s not how you start the race but how well you finish.” Joab will ultimately finish with cold-blooded murders, which we will begin reading about tomorrow, and betrayal of David.  

Also, take note that the list includes Uriah the Hittie, who is married to Bathsheba, and Bathsheba’s father, Eliam. We read today that David didn’t want to take the water from his three mightiest of men; however, David sure won’t mind taking something or shall I say someone from Uriah and Eliam, two of his mighty men, in a few days reading. Despite David’s upcoming failures, David still keeps these men on his list. As http://whosefaithfollow.org said, “This single name of Uriah reminded David of all his past of shame and chastening; but condemning himself and exalting the grace that had restored him, he would never have dreamed of erasing his name from the book in which it was recorded.” David doesn’t clean up his story by covering his shame because God’s grace shown to him far outweighs the weight of his sin. 

Keep reading David’s continuing journey, which includes successes and failures. However, God’s faithful hand of grace will never leave the man after His own heart. (2 Samuel 2:1-3:5, 1 Chronicles 3:1-4, 2 Samuel 23:8-17, 1 Chronicles 11:10-19, 2 Samuel 23:18-39, 1 Chronicles 11:20-47)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/19:

When David and his men return home, they find Ziklag burned down and their women and children taken captive by the Amalekites. The men weep in despair, and they want to stone David. “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God… So David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.’”

Therefore, David and four hundred men attack the Amalekites and recover all that was taken. When they return home, some wicked and worthless men who fought with David refuse to share the spoil with the two hundred weary men they left behind in Ziklag. David rebukes them for selfishly wanting to keep all the goods for themselves and says, “‘My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.’ So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.” David is a man who can easily share with others because David knows that everything he has is a gift from the Lord. David shares not only with his men in Ziklag but also with the elders in Judah, his friends, who showed kindness to him and his men while on the run. 

We also learn that men from the tribe of Manasseh defected to help David against the band of raiders. “For at that time they came to David day by day to help him, until it was a great army, like the army of God.” The Lord took these men who had no hope in their earthly kingdom with Saul and formed them into a mighty army of God for His Kingdom.

Back on the battle scene with the Philistines, Saul and his three sons, including Jonathan, die during battle. “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” We read that Saul did inquire of the Lord, but the Lord didn’t respond to Saul (1 Samuel 28:6). The Lord knows the ones who are genuinely calling upon His name and the ones who are not, like Saul. Therefore, the Lord didn’t respond, and Saul, once again, took matters into his own hands for his own selfish reasons by consulting a medium. 

After the battle, an Amalekite runs to David telling him that he killed Saul who was wounded in battle. We know this guy is lying because we read that Saul fell on his own sword so he wouldn’t fall into the hands of the Philistines. Therefore, instead of getting the reward the Amalekite was hoping for, David has him killed for killing the Lord’s anointed as he said he did. Then David deeply mourns the death of Saul and Jonathan.

We discover today that Jonathan has a five-year old son named Mephibosheth who became lame in his feet when his nurse dropped him while on the run after the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. Mephibosheth is now in hiding, but David will soon find him. Keep reading to discover the heart warming story of King David and Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. (1 Samuel 30:1-31, 1 Chronicles 12:20-22, 1 Samuel 31:1-13, 1 Chronicles 10:1-14, 1 Chronicles 9:40-44, 2 Samuel 4:4, 2 Samuel 1:1-27)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/18:

Today, Saul took three thousand troops to hunt down David. However, David gets another chance to take Saul’s life while Saul and his men are sleeping at their camp. But once again, David doesn’t touch the Lord’s anointed one. Instead David takes Saul’s spear and jug of water and yells down to Abner and Saul from a hill opposite the camp, letting him know that he spared him again. Saul responds,  “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” David replies, “And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.” David trusts the Lord with his life, but he knows in his heart that Saul is not genuine. So David and all who are with him do not return home but go to live with the Philistines. “And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more.”

David, about six hundred men and their households, and David’s two wives dwell with Achish, the king of Gath, for over a year. Remember that originally Achish did not welcome David when he first came to Gath, so David pretended to be a madman to escape (1 Samuel 21:10-15). However, now David is received by Achish. Per commentaries, this change of heart is due to the fact that Achish now believes that he and David have a similar enemy in common, Saul, and that David and his men can help Achish fight against his enemies. But instead of fighting against Israel, David and his men begin secretly attacking the enemies of Israel, raiding them, and killing everyone so no one could get word back to Achish. Then David lies to Achish, telling him that they are raiding the people of Israel and Israel’s allies, in order to gain his favor. So when the Philistines gather to go to war against Israel, Achish, thinking that David is loyal to him, asks David and his men to join the Philistines in fighting against Israel.

Meanwhile, Saul, out of fear of the Philistines, inquires of the Lord, but the Lord doesn’t answer him. The Lord knows that Saul doesn’t have a heart for Him, and He has rejected Saul as king. Now Saul, totally desperate, consults a medium in order to speak to Samuel. This is a practice that was forbidden by the Lord. (There is a lot of discussion around whether this was really the spirit of Samuel or a demonic spirit. What we have learned so far about the Lord is that He is in control of all, and evil can only do what the Lord allows to accomplish His purposes. I believe that is what is going on here.) So the medium brings Samuel up from the dead. Samuel informs Saul that the Lord has torn the kingdom from him and given it to David – “Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek.” Then Samuel says that Saul and his sons will be killed in battle tomorrow and Israel will be delivered to the Philistines. 

When the princes of the Philistines see David and his men joining them in battle, they do not trust them to fight alongside them against Israel. Therefore, David and his men return to “the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.” Tomorrow David will discover that while they were gone, the Amalekites attacked their town Ziklag and took their women and children as captives. This would not have happened if Saul obeyed the Lord and destroyed the Amalekites as the Lord commanded. Disobedience always has consequences. 

We end the reading with David’s Psalm 56. David wrote this psalm when the Philistines captured him at Gath and he was alone and afraid. It is good for David to remind himself of these truths about the Lord, especially since David will go to war again tomorrow – “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? … You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Keep reading to discover the outcome of David’s attack against the Amalekites and whether or not Samuel’s prediction comes true regarding Saul and his sons. (1 Samuel 26:1-27:7, 1 Chronicles 12:1-7, 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11, 1 Chronicles 12:19, Psalm 56)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/17:

David and his men, about six hundred, are hiding in the wilderness of Ziph from Saul, who is seeking to kill David. “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” Jonathan knows that he can’t save David but that the Lord will because the Lord never breaks a promise, and He has promised David to be the next king. Jonathan’s friendship is a gift from God, but unfortunately this is the last time David will see his loyal friend. However, their covenant between each other will stand. 

Three major events happen in today’s reading – Saul is spared, Samuel dies, and David acquires more wives.

1) The Lord distracts Saul from chasing David with an invasion by the Philistines. However, once Saul returns from following the Philistines, he is back in hot pursuit of David. Now David and his six hundred men are hiding out in the wilderness while Saul and his three thousand men are trying to hunt him down. David demonstrates his trust in the Lord when he has an opportunity to kill Saul while Saul is relieving himself in the cave where David and his men are hiding. David refrains from killing Saul, and he does not allow his men to rise against him. When Saul is safely out of their hideout cave, David yells to him that he has no desire to kill him as Saul is the Lord’s anointed king, and that he will trust the Lord to judge between them. David has a promise from God that he will be the next king, and he trusts that God will deliver on that promise in His way and in His timing. So in the heat of the moment where David showed Saul mercy, Saul declares that David is more righteous than himself, and he has David swear that once he becomes king he will not cut off Saul’s descendants. Saul then goes home but unfortunately not for good, as we will read about tomorrow.

2) Samuel dies in today’s reading, and all of Israel mourns for him.

3) We meet a man named Nabal, whose name actually means fool. He is a wealthy, ignorant, ruthless man who is married to a wise beautiful wife named Abigail. Nabal harshly refuses to help David and his men, who have been protecting rich Nabal and all his possessions. David lets his anger get the best of him and decides to respond by killing Nabal and all the males in his household. However, the Lord sends brave Abigail to intercede and to remind David, who is currently blinded by His emotions, of what David already knows – to trust the Lord and let Him act on his behalf. Sometimes during tough circumstances we need to hear a word from others reminding us of God’s character and His great promises. So David responds, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.” Soon after, the Lord acts on David’s behalf and kills the foolish and wicked Nabal. Then David takes Abigail as his wife. 

David also takes Ahinoam as his wife, and we learn that Michal, who is Saul’s daughter and David’s first wife, was given to another man, but not for long. The Lord says in Mark 10:7-8 – “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. There will be negative consequences that come from having multiple wives and children by multiple wives. We will learn more about this as the story continues to unfold, so keep reading. (1 Samuel 23:13-29, Psalm 54, 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44)