THE SERVANT GENERAL
SAUL AND DAVID
1 Samuel 18:6-19:7
Today we have the tale of two warriors, Saul and David. Saul
was the first king of Israel, and David succeeded him. From
them we learn how to act, or not act, as holy warriors.
had killed Goliath and given Israel the victory, and later
on he successfully carried out military missions. The people
extolled him, with the women singing, “Saul has slain
his thousands, David his tens of thousands.” (1 Sm 18:7).
What was Saul’s reaction? “Saul was very angry
and resentful of the song” (1 Sm 18:8a). “From
that day on, Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” (1 Sm
18:9). He even wanted to kill him.
lessons for holy warriors can we learn?
God chooses and anoints his warriors, and grants them divine
favor, enabling them to successfully carry out His will. Such
warriors are destined for greatness. But if warriors act contrary
to their call, they fall in disfavor with God, and the consequences
are severe.“The next day an evil spirit from God rushed
upon Saul, and he raged in his house.” (1 Sm 18:10a).Now
no evil can come from God, who is all holy. What then does
this mean? “The spirit of the Lord had departed from
Saul, and he was tormented by an evil spirit from the Lord.”
(1 Sm 16:14). This refers to the change in God’s relationship
with Saul. Saul lost divine favor. The language about evil
from God just highlights the big change, from being anointed
to being dis-anointed.
holy warriors are part of the one army of God. There is no
room for resentment and jealousy if someone else is doing
better than we are. In fact, we should rejoice if we have
outstanding comrades-in-arms, who can be more effective than
we are. When we look at our subordinates, we should look to
them not only following in our footsteps, but exceeding us
and excelling even more. This continually builds up the strength
of the army.
holy warriors serve God and not anyone else. We certainly
do not serve ourselves, looking to protect and enhance our
own position and power. And since we serve God and not those
humans over us, we do not act in accordance with whether we
are favored or not favored by our leaders. Saul was trying
to kill David, either directly by his own hand or by means
of his enemies in battle, and David knew this, because Jonathan
told his so (1 Sm 19:2). Saul even offered his daughter Merob
to David in marriage but then reneged on this and gave Merob
to someone else. But “David served him as before.”
(1 Sm 19:7b). Brethren will fail us, but we just look always
to God, and continue to act as holy warriors. Reacting negatively
to such brethren can bring us to disfavor with God, while
simply continuing to do His will will cause blessings upon
us. “The Philistine chiefs continued to make forays,
but each time they took the field, David was more successful
against them than any of Saul’s other officers, and
his name was held in great esteem.” (1 Sm 18:30).
But at times the assaults against us, either from the enemy
outside or within, might just seem too much to bear. How are
we as holy warriors to cope?
again we look only to God. “Have mercy on me, God, for
I am treated harshly; attackers press me all the day.”
(Ps 56:2). God is merciful. And we must know that God is concerned
for us and values our struggles and suffering. “My wanderings
you have noted; are my tears not stored in your flask, recorded
in your book?” (Ps 56:9). It is such comfort to know
that God knows, that God is concerned, and that surely God
will care for and sustain us. As David says, “This I
know: God is on my side.” (Ps 56:10b). Wow. With God
with me, who can be against me?!
we may naturally experience fear, but we put our trust in
God. “O Most High, when I am afraid, in you I place
my trust.” (Ps 56:3c-4). We must be assured by His promises,
to be with us always and keep us secure in His love and care.
“I praise the word of God; I trust in God, I do not
fear. What can mere flesh do to me?” (Ps 56:5).
we are not to hate our enemies and exact vengeance on them,
but leave them to the justice of God. “They are evil;
watch them, God! Cast the nations down in your anger!”
(Ps 56:8). With our brethren, we must be careful not to easily
take offense, or be resentful, or be envious. Otherwise we
end up contributing to the strife and division within the
We have our afflictions, but we do have the One who was afflicted
for our sakes, and who brings healing to us in all our troubles.
“He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.” (Mk 3:10). Let
us continually press upon Jesus and touch him, to allow him
to touch our hearts and keep us on the right track.
we continue to plod onward. We are privileged to be called
as holy warriors. Let us fulfill what we have committed to
do for our God. “I have made vows to you, God; with
offerings I will fulfill them” (Ps 56:13).
way of speaking was the same for Abimelech and the lords of
Shechem. “God put an evil spirit between Abimelech and
the lords of Shechem, and the lords of Shechem broke faith
with the house of Abimelech.” (Jgs 9:23). Does God put
an evil spirit in or between people? What it means is that
God withholds His favor, and what rushes into the gap is the