A Heart for God:  David.

David & Saul

Readings:  1Sam 24:2-17
Sermon:  Sun 11th October 2015
Setting the scene:
In chapters 20-24, we learn how, aided by Jonathan, David becomes a fugitive from King Saul. To protect his throne, Saul is intent on murdering David and pursues him. So great is his anger, that Saul orders the murder of 85 priests (23:1-23) who had
assisted David and given him the sword of Goliath when he first fled from Saul.
It’s a remarkable story as the fugitive David feigns madness to escape Achish, King of Gath; finds that a band of 400 men choose to join him (22:1-5); saves the town of Keliah from the Philistines (chapter 23) and evades Saul’s relentless pursuit.
We pick up the story with David and his band of 600 men living in the desert of en Gedi, skulking in caves as they seek to conceal their whereabouts from King Saul who is tracking them with an army of 3,000 men. A remarkable series of events are about
to take place as David’s role changes from that of armed fugitive and outlaw to King in waiting.  As is so often the case extreme situations provoke extreme reactions and a window to the heart is opened.
From history, can you think of examples when leaders have embarked upon
scandalous strategies to consolidate their power and future? What were the results?
(See Helpful Hints)
Read 1 Samuel 24: 2-22
A) Understanding David & Saul
1. Read verses 3-7. Encouraged by his men, knowing that he has been anointed by Samuel and has Jonathan’s blessing, David has the opportunity to murder Saul as he takes “a comfort break” in the cave. David and his men are hiding at the rear of the cave and they urge him to seize his opportunity. Why do you think David acted as he did? What do you think about his course of action?
2. a) Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit, through your conscience,
has prompted you to act/speak in a certain way and you have disobeyed? Why was this?
b) How we can be attentive and obedient to the will of God
3. Read verses 8-15.
Picture the scene. David comes out of the darkness from the back of the cave and watches Saul. Choosing not to kill him, he approaches Saul who is at the entrance. David kneels down in the dust before Saul, paying tribute to the Lord’s anointed King and speaks in measured tones.  Do you think David was right or wrong to speak to Saul?
4. Read verses 15-22. Despite what Saul said, do you believe that Saul’s heart had been softened and that he had repented?
B) Learning from David & Saul
1. How do you deal with someone who has wronged you? What can we learn from David and Saul
C) Praying with David
Take some time to consider if there is someone who has hurt you and, encouraged by David, seek the Lord’s peace, healing and guidance in prayer.
Read Proverbs 9:10. Give time to asking the Lord to help you to increasingly focus on Him and live in accordance with His will.
To help, you might like to conclude with this activity.
As some music is played, give everyone a piece of paper. Invited everyone to reflect and pray and write on the paper, any blessings they wish to thank God for. After a few minutes, ask people if they would like to share any of the blessings. Conclude by playing a song on cd of praise and then close with a time of prayer.
Helpful Hints
A) Understanding David & Saul
1. Courageously, David chose to honour God and spare Saul. He knew that Saul was God’s anointed King and that it was for God alone to decide Saul’s future. David chose to trust God and not man – represented by the advice of his soldiers.
4. Despite what he says, I don’t believe that Saul is truly sorry. Saul knew that everything that David said was true but he rejected the opportunity to confess his past sins before God and David. Saul affirms David righteousness (verse 17) but chooses not to apologise. Instead, thinking of himself and his dynasty, he secures a covenant (a solemn promise before God) that David will not harm his successors. God, who is faithful, provides Saul with an opportunity to repent and to be reconciled to Him and David, but Saul chooses to refuse.

RJ / SB, 07/08/2015