The Importance of Melchizedek

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Who was Melchizedek?

Mentioned only 3 times in the entire Bible (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews, and Psalm 110), Melchizedek is a shadowy fellow we don’t know much about. He was a priest whom Abraham honored. That’s about all we know. So why does Melchizedek matter?

Hierarchy of Israel’s Government

Israel had three important leaders in ancient times: prophets, priests, and kings.

  1. Prophets told the truth, revealing God’s righteousness
  2. Kings were to instill righteousness in practical ways as leaders of the government
  3. Priests met the people’s spiritual need and served as the gateway to God

In Israeli tradition, kings and priests had to come from different tribes: priests from the tribe of Levi and kings from the tribe of Judah. Ordinarily, a king could not be a priest.

Enter our friend, Melchizedek. He proves that:

  1. A priest does not have to come from the right family (Melchizedek wasn’t even Hebrew!)
  2. He was both a priest and a king

Messiah as perfect priest, king, and prophet

The Messiah would have to be a complete leader: priest, king, and prophet. But would that violate God’s law?

NO! The perfect king would govern justly. The perfect prophet would reveal God’s truth. The perfect priest would bring God and the people together.

Enter our Lord, Jesus Christ. He was the perfect Messiah. And Melchizedek establishes credibility for Jesus as both priest, king, and prophet.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 5: Psalm 23 & Psalm 36

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Summary Psalm 23:

David praises the Lord for his faithfulness. David wants nothing. God restores his soul; God guides him; God takes away his fear; God comforts him; God gives him an abundant life. Goodness and love will follow him, and he will dwell with God forever.

Summary Psalm 36:

The wicked do not fear God. They do not know they sin. The plot evil, do wrong, and follow a sinful course. God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice is unfailing. Men find refuge in God’s wings. In God’s light we see His love. God overcomes all evildoers.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 5: Psalm 23 and 36:

13) “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me…surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” All of these. Guiding my life. Restoring me when I’m empty inside. Granting me rest when I am weary. Leading me on the path of righteousness. Dwelling with him forever. Love is with me every day.

14) Personal Question. My answer: David about sums it up perfectly. Most unbelievers don’t know they sin and don’t care. They plot evil, have no moral compass, and don’t fear God. But God will overcome. Sin does breed sin and perpetuates and is ignored.

15) Personal Question. My answer: David knows God overcomes all and is in control. His love is bountiful, and He grants us abundance. We will have hardships, but He is our shepherd, guiding us to Him. It’s good to know God is in charge and to rely on Him completely when the hardships come.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 5: Psalm 23 and Psalm 36:

With arguably the most famous Psalm in the Bible as out study, BSF doesn’t dive into it enough. So much comfort, goodness, and wonder woven in Psalm 23. Please see End Notes for complete discussion of David’s heart and beauty in this amazing Psalm.

See this great summary video of the book of 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 5 : Psalm 23 & 36:

Commentary Psalm 23:

This beloved Psalm bears the simple title, A Psalm of David. Scholars believe this psalm is a remembrance of David’s youth when he was a shepherd. Spurgeon wrote, “I like to recall the fact that this Psalm was written by David, probably when he was a king. He had been a shepherd, and he was not ashamed of his former occupation.”

This famous psalm has been the last words of thousands before they left this side of heaven.

Where is the Lord a shepherd in the Bible?

  • A shepherd to Moses, the Stone of Israel (Genesis 49:24).
  • In Psalm 28:9 David invited the LORD to shepherd the people of Israel, and to bear them up forever.
  • Psalm 80:1 the LORD as the Shepherd of Israel, who would lead Joseph like a flock.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:11 speaks of the words of the wise, which are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.
  • Isaiah 40:11 tells us that the LORD will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm.
  • Micah 7:14 invites the LORD to Shepherd Your people with Your staff… As in days of old.
  •  Zechariah 13:7 speaks of the Messiah as the Shepherd who will be struck, and the sheep scattered (quoted in Matthew 26:31).
  • John 10:11 and 10:14 Jesus clearly spoke of Himself as the good shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep and who can say, “I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
  • Hebrews 13:20 speaks of Jesus as that great Shepherd of the sheep
  • 1 Peter 2:25 calls Jesus the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls
  • 1 Peter 5:4 calls Jesus the Chief Shepherd

Ancient Middle Eastern cultures thought of their kings as shepherds as well.

The idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd was precious to early Christians. One of the more common motifs in catacomb paintings is Jesus as a shepherd with a lamb carried across His shoulders.

It’s remarkable that the LORD would call Himself our shepherd. “In Israel, as in other ancient societies, a shepherd’s work was considered the lowest of all works. If a family needed a shepherd, it was always the youngest son, like David, who got this unpleasant assignment.” (Boice)

“David uses the most comprehensive and intimate metaphor yet encountered in the Psalms, preferring usually the more distant ‘king’ or ‘deliverer’, or the impersonal ‘rock’, ‘shield’, etc.; whereas the shepherd lives with his flock and is everything to it: guide, physician and protector.” (Kidner)

“A sheep is an object of property, not a wild animal; its owner sets great store by it, and frequently it is bought with a great price. It is well to know, as certainly as David did, that we belong to the Lord. There is a noble tone of confidence about this sentence. There is no ‘if’ nor ‘but,‘ nor even ‘I hope so;’ but he says, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’” (Spurgeon)

“The sweetest word of the whole is that monosyllable, ‘My.‘ He does not say, ‘The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large, and leadeth forth the multitude as his flock,’ but ‘The Lord is my shepherd;’ if he be a Shepherd to no one else, he is a Shepherd to me; he cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me.” (Spurgeon)

The idea behind God’s role as shepherd is a loving care and concern. David found comfort and security in the thought that God cared for him like a shepherd cares for his sheep.Image result for psalm 23

David felt that he needed a shepherd. The heart of this Psalm doesn’t connect with the self-sufficient. But those who acutely sense their need – the poor in spirit Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3) – find great comfort in the idea that God can be a shepherd to them in a personal sense.

“A sheep, saith Aristotle, is a foolish and sluggish creature… aptest of anything to wander, though it feel no want, and unablest to return… a sheep can make no shift to save itself from tempests or inundation; there it stands and will perish, if not driven away by the shepherd.” (Trapp)

“I shall not want”

  • “All my needs are supplied by the LORD, my shepherd.”
  • “I decide to not desire more than what the LORD, my shepherd, gives.

Sheep don’t always know what it needs and what is best for itself, and so needs the help from the shepherd.

Sheep lie down (rest) only when it is without fear, friction, flies, and famine.

Restores may picture the rescue of a lost one. “It may picture the straying sheep brought back, as in Isaiah 49:5, or perhaps Psalm 60:1 (Hebrew 60:3), which use the same verb, whose intransitive sense is often ‘repent’ or ‘be converted’ (egHosea 14:1f.; Joel 2:12).” (Kidner)

“In Hebrew the words ‘restores my soul’ can mean ‘brings me to repentance’ (or conversion).” (Boice)

The shepherd would guide the sheep to what he needed.

The valley of the shadow of death

  • A valley is a low point — not the exhilaration of a mountaintop
  • Death — the ultimate end
  • Shadow — not death itself but the lurking evil in his path

David walks through the shadow of death; it is not his destination or dwelling place. In fact, it is only the Lord’s presence that makes this bearable.

We face only the shadow of death because Jesus took death itself for us.

Those facing death have been comforted, strengthened, and warmed by the thought that the LORD will shepherd them through the valley of the shadow of death.

Light must exist in order to cast a shadow. God as light is casting the shadow; all we do is walk through it to Him

Evil still lurks, but we do not fear it for the shepherd is with us. It is at this moment that the “He” of Psalm 23:1-3 changes to “You.” The LORD as Shepherd is now in the first person.

The rod and staff

The rod and the staff were instruments used by a shepherd. The idea is a sturdy walking stick, which was used to gently guide the sheep and to protect them from potential predators.

There is some debate among commentators as to if David had the idea of two separate instruments (the rod and the staff), or one instrument used two ways. The Hebrew word for rod (shaybet) here seems to simply mean “a stick” with a variety of applications. The Hebrew word for staff (mishaynaw) seems to speak of “a support” in the sense of a walking stick.

Kidner notes: “The rod (a cudgel worn at the belt) and staff (to walk with, and to round up the flock) were the shepherd’s weapon and implement: the former for defence (cf1 Samuel 17:35), and the latter for control – since discipline is security.”

Maclaren writes: “The rod and the staff seem to be two names for one instrument, which was used both to beat off predatory animals and to direct the sheep.”

Either way you look at it, the rod and staff was a comfort to David, knowing God guided him and corrected him.

The significance of the table

  • Table is bounty
  • Prepare is foresight and care
  • Before me is personal attention
  • Presence of enemies is always overcoming obstacles

Image result for psalm 23“Here the second allegory begins. A magnificent banquet is provided by a most liberal and benevolent host; who has not only the bounty to feed me, but power to protect me; and, though surrounded by enemies, I sit down to this table with confidence, knowing that I shall feast in perfect security.” (Clarke)

In the Old Testament world, to eat and drink at someone’s table created a bond of mutual loyalty, and could be the culminated token of a covenant.

Mercy is the covenant-word rendered ‘steadfast love’ elsewhere. Together with goodness it suggests the steady kindness and support that one can count on in the family or between firm friends.” (Kidner)

Commentary Psalm 36:

This Psalm is titled, To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. Psalm 18 is the only other Psalm that uses the phrase “the servant of the LORD” in the title. Bible scholar Trapp observed that Psalm 18 comes from David’s old age and Psalm 36 from a younger David. From youth to old age, David was the servant of the LORD and “He took more pleasure in the names of duty than of dignity.” (Trapp)

An oracle of transgression could mean David were divinely taught by the sins of others or it’s the voice within a sinner.

We see “oracle of the Lord” in Genesis 22:16 and “oracle of David” in 2 Samuel 23:11.

It is likely that Paul had this Psalm in mind as he composed the opening chapters of his great letter since he quotes verse 1 in Romans 3:18.

The wicked thinks of himself much more highly than he should both in regard to his sins (his iniquity) and his prejudices (hates). Flattery can be us thinking we are more than we actually are; it doesn’t have to come from others.

How does one flatter himself with regards to sin?

Matthew Poole elaborates:

  • Sins “are not sins, which a mind bribed by passion and interest can easily believe.”
  • Sins “are but small and venial sins.”
  • Sins “will be excused, if not justified by honest intentions, or by outward professions and exercise of religion, or by some good actions, wherewith he thinks to make some compensation for them or some other way.”

“The phrase ‘on his bed’ is parallel with ‘on the way’. The ungodly considers evil both in his lying down and in his walking.” (VanGemeren)

Sin is found in what we don’t do as well as in what we do.

The translation of mercy here is inconsistent for the same Hebrew word hesed is translated as loving kindness is both Psalm 36:7 and 36:10. This wonderful word speaks of God’s love and mercy, but especially to His covenant people.

David can only describe these attributes of God with the biggest things he can think of – the heavens, the clouds that fill the sky, the great mountains, and the great deep of the sea.

“The word precious establishes the change from the immense to the intimate and personal.” (Kidner)

Loving kindness in verse 5 1s too great to grasp and in verse 7 is too good to let slip. (Kidner)

What does shadow of Your wings mean?

Bible commentators see the shadow of Your wings 2 ways:

  1. The wings of the cherubim that are over the throne of God and represented in His tabernacle and temple, including the ark of the covenant, the very representation of His throne.
  2. Like a mother hen covering her young chicks under her wings to protect, hide, and shelter them.

We saw this in Ruth with Boaz (Ruth 2:12), and when Jesus was speaking of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37).

I’m inclined to think both.

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The word fullness here is literally fatness. “The fattest is esteemed the fairest and the most excellent food; therefore the saint was enjoined to offer the fat in sacrifice under the law. As God expects the best from us, so he gives the best to us.” (Swinnock, cited in Spurgeon)

The fullness (abundance) of your house is will one of our great joys in heaven when we come to our Father’s house. With unmeasured satisfaction we will have the right to roam heaven and say, “Is this ours? And is this ours?” and say it unto eternity.

River of delight/pleasures: “Possibly a reference to Eden may be intended in the selection of the word for ‘pleasures,’ which is a cognate with that name.” (Maclaren)

What does “in your light we see light” mean?

We see light twice: light discovering and light being discovered and enjoyed.

Light is invisible by itself. Everything is invisible until light strikes it. So it is with God: we can’t see Him, but “in his light” (under his loving influence), we see and understand His love in all that surrounds us. God’s overwhelming generosity stands in complete contrast to the self-important plotting of wicked humans.

John wrote in the opening words of his Gospel: He was the true Light which gives light to every man (John 1:9). “It is hard to doubt that John was thinking of Psalm 36:9 as he composed the prelude.” (Boice)

“The Hebrew is, draw forth, or draw out thy lovingkindness: a metaphor either taken from vessels of wine, which being set abroach once, yield not only one cup, but many cups; so when God setteth abroach the wine of his mercy, he will not fill your cup once, but twice and seven times” (Greenhill, cited in Spurgeon).

Unlike the righteous who may fall seven times yet rise up again (Proverbs 24:16), the workers of iniquity remain in the dust as God protects His servants.

‘They are struck down,’ (thrown down) is the same word as in the picture of the pursuing angel of the Lord in Psalm 35.” (Maclaren)

THERE: Some scholars think it refers to the pride mentioned in the previous verse, others to the place where the workers of iniquity practiced their sin.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 4: 1 Samuel 20

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Summary 1 Samuel 20:

David leaves Samuel at Naioth and goes to Ramah to see Jonathan. David asks Jonathan why his father is trying to kill him. Jonathan didn’t know his father was trying to kill David again and offers his help. David devises a test to see if Saul still wants to kill him or not: Jonathan is to go to a dinner David is supposed to show up to during the New Moon festival. If Saul loses his temper when he finds out David has fled, then it is not safe to return. If Saul is indifferent, then it is safe to return.

David makes Jonathan re-swear his oath because he is afraid Jonathan will lead him into a trap and tell him the wrong thing. Jonathan will go to David’s hiding place and shoot 3 arrows. He will tell his boy to say different things, one meaning it is safe, one meaning David must flee.

When David doesn’t appear at the festival, Saul gets angry and accuses Jonathan of siding with David over him. Saul was so angry he hurled his spear at Jonathan to try and kill him as well. Jonathan then went to where David was hiding and gave the signal for him to flee. They wept and kissed and David fled, while Jonathan returned to the town.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 4: 1 Samuel 20:

10) Jonathan has a great heart who believes the best in people. He puts his own life at risk to save his best friend, David. He doesn’t believe his father is capable of hurting David, even though he’s seen his father throw a spear at David. He thinks he can convince his father he’s wrong. Jonathan trusts in the Lord as shown when he single-handedly took on the Philistines. I like how he does believe the best in people, even when it’s obvious they are evil inside.

11) Jonathan knows right from wrong. He knows David is innocent and had done nothing to deserve death, yet Saul is bent on it. It angers Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:34), and he’s ashamed of how his father is acting. His own father even hurled his spear at him to try to kill him (1 Samuel 20:33). Jonathan seems to understand that David is the chosen king. He sees this in all the blessings God has heaped upon him in his victories against the Philistines and protections from Saul. He also understands David is doing God’s will; whereas, his own father is not.

As we’ll see, Jonathan knows David will be king, and he’s fine with being number 2 (1 Samuel 23:17).

12) Personal Question. My answer: True friendship is sacrificial. When you’re willing to sacrifice for the other person (time, help, money, etc), then you are true friends. And you stand with the friend who does right, not wrong. They loved each other deeply and were willing to do anything for the other — even risk their own life. This is true friendship.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 4: 1 Samuel 20:

We see God at work in friendships as well and what a true friendship looks like. This is important in this day and age when people have thousands of “friends” on social media — relationships that aren’t real. Sacrificial love these days are rare and pretty much exclusive to immediate family members. This is definitely inspiring!

See this great summary video of the book of 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 4 : 1 Samuel 20:

Here, we see a heart-to-heart with best friends. We just saw the Spirit of God protect David in Naioth. David could have simply stayed there for however long it took Saul to give up or die. However, David needed to know if there was still a chance to reconcile with Saul.

David needed to know where Jonathan stood. Jonathan reassured David of his love, telling him he had no idea of the attempted arrest. He warned him of Saul’s intentions.

David is discouraged, but Jonathan reassures him — the hallmark of a true friendship.

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David tests Saul

David comes up with a test to see where Saul’s heart lies. At a feast, David asks Jonathan to observe his father’s reaction, which will tell where Saul’s heart is. Since Jonathan is next in line for the throne and Saul’s son, David is unsure. Jonathan, however, is not.

Jonathan agrees to warn David of his father’s attitude and intentions

In those days when one royal house replaced another, it was common for the new royal house to kill all the potential rulers from the old royal house. Jonathan knew that one day David and his descendants would rule over Israel, and he wanted a promise that David and his descendants will not kill his descendants.

Jonathan and David agreed to care for one another. Jonathan agreed to care for David in the face of Saul’s threat, and David agreed to care for Jonathan and his family in the future. David fulfilled this promise to Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1-8 and 21:7).

Jonathan would use arrows as a sign of Saul’s heart.

The test is put into play

Ceremonial uncleanliness might cause a person to miss a feast such as this, but ceremonial uncleanliness only lasted a day (Leviticus 22:3-7). So when David’s place was empty the next day, Saul demanded an explanation.

Speaking of David derisively as ‘the son of Jesse,’ accentuated his lowly birth and place in the royal family.

Jonathan covered for David, trying to give Saul a plausible (and truthful) explanation for David’s absence.

Saul’s response said it all as Saul would ignore his previous oath not to kill David  (1 Samuel 19:6)

Jonathan knew what was right before the Lord — and this wasn’t right.

Lesson from 1 Samuel 20

  • A lifetime is nothing but small moments. One small moment can change your life forever.Image result for 1 samuel 20

The weeping is because both men knew they might never see each other again. In fact, Jonathan only sees David once more shortly before he is killed. A sad part of life sometimes how we don’t see loved ones again.

Why does God put David on such a path in life?

  • David needed to depend on God and God alone. Nothing does this more than solitude and persecution — especially unwarranted
  • God wanted to grow David and often uses bleak roads to do so — think Job, Joseph, Paul, and even Jesus
  • God needed to be David’s defense and promoter
  • God must alone be the authority in David’s life

Redpath: “A throne is God’s purpose for you; a cross is God’s path for you; faith is God’s plan for you.”

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59

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Summary 1 Samuel 19:

Since the plan with the Philistines didn’t work, Saul would take matters into his own hands and call for David’s death. He asked his son and attendants to kill David. Jonathan warned David his life was in danger and told him to go into hiding.

Jonathan reasons with his father, Saul, who took an oath not to put David to death. David and Saul’s relationship is mended. Once again, the Philistines attack, and David defeated them again.

Saul once again threw his spear at David. This time, David flees after his wife warns him, and she puts an idol (why does she even have one?) in the bed to be David. When Saul confronts her as to her role in David’s escape, she claims David threatened her life.

David flees to Samuel’s home of Ramah for protection. Saul sends men after David, but God protects David and makes the men prophesy. Eventually, Saul goes to Ramah himself to get David, and God makes him prophesy as well.

Summary of Psalm 59:

David prays to God to protect him from his enemies (in this case, Saul). He’s done no wrong, yet he is attacked. David knows God will go before him and take care of his enemies for His glory. David will praise God always for He is his fortress and refuge.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59:

6) They risked everything, even death, to save David, since Saul has been prodded by an evil spirit who will kill at a moment’s notice.

7) Personal Question. My answer: Every day in small sacrifices that could cause me harm or risk my job or relationships, such as standing up for what I believe, calling people out when they twist God’s words or writing what I believe.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: David’s faith is unshakable. He knows God will take care of him and his enemies and do it all for His glory. He knows God will answer his prayers. He knows he is in God’s hands. David’s faith gives him the strength and courage to go on, fighting for God, when all he probably wants to do is flee and go live a cushy life somewhere.

9) Remembering God and who He is and what He is capable of strengthens us as well as we are facing our own enemies in this world. It will give us the courage to fight another day and strengthen our faith as we allow God to be in charge and lead us in His ways. We walk differently and act differently when we don’t worry, knowing God is in control.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59:

I like reading David’s thoughts and prayers along with the action of the Old Testament. It’s like a movie or book, having inside knowledge of what the character is thinking. It puts a personal touch to all the battles and jealousy and hiding. David’s life shows us what a life full of hardships looks like and how it can be used by God for good. Very encouraging.

See this great summary video of the book of 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59:

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1 Samuel 19:

Saul put everyone in a difficult spot, forcing them to choose obedience to a king or obedience to THE KING.

Jonathan loved David, and God made a wonderful bond of friendship between them, sealed by a covenant (1 Samuel 18:1-4). Jonathan knew David was destined to be the next king of Israel, even though Jonathan was officially the crown prince. At the same time, his father and king told him to kill David.

The servants all loved David (1 Samuel 18:5) yet they are commanded by their king to kill David.

Sin is never excused, even when ordered by a higher authority.

We are under authority and commanded to submit to God’s order of authority in many different arenas. There is a Biblical submission from children to their parents, from citizens to their government, from employees to their employers, from Christians to their church leadership, and from wives to their husbands. But in all these relationships, we are never excused from sin because we obeyed an authority that told us to sin. In this case, it would be wrong for Jonathan to obey his father and kill David.

Jonathan stood for what was right AND took action to prevent a wrong by warning David. He did not stand idly by and allow a sin to take place. Putting his own life on the line, Jonathan defended David to his father AND told his father his jealousy is a sin.

Saul’s mind had twisted all the facts from the past and had put David as being selfish about killing Goliath and doing everything for fame instead of for the Lord. Jonathan tells him how it is — something we all need in our lives.

God used Jonathan, but it wasn’t the work of Jonathan. It was the work of the LORD, and Saul recognized this by declaring this oath.

Why did Saul break his oath to not kill David?

  • Saul was in a spiritual battle — a battle he was unprepared for.
  • At the end of 1 Samuel 19:7 there was a truce in the spiritual war involving David and Saul. But whenever we are at a time of cease-fire in the spiritual war, we know the battle will begin again before long.
  • Saul was unprepared to handle temptation, unprepared to handle spiritual attack, and had the opportunity to sin close at hand. Most of us will trip up under those circumstances.

Fun Fact: David never returns to the palace until he is the king of Israel – some 20 years later. From now until the day Saul dies, David lives as a fugitive.

For the second time, Saul breaks his oath (1 Samuel 19:6). not to kill David and sends men after him.

David’s wife, Michal, helps him escape

Michal acts according to the principle of Genesis 2:24Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. The former family loyalties and obligations take a back seat to the loyalty and obligation to the new family.

During this night, when men watched his house and David escaped, he composed a song unto the LORD found in Psalm 59. David sings in times of trouble.

Why does Michal have an idol?

  • The idol was a teraphim, a figurine used as a household idol or as a fertility and good luck charm. In ancient Israel, teraphim were intended as aids in worshipping the true God. The Israelites didn’t think of the teraphim as other gods, but as representing the God of Israel — which Exodus expressly forbids.
  • The teraphim shows the slow deterioration of Israel even during these good times.
  • The idol shows that Michal didn’t have the kind of relationship with God she should have. This weak relationship with God will reveal itself in Michal as the story of David’s life unfolds (2 Samuel 6:16-23).

Saul’s hatred of David shines through

  • Saul wants to kill David himself
  • Saul calls David his enemy. These are the saddest words in this passage.

You can imagine David’s confusion. So what does he do? Flees to safety, reassurance, and support — Samuel.

The word Naioth comes from the Hebrew word for residence. This spoke of Samuel’s home (which may have had “Naioth” title itself), or it may have been some landmark or specific place in Ramah. Whenever Naioth is mentioned, it is associated with Ramah.

Why are the Israelites prophesying?

  • Prophesying doesn’t necessarily mean the Israelites are all seeing the future. The Hebrew word simply has the idea of speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They probably all gave spontaneous and inspired praise to God.
  • This was God’s way of protecting David. This was an unusual work of the Holy Spirit – to come upon men who did not seek after God, who did not long to be filled with the Spirit prophesying.
  • This kept happening. Saul didn’t get the message.

Why did Saul take off his robes?

  • Saul would not humble himself before God, and so God will find a way to humble him.
  • It is unlikely – though possible – that Saul stripped himself bare. The Hebrew word for naked can indicate just stripping down to the undergarments. Saul probably took off all the royal robes that said “prestige” and “royalty,” and laid himself out bare before the LORD in his plain linen undergarments, stripped of all his royalty and glory.
  • A person can be affected by the power of God (resulting in amazing experiences), but not surrendered to the power of God, which results in a changed life. This was Saul.

Saul is among the prophets appeared in  1 Samuel 10:10-12, and it expressed astonishment that someone became a religious enthusiast.

Psalm 59:

This Psalm is about 1 Samuel 19:11-12, which was when the murderous intent of King Saul against David was openly revealed, and David began his time living as a fugitive and in hiding.

David faced many perils and enemies and many of his Psalms begin with this thought. This is common and to be expected when you lead a Godly-life. The man after God’s heart, Israel’s greatest earthly king, had many enemies — as did the Son of David.

Through this Psalm David declared his close and personal connection with God:

Praying for deliverance

Defend me is an ancient Hebrew word, meaning to lift up, as into a safe and defended place. It says, “Lift me up to Your high tower where I am even higher above those who rise up against me.” This idea is repeated three more times in the Psalm (59:9, 16, 17).

The word protect (defend 59:1) like the kindred word ‘fortress’ (defense) (59:9, 16, 17), contains the thought of what is set high up, out of reach.

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Like the best movies of today, David was the target of a focused assassination plot that came from the highest levels of Israel’s government. Many felt they could advance their favor before King Saul by killing David. Knowing the danger, David looked to God for rescue and defense.

David looked to God for help. He didn’t make a claim to sinless perfection. He simply told God there was no justified reason for Saul to send bloodthirsty assassins against him.

Appealing to God

David appealed to God with a variety of His names and titles:

  • Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel (LORD)
  • Elohim Sabaoth, the commander of heavenly armies (God of hosts)
  • Elohi Israel, the God of His chosen people (God of Israel)

The men sent to watch David’s house and kill him were determined. They didn’t give up quickly, and they growled like dangerous dogs.

One bible commentator explains growl: “There is some uncertainty over the word growl, which is the expression used for the Israelites’ ‘murmuring’ — one might almost say ‘whining’ in the wilderness.”

The word belch: ‘Belch’ means to gush out, and is found in a good sense in Psalms 19:1. Here it may perhaps be taken as meaning ‘foam,’. The root idea is of bubbling up and bursting out; so in terms of dogs, ‘See how they slaver at the mouth’.

All who opposed God would be held in derision.

The word defense has the idea of a high tower or fortress. David believed that God was like a strong, high tower for him. It seemed impossible for David to survive against such a powerful conspiracy against him, but God would be his defense, his high tower.

This verse reminds me of the song Strong Tower by Kutless.

My God of mercy. David knew that God would be merciful to him and that God would meet him, even lead him, in his need.

“The word meet (59:10a) is based on the idea of what is ‘in front’ of someone, usually in the sense of confronting them by coming to meet them, as in the beautiful phrase of Psalm 21:13. But it can alternatively imply going in front to lead the way.”

Three titles for God:

  1. My God of mercy
  2. My defense (high tower)
  3. Strength

Spurgeon on “My desire”:  “Observe that the words, ‘my desire,‘ are not in the original. From the Hebrew we are taught that David expected to see his enemies without fear. God will enable his servant to gaze steadily upon the foe without trepidation; he shall be calm, and self possessed, in the hour of peril.” (Spurgeon)

Lessons from praying about defeating enemies

  • David didn’t only want the defeat of his enemies. He wanted them defeated in a way that would do the most good for God’s people. If those enemies were kept alive but scattered, the lesson would last longer.
  • Whenever David prayed for the destruction of his enemies (and sometimes he prayed quite severely), he had in mind not only his personal deliverance, but also what the display of Divine justice would teach God’s people.

David repeated the prayer consume them twice for emphasis.

Let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth: These words are very similar to what David said to Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:46.

The line from Psalm 59:6 is repeated for emphasis.

Wandering the streets is like hungry dogs do, looking for food.

David’s heart was filled with songs of praise instead of dark fears. He started the Psalm asking God for His defense (Psalm 59:1); at the end of the Psalm, he was so confident in God that he could sing about it.

David’s life as a fugitive begins

For the next perhaps 10 to 15 years (and the rest of the book of 1 Samuel), David had to live as a fugitive, constantly in danger of his life. It’s interesting to note that David entered the period singing praises and was still singing praises at the end of his fugitive years (2 Samuel 1:17-27).

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 2: 1 Samuel 18

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Summary of 1 Samuel 18:

After David killed Goliath, he was not allowed to return home. Jonathan, Saul’s son, became best friends with David and made a covenant with David. David rose quickly in the army ranks. After the Philistines were defeated, the army returned home. The women of the towns ran out to greet the army and sang how David killed more men than Saul. This angered Saul, and he became jealous.

An evil spirit from God came upon Saul, which caused him to hurl a spear twice at David, who eluded it. Saul feared David because the Lord was with David and not him. Saul sent David away to fight his battles, which he did successfully since God was with him, winning the hearts of the people. In everything David did, he had great success.

David turned down the marriage of Saul’s oldest daughter, Merab, but gathered 200 foreskins from the Philistines as a bride price for Saul’s second daughter, Michal, who loved David. Saul kept sending David out to battles, hoping the Philistines would kill him. Instead, David had success after success, making his name well-known with the Israelites.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 2: 1 Samuel 18:

3) Saul is very human; he is jealous of David because of his success and popularity with the people. This would be most people’s reaction. He’s feeling insecure as it is, knowing God is not with him, and he’s not the chosen king of Israel. Jonathan and David are fast friends. They probably shared a lot in common, both being close to the King and having high expectations put upon themselves. They are the epitome of best friends. Michal loved David and presumably he loved her since he did as Saul asked him to do (fulfilled the bride price of 100 Philistine foreskins) for her hand in marriage.

All David’s relationships mirror ours: messy. It’s a ubiquitous human condition, and it’s comforting to know my personal life isn’t as bad as I thought!

4) Personal Question. My answer: Saul is jealous of David. This is a lesson we all need to be better at and improve in our lives since it is usually the first reaction we have to others who get something we want like a promotion or beautiful kids. Then Saul tries to trap David, which backfires miserably. We should not try to do this to others, although it can be tempting to do. No one said following Jesus and being like him was easy.

5) Part personal Question. My answer: All that David does (battles to marrying the King’s daughter) is blessed by God. Yet, that puts a target on his back as people are jealous of him, and when people are jealous, most will stop at nothing to bring that person down. As we’ll see, David has to go into hiding because Saul is out to kill him. I am thoroughly blessed in my life, living for something greater than myself and my own needs. That being said, doing what Jesus would do is a daily challenge in my interactions with my work colleagues, others, and my family. Overcoming my innate selfishness to put others first is challenging and fighting all the temptations the devil throws at me is exhausting. Still, all is for Him, and I’d want it no other way.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 2: 1 Samuel 18:

Good lesson on the price of being a Christ-follower: blessings and costs involved. You will be enriched beyond imaging, but it won’t be easy with sacrifices along the way. Also, we see David as human with the same struggles we all have, which helps us to not try to be so perfect in all that we do.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 2 : 1 Samuel 18:

We met Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14 where he attacked the Philistines single-handedly.

How are Jonathan and David alike?

  • Both Jonathan and David were around the same ageImage result for 1 samuel 18
  • Both Jonathan and David were bold
  • Both Jonathan and David trusted God
  • Both Jonathan and David were men of action
  • Both Jonathan and David had a real relationship with God, loved God, and had God as their center

How were Jonathan and David different?

  • Jonathan was the first-born son of a king (1 Chronicles 9:39), while David was the last-born son of a farmer. This made Jonathan more than a prince, he was the crown prince. By everyone’s expectation Jonathan would be the next king of Israel.

Jonathan understandably should have been the one jealous of David since David was the biggest threat to taking the throne. Instead, their friendship was stronger than jealousy, envy, and ambition. They loved each other more than the throne of Israel because they loved God more than the throne of Israel.

David would never again be a shepherd — but he’d always have the heart of a shepherd.

How were Jonathan and David submitted to the Lord?

  • Jonathan gave David the robe and his armor, the action in effect recognizing God’s choice of the next king.  Because Jonathan was surrendered to God he could see the hand of the LORD upon David. He knew David’s destiny and was perfectly willing to set aside his ambition to honor the LORD’s choice.
  • David, who had already been anointed as king by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:13), would wait 20 years before he’d be king. David was willing to let God put him on the throne, and to do it in God’s timing.

Why was David well-known and popular amongst the Israelites?

  • David became popular because he was a man after God’s own heart and people could see the lovewisdom, and peace of God in him.
  • David was now a general in the Israeli army and worked hard to please Saul.
  • David did not let his popularity go to his head.
  • As a shepherd, David put God first. He lived a simple life, which God had prepared for him. He was humble.

What fueled Saul’s jealousy of David?

  • Since Saul did not have God’s heart, all he had was man’s praise. When David was praised more, Saul became jealous.
  • It’s the sign of a bad leader when you’re threatened by a subordinate.
  • Saul has a guilty conscience. He knows he’s not God’s chosen leader of Israel any more, but he won’t step down.

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Saul’s attempt to kill David

This evil spirit was first mentioned in 1 Samuel 16:14. It came upon Saul, permitted by the LORD, when the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). David was brought into Saul’s royal court to play music, so that Saul would be ministered to and soothed when suffering from this spirit.

Prophesy is a poor translation here from the Hebrew. It more means idle ravings. Saul was babbling and not in his right mind.

Most men would think playing music was beneath them once they had garnered the kind of success David had. Not David.

Moved by the spirit, Saul chooses to throw a spear at David with the intent to kill.

David could have retaliated with no personal repercussions; but, he didn’t. Saul’s life is in God’s hands. Twice!

The throwing of the spear proved God was with David. Saul became afraid and wanted David dead. Saul promotes David in the army with the intent David will die in battle.

Saul sets a trap for David

Saul had promised to give… his daughter to the man who killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17:25). Now, Saul makes good on the promise, offering his older daughter, Merab, to David.

Saul concocts a plan to get rid of David, using his daughters. In ancient times, a dowry was required whenever a man married. The dowry was paid to the bride’s father, and the more important and prestigious the bride and her family, the higher the dowry price. Since David was from a humble family, there was no way he could pay the dowry for the daughter of a king. Saul knew this and will demand that David kill 100 Philistines as a dowry. Saul figured that the job was too big and too dangerous for David, and he would be killed gaining the dowry to marry a king’s daughter.

Saul is a clever manipulator. He takes advantage of David’s loyalty, patriotism, courage, and heart for the LORD. Yet David, whose name is being sung all over Israel, is humble and refuses the marriage proposition. Saul tried to make David jealous by giving his daughter to another man. Didn’t work.

Michal will be a snare to David as we shall see in (2 Samuel 6:16-23).

Why ask for 100 foreskins?

  • The dowry price was designed to goad David on (“Go get those uncircumcised Philistines”).
  • The dowry price was designed to be difficult because the Philistines would obviously have to be dead.
  • The dowry price was designed to make the Philistines completely outraged at David, because from their perspective, not only were their men killed, but also their dead bodies were desecrated.
  • The foreskins proved they were from unbelievers (the Philistines) since the Israelites were all circumcised.

David, who had already qualified for the marriage with the death of Goliath, humbly agrees. He suspects nothing. David brings back more just to solidify the bargain.

Did Saul’s plan against David work?

  • In Saul’s mind, yes. The Philistines went out to war against David in retaliation for what they felt was a terrible disgrace against the Philistine people. Saul wanted to make David a marked man, and he succeeded.
  • In reality, Saul’s plan backfired. David is not only alive, but he’s also more popular and closer to the LORD than ever.

Saul isn’t finished, and will use more manipulation, cunning, and outright violence to attack David.

However, David’s wise behavior and high esteem were both closely connected to his humble heart. Here, we see Jesus, the Son of David. Philippians 2:9 says of Jesus, Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.

Coffee and God: Gratitude

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Hey all!

With Thanksgiving still in the air, I’m feeling pretty grateful today. I have nothing to complain about. I have a great husband who takes care of me, three amazing kids who are growing way too fast, a job I love doing, financial stability (which has been a long time in the coming), a life where I pretty much get to do whatever I want whenever I want, my health, my family, two dogs, four cats, a couple of fish, a nice home, vehicles than run, and I have God and I have Jesus.

On Friday, I got food poisoning from Thanksgiving leftovers. Luckily, it was over in a few hours, but none of it was fun. It hurt. I hurt. It was exceedingly unpleasant.

It reminded me to be grateful for my health. I can run. I can walk. I can move around easily. My body is healthy. I have no ailments to speak of. I can do lots of things others cannot.

Today, what are you grateful for? Do what I did and make a list of all of your blessings in your life at this moment. It can be as simple as a steaming hot cup of coffee, a few hours away from the kids, a perfect, quiet morning just you and God and the cats who fight over your lap, or it can be for bigger things like a new home, a new job, or a new beginning, or a new love.

On Friday, I was grateful for indoor toilets, running water, and a hot bath.

We are so very blessed. Remembering your blessings and thanking God for them will help you get through the silly irritations in life that have you in a tizzy.

One final note, I’m so very grateful for you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have donated to my blog. I’m humbled beyond words — and sometimes in tears — from your generosity. You all are my strength when I am weary at times. I can come here and pray for you. You all inspire me.

God bless one and all!