When we cling to our own Kingship we make ourselves enemies of God and give up the life and peace found in trusting King Jesus.
1 Samuel 19:1-24
Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David 2 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. 3 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.”
4 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. 5 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?”
6 Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.”
7 So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
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.
9 But an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre,10 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.
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.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.
14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”
15 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.” 16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.
17 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?’”
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. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 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 on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied.21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”
“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.
23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
I’m not gonna lie – this story is pretty weird. The main thing that strikes me as I read it is how erratic and unstable Saul is. It’s like he’s coming apart at the seams. Saul started off as an ordinary guy, probably working on his dad’s farm. At that time he didn’t want to be King, he had no aspirations to be King. But when Samuel anointed him King, being king took hold of his heart. After God tore the Kingdom from him, Saul could have returned to God and lived as one of his people under David, just as he’d been before. But Saul didn’t worship God, he worshipped his kingship, and it took control of his soul.
You can see the absurdity of Saul’s worship of his crown in what it drives him to – he’s fighting against God and against what God has determined for his people. The man who was supposed to represent God against God’s enemies has literally turned himself into God’s enemy. And he grows increasingly desperate and out of control because he can’t hold onto a Kingship that’s opposed to God. None of us can. The Kingship Saul clung to desperately for worth in life was the very thing that destroyed his life. And that’s true of us. Our hearts deeply believe we need to find the worth of our lives in the things we cling to, but they rob us of life. Only when we do what we naturally rebel against – submitting to Jesus as God’s chosen King – do we find real life and peace and wholeness.
Head: In what ways are you acting like Saul? What are some things you’re clinging to for life?
Heart: What do you believe would happen if you gave that thing over to Jesus and made choices for his Kingdom instead?
Hands: Think of a person you’re likely to encounter today. What is something you can do that will humble yourself, lift them up and point them to Jesus today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thankyou that life and peace is found simply in resting under the reign of your Son Jesus. I confess there are many areas of my life where I still seek my own crown against your rule over me and I acknowledge this only leads to pain for myself and others. I pray that you will soften my heart with your Holy Spirit and empower me to hand over the things I worship that aren’t you and seek your Kingdom alone. In Jesus’ name Amen.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy