David, still fearful for his life, decides to go to the Philistines, so Saul will stop pursuing him there. David goes to Gath where he fled before (1 Samuel 21:10) and pretended to be insane, and he and his men settle there. They are given their own land in Ziklag and stay for 1 year and 4 months. David raided some of Israel’s enemies while there, killing everyone and taking their possessions. He lied to Achish, telling him he was raiding the Israelites. David was protecting his own skin.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 14, Day 5: 1 Samuel 27:
12) David was afraid of Saul and feared for his life. He knew if he fled Israel, Saul would quit pursuing him, which he did. David’s reasons were valid but unnecessary. We’re not told if he prayed to God about it, but to me it seems as if he didn’t trust God to protect him, so he took the matter into his own hands.
13) Personal Question. My answer. Too many times to count: as a kid, divorce, bankruptcy, moves across country, jobs, etc. I prayed and trusted and tried not to worry and give it to God.
14) He will provide, protect, console, and never forsake those who trust him. God knows us. We are His. We are given eternal life. God is for us. We are justified. He gives us all things. We are never separated from the love of Christ. God works through us. All of God’s promises are encouraging as I walk in faith with Him.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 5: 1 Samuel 27:
Again, we see the imperfections of David. He’s having to lie to Achish in order to stay and kill people because he’s afraid and not trusting in God’s protection. People are dying. Granted, they are Israel’s enemies, but they are still dying needlessly. David is human just like us and makes mistakes.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 5: 1 Samuel 27:
What we say in our heart has a tremendous power to shape our thinking, our actions, even our whole destiny.
David was discouraged and tired of trusting God for His continued deliverance. In his discouragement, David forgot God’s past deliverance. In his despair, he left God and His people behind.
This is the second time David flees to Achish — this time leading his army and family to sin as well. In 1 Samuel 21:10-15, we learn David briefly went over to Achish of the Philistines, believing there might be a place of refuge for him. God allowed that experience to quickly turn sour, and David pretended to be a madman, so he could escape.
Why Achish accept David this time with the Philistines?
Both share the same enemy, Saul.
David brings with him 600 fighting men, whom Achish can use as mercenaries.
Achish believes David is fighting against his enemies when, in fact, David is not
IMPORTANT NOTE: David did not write any Psalms during his time with the Philistines. His heart was not with God.
David as a murderer
David needed his own city, Ziklag, to operate from unobserved.
The Hebrew word raided comes from the verb to strip, with the idea of stripping the dead for loot. David attacked these villages or encampments, killed the men, stripped them for treasure or armor, and robbed the people of the village or encampment. This was no way of life for a man after God’s own heart.
David attacks only Israel’s enemies. Still, he’s nothing more than a robber and a murderer. He is not fighting for God.
Why David kill all those people
David did not want his lie exposed
To cover his sin
David has to live out the lie to protect himself
Where is God?
God is allowing David free will, letting his decisions play out — like he does with us. But God has not abandoned David. On the contrary, he is hoping David will come back to His arms.
Abigail got wind of David’s request and how good he had been to them, guarding the sheep. Abigail decides to give David food without telling Nabal. She rides out to greet them as David is still seething over Nabal’s denial of his food request and is preparing to slaughter Nabal’s men.
Abigail prostrates herself before David, begging him to put the blame on her instead because her husband is a fool. She reasons with him to not kill them because then he’d have innocent bloodshed on his hands. David blesses her, saying she has saved him from killing all of Nabal’s men. Nabal dies. David marries Abigail. He had married Ahinoam of Jezreel as well but Michal had been given to another man.
Summary Psalm 37:
Don’t worry over evil people. Trust in God and He will give you the desires of your heart. Wait for the Lord. Refrain from evil. The Lord laughs at the wicked. The wicked will vanish and perish. Do good and the Lord will not forsake you. He will bless you.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 14, Day 3: 1 Samuel 25:14-44 with Psalm 37:
6) Part Personal Question. My answer: Abigail is intelligent and beautiful. She is selfless, willing to take on Nabal’s punishment. She cares for her employees to save them. She is humble, brave, and courageous. She is sacrificial. I’d like to be more caring, humble, and more sacrificial as well.
7) Part Personal Question. My answer: God sent Abigail to prevent David from doing something he’d regret and from sinning. Every day God extends mercy to me as I fail and am flippant with others, impatient, and mean sometimes.
8 ) Part personal question. My answer: God blesses the good and condemns the evil in His time. I need to be more patient with God and allow Him to give me the desires of my heart.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 3: 1 Samuel 25:14-44 with Psalm 37:
Leave it to a woman to diffuse a male ego. Abigail, knowing something bad is going to happen, goes to David and makes peace. David realizes how wrong he was and then marries Abigail, probably recognizing her intelligence, courage, and selflessness.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 3: 1 Samuel 25:14-44 with Psalm 37:
Nabal’s servants read the handwriting on the wall. They knew that David would not take such an insult (theft, actually) lying down. For their own sake and for the sake of the household. they asked Abigail to do something, knowing Nabal would not (Proverbs 17:12).
The fact that Abigail was able to gather so much food so quickly shows how wealthy Nabal was. If this much food was on hand, it makes Nabal’s ungenerous reply to David all the worse.
In his angry, agitated state, something unexpected made David and his whole company come to an immediate stop: a great procession of gifts, and at the head of that procession, a beautiful woman bowing down before David. This had to make a startling impression on David.
What did Abigail do that saved her men?
Abigail came as a humble servant, not as a superior (as the beautiful, rich, and privileged often do).
Abigail acted quickly
Abigail took the blame on herself, knowing as a woman, David would punish her differently than Nabal
Abigail asked David’s permission to speak
Abigail told David he was about to make a mistake
Abigail brought gifts
Abigail asked for forgiveness
Abigail compliments David
Abigail told David to look at the bigger picture of what God has for him
Abigail tells David to act like a man close to God
What did Abigail do wrong in her interaction with David?
Abigail went to David without her husband’s consent
Abigail called her husband names and criticized him to others
Abigail insinuated Nabal should be killed
Abigail asked David to remember her
Abigail was not outstandingly submissive or respectful to her husband, Nabal.
Though there is no explanation in the Bible, perhaps Abigail’s behavior was justified because this was a life-or-death situation. If Abigail didn’t do what she did, then Nabal and scores of innocent men would die. But the point of the passage is how submissive and respectful Abigail is towards David, not Nabal.
The beauty of Abigail’s speech
Abigail focused David’s attention from Nabal back to God who could easily kill all of David’s enemies with a sling, referencing Goliath here.
Abigail lifted David up instead of beating him down. David was clearly in the wrong, and Abigail wanted to guide him into the right. But she didn’t do it by being negative, by emphasizing to David how wrong and angry and stupid he was – though in fact he was. Instead, Abigail emphasized David’s glorious calling and destiny, and the general integrity of his life, and simply asked him to consider if what his present course of action was consistent with that destiny and integrity.
Abigail is a marvelous model of “sweetly speaking submission.” Many Christian wives have the idea of “silent submission.” They say, “I know my husband is wrong, but I won’t tell him. Submission means I should shut up.” That is wrong, and they should look to Abigail as an example. Other Christian wives have the idea of “sharply speaking submission.” They say, “I know my husband is wrong, and God has appointed me to tell him. And boy, will I!” That is wrong, and they should look to Abigail as an example. Abigail gives the right example – submission that speaks, but speaks sweetly instead of sharply.
Abigail’s submission to Nabal was not outstanding but her submission to David was. And David’s submission to the Lord was equally outstanding; by giving up the fight, he had to trust God to take care of Nabal.
What do we learn from Abigail?
Our hurt feelings never justify disobedience. When others sin against us, we may feel justified in sinning against them, but we are never justified by disobeying.
It is a great blessing when we are kept from sin.
David knew God sent Abigail and was speaking through her. How many Abigails do we have in our lives?
Abigail reminded David of his destiny – to reign over Israel in righteousness and integrity. If David had slaughtered Nabal and his household, it would forever be a black mark against David among Israelites. They would forever wonder if they could really trust him. It might also seal his doom before Saul, because for the first time David would have given Saul a legitimate reason to hunt him down as a criminal.
Note Abigail also paid David what he was owed.
What do we learn from Nabal?
Nabal is a picture of the sinner who goes on rejecting God without regard to God’s coming judgment. It is certain that God will judge the sinner who continues to reject Him in His timing.
David did not need to avenge himself with his own hand; God was more than able to do it.
Jesus may have had Nabal in mind when He taught the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:15-21). That parable describes a man who dies with everything – and nothing.
Wasn’t David already married when he marries Abigail?
No. David was not married to Michal because Saul had taken her away and given her to another man to spite David (David will get Michal back in 2 Samuel 3:13-16).
David never followed God’s will in his marriage life, causing him some of his greatest trials. Although God did not forbid multiple wives, it is not God’s ideal for men and women and His plan for oneness. David had many passions, one of them being women. He was never blessed by God because, in this respect, he was not a man after God’s own heart.
Commentary Psalm 37:
Verse 25 tells us that the author is David in his older years, giving wisdom in the pattern of a song. This Psalm is roughly acrostic in arrangement with the lines arranged with Hebrew sentences that begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In style this is a wisdom psalm, directed not to man but to God, teaching after the manner of the Book of Proverbs.
Why do the wicked prosper?
Many people “fret” or are jealous of the wicked who proper despite their evil. Asaph was bothered by this problem in Psalm 73. Here’s what Bible commentators have to say about the matter:
“The words ‘do not fret’ literally mean ‘do not get heated,’ which is also how we might express it. Or we might say, ‘Don’t get all worked up.’ Or even, ‘Be cool.’” (Boice)
“To fret is to worry, to have the heart–burn, to fume, to become vexed. Nature is very apt to kindle a fire of jealousy when it sees law–breakers riding on horses, and obedient subjects walking in the mire.” (Spurgeon)
Morgan wrote of this worry, this fret: “It is wrong; it is harmful; it is needless. Let the trusting wait. Events will justify the action.”
“It is as foolish as it is wicked to repine or be envious at the prosperity of others. Whether they are godly or ungodly, it is God who is the dispenser of the bounty they enjoy; and, most assuredly, he has a right to do what he will with his own. To be envious in such a case, is to arraign the providence of God.” (Clarke)
David gives the same answer Asaph came to in Psalm 73: any prosperity experienced by the workers of iniquity was only temporary.
“In the Middle East the lush spring vegetation may lose its beauty in a few days after a hot, dry desert wind (hamsin) has parched the land.” (VanGemeren)
We think of a wicked man eating a magnificent dinner while a godly man goes hungry. The wicked man eats anything and everything he wants, and his table is loaded as he enjoys his meal. Then we see the bigger picture: he eats his last meal on death row and in a moment will face terrible judgment.
How do we not worry about what evildoers are doing?
Trust God and do good for His glory. We can get distracted by looking at the prosperity of the wicked.
Enjoy the blessings God has given you.
Delight in the Lord, and God will give you the desires of your heart
Wait on the Lord
Do not be angry
Our reward is eternal; the wicked’s reward is temporary
“The Hebrew for commit is literally ‘roll’, as though getting rid of a burden ( Joshua 5:9). But it comes to be used simply as a synonym for ‘entrust’ (Proverbs 16:3) or ‘trust’; cf. Psalm 22:8.” (Kidner)
All evildoers shall be cut off, and the blessed shall inherit the world.
Jesus quoted verse 11 in the Sermon on the Mount, in the third beatitude (Matthew 5:5). “It is right to say that Psalm 37 is an exposition of the third beatitude, even though it was written a thousand years before Jesus began his public ministry. It unfolds the character of the meek or trusting person in the face of the apparent prosperity of the wicked.” (Boice)
Why do the wicked plot against the just?
The wicked gnash their teeth, which shows the depth of their anger and hatred.
“If God can laugh at the wicked, shouldn’t we be able at least to refrain from being agitated by them?” (Boice)
The wicked will be broken; the righteous will be held by God.
Adam Clarke noted that some ancient manuscripts render verse 20 differently. “If we follow the Hebrew, it intimates that they shall consume as the fat of lambs. That is, as the fat is wholly consumed in sacrifices by the fire on the altar, so shall they consume away in the fire of God’s wrath.”
The wicked take; the righteous give.
The promise of earth-inheritance is repeated a three times.
As we seek the Lord and delight in Him, we find our lives are the perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
“Geber is the original word for good, and it properly signifies a strong man, a conqueror or hero; and it appears to be used here to show that even the most powerful must be supported by the Lord.
God provides for His people
This was David’s testimony after many years. He saw God’s faithfulness to His people and wanted a younger generation to also trust in Him, learning from David’s wisdom.
David knew that among his ancestors were some who left Israel, fearful in a time of famine (Ruth 1). When they returned after several disastrous years in Moab, they found the people of Bethlehem in Israel provided for. God knew how to take care of those who trusted in Him in times of famine, and has done so since then.
One way that God provides for the righteous and their descendants is through the ethic of hard work that belongs to the redeemed, who know that all things should be done heartily, as unto the LORD – including working for a living.
Do Godly men and women have to beg?
This Psalm is a wisdom psalm very much like Proverbs. In the Bible’s wisdom literature often times general principles are presented in the absolute.
We also note that David simply wrote of his experience. That being said, God provides no matter what and one must ask if you are begging, are your exercising every option available to you.
God’s judgments descend to posterity, not just His mercies.
We see the repetition of the same promise in the same terms throughout verses 9, 11, 22, 29, 34. This is a reference to the new heavens and the new earth of Isaiah 66:17; 2 Peter 3:13.
FUN FACT: For the fifth time in this Psalm, David promised the people of God that they would inherit the land. For the sixth time in this Psalm, David promised that the wicked would be cut off or cut down in some sense. Their coming doom was just as certain as the coming blessing and security of the righteous.
David used a green tree as a picture of the wicked in their prosperity. Psalm 1 uses a flourishing tree as a picture of the righteous. “Here it is used in reverse, the wicked being compared to a green tree which flourishes for a time but soon passes away and is seen no more.” (Boice)
Samuel died, and David moved to the Desert of Maon. There, a wealthy man named Nabal and his wife, Abigail, lived. His men were shearing sheep when David asked him to give him whatever he could. Nabal refused, so David prepared to fight.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 14, Day 2: 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
3) Part Personal Question. My answer: Nabal is “surly and mean in his dealings.” He is also greedy, ungenerous, and skeptical. I’m the same. I don’t believe people most of the time nor do I give out random things to people I don’t know. I bet Nabal got a lot of people begging from him, so he didn’t care who David was, the answer was no.
4) David immediately gets angry after a simple no. It seems David has gotten used to getting what he wants because of who he is since he identifies himself. He and his men put on their swords, seemingly with the intention to kill Nabal’s men and/or his livestock.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Those around me. Anger affects those closest to us. I need to be better when I don’t get my way. It all depends on what it is and how bad I want something. Still, we can’t have everything we want as David shows us here. We need to react calmly, not overreact, and move on with our lives.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 2: 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
David does act impulsively, believing he is owed something by a man he had no agreement with. Maybe he and his men are starving. Still, that’s no reason to go and fight. It also seems like Samuel died unceremoniously. I’m sure he was remembered, but the writer here doesn’t care to go into it.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 2: 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
Samuel seemed to be unappreciated by Israel during his life (1 Samuel 8:1-7) but at least he was honored in his death. 1 Chronicles 9:22 suggests he organized the Levites in the service of the sanctuary which was completed by David and Solomon. 1 Chronicles 26:27-28 says Samuel began collecting treasures for building the temple in Solomon’s day. 2 Chronicles 35:18 reports that Samuel remembered the Passover and kept Israel in remembrance of God’s great deliverance. Psalm 99:6 and Jeremiah 15:1 commemorate Samuel as a man of great intercession. Hebrews 11:33 puts Samuel among God’s “Heroes of Faith.”
What are the 4 kinds of riches?
What you have
What you do
What you know
What you are
Nabal only was wealthy in what he had.
This was the “harvest time” for a sheep rancher, which was a time of lavish hospitality towards others.
“Sheep-shearing was traditionally celebrated by feasting with enough to spare.” (Baldwin)
The name Nabal means fool. In ancient Israel, names were often connected with a person’s character. He was of the house of Caleb, which means dog. This was no compliment.
FUN FACT: Only Rachel (Genesis 29:17) and Esther (Esther 2:7) are described with the same Hebrew word as the one here that describes Abigail as beautiful.
Why was Abigail with Nabal?
We can understand it in that day of arranged marriages — a noble woman with a surly man. “It is remarkable how many Abigails get married to Nabals. God-fearing women, tender and gentle in the sensibilities, high-minded and noble in their ideals, become tied in an indissoluble union with men for whom they can have no true affinity, even if they have not an unconquerable repugnance.” (Meyer)
David believed because he protected Nabal’s sheep of his own accord that Nabal owed him compensation. How often do we do this?
Nabal had to have known who David was, because David was famous throughout all Israel (1 Samuel 18:5-7). Nabal said this as a direct insult to David – knowing who he was but refusing to recognize him. In our modern way of speaking, Nabal said, “Who does he think he is?”
Nabal looked at all of his material blessings as his instead of as God’s.
What do we learn by David’s overreaction?
This is not a high moment for David. He doesn’t respond the way God would have him respond to an insult. We are supposed to bear insults with love and kindness, returning their evil with our good. Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (Matthew 5:38-39)
This is striking since we just saw in the previous chapter how David responds to Saul. David was able to be kind to Saul, but it seems to have been harder to do it towards someone he perceived as his equal or lower than himself. Often, this is true measure of our character – not how we treat our superiors, but how we treat our equals or those “beneath” us in some way or another.
Despite the men’s fears, David, after inquiring of the Lord and gaining God’s assurance that he would deliver the Philistines into his hands, goes to Keilah and saves it. Saul interprets this as God handing David over to him, so Saul goes to Keilah to besiege David. David asks God if he will be surrendered to Saul and God answers that he would be handed over by the people.
David and 600 men flee Keilah and are on the move in the Desert of Ziph. God protects David from Saul who is looking for David. David rendezvous with Jonathan at Horesh who encourages David in his plight. This will be the last time they see each other.
The Ziphites, a tribe near Horesh, offers to capture David for Saul. Saul tells them to track David and then he’ll go with them to find David. David continues to run and as Saul is closing in, God sends the Philistines to distract Saul who must abandon the search for David and go and fight instead.
Summary Psalm 54:
Simultaneously, David prays for God to save him, for God to vindicate him and destroy his enemies, and he sings God’s praises and expresses his faith in God to do all that he asks.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54:
9) Part Personal Question. My answer: David always consulted God first. I’m not very good at asking God first. I usually make the decision and then ask God to bless it. This is definitely my prayer this week!
10) Personal Question. My answer: God provides and protects. He sends Jonathan to encourage, probably when David needed it most. I loved how God keeps Saul at bay and the best part is how he sends the Philistines to attack Israel to protect David! God uses Israel’s enemies in ways to save Israel! How cool is that! God also warns and counsels. He is so good if we would only just listen! We also see an example of how people interpret God’s actions wrongly as Saul thinks God is giving David to him when God is really saving Keilah. This is a warning to us both to be wary of people who say “God told me to” and for ourselves when we tell ourselves “God told me to”. Did He REALLY???
11) Personal Question. My answer. Similar to #10 we just answered. I loved how God keeps Saul at bay and the best part is how he sends the Philistines to attack Israel to protect David! God uses Israel’s enemies in ways to save Israel! How cool is that! God encourages David through Jonathan, and, knowing Jonathan will die, allows David to see him one more time. This is a blessing to both men! David always stays one step ahead of Saul thanks to God.
God’s hand touches all we do, all we say, all that happens to us and around us. I need to have faith more in Him, and let Him handle things His way, not mine.
12) Part personal Question. My answer: God is faithful; God is his help; God sustains him; God destroys his enemies; God has delivered David from all his troubles. All of these are comforting. God is the giver of life and is responsible for all my blessings. He is faithful. He sustains me in all aspects: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. He delivers me from my troubles and takes care of my enemies. God is good!
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54:
God is in control. Period. He works his magic behind the scenes to care for us, to protect us, to encourage us, to rid us of our troubles and our enemies, and to sustain us — all because He loves us. Undeserved love. If we would have faith like David, I think our lives would be much more content, calm, and peaceful as we trusted God in all that we do.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54:
Commentary 1 Samuel 23:
The Israelites brought this plea for help to David and not to King Saul because Saul was not fulfilling his role as king over Israel. It was Saul’s job to protect Keliah and it was Saul’s job to fight the Philistines, but Saul wasn’t doing his job, so the Lord called David to do it.
David consulted God first (did not pawn off the job on Saul, saying this isn’t my job).
Saving Keilah was not in David’s best interest:
David had 400 men who were not trained and bad credit reports (1 Samuel 22:2).
David had enough trouble with Saul and he didn’t need to add trouble from the Philistines – one enemy is usually enough.
Saving Keilah would expose David to Saul. This was a dangerous course of action.
Why did David save Keilah?
God commanded him to do so
The Israelites needed him
God confirms His word (He does this frequently for us and for those in the Bible) AND adds a promise — something He does for us as well.
The results of obedience
David obeyed; God blessed
Saul assumed because David was his enemy that David is God’s enemy. The opposite is true. God’s enemies are ours.
David seeks God again, this time through the priest using the Urim and Thummim. Notice how the questions are presented in a “Yes or No” format, because that is how the Urim and Thummim were used.
David could have stayed and fought, and maybe there was something in him that wanted to. But David knew it was not the Lord’s will, and maybe a lot of innocent people would get hurt. So, David, who was a great warrior, humbled himself and escaped. David was not the kind of man to sneak away from a battle, but he didn’t let his pride get the best of him in this matter.
The Desert of Ziph
Ziph was a town below the southern tip of the Dead Sea with a dramatically varied landscape. It was not a comfortable or easy place to be — it was a desert. God guided and protected David, but it wasn’t comfortable or easy. This was an essential time for God’s work in David’s life. He became a man after God’s heart in the shepherd’s field, but he became a king in the wilderness.
Many of us walk through our own deserts, and God is there, at work in our lives, too.
Saul was a determined enemy, unrelenting in his pursuit of David. Saul was so obsessed with killing David that he didn’t give attention to the work God called him to do.
Man can intend, attempt, and work all kinds of evil but God is still in charge.
Led by God, Jonathan encouraged David. Jonathan’s encouragement was a mix of divine promises and an expression of hope, desire, and love.
Saul was so spiritually warped that he said the betrayers of an innocent man were blessed. He believed it was David who was crafty when it was God protecting David the entire time.
Commentary Psalm 54:
There were actually two times the Ziphites betrayed David to King Saul: 1) in 1 Samuel 23 and 2) in 1 Samuel 26. David escaped both times, but the circumstances of this Psalm seem to best fit the circumstances of 1 Samuel 23, when David learned of the Ziphite betrayal but before God delivered (1 Samuel 23:26-29).
This is one of the few Psalms with a specific musical direction: with stringed instruments. It is also called A Contemplation. The Hebrew word for Contemplation (maskil) might be better understood as instruction.
David relied on both the name and the strength of God. God’s name speaks of the nature and character of God; strength (or might) of His great power. David’s rescue would be his vindication. His enemies would have greater evidence that David was in the right and they were in the wrong when God saved him.
Shortly after both times the Ziphites betrayed David, David had the opportunity to kill King Saul. Both times he spared Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24 and 26), and both times Saul admitted he was wrong.
It was common for David and others in their prayers to merely ask for God to hear or give ear to their cry. It was assumed that if God heard, He would act.
Who were the Ziphites?
The Ziphites were Israelis; they were even of the same tribe as David (Judah). Yet their betrayal of David was so contrary to both David and God’s cause that David could rightly refer to them as strangers who sought David’s life. Who do you know today who does this same thing?
The Ziphites rejected God as well as David.
David’s troubles did not lead him to question the goodness of God, but, instead, to appeal to it.
God’s truth (or faithfulness) was under attack as well.
Destroy does mean death–dealing blow.
Should you pray for your enemies to be destroyed?
Some are uncomfortable with prayers that ask for the doom of enemies. It’s true that Jesus told us to pray in a more generous way for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). Yet there is nothing wrong with the basic principle of wanting to see good triumph and for God to do His work against those who do evil — to render the judgment and consequences that comes with evil and disobeying God.
Should you destroy your enemies?
David refused to take vengeance in his own hands. Immediately after the second betrayal of the Ziphites (1 Samuel 26:1) David had the opportunity to kill King Saul in his sleep, and he refused. David waited on God to do it.
What’s a freewill offering?
A freewill offering is one that is given to God without a specific reference to a previously made vow. There was no requirement to do so.
Note David praised God during his troubles and before his prayer was answered. So should we. How often do you thank God ahead of time?
God’s past faithfulness became the ground for future faith. David knew what it was like to defeat his enemies (Goliath is an example); he trusted that he would know it again.
Is Psalm 54 a Messianic Psalm?
We definitely see David as Jesus here:
Jesus was the anointed King yet to come into the fullness of His kingdom.
Jesus came to rescue and lead God’s people, and when He did, some among God’s people betrayed Him.
Some of these lines from the Psalm could have been spoken by Jesus to His Father.
David escaped Gath and went to a cave of Adullam. All the misfits of the world heard of his plight and how he was there, so they all gathered around him — about 400 in total.
Then David went to Mizpah in Moab and asked the king if his father and mother could come and stay with him until he know what God would do with him, which the king agreed. However, the prophet Gad told David to go to Judah, so David went to the forest of Hereth.
Saul learns of David’s whereabouts and takes officials to the tree of Gibeah. He rants about how everyone has conspired against him — even his own son (Jonathan) made a covenant with David. It’s a pity party to say the least.
Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 21:7) tattles that he saw David go to Ahimelech the priest at Nob who gave David provisions and Goliath’s sword. Saul sends for the priest and his family and asks him why he conspired against him. Ahimelech said he merely did what he was asked, knowing nothing of the inner workings of politics between them. David is a loyal servant to the king. Why wouldn’t he inquire of the Lord for him?
Saul orders the priests killed because, in his mind, they conspired against him as well. The officials refused, but Doeg agreed to do it. 85 priests were killed and Nob was destroyed — all who lived inside it.
One priest escaped named Abiathar. He fled to David and told him what happened. David felt responsible for the deaths and promised to protect Abiathar.
Summary Psalm 52:
Written about Doeg, David is angry, but knows God is just and will deal with Doeg. He knows Doeg is a disgrace and evil, God will bring him down, and the righteous will know God is not his stronghold. David trusts in God’s unfailing love, praising Him and hoping in Him.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
6) Part personal question. My answer: Saul is a madman. Saul is throwing a pity party and, blinded by his own pride, kills innocent people. When Saul finds out the truth about the priest, he still accuses him of wrong doing and acts on this knowledge — killing them. How often do we do this as well? Throw a pity party, twist things in our minds — what others do or say — and then don’t believe the truth and still hold grudges against others? It’s definitely a warning to us to not get so caught up in ourselves and our conceived hurts and injustices, to find out the truth, and to act on the truth — not distort the truth.
7) Part personal question. My answer: David is sympathetic to the priests and blames himself for their deaths. He knew Doeg was evil and would tell Saul about him, but he did nothing (he probably thinks he should have killed Doeg — a sin of itself — to spare the priests). He also knows he lied to the priests, which made them vulnerable when Saul shows up, and they have no idea that Saul hates David and wants him dead.
David takes responsibility for the deaths of the priests. He knows his actions indirectly resulted in their deaths. He offers to protect the one remaining priest. Taking responsibility here for your role in how life plays out is the lesson I see here. So often we dismiss how our actions influenced others or caused this or that friction between others and deny it’s our fault. We need to be more like David — compassionate and willing to admit when we caused something as well as take into account how the lies we tell affects others.
8 ) Part personal Question. My answer: David understands that God will deal with evil and those who are good, God will bless. My views are the same. God is the judge not me, and evil He allows for His own purposes, and I trust God will deal with it. I also know if you obey the Lord, He will bless you, and you will flourish.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
What a fascinating look into the mind of a madman and how people will twist whatever they hear to suit their needs. Saul is throwing a pity party and, blinded by his own pride, kills innocent people. It’s scary because we all do this on some level, especially when we read into situations or don’t have all the information. But here, when Saul finds out the truth about the priest, he still accuses him of wrong doing. How often do we do this as well? Don’t believe the truth and then still hold grudges against others?
The second lesson we see is how our lies affect others — even white lies. We never know how it plays out. It’s always best to tell the truth no matter the consequences than tell a lie and watch the consequences explode.
Great analysis of David and Saul here and great contrast. You gotta love the writer here who perfectly juxtaposes these stories for us so we can see how to act and how not to act. God is good!
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
Commentary 1 Samuel 22:
What a whirlwind of a life David has led! David rose to fame killing a Giant, married the king’s daughter, defeated the Philistines, avoided repeated attempts on his life, and said goodbye to his best friend, Jonathan, and his family and began a life as a fugitive for who knows how long. Then David had a brief, but intense period of backsliding, a dramatic turn to the Lord, and deliverance from a life-threatening situation.
What was the cave of Adullam?
Adullam means refuge
The cave became David’s physical refuge
God was David’s spiritual refuge
Most archaeologists believe that the cave of Adullam was not too far from the place where David defeated Goliath, in the hills of Judah.
Psalm 142 is David’s discouragement in the cave of Adullam. Psalm 57 describes David as the Lord strengthened him in the cave and prepared him for what was next.
Who were the people in the cave of Adullam?
First, David’s family came to him. This is a precious gift from God because previously all David had was trouble and persecution from his father and his brothers (1 Samuel 16:11 and 1 Samuel 17:28). Now they join him at the Adullam cave.
God called an unlikely and unique group to David in the Adullam cave. These were not the men David would choose for himself, but they were the ones God called to him. They were distressed, in debt, and discontented with life.
These are the people you want around you: those who come to you when you are in distress — not when life is going great. These men all came to David when he was down and out, hunted and despised. Once David came to the throne, there were a lot of people who wanted to be around him. But it’s the 400 men in the cave who are the loyal ones.
These are the people who come to Jesus — the forlorn, the distressed, the ones seeking something more from life.
This was not a mob. This was a team that needed a leader, and David became that leader. God doesn’t work through mobs. He works through called men and women.
This was a solid beginning to a rebel army if David wanted it. An unprincipled leader might make these 400 men into a gang of rebels or cutthroats, but David did not allow this to become a rebel army against King Saul.
David made them into the kind of men described in 1 Chronicles 12:8: Mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle the shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.
What do we learn from the men called at the cave of Adullam?
David was the one anointed by God to be the next king over Israel, and he became Israel’s greatest earthly king. But just as much as God called David, God called these four hundred to come beside David.
God leads through a called and anointed man (Noah and the ark, Moses and Egypt).
God rarely calls that man to work alone. David needed these 400 men, even if he never thought so before. There are those called to lead and those called to support the leader. Each is just as important as the other.
David took his parents to Moab because his great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 4:18-22, 1:4). He wanted his parents to be safe in whatever battles he may face in the future, and he feared Saul might retaliate against him and kill his parents.
David doesn’t know the whole story. He knew he was called and anointed to be the next king of Israel, but he had no idea how God would get him there. David had to trust and obey when he didn’t know what God would do.
Gad counseled David to leave his own stronghold and to go back to the very stronghold of Saul. This probably wasn’t what David really wanted to hear, but he obeyed anyway. David had to learn to trust God in the midst of danger, not on the other side of danger.
Saul enters the picture
When we see Saul with a spear, we know he’s out to kill. He calls David “the son of Jesse”, refusing to acknowledge his achievements.
In his fleshly, self-focused world, everything revolved around Saul. He became paranoid and whiny, and he led through guilt and accusation. He lied about Jonathan, and thus constructed elaborate lies and conspiracies in his own head against him.
Doeg the Edomite
Here’s an ambitious man out to take full advantage of Saul’s paranoia to advance himself. We last saw him in 1 Samuel 21:7 in Nob, at the tabernacle at the same time David came there.
Doeg implicated the priest Ahimelech as David’s accomplice. “Look at all the help Ahimelech gave David. Surely, they are working together against you Saul, and Ahimelech probably knows exactly where David is and where he is going.”
He knew how to divert Saul’s anger and suspicion from himself onto the priests.
Saul continues in his paranoia, thinking everyone is out to get him.
Why even white lies are dangerous
Here we see the effect David’s lies had on Ahimelech (that ultimately resulted in his death).
Ahimelech told the exact truth. When David came to Ahimelech, the priest questioned him carefully (Why are you alone, and no one is with you, 1 Samuel 21:1). Instead of telling Ahimelech the truth, David lied to him. This put Ahimelech in a very vulnerable position.
Ahimelech was unaware of the hatred Saul has for David, partly due to the lie David told him (1 Samuel 21:2).
Saul has turned to murdering in cold blood. Many scholars think Saul is angry at God for abandoning him and stripping him of his crown and, being unable to carry out his anger on the Lord, strikes out at the innocent such as Ahimelech and his family. This was the worst act Saul will commit.
To their credit, Saul’s servants feared God more than Saul and they refused to murder the priests. Doeg, who was not a Jew but an Edomite, didn’t hesitate to murder the priests and their families.
How did David cause the death of Ahimelech and his family?
David’s mere presence with Ahimelech that made Ahimelech guilty in Saul’s eyes, and there really wasn’t anything David or anyone could do about that.
David’s lying to Ahimelech made the priest vulnerable before Saul.i. David’s lies did not directly kill Ahimelech and the other priests. But at the very least, he kept Ahimelech from dying with greater honor. If Ahimelech knew of the conflict between David and Saul, he could have chosen to stand with David and die with greater honor.ii. We know from both 1 Samuel and the Psalms that David turned his heart back to the LORD and asked forgiveness after his lies to Ahimelech. David was restored, but there was still consequences to come of the lies, and now David sees those consequences.
David could not do anything about the priests who were already murdered. He confessed his guilt in the matter and sought forgiveness from the LORD. Now, all he can do is minister to the need in front of him – Abiathar, the surviving priest.
Commentary Psalm 52:
Though the condemnation of Doeg in this Psalm is strong, we sense it would be stronger in light of the mass-murder he committed. Yet this is David’s contemplation upon the incident, a careful examination of the root and end of Doeg’s evil.
Doeg took pride in his lies and murder.
“The thought conveyed in this Hebrew word (boast) is not necessarily that of a person strutting around making extravagant claims to others about his or her abilities. Rather it is that of a smug self-sufficiency that does not parade itself openly simply because it is so convinced of its superiority.” (Boice)
Doeg murdered 85 civilians, mostly priests who were not trained for battle – hardly the work of a true mighty man. Like several other commentators, Poole thought this was used in an ironic sense: “O mighty man! he speak ironically. O valiant captain! O glorious action! to kill a few weak and unarmed persons in the king’s presence, and under the protection of his guards! Surely thy name will be famous to all ages for such heroical courage.” (Poole)
Spurgeon puts this more succinctly: “A mighty man indeed to kill men who never touched a sword! He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice.”
David earnestly believed that Doeg’s way would fail. God’s goodness would outlast his evil. It’s true that Doeg was a mighty man, but that was nothing compared to God and His never-ending goodness.
When David wrote the goodness of God, he used the word El to refer to deity instead of the more common Elohim. Some commentators believe the use of El emphasizes the strength and might of God.
David mentions the destruction and deaths that came from what Doeg reported (1 Samuel 22:18-19).
Some people love evil, and some people love to lie. Doeg fulfilled both aspects. He loved the destruction his devouring words brought.
Boice believes Doeg was just as calculating as evil as there is reason to believe there was a gap in time between David visiting the tabernacle at Nob and Doeg’s report to King Saul. “He knew he had a piece of valuable information and kept it to himself until it would best serve his interests to divulge it.” How many times do we do this?
Because the goodness of God endures forever (Psalm 52:1), Doeg and his kind would be destroyed forever.
When the coming judgment against Doeg happens, the people of God will notice it, and it will cause them to honor and revere God. It will also make them laugh in satisfaction at the destruction of such an evil man. This is righteous joy — something acceptable. This is not laughing at people because you are better than them.
Note it is the righteous that learn from this; not the evil who don’t care.
What can we learn from Doeg?
He fails to trust God and instead trusts riches (often what happens to people when you glean the favors of a king)
We often are drawn to evil and lying because we fail to trust God can and will work through goodness and truth. We lie to ourselves, saying that we have to lie, do evil, or deceive because it’s the only way. It’s never the way.
The significance of the olive tree
“The olive is one of the longest-living trees; here the point is doubly reinforced, for he pictures an olive ‘in full sap’ and one that grows in a sacred courtyard.” (Kidner)
Psalm 92:13 may indicate that there were trees at or near the house of God.
“Hope” is also translated “wait”. Our strength is to wait on God and His will. Therein lies our honor.
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:
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 2:24: Therefore 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.
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:
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.
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:
My God of mercy
My defense (high tower)
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).
The heavens and skies proclaim God’s existence and His glory. God’s laws are perfect, his commands radiant, his statutes trustworthy. Keeping God’s laws is rewarding. May I follow God’s laws. May my words and heart be pleasing to you, God.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19:
9) All attributes of God are revealed through Creation: his goodness, his perfectness, his omniscience, his omnipotence, his holiness, his justness, his everything.
10) Part personal Question. My answer: Perfect, radiant, right, giving joy to the heart, reviving the soul, trustworthy, making wise simple, giving light to the eyes, sure, altogether righteous, more precious than gold, sweeter than honey, great reward when kept. David said this much more eloquently than I ever could, but I love God’s rules. It gives life structure, meaning, and boundaries. God’s laws are good as He is good.
11) Part personal Question. My answer: Studying God’s Word according to David revives the soul, makes wise the simple, gives joy to the heart, gives light to the eyes, sweeter than honey, warns the servant (us), and rewards us. Studying God’s Word has kept me from totally being full of sin. My knowledge has deepened, my relationship with God is closer, and I grow more and more like Jesus with each passing day. I have hope I can someday be a good person.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19:
Beautiful in its simplicity, God’s law gives us a reason to live and God’s Creation affirms his glory and power.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19:
The title tells us both the author and the audience of the Psalm: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Some believe that the Chief Musician is the Lord God Himself, and others suppose him to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the Singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:33, 16:17, and 25:6).
C.S. Lewis said of Psalm 19: “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.”
Aristotle said, “Should a man live underground, and there converse with the works of art and mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open day, and see the several glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the works of such a Being as we define God to be.”
Astronomer and physicist Robert Jastrow, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
Paul later clarifies David’s sentiments in Psalm 19 in Romans 1. Paul explaines God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Because this testimony had gone out through all creation, all men are without excuse for rejecting the God who gave us such clear (and beautiful) evidence of His power and wisdom.
God’s Glory announced in Creation
Goodness and kindness
“Pour forth speech” is stronger in the Hebrew text than it appears to be in English, for the image is literally of a gushing spring that copiously pours forth sweet, refreshing waters of revelation.
The heavens never cease declaring and proclaiming God’s majesty and glory.
Verse 7 has David shifting from praising the God who reveals Himself in creation to praising the same God for revealing Himself in His word.
Philosopher Kant’s famous quote: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe… the starry heavens above and the moral law within.”
God’s word tells us much more tells us about God than Creation. It reveals Him as the covenant God of love, as reflected in the structure of this psalm. In Psalm 19:1-6, God is referred to as El – the most generic word for God in the Hebrew language (even more generic than the commonly used Elohim). Yet here at Psalm 119:7-9, God is referred to as Yahweh (the LORD), the God of covenant love and faithfulness to His people. This is the personal name God revealed to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:15).
In Psalm 119, David used a variety of expressions to refer to the word of God (law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, judgements.)
How is God’s Word perfect?
The word gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). While it does not give us all knowledge, all the knowledge it gives is true and perfect. Understood in its literary context, God’s word is never wrong in science or history or the understanding of either divine or human nature.
Part of the perfection of God’s word is that it is effective; it does the work of converting the soul. There is power in the reading, hearing, and studying the word of God that goes beyond intellectual benefit.
The Hebrew word translated here as converting is perhaps better understood as reviving; that is, bringing new life to the soul.
How is God’s Word simple?
The word of God is sure, being reliable and certain. As the Psalmist would write at Psalm 119:89, Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
Because God’s Word is so sure and certain, it does the work of making wise the simple. Many people of simple education or upbringing have tremendous wisdom unto life and godliness because they study and trust the sure word of the LORD.
How is God’s Word right?
God’s word and the commands are right. They are morally right, practically right, and universally right. They are right because it is the revelation of a God who is holy, true, and always right.
Right means to make straight, smooth, right, upright.
How is God’s Word pure?
God’s word comes from a God who is Himself pure and holy. A pure God can communicate no other way. We never have to worry about the word of God leading people into sin or impurity; if it seems to have happened, it is evidence that the scriptures have been twisted (2 Peter 3:16).
How is God’s Word clean?
The word of God is clean, and therefore is enduring forever. It will never fade or corrode, diminishing because of impurity. It is clean and it makes us clean.
Here David called the word of God the “fear of the Lord.” One who reads, hears, and studies the word of God will have an appropriate appreciation of God’s awe and majesty.
IMPORTANT FACTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT KING DAVID:
Remember King David wrote this with only a fraction of what we have today as the word of God; and by most accounts his portion was not as glorious as the complete revelation of God. David would have had the first five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy); Joshua, Judges, a few Psalms, and perhaps Job and Ruth. We can only imagine what King David would have written about Isaiah or Hosea or the entire Psalter; much less any of the books of the New Testament. We can say with confidence that God’s word is far more glorious than King David knew!
King David was a massively wealthy man, yet he is rarely known for his riches. He is much more known for his great heart towards God. His son Solomon was even more wealthy than David, and was known for his riches – yet not nearly as much for his heart towards God and his love of God’s word.
Why is the Word of God greater than material wealth?
God’s Word gives instruction (warning) to use for sins and dangers we cannot see, but God does.
God’s word gives benefit (reward).
Obeying God’s Word brings peace of mind and an unburdened conscious.
We all make errors before God; a lot of which we cannot see ourselves.
What are willful sins?
Sins we commit when we know better.
Sins we commit when friends have warned us.
Sins we commit when God Himself has warned us.
Sins we commit when we have warned others against the same sins.
Sins we commit when we plan and relish our sin.
The Progression of Willful Sin:
Object of meditation
Opportunity to perform action
Committing of the sin
Repeated action of sin
Delight in sin
Becomes a habit
Becomes an idol
We become a slave to that sin.
During this whole time, the Holy Spirit – and hopefully our conscience – warns us to stop. We are given the way of escape by God (1 Corinthians 10:13), if we will only take it. Yet if we do not, and end up in slavery to sin, it legitimately questions the state of our soul (1 John 3:6-9).
Note the man after God’s own heart prayed this. Think of how much then we need to pray this. If we do, as Paul wrote, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).
David closed this glorious Psalm with a humble surrender of his mouth and heart to God. He knew that real godliness was not only a matter of what a man did, but also of what he said and thought in his heart.
Redeemer is that great Hebrew word goel, the kinsman-redeemer. It was the goel who bought his relative out of slavery; who rescued him in bankruptcy and total loss. It was Boaz in the book of Ruth. King David looked to God Himself as his kinsman-redeemer.
Take away from Psalm 19:
Recognizing the glory of God in creation and the glory of His written revelation, David knew himself to be small and sinful. Yet this great God was also the glorious God of personal relationship and redemption for His people. King David knew this; so should we.