The book of 1 Samuel finishes exactly how it starts- waiting for a king.
1 Samuel 28:21-29:11
21 When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.”
But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.
24 The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast.25 Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.
29 The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?”
Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”
4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? 5 Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:
“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”
6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. 7 Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”
8 “But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”
9 Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’ 10 Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”
11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
Everybody knows what it is like to wait for something. Whether it’s waiting for a bus to turn up, in a queue at a supermarket waiting to be served or waiting for a day of the week when something important is going to happen.
In this story, Israel is going through a period in their history when their waiting for their true king to be revealed. The current king, Saul, is at such a low point that he is reduced to obeying a witch instead of God. He consulted the witch in Endor and learned from Samuel that in the next day’s battle he and his sons would die and Israel would be defeated. Even then, the woman and Saul’s servants urged him to eat. It was a meal fit for a king eaten by a man not fit to be king. In Saul’s hopelessness, we see the hopelessness of being separated from Christ and being without God.
Meanwhile, David had ‘gone over’ to the Philistines. He was still God’s rightful choice as king. He had to be pronounced innocent (three times) by the Philistine king Achish. He had won Achish’s trust, although David had never acted against his own people or Saul their king. He was in fact busy raiding Israel’s enemies (1 Samuel 27:8-10). However the Philistines were about to initiate hostilities against Israel.
David is put on trial before Achish and immediately several themes come up that are similar to Jesus. David was rejected by Saul, Jesus was rejected by the people. Achish couldn’t find fault with David, there was no fault with Jesus. Achish was weak and gave in to David’s accusers, meaning that he couldn’t fight with the Philistines. Pontius Pilate also gave in to Jesus’ accusers. In both cases, the outcome was God’s will for his chosen one. The outcome of Jesus’ and David’s ‘trials’ was an important step to ruling their respective kingdoms. David was, in a small but significant way, the saviour of his people. Jesus became the saviour of the world. Just like Israel was waiting for David to become their king, so we wait for the time when we eventually join Jesus’ kingdom. We live in a ’Now, but Not Yet’ phase, whilst we live for Jesus now, we know that this life is not all there is and that our true home is not here yet.
Head: What signs do you see in this passage that point us to Jesus as our true king?
Heart: What should our attitude be as we wait for God’s kingdom?
Hands: What can we do while we wait?
Prayer: Father God, we know that we are in between a ‘Now, but Not Yet’ phase. Whilst we live for you now, we know that your kingdom has not yet come. With this in mind, help us to not get distracted by the things of this world, but to look towards you and your kingdom as our true home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: This Life I Live
Mick Lather– Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina