Tuesday, November 8, 2011

David and Saul

I'm reading through the Bible chronologically.  One new thing I'm learning from this (among many others) is which Psalms were written when.  For example,  Psalm 18 starts off, "I love you O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer... I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies."  Some Bible scholars and historians who are smarter than me have determined this was written following Saul's death.  To backtrack, Saul was out to murder David.  David had the chance to kill him twice and spared his life, instead trusting in God to take care of Saul.  Eventually, Saul killed himself, and when David heard about it, he wrote Psalm 18.  So now, when I read Psalm 18, it holds more meaning to me because I understand the context in which it was written.

A few days ago, my chronological reading 'assignment' was 1 Samuel 18-20 and Psalms 11, 59.  If you want to be astounded like I was, take a few minutes to read through that.

1 Samuel 18- David and Jonathon (Saul's son) form a close friendship.  David has extreme success in Saul's army.  People praise David more than Saul.  Saul gets jealous.  "Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul... And David had success in all his undertakings for the Lord was with him." (vs. 12, 14)  Saul tries to set David up by giving him his daughter, hoping his daughter will distract David.  They just fall in love and David gets more successful.

chapter 19 - Saul tries to kill David at the dinner table.  "And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear; but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall.  And David fled and escaped that night."  (vs. 10).  Saul tries to hunt David down but David escapes with his wife's help. (The wife is the daughter of Saul that Saul tried to use to distract David.)

chapter 20- David goes into hiding and makes a plan with Jonathan.  Jonathan will scope out the situation with his dad.  If he finds that his dad is no longer angry at David, he'll give him one signal.  If he finds that Saul is still trying to kill David, he'll give him a different signal.  .... Yep, you guessed it.  the second signal.  Jonathan warns David that Saul's life mission is to destroy him.  They say a weepy goodbye.  David escapes.

THEN, David writes Psalms 11 and 59.

Psalm 11
In the Lord I take refuge; 
how can you say to my soul,
"Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;" 
The Lord is in his holy temple; 
the Lord's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfer and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 
For the Lord is righteous and loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.

Wow. what faith. what raw emotion.  I used to read this and think - i don't know what i thought.  that David was moody? That he must have had some bad experience.  But to know that David was running from the wicked man, Saul, who was seeking to kill him for no reason, and that's when David wrote this... that gives it new meaning.  He was writing this in great faith that God loves the righteous and God would deliver him from Saul.

read 1 Samuel 18-20, then Psalm 59.  Be inspired by David's faith and prayer.   David prayed to God with great urgency.  His life was on the line.  I want to have faith like that.  To have urgency like that.  To not just pray "Dear God, blah blah blah. Amen"  but to call out to God from the depths of my need and with great faith, believe that He will see me through.