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24th March

1 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 83

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
24th March

1 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 83

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Samuel we've read through the rise of Samuel. His mother, Hannah, was unable to have children, and every year when they went to Shiloh to worship at the tabernacle, she would pray to God for a son. She promised God that if he gave her a son, she would give that son back to God to serve him. Eventually, she gave birth to a son named Samuel and when he was old enough, gave him to the priest Eli to serve in the tabernacle.

We read as Samuel grew up in God's presence and grew in favour with God. But in contrast, Eli's own sons were disobedient and rebellious. As were Israel, and so God allowed the Philistines to defeat the Israelites, killing Eli's sons and leading to Eli's own death. Samuel stepped up to fill the gap and led the Israelites to repentance before defeating the Philistines, giving the Israelites a new era of peace.

But as Samuel got older, the Israelites did not want his sons leading them, so they asked Samuel for a king. Samuel warned them that this king would oppress them, but they weren't interested. So Samuel gives them what they want and appoints a young man named Saul to be king. Saul led the Israelites to defeat the Ammonites who were waging war against them. Everything was going well, and so Samuel officially retires, warning the Israelites to continue to be faithful and obedient to God.

But then we read as Saul showed his true colours. He offered sacrifices himself when he wasn't meant to and he made foolish and impulsive decisions that impacted his people negatively. In contrast, his son, Jonathon, proved himself to be wise and courageous. When God asked him to do something, he pretended he was doing it as God asked, but even in that he was disobedient.

So Samuel found a new king. A young shepherd boy, David, who may not have looked the part but had a good heart. When Samuel anointed him, the spirit of God left Saul and settled on David. Yesterday we read as David, in faith, led the Israelites in victory over Goliath and the Philistines, showing God's favour on his life.

1 Samuel 18-20

After defeating Goliath, David went to live with Saul. There he met Saul's son, Jonathon, and the two immediately became close friends. From here, we start to see Saul's jealousy towards David begin to grow.

As David began to prosper and be successful, he won the favour and support of the people. Rather than celebrate David's successes, Saul saw this as a threat to himself. He recognised that God's favour had left him and had come upon David, so he tried to kill him.

At first, he tried to do it himself but failed, so next he tried to convince him to fight against the Philistines in the hope they would kill him. Saul offers David his eldest daughter in marriage if he would go out and kill the Philistines. But in this, we see David's character shine through. He declares that he is not worthy of becoming son-in-law to the king.

David's humility contrasts with Saul's pride. Eventually, David is convinced he can earn his place if he can kill 100 Philistines and bring evidence back. David immediately jumps up and sets off, killing 200 Philistines. The favour of God is so clearly upon him he is successful at everything he does.

So Saul tries to kill him in other ways, but both times he defeated, this time by his own children. The first time Jonathon overhears and persuades his father not to. The second time his daughter Michal, now David's wife, helps David escape and lies to her father. We see how even Saul's own children would rather side with David than him.

David stays with Samuel for a bit, and Saul tries sending servants to go capture David and bring him back. The result is very strange. Everyone Saul sends, including himself at the end, is struck down and forced to prophesy. The term prophecy is used very loosely here. It is likely that they were babbling or speaking words that could not be understood. The point is that God intervened to protect his servants, rendering Saul and his men helpless before his power.

Finally, we see Jonathon try one last time to smooth things off between David and his father. David tries to convince Jonathon that his father Saul will not reason and comes up with a plan to prove it. He will not turn up to court for evening meals. If Saul comments on it and is calm, all is good. If he flies into a rage, that’s the evidence that he will never make peace with David.

It happens just as David said it would and Jonathan realises that Saul is determined to kill David. So Jonathon makes a commitment to David and asks that when David becomes king, he does not forget Jonathon, or destroy his family. The two say their goodbyes, and David leaves.

We see all through these stories the character of David. Through everything, he is faithful and obedient to God and God has caused him to flourish. In contrast, Saul has been disobedient and God has abandoned him. As we continue, we are going to see these two things more and more, as David continues to prove himself worthy of the position of king.

Psalm 83

The psalm is attributed to Asaph, one of king David’s musicians, and falls into the category of lament.

Psalm 83:1-8 - Complaint

Psalm 83:9-18 - Request

The psalmist open with a quick request that God no longer be silent before jumping into their complaint. Their enemies have raised their heads. Enemies who hate God. They plot and they plan to see the nation of Israel wiped out.

The different nations have all come together with this intention. Nations that were previously enemies are now united in their hatred of Israel. Edomites, Ishmaelites, Moabites, Hagrites, Ammonites, Amalekites, the Philistines and more.

So the psalmist makes their request of God. They ask that God defeat these nations and leaders like the ones God has defeated in the past. There’s Jabin and his commander Sisera we read about in Judges 4. And then there’s Oreb, Zeeb, Zebah, and Zalmunna, all kings that Gideon defeated in Judges 7-8. Each of these thought to destroy Israel and claim their lands but were defeated by God.

The psalmist asks that God burn these nations up and blow the ashes away with a great wind. May they realise the strength and might of God so that they would turn to him and worship him rather than try to destroy his people.

In this last section, we see the usual declaration of trust embedded in the psalmist’s request. God is powerful and mighty. The most high over all the earth. This truth gives the psalmist the confidence to make their request. Even when all the world is against them, God’s people can still cry out to him and be delivered.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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