The Book of Samuel is one of the easiest books in the bible to read. It is a simple but exciting narrative about David and Saul. Many of the stories recorded, are favourites among children. However as is the case very often in holy writ there is more to the written page than meets the natural eye. We are told that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, which begs the question, “why does it need to be divinely inspired?”. The clue is in the words of Jesus who said “In the volume of the book, it is written of me”. Therefore we do well if we are able to discover Christ in the pages of the Old Testament, for the natural man understands not, the things of the Spirit. The natural mind can but delve into the natural parts of the scriptures and argue about or discuss the authenticity of historical features or even cast doubt upon its factuality. The Holy Spirit in the believer will look beyond such temporal superfluities and see the true picture which God wants us to see. The Apostle Paul, speaking of Christ said, “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. and “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell” Col 1:19. If therefore all we need to know is in Christ, we need not read the Old Testament or study any Old Testament character other than to discover what we may know of Christ. Natural knowledge may have its place, but it is only temporal, certainly it has no eternal value. With these concepts in mind and heart we read these pages in Samuel and discover an amazing analogy of our Christian life, and the struggle between our old life, which the scriptures call “life in the flesh” and our new life which is “life in the Spirit”. Saul who represents “the flesh” reigns first, but God rejects him, and anoints David (the Spirit) to reign instead. For no understandable natural reason Saul seeks to kill David. Just as Jesus was hated “without a cause” so Saul hated David. Likewise so the flesh hates the things of the Spirit.
In order to have a firm understanding of the Flesh and the Spirit, a good knowledge of Romans ch 7 and ch 8 is more or less essential. There are other significant references in Galatians. In John 3 verse 6, Jesus said to Nicodemus; That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. A true Christian, has been born twice. Once naturally of the earth, and once spiritually from above. When a person receives Jesus by faith as their Saviour, then God puts his Spirit, (life, power ) in them and they become sons of God. (John ch 1 v 12-13) Contrast this miraculous and supernatural “birth” with what Jesus said when speaking to Jews who boasted that they were the natural descendants and children of Abraham. John 8:44-45 44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Mankind is an unbeliever by nature, and a sinner by nature. Without faith, he trusts in what he sees and believes, in what he perceives through his five senses. He believes lies easier than the truth. However, when, God puts his Holy Spirit in those who believe, they then have a new nature. This new spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and the human body then becomes the battle ground, because both the new nature and the old nature want to live out through the body. The bible calls it “reigning” over the body’s members. One’s true self, referred in the following verses as “I” then has a choice as to which spirit will reign in the body. The old nature can seem very strong because it has been in there since birth, and the new nature can be a bit like David, compared to Saul, but a youth, of ruddy complexion. Much more could be written here but for now sufficient to be aware of the following scriptures; .Rom 7:18-8:1 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans ch. 8 v. 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Hopefully, this book will help believers who struggle to feel right with God, simply because they know they have sinned and do sin. What they are looking at is themeselves; their fleshly effort to be righteous. But onel just has to learn that our flesh will never please God. No matter if it never sins again and does good deeds for the rest of its life. We have been saved, and are being saved by God's grace. (Ro. 4:16) He pours out his grace when we have faith in Jesus- not when we are putting faith in ourselves. That would not be grace, we would have earned it. The debt is paid. We have been given the gift of eternal life. This is God's life. We have to accept things as God sees them. He declares his children to be perfect and complete in Jesus. If we live, continually with our minds and hearts set on this truth , we will be "living in the Spirit" 24/, as in Romans ch 8. God does not want to see his children, living in Roamns , and. coming snivelling to his throne, moaning about their sins and their constant defeat to the devil. He wants to see his children rejoicing, in coming boldly to his throne, which is a throne of grace. It is not a judgment throne. At his right hand stands one who is our Saviour. So we must always see the invisible- Exercise faith in God's word. Living "in the Spirit. is simply "Living by faith"- it is certainly not living according to what you know and see in the flesh. When we bel;ieved that Jesus took our place, we were in Him. When he died- our flesh died. God cut off our old life in the flesh. He has no interest in it. This is why Paul speaks of the circumcision of the heart, in Galatians
These studies are in note form:. The book of Samuel might be like a novel but if you read these notes as you would a novel, you will get little from them. To understand the deeper meanings of life in the spirit, a great deal of commitment and meditation is required. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, after righteousness, they shall be filled” “I esteemed the words of your mouth more than my necessary food” “O Lord, open the eyes of my understanding, that I may see wonderful things in your word” Amen,
Biblical Illustrations of the Flesh and the Spirit;
1. Cain and Abel 2. Ishmael & Isaac 3. Esau & Jacob 4. Saul & David. Each illustration contains a different aspect of the contrast and warfare between the flesh and the Spirit.
1. Cain and Abel Both Cain and Abel made an offering to God. Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s refused. The latter was a farmer and offered to God the fruit of his own sweated labour. It is symbolically therefore a work of the flesh or self effort . On the other hand Abel offered an animal. Abel’s offering was acceptable on the grounds that it was a “substitute”. Abel was therefore putting his faith in the shed blood of an animal rather than his own works. It was because of this faith that His offering was accepted. He was not presenting anything of himself, but rather exercising faith in the animal’s life, being accepted instead of his own. God was seeking to teach Cain and Abel how atonement could be made for Sin.. God said to Cain “If you don’t do well, Sin lies at the door” It could be argued that God was simply teaching Cain what kind of sacrifice would atone for sin. If the offering was accepted then obviously he “would be doing well”. However, rather than keep offering till he got it right Cain reacted against his brother in jealousy and killed him. Symbolically, one could say that in this case the Spirit is cut off and the flesh alone remains. This is how sin left mankind. Cut off from God and living only in the flesh. Ultimately there was only one inevitable conclusion and that was death. God changed his mind ("repented") regarding his creation, that he had made man. The flood destroyed all life in the flesh. The first lesson, in God's revelation to man was ended.
2. Ishmael & Isaac God’s plan moves on with the call of Abraham. God promised Abraham that he would have an innumerable number of descendants and that through his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. Unfortunately a child was a long time coming and Abraham’s wife, Sarah, reached her mid seventies, still childless. She suggested that Abraham should have a child from one of their many servant girls. Abraham did so, and had a son called Ishmael. The servant girl was Hagar. Later, some what miraculously, Sarah did have a son and his name was Isaac. Abraham loved Ishmael and desired God’s acceptance of him and cried, “Oh that Ishmael would live before you”. But God said “No, send him away with his mother into the wilderness and I will look after them” Once again God was refusing that which was natural, born by human effort, and accepting that which was “super natural”, born of faith. For originally when Abraham received the promise from God that he would be the fathe rof many nations, we read the "Abraham believed God" and because of his faith God counted him "righteous" in his eyes. Faith is a spiritual quality. It is to see the invisible. It is to believe that what you are hoping for in the future is as good as with you in the present. God loves that for then we are fully depending upon God to keep his promise. So Isaac was born to Sarah when she was 90. Abraham was 100. This was a miraculous life, a divine intervention in the affairs of man. Isaac was born of faith. So the flesh and the spirit are clearly illustrated here by way of birth. However, in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, he tells us what this analogous event means. We are told that Hagar is representative of the Law for she was a “bond woman”. No, she had nothing to do with 007, it simply means she was a servant girl. People under the law are servants. The law is something one has to do. Ishmael represented servitude under the law. God’s ultimate plan through Christ, was to acquire sons not servants, with his life (Spirit) in them. Isaac was born of a freewoman. Sarah was free in the sense that she was the wife. Bound only by love She obeyed her husband in the full assurance that he loved her and nothing he would ask of her would be hurtful or of a loss to her. Love set her free. She served her husband because she wanted to from the heart. Love made it a pleasure. Love is like that. It seeks ways to give and sacrifice just to show itself. Once again we have two seeking acceptance by God, but the second born only is accepted.
3. Jacob and Esau. Here we see the same contrast situation but said on a larger platform. These characters in the Old Testament, are referred to in Romans ch 9-11, Paul talks about the Church in relation to the Jews under the law. Within these verses he quotes Rom 9:13 “As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” That is strong stuff. Some believe (I think foolishly) that it means today that God hates the Arabs, descendants of Esau and loves the Jews, who are descended from Jacob. In the light of this with the other obvious illustrations which we are now considering, it would seem more than likely that God was speaking in the same terms that Jesus said that unless we hate our father and mother, we could not be a disciple. This would of course break the commandment to “Honour your father and mother”. What this simply means is that as a disciple Jesus must come first and our love for him might on occasions of choice seem that we are rejecting or hating our parents. So we have the language of “comparative contrasts” here. It is significant from this story that the "spiritual" blessing that father's passed on, should have gone to the firstborn. But as in the other two instances it was the second born that eventually received the blessing. In the narrative of the story no-one can deny that Jacob attained the blessing though sheer selfish determination, using all means, by hook or crook to obtain it. In terms of progression this incident takes us from Isaac the chosen Son, symbolically offered on Mt Moriah as a sacrifice, to the growth of a nation under father Jacob. The growth of Jacob’s nation, known as the “people of God” can be equated with the growth of the new People of God- the church. Just as Jacob was in continual conflict with Esau, so the church is in conflict with the world . The flesh in opposition to the spirit is clearly seen in Esau and Jacob concerning the birthright. The flesh lives for what it can see taste touch hear or smell. The Spirit lives for the invisible, the eternal. Esau despised his spiritual blessing, in preference for a good meal. (see Hebrews 12.) The World, the Flesh and the Devil , is a trinity of evil in scripture. The Church, the Spirit and Jesus Christ is the spiritual counterpart of this trinity. Just as the head uses the nervous system in the body so Christ is the head of the church and communicates with the body members of the body through the Spirit in them. The Devil is the head of the worldly system and has easy expression and communication through the flesh. These two camps or systems are diametrically opposed to each other. They are, always were and always will be. Cain killed Abel, Esau sought to kill Jacob, and Saul sought to kill David. It was God’s acceptance that seemed to be the catalyst in all the reactions. God declares plainly from these stories, that one only is acceptable. So much so that he would declare love for one and hatred for the other. One has its source in faith in God and the other has its source in the flesh which is the devil’s domain. “In my flesh dwells NO GOOD THING”.
4. Saul & David. Saul was the people’s choice as King over Israel and David was God’s choice, for he rejected Saul after Saul failed to come up to the mark. Saul’s jealousy and subsequent attempts to liquidate David is the story of the book of Samuel. David, though destined to be king refused to harm or kill Saul, believing that his sovereignty was ordained by God. He had no desire to reign until, in God’s time, Saul was dead. This parable covers all aspects of the previous, but reveals the ultimate victory of the spirit over the flesh. Here we see the Spirit personified. He is Jesus, typified in David. The arch enemies of both Saul and David were Philistines, their champion was Goliath. David defeated them and their champion, and even outfoxed them enough to live amongst them. He killed their champion with his own sword, and uses the same sword later as a treasured weapon. Who or What does Goliath represent? who are the Christian’s “Philistines”? What is Goliath’s sword? Here we have amazing analogies of Flesh against Spirit. The new man will outlast the old. The second born (born again) will live and reign forever. The firstborn of the flesh perishes in the grave.
1 Samuel: CHAPTER 1.
Hannah’s Two Prayers; One of Petition and one of Praise; Although it is the second that has become more widely known as “Hannah’s prayer”. Hannah’s Vow: Samuel was born and dedicated to the Lord. He was taken to the temple and left there that he might serve the Lord. Hannah saw him only once per year; One might ask, how could she (a mother) do that? It reveals her amazing faith in God and abundant thankfulness. Outcome; Her faith was rewarded without asking; Matt 6:36 “Seek first the kingdom and all these things will be added unto you” (Not to have children was counted as a "curse". Her faith brought her from being under that curse: Those under the Law are also under a curse)) 1 Samuel 2:21: And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD. It is very easy to think that when the Lord answers our prayer for some desperate need that we will love and serve the Lord easier and better. Because of this we are apt to make promises to God, in order to move his hand in our favour. Sadly, and all too often such vows are forgotten, - forgotten by those who make oaths to God, but not forgotten by the God who hears them. He is a faithful God. Indeed his very name in Hebrew is Elohim, which denotes “oaths and power.” He is a covenant keeping God. It is all so easy to try to move God’s hand by making promises to him, if he would but answer our prayers. Unfortunately most of these oaths are soon forgotten when situations turn out for the better. In Ecclesiastes we read that it is better not to make vows than make them and not keep them. The gifts God gives in answer to prayer are often more the centre of our attention than the God who gives them. Indeed all that we have has been given by God, and it is usually the things that we possess that take up our time, energy and money at the expense of God’s service. People with needs and problems usually cling more firmly to God than those who prosper materially, and have no sense of need. It all goes to prove how very selfish we are by nature, and tend to use God for our own needs rather than dedicate our lives sacrificially to Him. People often ask “Why does God allow this and God sanction that etc.?” May be God just likes us to get in touch and we do that more often in adversity. Dedication confession; This prayer and attitude is surely worthy of note by all parents. 1 Samuel 1:27-28; “For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. “Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” So they worshipped the LORD there. Children are a wonderful gift from the Lord and they need a great deal of care and attention. Within the providence and wisdom of God, mothers are blessed with this instinct and ability. Their Christian service is well expressed in bringing up their children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. John Wesley was one of thirteen children. His mother found time to teach him Greek. What can be said of children can be said of all God’s gifts. They need to be dedicated to the Lord. We acknowledge Him as the giver, and also render grateful thanks like Job, if in his sovereignty, he chooses to take away. All His gifts bring great responsibility. In reality they are leased out to us for our lifetime. We will have to give account one day for all we have received. It is a good thing that our children are dedicated to the Lord in the presence of the Lord’s people, but those who think it makes no difference, are quite right in not doing so. It is an act of worship. It could to some be a worthless ritual and not reality. However, if your heart is in it, then ritual is acceptable to God, if your heart is not in it then it is boring to God also, not to say dangerous, to make vows you will not keep.
Eli the priest was old and his sons were wicked; it is almost the end of an era. Typically a sad and sinful end. However, the darkness heralded the dawn of God’s plans through Samuel, who gives his name to this book. 1 Samuel 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD. They still acted as priests, for by nature (birth) they were. They stole the fat from the offerings. There are over 50 references in the law to the fact that the fat belonged to the Lord and was not for the priests to eat. Satan warps this command to insinuate that God is impoverishing man in some way, and taking the best for Himself. Here, Sinful men fell to the temptation of stealing what really belonged to God. God was in fact only claiming for himself that which was not good for them. Later Eli, who also succumbed to their evil practices died accidentally when he fell back off a stool but we note that scripture is careful to record his fatness. 1 Samuel 4:18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. God’s condemnation came through a prophet who endorsed this; 1 Samuel 2:29 ‘Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honour your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ We know today that fat is not good for us. Perhaps we should realise that whenever God tries to get us to give something up, (or when He takes) it is because, in the long run it will not do us any good. God is good. Long before doctors told us that cigarettes were bad for us , Christians were convicted of the habit and many lost the desire the day the Holy Spirit came to dwell in their body. Similarly, if we were to calculate the cost of alcohol abuse, we would be horrified. (this is written at the turn of the Millenium) 65% of all fights are caused through alcohol 50% of assaults are caused through alcohol. Drink costs the National Health Service 164 million pounds per year. Industry loses two billion pounds worth of labour (absenteeism) through drink. God’s word is not against drink, as such, for the drinking of wine is a symbol of good living in scripture, but it is for temperance and against drunkenness. It remains a fact of Christian testimony that when most heavy drinkers are saved, the desire for such stimuli is taken away by the Holy Spirit, along with a strong conviction against it. In Britain 6.5 million men and 3.7 million women drink above the safety level. Half as much as is spent on food is spent on drink, and 40% of men risk bad health through their drinking habits. Ten people per week are killed on the road through drink yet we keep drinking as a nation. God has made a command concerning the Sabbath. Man’s disregard for Sunday as a day of rest is another thing from which men will eventually reap the whirlwind. Man needs a day of rest. It has been biologically proved that the body rhythms progress in cycles of seven. We coin the phrase “seven days without prayer makes one weak”. However seven days without rest and worship will sap the moral vitamins from the nation. The nation will die of spiritual anaemia. God made the command for man’s good, not for himself. Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man” Eli’s sons; Three things are recorded of them. 1. They “knew not the Lord;” 2. They were immoral (Ch 2: 22) and 3. They ate the fat of the Lord’s offerings. One’s soul consists of The Mind, The Heart and The Will. “Knew not the Lord;” The Mind. Satisfied flesh emotionally with women. - The Heart. Ate the fat; Satisfied flesh physically- body - The Will. Both died at the hand of the Philistines. We shall discuss the significance of the Philistines later. However, in spite of the national decadence; God’s seed plans were already growing nicely. We should note that here once again we see the oft-repeated pattern of Scripture. One phase of man comes to an end in degradation and depravity (e.g. the time of Noah’s Ark) and then we see the beginning of a new era in God’s plans; (After the flood came the call of Abraham) The Lord was about to introduce one of the foremost and key characters in His revelation of Himself to man. That person was King David. He was a “type of Christ”, of the highest order. So we see in Eli and His Sons another abysmal chapter in the Jewish religion coming to an end and from another source comes Samuel, born of faith, miraculously, Samuel’s Likeness to Christ. 1 Samuel 2:26 1: And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favour both with the LORD and men. A similar statement is made of Jesus in the gospels 1 Samuel 2:35-36 ‘Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before my anointed forever. ‘And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, “Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.” 2: “Faithful priest” is a title reiterated in Hebrews 2:17 3: “A sure house” is a reference to the church; also intimated in Hebrews. 4: “His ministry is forever” - This phrase could only apply to Jesus- see Hebrews again. 5: “Bow down” - only permitted for God, to be worshipped 6: “silver and bread”. Silver speaks of redemption in scripture. The bible is full of such symbolism, where earthly things point to something within the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is of course the “real” realm. Peter says in his epistle, 1 Peter 1:18-19 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. The bread speaks of his body; The silver, (redemption through the blood) and the bread therefore perfectly express the communion table, which itself is symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Once again we see MIND HEART & WILL; 1 Samuel 2:35 ‘Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.
The Word of God; 1 Samuel 3:1 Then the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. The Word is light, if people like Eli and his sons, do not walk in it, God ceases to send it. The word is not sent as light for us to toss about in our hand to scrutinise, and then to throw away if we do not wish to walk in it. Jesus said that they who are willing to do the will of God would know whether the doctrine (word) is of God or not. Samuel heard because he was ready to obey; 1 Samuel 3:10 Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” Note the following verses 1 Samuel 3:19-21 19 So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. His word was backed up by the Lord. i.e. His prophecies came true. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD. v. 20 Others recognised his prophetic Ministry (he was therefore both prophet and priest) 21 Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh. For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD. v 21. “again” . There was no dearth of the Word, nor of revelation for Samuel; 24 21 CHAPTER 4. Israel defeated; Israel made a mistake. They came to the wrong conclusion as to why they had suffered this defeat, They thought it was because God’s ark was not with them. But it was because of the sins of Eli and his sons. It may appear odd that the enemy (The Philistines) knew the power of God. They seemed to be as much aware, if not more aware of it than the Israelites. (ch 4 v 8-11). It has been said that a church full of unbelievers could generate more faith for a demonstration of the power of God in miracles and healing than in most churches full of people who have become too familiar with scriptures to believe them. The unbeliever when entering a church can be so filled with a fear (albeit superstitious) of God that he expects weird and wonderful things to happen, while the so- called “believer” seldom expects the miraculous. Also we should learn that it is not always wise to take the Holy things of God and display them before the enemy, especially if it is for your own faith boost, rather than a demonstration to the enemy. The likelihood is that you will lose that precious holy thing to the enemy camp; One of the kings of Israel did something similar, which we will consider later. (2 Kings 20:10) The only weapon we have to take into the enemy camp is the gospel from the word of God and the love expressed through our lives. It is not surprising , when you see true believers televised, while in a worship meeting, if it seems to be very incongruous, if not absurd. For it then appears to be associated with all the rubbish and filth which can often be seen on the same T.V. screen. Little wonder that the enemy take such footage and mimic it in ridicule during their comedy routines. T.V presents “shows”. Worship meetings are not “shows”. May be those who succumb to the flattery of being asked by the TV companies permission to televise would do well to remember how the ark of God was lost to the Philistines.
v. 11-18 Sons of Eli slain in battle. Eli hears news and falls back in shock- The fall killed him ICHOBOD: ch 4: 19-22 This name was given to a son of Phineas, one of the wicked sons of Eli, born after he was killed. It has become a well known bible word; It means- “The glory of the Lord has departed” Sadly this name could be written over many a church in Britain. Pray it will never be written over yours. Some churches carry on in their fleshly rituals, as did Eli’s sons, unaware that God has left, because it has yet to show. Samson knew not that the Lord had departed from him, although he went through the actions but there was no power demonstrated. Much of the church today could fall under the condemnation of the prophecy “having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof.” ( 2 Tim. 3:5)
Dagon; The false gods of the world must fall, in the presence of the One True Holy God. One of the subtitles that could be given to the book of Job is “Every god has its day”. The ungodly seem to prosper under their false gods, while the godly, like Job, are often subject to great trials and suffering. But Job prophetically sees the “last day” when His redeemer will stand and all false gods will fall. Their day will end on the last day, which will belong to our God. Forgive the obvious pun but one could say, that will be their “Day Gone” Please note that the ark ( i.e. the presence of God) in the land of the Philistines could only bring judgement, and no blessing. He only existed in Israel by mercy. The lid of the ark was a mercy seat, but that mercy was only extended because of the worthy sacrifice. No sacrifice- no merit; No merit -no mercy. The Philistines were not granted that mercy. ( see Romans chapters 9- 11) They were left to make their own gods such as Dagon. The only message from a holy God to us as unregenerate sinners is “Repent - obtain mercy.” It is sad today to see communities of homosexuals and lesbians, defiantly justifying their sexual practices, even to the point of pushing into the organised church to gain acceptance. Jesus himself endorsed (Matt ch 11 v 21-24) his condemnation of Sodom and Gomorrah. and seems to infer that had they seen some of his mighty works they would have repented. He did not endorse their immorality but endorsed their need to repent. There may be many reasons for such tendencies in the flesh, not least to have been “born that way.” But it could be also said that some are born thieves, born liars, even born adulterers by nature. Others, even as non Christians would never be tempted even to do such things. In either case whether we are born with sinful tendencies or acquire them through influence or environment, there is no hope of God’s mercy without repentance. There has to be an acknowledgement of God’s law, as God’s standard, of which we all come short. Human nature is not an excuse for sin, it is a reason to acknowledge it and seek mercy. Those who protest their justification of sinful practices do so not to shout down the voice of the church, for the church seldom says anything more than a whimper, but to drown the voice of their own consciences. It is worthy of noticing the knowledge that the Philistine diviners had of the God of Israel. They knew he was a Holy God. They also knew that their judgement was because of their sins. They sent the ark back with sacrifices. This arch characteristic of God is etched firmly in everyone of his creatures. Conscience is the light that God has placed in every man, and though men may debate and argue intellectually in an attempt to stifle it with respectability, instinctively from the heart they know what is right . John. 1: 8-11 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
TWO MILK COWS; “lowing as they went” Two cows separated from their first love, their calves, take the ark without human guidance towards its appointed place; lowing in contentment. Here we have a wonderful picture of servants of God, who have left their first loves and dear ones to take the presence of God to those in darkness. Missionaries such as John and Betty Stam who were killed in Tailand, Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, James Chalmers, and the like of whom, “the world was not worthy”. Where do such people get their contentedness from? They go without human guidance, they serve God with all their strength, then when the job is done they are sacrificed, as were the cows; What a picture of consecration! On an old Roman coin was found an inscription which bore two pictures- an altar and a plough; underneath were written the words, “ready for either” . This motto was taken up by the American Baptist Missionary Society. Curiosity kills the men of Beth Shemish If you’re looking for a name for your cat, then why not call it Beth Shemish. It is said that curiosity killed the cat and so it did to the men of this town . They made the fatal error of looking into the Ark of the Covenant. Read ch 6 v 13-21. 1 Samuel 6: 19 Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter. God is not a curio to be gazed at, He is a God to be worshipped. Throughout scripture, from Moses up Mount Sinai, to the three disciples up the Mount of Transfiguration the sight has been too awesome for human eyes.
“Water poured out” The ark returns to Israel; The Israelites repent; Sacrifices are made but they refuse to eat, water is drawn but they refuse to drink it. They poured it out before the Lord 1 Samuel 7:6 So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah. Following on from the “lowing cows” here we have another picture of the right attitude towards God for his servants. First of all consider; 1. the effort taken to draw the water, - was it wasted effort ? 2.the strong desire in the hot climate to drink it themselves; it was real sacrifice. Water poured out; David did it with the water from Bethlehem. Was it a waste of effort and sacrifice? 2 Sam 23:16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD. Other “poured out” bible illustrations to consider; The woman poured out her ointment before the Lord. It was an act of love and gratitude. Some said it was a waste. The water in John ch 2 was poured out before the governor, but it turned to wine. Human lives can be likened to water. (it always finds the lowest level and in Revelation the sea is symbolic of the souls of men) . Wine in the scriptures is oft a type of God’s abundant life. A life poured out for God becomes abundant life Isaiah ch 53 says Jesus poured out his soul unto death. Was it a waste? No, Jesus did not think so, for it says “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied,” If only you had been saved he would have counted it worth it. A life poured out for God is the only life NOT wasted
Throughout the remainder of these studies, two main thoughts will occupy our minds. Firstly, how does God feel about what is going on among his people? Secondly we will consider the battle between the flesh and the spirit as illustrated in the characters of Saul and David. If this battle is unfamiliar to you, then read Romans chs, 7 & 8, Galatians ch 5, and Colossians ch 3. So far we have seen Samuel born of faith: He symbolises that which pleases God. Contrast that with Eli and His sons. We see sinful flesh operating in the things of God. They have no desire to please God but are bent on their own pleasures and satisfaction. This sinful state in the “church”, issues forth in the defeat of the nation. These so called priests of God illustrate the flesh as defined and spoken of in Romans 7. The law, (not to eat fat etc) as stated above, was their undoing. Sin raised its ugly head in defiance and caused them to break the law. They died accordingly. The flesh cannot serve God nor please God. These wicked priests symbolise the failure of the Old Testament covenant. Man could not keep his part, by obeying the law- The Law said “Do this and live”. They did not do it and died. However God already had his “saviour” planned and predestined. Just as Abraham “by faith came before the law, so Samuel came before the sad failure of those under the law trying to do God’s work. We have seen how Samuel is a type of Christ in his priestly ministry. The rest of the book is a magnificent illustration of the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. It is a sad reflection on the spiritual state of our churches and the ministry on offer, that a great many christians would have no idea of the character and nature of the flesh and the spirit. We have already written of the four great illustrations of these adversaries in the Old Testament. May be we can divert for a moment and revise some notes on Romans ch 7. This may help us see later the significance of Goliath, who represents Sin. His sword represents the Law. Just as David slew Goliath with his own sword, so Jesus by the law slew sin. (so herewith quote from notes on Romans) Note Quote: “Romans chapter seven seems to be a very depressing chapter in the Christian experience. It is however almost inevitable, because we start our christian life with such enthusiasm and full of new life zest. Then when that initial newness has worn a little we try to live the christian life in much the same way as we have tackled any task in the past. We try our hardest. However, no matter how hard you try under your own steam, which the bible calls the flesh, you will never succeed in God’s estimation. You will set yourself goals, take note of what you see and feel and draw your conclusions accordingly. So that when you sin, you will feel an utter failure. “O wretched man that I am” cries Paul. It may be too obvious, as to miss the simple fact that Romans ch 7, joins the last verse in ch 6, with the first word in chapter 8. Note the last verse in chapter 6. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life" Immediately the question should arise. "Why does my sin, now, not bring about death". Simply because as far as God is concerned, when you believed that Christ died in your place, he counts you also to be dead, but alive spiritually which he has given you because of your faith in Jesus. What you have to remember is that, having died when Christ died, (by faith) you are now dead.Where there is no law, there is no transgression. "Dead to the Law" and married to Christ. Don’t live in the flesh judging by what you know, see and feel, live in the spirit, by faith. Take God at His word. Why condemn yourself? God doesn’t- he justifies you. Jesus doesn’t – He died for you! God counts your flesh life to have been cut off. You have been circumcised in your heart. God has no interest in your flesh life. He regards only the new life he has given you, eternal life, which is His life. In this chapter Paul explains the technicalities of how the triangle, of "the law", " Sin" and "I", operate and interact together, to bring about condemnation. He writes this chapter to "those who know the Law". Our knowledge of the Law will never pass away. We will always have a knowledge of when we sin. God's standard of righteousness will ever remain the same and our inability to reach that standard by our own efforts will always remain. But God has devised a means whereby we can be perfect all the time. It is a gift. He gives His holy eternal life to those who believe that Jesus paid the penalty of the law, on our behalf. So, the law has been fulfilled. To those who are in Christ, the Law is finished with. Just as Saul threw spears at David, so the flesh throws “fiery darts” of condemnation at our new life, which is the Spirit of God in us. Here are two parables which may bring more light on what this chapter is saying regarding the flesh, sin, and the law. At one point it asks, “Is the Law sin?” Strange question surely, but if the law brought death how could it be good? Then also we read such things as “when the law came, sin revived, deceived me and I died” Hopefully from these illustrations you will see that 1, sin is a separate entity to yourself. Though sometimes you admit to wrong doing, it is actually sin working through your members. 2. The law did not bring death, it is sin that brings death. 3. The law was sent to target (reveal) sin, not you. Much more could be said and probably needs to be, to make it all clear, but time and space deny that possibility, but here are the parables; The first illustrates how we did not know what sin was until the law came; Suppose there was a law which said that people who keep tapping their fingers will have a book thrown at them. Now we are all probably familiar with people who have some nervous characteristic which they do without knowing that they do it. Let’s put ourselves in such a position. We might be watching T.V., tapping away while another member of the family sits in another chair getting increasingly annoyed at the constant tapping. Sooner or later a request will be made for the tapping to be stopped. Inevitably there will come a note of surprise from the accused in asking “Who’s tapping?” Even more surprised will they be, when they are informed that they have been doing it habitually for the past two years or more. The upshot of the conversation will usually be for the person in question to be offended in some way, either outwardly or inwardly. Some attempt might be made to stop the annoying habit, but more than likely it will be so inbred into the nervous system that only with constant effort of concentration can the tapping be controlled. Given the slightest relaxation and the tapping will begin. But what has happened is that the tapper has become conscious of condemnation, of doing something that offends and more than that sometimes they have to confess they can’t stop, because they do it without realising they are doing it. They may agree that it is a terrible habitual thing to do, and they themselves will no doubt be able to mention things that annoy them which other people do, but nevertheless they will find themselves still doing it. So it is no longer they themselves that do it but the very nervous system within them. However whether it is the nervous system or the conscious effort, the book will probably still be thrown at them. “The penalty of the law must be carried out.” This is what the apostle Paul is telling us about sin. We obey it naturally and our actions can be sin without us knowing it. Our human will, our own way, is in opposition to the will of God, therefore it is sin . Isaiah 53 v. 6 says; “All we like sheep have gone stray, we have turned everyone to our own way, and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all.” It is there as a result of the fall and is part of our nature inherited from our father the devil. However, when the law of God came, Sin seized the opportunity to bring about death in us by “coming to our full consciousness.” for immediately it made us realise we were condemned by the law. It is this condemnation, (“the wages of Sin” -last verse in ch 6.)) that Paul is dealing with in chapter seven. Paul shows how he regards the principle of SIN that works in his flesh, as distinctly separate from himself. Illustration No 2. A lady takes up residence in a new house. She invites in a lodger called Mr. Sin , who at first is a good laugh and pleasant company. Eventually she marries him. More and more he takes over her life and the house. The darker side of his character increases and eventually we have a bizarre situation where she is completely dominated. So much so that he buys everything, chooses everything, answers every door bell , sends away or pacifies every visitor who calls, reads every letter, answers every phone call, dominates, binds and generally turns the house owner into a henpecked brainwashed weak person who has lost all sense of identity or purpose. Eventually she loses any sense of identity, so much so that she would never dream of doing anything of her own initiative. Do you get the picture. She loses her identity so much so that she identifies herself with Sin enough to answer to the name Mrs. Sin. God could be seen in this analogy as the original owner or builder. He saw the lady’s predicament, governed by Sin. He saw the outside of the house neglected, the wiring inside all messed about with and the plumbing ruined with coal in the bath and toilets blocked. The place was only fit for demolition. So He sent them a letter (the Law), listing all the things wrong with the house. Which of course were caused by Mr. Sin. The letter was intended to make Mrs. Sin see what was happening and kick him out, but by now she could not consider how she would live without Mr. Sin. (and he would not be too willing to leave) However, from what we learn in this chapter, we could say that when the letter came, i.e. when the law came, Sin intercepted the letter, Then he read out the list of all the things that the owner said were wrong with the house, so much so that it was now condemned. But he read it in such a way to make the lady think the owner was against her and that she was to blame for all the things wrong. “Ah this says that the owner (God) is against you because your garden’s neglected and the house is never painted or maintained etc & etc.” Of course the real culprit was Mr. Sin, but Mr. Sin had lived with the lady so long and dominated her life so much that she genuinely thought that she was indeed responsible for all these faults, having been the original person who got the house off the builder After the letter of the law came Mrs. Sin seems to stick closer to Mr. Sin than ever. He would always speak in terms of “we are in trouble” and “so we should do this” or “we should rebel, and please ourselves what we do in our house". He sets Mrs Sin’s mind firmly against the owner. (end of Note Quote)
The whole point of this chapter is to show that having freedom from sin as spoken of in chapter 6, does not mean that we will never sin. Paul himself admits to such failure in this chapter. Sin is still able to bring us under its power, for whoever sins is the slave of sin, but and it is a big BUT, Sin no longer has the power to separate us from God. (bring death). We can always walk with God in the realm of the Spirit where we walk by faith in Jesus Christ. We do not live the christian life by our own efforts or for our own glory. All we have to accomplish that, would be our “flesh” That is why Romans chapter seven ends in a testimony of victory. “Tis true. I have discovered that in me there is no good that satisfies God. Yes! In my flesh I am a rotter. There is no good in me! but hallelujah my flesh is dead and that’s all finished, for now I live in Jesus, and He’s God’s beloved son, and I am accepted in Him. If God accepts me and I can be alive to Him continuously in Christ,, then that is all I need. As far as the flesh is concerned, I’m glad I don’t have to live in it, I can now live IN CHRIST, by faith” Then we read in Romans ch 8 what it means to live in the Spirit. So each day we have a choice. Every day’s a “Choose- day”. Both the flesh and the Spirit want to live out through our members. Thus we have a battle. We can choose to live in the flesh or in the Spirit. The flesh which once reigned without a rival, now recognises the Spirit as a rival ruler. Furthermore, the flesh knows that the Spirit is the rightful owner and ruler of believer, but it still jealously seeks to kill the new life within them. It is difficult to appreciate what is going on within us on the spiritual level at times. The word of God needs to be studied prayerfully so that we might walk in the light of true understanding, rather than the darkness of confusion.
Hopefully these things can be kept in mind as we journey through this study of the battle between the Flesh aCnd the Spirit. So let’s continue through 1 Samuel chapter 8. The Israelites wanted to have a king; That was a bad thing, but worse was the fact that they wanted to be like other nations. Imagine how God felt. (Note that in Deut. Ch. 28:36, we can see that God knew this would happen) He had chosen them from among all other nations to bless them especially. The Divine caretaker, the Shepherd of Israel, is being given the sack. They wanted to be like other nations who had a ruler they could see, rather than live by faith in the unseen. 1 Samuel 8:5-6: and they said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. Samuel warned them that their King would take more from them than God had ever done. They took no notice; Hundreds of years later the prophets make mention of their choice; Hosea 10:3: For now they say, “We have no king, because we did not fear the LORD. And as for a king, what would he do for us?” Hosea 13:11: I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath.
Saul - at the beginning he was probably the finest person fit to be king at that time. God chose him. He was then a humble Benjamite The key characteristics of Saul at the beginning. His humility; Read the end of Judges to find out why the tribe of Benjamin was the least of the tribes. The Benjamites didn’t have much to boast about. His respect for his father’s feelings. 1 Samuel 9:5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.” His respect for the man of God. 1 Samuel 9:7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” His lowly estate 1 Samuel 9:21 And Saul answered and said, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?” Was not a boaster. 1 Samuel 10: 14-16 Then Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.” And Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, please, what Samuel said to you.” So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said Accepted rejection easily- no pride. 1 Samuel 10:27; But some rebels said, “How can this man save us?” So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace. Shunned the limelight 1 Samuel 10:22; Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, “Has the man come here yet?” And the LORD answered, “There he is, hidden among the equipment.” So we see that even though Saul seemed to be a thoroughly good chap to begin with, the potential for pride and rebellion against God was in him. There are lots of “good folk” around, but they are sinners by nature and the best of men ( as Saul was) are only men at their best.
Saul anointed king v 10 . The Spirit of God came on him and he prophesied; v 12. Note for later reference, that one man questioned who was the father of those prophesying; 1 Sam 10:12 Then a man from there answered and said, “But who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” Was he inferring that maybe their “filling” was not from God but from a lesser source.? May be! Perhaps God has written in a very subtle comment upon this somewhat enigmatic experience of Saul within the realm of the Spirit, for he is without doubt an inspired character symbolising the flesh. The flesh is not all debauchery and devilment. The flesh is religious; mystic and magic permeate through all the fleshly religions of the world. The flesh can be self abasing, and shun the limelight through fear of what men will do or say. The flesh can imitate spiritual things, even tongues and prophesying. We shall see later that David represents the Spirit and the illustration is so strong that one might be persuaded to think that the reason God has kept this historical record is for the sole purpose of teaching the bride of His eternal Son, great lessons about how to live in the Kingdom of God. while here on earth. Every chapter and event illustrates some aspect of the relationship between the Flesh and the Spirit. v 12; Saul among the prophets. If he was a true prophet, then he was both prophet and king; When he tried to play the part of priest he was totally rejected. No man was ever all three except Jesus. (more later)
The Ammonites threaten Jabesh Giliead who were offered a covenant in which they would take out the right eyes of all the people. This would then be a continued reproach on all Israel. Saul was informed and He called for support. Armies were formed. Ammonites were hoodwinked and ambushed and defeated. 1 Samuel 11:12-13: Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, `Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel.” This victory and graciousness won the people over to accepting Saul as King; it was a masterly display of public relations. People are fickle. It doesn’t take much to sway them either way. History has since recorded all too often that wars make heroes. Many a political leader has gone to war with this intent.
Samuel addresses the people of Israel as they are about to reject his rule and settle for the rule of Saul, the nice chap who does good works, like killing the Ammonites and said He did it through the Lord’s strength- sounds godly enough. Compare him with Samuel after the people rejected Samuel. Samuel offers up his own integrity for inspection. He makes known his complete lack of personal gain or selfishness throughout all his time of judging them and leading them. They truly had no reason to reject him, for in rejecting him they were rejecting God. 1 Samuel 12:3 “Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.” Then he recalls the history of God’s dealing and deliverance’s which He had accomplished over the years past, for his people Israel. They were indeed a special people and God had accomplished things on their behalf which no other nation would have achieved. 1 Samuel 12:10-15 “Then they cried out to the LORD, and said, `We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and Ashtaroths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ “And the LORD sent Jerubaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety. “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you. “If you fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice, “However, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.” Samuel said that God was not pleased that they had preferred a king to Himself and just to prove his word, Samuel called to the Lord and the Lord sent thunder and lightning. The people were afraid and asked for mercy, but God, being the gracious God that He is, gave his people the leader they desired. They were choosing a second best, and a very second best at that, but God, because he created man with his own sovereign free will, respected that and accepted the situation and agreed to go along with it. However, man choosing man, man looking to man, and man trusting in man, causes Saul to be for us a very clear picture or illustration of the Flesh. Unquestionably Saul was the best in the eyes of men. The best of men are only men at their best. God created the flesh-man, just as he created the spirit-man. Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Ishmael and Isaac, are all illustrations of the flesh and the spirit, but they all shared the same fathers. It is just that one was accepted and the other was rejected. When we see how God chooses, and why he chooses, then his Character is revealed for us. Gem Text ; 1 Samuel 12:22: “For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you His people. Blessing is conditional 1 Samuel 12:24-25 “Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” Read the last few chapters in Jeremiah to see how this came true.
Saul gets an appetite for glory and steals the glory of another.
Jonathan attacked a garrison of Philistines. Saul announced it to Israel and Word spread that Saul had done it. Although he was apparently willing to give glory to God in order to win over the people, he was not willing to allow glory before the people to go to anyone else. His desire for public praise and acceptance is a noted feature of the flesh. Hence the devil’s flagship of the entertainment and sport industry. The Philistines arrayed themselves against Israel. Israel were afraid and hid in caves and holes etc. Saul waited for Samuel to come to offer a sacrifice before going to battle. Samuel delayed his coming slightly. Saul offered the sacrifice himself. When Samuel arrived he severely chastised Saul for the wrong he had done. Only priests from the tribe of Levi were allowed to offer such sacrifices. Saul was not a Levite, nor a priest. He came from the tribe of Benjamin. 1 Samuel 13:13-14 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” This is one of the most important lessons of the Old Testament; As in the case of Moses, the Lord was very displeased when his commandments are disobeyed. Moses simply struck a rock instead of speaking to it, (even though the water still came out) and Saul did evil in offering a sacrifice to God. As we have mentioned earlier no one person in the Old Testament was both prophet, priest and king. Some were prophet and priest, like Moses, some were prophet and king like David, some were priest and King like Melchizedec, but none were all three. Only one person in scripture was all three and that was The Anointed ONE - Jesus Christ. All these offices were appointed with the anointing of oil. The word Christ means the Anointed One, and the “One” is as significant as the “Anointed,” for there is only ONE. Jesus was prophesied to be a KING like David, a PROPHET like Moses and a PRIEST like Mechizedek But notice that each type had a dual roll as a shadow ministry and even the shadow makes a separate threesome i.e. David was also a PROPHET, Moses was also a PRIEST and Melchizedek was also a KING
This confirms what should always be considered in our bible studies, that the ONLY reason any of these characters are in the Old Testament is to point us to Christ. They all form part of the tapestry that portrays the Messiah. If any of them disobeyed they marred the picture of Christ himself. This is very clear to us now in the case of Moses, for Christ the Rock was struck once for our provision. If we need any more provision we merely have to ask. There is no need for any more sacrifices to achieve the favour or provision of God. Obedience is such an important part of our Christian walk, we should remember these examples in the Old Testament. They did not know why they had to obey to the letter. Moses and Saul, with their human understanding didn’t think it would make much difference. On the human level it didn’t, but in the “background tapestry” that God was painting to set the scene for the appearance on earth of his own Son, it gave a totally wrong picture. Indeed on a human level we would argue that Moses still performed a mighty miracle by faith and Saul did sacrifice to God. But both were expressions of the flesh rather than the spirit. If ever you are tempted to make a scale model of the Tabernacle, it is perfectly possible because every measurement and every type of material is meticulously mentioned in the book of Exodus. God’s instructions to Moses were very, very specific. But should you attempt to build a model, it is almost certain that you will be tempted to cut corners or insert substitutes. Needless to say your model would not fit the picture when applied to Christ and his church. It is an amazing thing that God could put all his divine purposes into materials and measurements. The tabernacle was probably more meaningful to God than to Israel. We are not called to know the reasons why we are told to do many things in scripture. Pastors and teachers are constantly being bombarded by young and not so young Christians who reason from human points of view that certain things in scripture need not to be obeyed today. It may not prove of any advantage or disadvantage while here on earth, but there is every possibility that the reason we are asked to do certain things will not be revealed until the next age. Our disobedience and self-will, will then become obvious just as the disobedience of Saul and Moses was seen in it’s correct light after Jesus came. Modern ideas on marriage which contradict God’s word is a clear example, for divorce breaks or mars the picture of Christ and his eternal forever bride, the Church. Thankfully we are all under grace, but the patterns and principles are eternal. 1 Samuel 13:22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son. The Philistines had so dominated the Lords’ people that they monopolised the sword sharpening and weapon making industry. Israel had lost its authority. The people of God get their authority from the Word of God. It is the sword of the Spirit within them. However, in the world in which we live it would seem that the church has allowed the enemies, in the guise of scholars and liberals, to become the expounders of truth. Almost every school child is under the illusion that “scientists have proved the bible to be untrue”. Even noted evangelicals will doubt certain parts of God’s word just because they have read some other book written by a critic. They have handed the swords and the sharpening equipment to be under the authority of the enemy especially within the realm of adversity and sickness, which the Philistines typify (explained later) Sadly many folk who call themselves “Christian” are prepared to believe that God used the evolution method to create this world. Yet the bible contradicts this theory. All things were created by God’s spoken word. Not to believe this is to disbelieve the bible. Furthermore to suggest that God could not do it by the power of his Word is to disbelieve in God. To deny his name as the Word is to deny his character. In John’s Gospel, which portrays Jesus as the Son of God, he created bread, (made of oil & wheat) in abundance, and wine in abundance in a matter of seconds. (Note Corn oil and wine are all linked throughout the Old Testament as symbols of prosperity in Israel) He created all the dead brain cells in Lazarus in a moment by the power of his spoken word. A man born blind had his eyes created correctly in a moment. In evolutionary terms these things would have taken a million years. When he resurrects the dead bodies from every graveyard in the world by the power of his word, he will not have to wait six hundred million years for those bodies to form. He is God. His word is true. He is THE WORD.
Only Saul and Jonathan had swords. However chapter 14 shows the possibilities of just one man and a sword with faith in God. If there was only one Christian left in the world, and only one bible left in his hand, it would not be difficult to prophecy that should the one man (with His God) engage in battle with the rest of the world that eventually the Man of God and the Word of God would win, as eternity will prove of this age. . 1 Samuel 14:6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armour, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.” All too often we count numbers to see if we are “winning” or not. All too often we are discouraged or encouraged by what we see, rather than what we read in the word of God which is the Sword of the Spirit. Thirty people in a town are just as able to take that town for God as 300, if God is with them. The Lord caused the Philistines to kill one another. Just as the devil and his cohorts, (the people of the world) are oft the cause of people leaving that side and coming to Christ. If it was wonderful not being a Christian, then no-one would ever become one. But did not we all get a raw deal and indeed the things that the devil did to us were often the reasons we changed sides. (even though we did not appreciate that he was the author of such things) We all saw that we had fallen among thieves. Romans ch 8 says we owe the old life nothing. That is certainly true. The flesh has had it’s “pound”, so to speak. Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled . Also we read; 1 Samuel 14:21 Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. So backsliders were restored also in this battle. People who had gone to live with and live like the Philistines, when the latter were in control, came back to be identified with the People of God. Saul declares a rash oath; verse 24-46. While Jonathan had been fighting to bring confusion and death to the Philistines, his father Saul was trying to influence the favour of God by declaring a fast, just as there are thousands of folk on the earth in false religions punishing their bodies for spiritual enlightenment. Saul declared that if any man ate he would be put to death. Jonathan did not hear of this and ate some honey. After the toil of the battle it was a real refreshing meal. When he was told of the fast, note what he said; 1 Samuel 14:29 But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. Much more must have gone on than is recorded, in terms of Saul’s disastrous reign. Jonathan tells the people that had they eaten the spoil from the Philistines they would have been well strengthened to keep on in the battle. The people responded by doing so. Saul responds to this news by calling for sheep and oxen from the people and sets up an altar of sacrifice to the Lord, thus keeping up the “holy” pretence to his vow. Then he decides to enquire of the Lord whether or not to fight against the Philistines. However the Lord does not answer him. Typically he then seeks the reason for this silence, and concludes that someone has sinned. By lot he separates the leaders from the people and by the first lot cast, the people are exempted from guilt. This leaves only Saul and Jonathon (the leaders) as the guilty ones. Then he casts lots between himself and Jonathon and the latter is picked out. Saul questions Jonathan about what he has done and his son confesses to having eaten honey, in ignorance of his father’s command. Saul, true to type is ready to kill his own son, to save face and endorse his foolish and rash oath made earlier. However the people rescue Jonathon from Saul. The question arises how did Saul discern by lot who was guilty if it was not God divinely ordering the lottery. There are other possibilities; namely, that Saul had already heard of Jonathan’s honey eating and so fixed the lottery, (this is suspected from verse 39) 1 Samuel 14:39: “For as the LORD lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But not a man among all the people answered him. Many a magician has given his punters a choice of three cards. They refer to it as a forced choice, for if the punter chooses the card he wants them to choose from the three, he then emphasises the free choice. If they dont pick the card then that card is dismissed and the punter then chooses from the remaining two. If the punter chooses the correct one then, bingo, but if not then that is discarded and behold the one remaining card is the correct one. However, we could also argue that there was only three draws, so the chances of Jonathan being picked out were only 3-1, which later became “fifty-fifty” with himself and Jonathan. Fortune tellers are well aware of the same possibilities in human experience. One could tell three people that they were in for a pleasant surprise or would be crossing a stretch of water in the next fortnight and in all probability it would happen to at least one of them, who would become a willing witness to advertise one’s magical powers. The inspiration behind this recorded incident is probably to show Saul’s self righteousness. After God refused to offer any guidance to Saul, he multiplied his sins by making rash oaths to God. He would have been better repenting in the first place rather than allowing his pride to push him into more problems. In religion worldwide there are sects and organisations which in the guise of holiness are mesmerised into making oaths and promises which are certainly detrimental to the health of body and mind. The flesh gains great satisfaction from inflicting pain and suffering on others, and especially if it maintains domination over people through it. In today’s world even within our own circles folk are sometimes foolish enough to make rash oaths. We often hear folk say, God has told me to do this or go there, maybe regarding which church they attend. Then it becomes patently obvious that it is not for the best, but they stick it out and come to a sad end. We should be very careful about making promises or statements concerning guidance especially those we make public. It is much more advisable to keep your conversations agreements, promises, and advices between you and the Lord secret. Like Mary who pondered and “kept all these things in her heart,” the day will surely come when that which is in the heart will inevitably be revealed to all. Saul gave up the chase against the Philistines, and though he did skirmish with them throughout his reign, he never conquered them sufficient to reign over them. We read that he had trouble with them throughout his reign and was always having to recruit the finest of his youth to aid him in the battle. The flesh always needs support. Saul, skirmished with his surrounding enemies, usually because they had attacked him, and he and his army were only getting back what had been stolen. So in all probability had the enemy not attacked him he would not have attacked them. Now that all sounds very sensible until you compare him with David, who eventually conquered all the enemies surrounding Israel and not only reigned over them but took taxes and levies of all kinds from them. Similarly in the natural, people tend to get on their high horse or take an active roll against those evils which have personally effected their life. Most of our charities today are run or founded by people who have personal connections in their field of adversity. However, the Spirit, typified in David wages war against the enemies of man because they are the enemies of God. There is nothing selfish in such warfare. David did not make peace pacts with them or trade agreements. Right is right and wrong is wrong, whether it affects us personally or not. The true Spirit is an intercessor, unselfishly putting himself in the position of the sufferer in order to save the sufferer. Rom 8:26.: the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. To be an intercessor one has to put oneself in the situation of the sufferer and intercede in love on their behalf. We should not pray for folk because we feel guilty that we are well while they are sick. When we truly intercede we feel as sick as them, for we take their place and plead their cause before the throne. The flesh is very good at good works, but the motives are spiritually questionable. The spirit of God is opposed to sickness and adversity because such hurtful things are opposed to the nature of God. The true servant of God will wage war with his life against injustice and pain, even though his own personal situation is untroubled by such things. He will actually choose to suffer by sharing in prayer and intercession the sufferings of others. The natural man (the flesh) knows no such reasons for his good works. Hebrews chapter 4. in the context of “good works versus faith” debate, tells us all about such things. Hebrews 4: 12: For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. JONATHAN? Who or what does he typify? David symbolises the Spirit and Saul symbolises the flesh, but were does Jonathan fit in? In Romans 7, we see that the flesh is a separate entity to Oneself, just as the Spirit is a separate entity. Jonathan represents the “I” in the purest sense; - The inner light, the conscience. He is the “Sovereign Man” that God created. (crowned with glory and honour) Jonathan has the choice of following his fleshly heritage and taking over the throne after his father Saul, or making a covenant with David ( The Spirit) to hand over to him the right to the throne and all the symbols of office. Jonathan was able to fight and win victories just as his father had. He did not do it to gain favour with the people though. Furthermore, Jonathan judged his father to be wrong in his judgements, concerning honey and his own condemnation, and in his behaviour towards David later. We shall discuss this analogy further as the narrative unfolds. Sufficient at present to stimulate one’s mind along these lines. Maybe it is a good time to think about it and read Romans ch 7 and 8 a few times. (Jonathan killed the brother of Goliath, who symbolises SIN.- so conscience puts to death a lot of sin)
This chapter records a further step in Saul’s downfall. It is the well known story of Saul’s disobedience in not destroying the Amalekites as he was commanded. Typical of the flesh, he did the following; 1. He made a show as if he had obeyed, though he obeyed after his own will. 2. He justified his disobedience, blaming it on others. Yet he was the king. 3. He tried to offer to God what God had said should have been destroyed. It was therefore not an acceptable sacrifice. He should not have had it in the first place. It is like winning the lottery and giving a tithe to the Lord. There are lots of unconverted (in the flesh) giving a slice of their ill-gotten gains to “the Lord”. (via charities or churches) They perhaps think it makes their sin respectable. But God is not so easily fooled as the beguiled church leaders who accept such gifts. One verse which should continually ring true throughout this study is Romans 8: 7: “ the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Saul never could please God, in spite of all his religious words and even words of repentance. Even his repentance was selfish, and his tears of remorse were because he had come off worse. True repentance is outlined in Psalm 51: 1-20. It is David’s prayer, so it shows that even the prayer of repentance has to be made in the Spirit. For without the Spirit we could not repent. Someone has said that if Jesus has never confessed our sins they will never be forgiven. So here we could contemplate to our advantage the Lord interceding for us with these very words of David.Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. .Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, .Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. .... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. ... Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. ..... For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; you do not delight in burnt offering. ...The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart— these, O God, You will not despise. We may not think that our sins are of the calibre of David’s, but it is the same prayer for all sin. It is not the washing or polishing of our old heart, (the flesh) that we pray for but the creation of a new heart and a renewed spirit within us. God regretted that God had ever made Saul king. He was sorry that Saul proved such a failure. God has no delight in the failures of man. He has great sorrow in them. The final verse in this chapter reminds us of God’s feelings before the flood. He was sorry that he had ever made man and here we read that he was sorry he had given sovereignty to Saul. Genesis 6:6: And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 1 Samuel 15:35:... and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
As in Genesis, where God started phase two of His plan, through Abraham, after the flood, so here in Chapter 16 God starts again with a man after his own heart. Also, as in Genesis, the plan would not come to fruition until those causing him the regret had disappeared from the scene God told Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint a new king. The people of Bethlehem were afraid when they saw Samuel, because they knew he was a mighty man of God. They probably trembled from guilty consciences. Lest you deride such derivation it is not unknown today for folk to avoid preachers and parsons or anyone who personifies righteousness, for much the same reason. Samuel at first thought that the biggest and most distinguished in appearance would be the Lord’s choice. But that was how Saul was chosen. “Man looks on the outward appearance”, - It has always been and will always be so. The more one comes to understand the mind of the Lord the more one realises the truth of the verse in Isaiah which says that as the heavens are above the earth so are the thoughts of God higher than the thoughts of man. In fact, every conclusion that man reaches without the Spirit will prove eventually to be flawed. David’s youth speaks of innocence, and the fact that he was out doing his father’s will, is not without significance. After he was anointed with oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, David knew a fresh and mighty purpose in his life. 1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him. The capacity within man which is called his spirit, is really just a vessel in which certain spirits rest or live. Spirits are like gases. Some are good, some are bad, but none are without some power or influence. These infiltrate through to the Soul, forming character and personality. The mind controls the spirit. Spirits can be generated by the mind. Saul’s rejection had been well stated by Samuel. They sank deep into his mind. He meditated upon them. A spirit from the Lord came to trouble him. When all has been said and done about this “distressing spirit from the Lord” it was nothing less than the Spirit of conviction and condemnation. The spirit of conviction could never be thought to be a happy or good one, but nevertheless it comes from the Lord. The good Samaritan poured in wine and oil. The wine, being alcohol would clean the wound and the oil like Vaseline would heal, The wine would sting and the oil would soothe. Pain before birth, conviction before conversion is God’s way of salvation. The wine symbolises the blood and it is the death of Christ which reveals to us the horror of our sin. The hymn writer wrote; “I, I alone have done this deed. Tis I thy sacred flesh have torn, My sins have caused The Lord to bleed, Pointed the nail and fixed the thorn” On a natural level we know that guilt causes more distress of the mind and spirit than any feature of human anatomy and physiology. A few years ago certain mental health physicians were heard to say on B.B.C. radio. that the vast majority of mental health patients locked in homes and institutions would be set free tomorrow if today they could be cured of their sense of guilt. Such guilt invades those outside of such places but most folk have found a way to cope with it. The medical profession have adopted a “change the name” solution. Sin no longer exists, it comes now under the name of some behavioural syndrome, or the sinner is said to be “challenged”. which really means they are missing the mark. Which is the perfect definition of sin. It is often confessed by some folk who are not born again, that they go to church for the music, - The organ and hymns especially. It seems that they find “great peace” from such music. Such conviction in many folk is eased through music. Songs of Praise on T.V. is popular for many fleshly reasons. The latter is one of them. It would not prove anything like as popular if the word of God was preached. For the word produces the pain of conviction. Typically Saul was comforted by the music of the Lord’s anointed, David. It was music that brought David and Saul together for the first time. Music plays a very important part in spiritual things. Hence the whole world of classical and pop music. The devil has his finger firmly in both pies. There is hardly a soul in the world who hasn’t got a favourite piece of music. It’s effect, for good or bad on the human spirit is universal.. We probably have all become aware that some Christian music is more inspired than other of the same ilk. Folk who like similar music, more often than not have kindred spirits. David brought peace to Saul through his music. Typifying this incident to some spiritual significance, we could probably say that the first “feeling” one receives when the Spirit first enters is peace. This is what pleased Saul about David when he entered. Romans 5:1: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Why then, if Saul portrays the flesh should the flesh want spiritual things? Most of us would have to admit that we received the Lord Jesus as our Saviour for “selfish reasons” We were so convicted of our sin and so feared it’s consequences that we had to receive him to get any peace. That spirit of conviction is a spirit of the Lord. Although God has designed salvation to be a walk and life of Faith, it is typical of his gracious understanding of our human fleshly frame that he starts us off with some wonderful feelings. Peace being the first. However, sadly from then on, our flesh relies upon feelings, coincidences, and random events (like getting a car park space) for almost every bit of guidance and assurance. It takes time for us to realise that our only source of “faith” should be in the Word of God. It is not surprising that many “converts” soon fall away, because their assurance of faith is “sourced” from circumstances. When we believe and call upon the Lord in our conviction, as Saul called David, he comes to bring peace. The believing comes first, and then the feelings. Though Saul pleased David at the beginning, the battle between Saul and David ensued whether or not. It is the natural man that is condemned and seeks the peace. but that same natural man is by nature the enemy of the new man, because the latter is destined to take over, since the natural man has failed. The only good thing the natural man can do is to call for salvation. The new man ( the Spirit) comes, and strictly speaking he does not bring the peace, He is the peace. The natural man is his enemy, and insane as it may seem he will seek to kill the only one who gives him peace. We will see this picture unfold as we go through the experiences of David until he reigned in Jerusalem. It is a lesson all must learn in their christian life that there is a war going on inside between the old nature, the flesh and the new man Christ who dwells in us by his spirit.
Here we read the amazing story of David and Goliath. The spiritual significance is that Saul and all Israel were in fear of Death. Goliath represents Sin and his aim is to bring death, and in so doing, holds men and women the world over in bondage to fear. Just as the Israelites were when opposed by this seemingly undefeatable giant. David represents Jesus our Saviour. Hebrews 2:13-21: Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
The first thing we receive through the Spirit is Peace of forgiveness. The second is the knowledge of Eternal life. “The wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus” “Whoever believes in me “ said Jesus, “will never die.” The hymn writer rejoiced with these words; “Death is vanquished, tell it with joy ye faithful. Where is now thy victory, boasting grave. Jesus lives, no longer her portals are cheerless. JESUS lives, He is MIGHTY and STRONG, to save,”
Goliath has been defeated. Sin has lost its power to bring about death. It should be understood that the primary interpretation of this death is the spiritual death that sin brings in separating us from God, who is “Life”. There are other lesser cameos of spiritual truth illuminated here; Saul’s armour reminds us that Jesus did not defeat the devil through human power. 1. David’s stones remind us that five is the number of grace in scripture. 2. They could also find expression in the five books of the law for stones in scripture are symbols of law, being hard and durable. The stone rolled away from the grave, the fact that people were stoned to death, and the law written on tables of stone are all part of this typology.3. The most illuminating analogy is possibly that Goliath’s SWORD is a fitting symbol of the LAW. (Once again a good knowledge of Romans and /or Galatians is helpful here.) As stated, Goliath, represents our greatest enemy- Sin, which brings death; Sin brings about death just as Goliath brought it about - with the sword. Sin gets it’s power from the LAW. (Romans 7). Had there been no law there would have been no knowledge of sin. The law shows that all have sinned and therefore condemns all to death for doing so. But just as David took Goliath’s own sword to kill him with so God uses the very law to slay sin for us. Galatians ch 2 tells us, For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
If the power of sin is taken away then death is removed. The power of Sin is taken away by fulfilling the law. Jesus fulfilled (brought it to its full fruition) both by keeping all the Law and secondly by paying the penalty of the law. When one has served the sentence one is free from the Law, but not until. Jesus came and took the punishment of the law; He tasted death for every man. So now the law has fulfilled its mission, it has slain every man in Christ. Galatians 4:4-6: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So if the death of Christ was my death, then I am dead. That is what it means when it says “I through the law, am dead to the law”. If you don’t understand it then think about it till you do. Then you will see the wonderful significance of Goliath’s sword for later in the book in chapter 21 we read that David is looking for a sword and he asks the priest if he had one he could use. 1 Samuel 21:9: So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” So the sword which slew Goliath became the sword of David. In other words the Law of Moses in the Old Testament has become the Sword of the Spirit under the New Testament. We know that the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit so we surmise that now the law for us is the Word of God. The Spirit in us provides the power to keep the Law, when we “live in the Spirit” . The spirit guides us on a pathway of obedience from the Word of God. The Word and the Spirit are like Siamese twins in scripture. As close as Hydrogen and Oxygen together in water. So permit me to recap a little so that you might see the significance of the wonderful first few verses of Romans ch 8. How does God use the law to slay the power of sin and death in us? We die because of Sin. The Law says we must die. So in Christ we die. The law condemned us to death and sin killed us and if now we are dead we are free from Sin. God raised us up in Christ and now we live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. Saul could not kill Goliath, but David did. We live, no longer subject to the Flesh but subject to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The difference now in our relationship with the Law is that the Spirit brings life. The problem with the law was that it did not bring any power with it to help people to do it. The word “Spirit” means “life”, so if we live by faith in the Spirit, He will live a life in us and through us, which is compatible with the will of God and God’s law, but with a liberty known to sons rather than slaves.
Conscience and the Spirit Note verse 1. Jonathan became “one in spirit” with David. In our analogy Jonathan is “Conscience” and David is “The Spirit” (i.e. the spirit of Christ that dwells in us) It should not be difficult to see how the natural man throughout the centuries has been held back from universal total evil, by the tiny voice within which we call conscience. Everyone has one. Likewise the Holy Spirit who works in us also works in the world restraining evil by convincing men of Sin, Righteousness and Judgement. So you can see they are of the same spirit. What is also significant in this chapter is that we read on three occasions how David acts “wisely”. Without question, not every moral question is black and white. It is also true that on occasions it is not a matter of right or wrong but which is best. This is the reason, why on certain occasions one christian can be seen to act in a certain way that another christian would feel to be an offence not only to conscience but the Spirit. Some would seek to evangelise by drinking with the world, others would think it a step back into the world. Some would enlist in an army and train to kill and destroy other human beings, others would count such behaviour deplorable. Numerous examples of this diversity could be cited. In each case “wisdom is justified of its children”. The Spirit acts wisely. Jesus told his disciples to be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves” Sometimes the conscience of years must submit to the sovereignty of the Spirit. Just as Jonathan made a vow of homage to David, giving him his princely robes.
There is some foolish, not to say erroneous teaching going about at this moment which originates from ministries in South Africa, concerning the covenants in the bible. These sermons record all the various covenants which men like Abraham and Jacob made with God. Within these covenants they comment upon this covenant between David and Jonathan. They declare that David & Jonathan would have cut their wrists and mixed their blood on this occasion. Nothing could be further from the truth. This would have been an abomination to the Lord as it when Africans and Indians do it during tribal rituals. It is not difficult for those of us in the ministry to suspect what the purpose of this covenant ministry is. Its aim and purpose is for people to make covenants with God. The next to last tape is about tithing. In other words, one is expected to believe that if one covenants with God and tithes ( (to their organisation) one will become as prosperous as the leaders appear to be. However, you would be better advised to realise that prosperity is an Old Testament concept for the Israelites who were an earthly kingdom. The New Testament Christian, following the example of Christ and the Apostle Paul is far removed from earthly prosperity as he or she could be. Our prosperity is of a spiritual and eternal nature and the Old Testament prosperity is but a type of the New Testament spiritual prosperity. God supplies all our needs. He does not lead us into poverty, and nor does He promise that part of the deal is to be led into prosperity, while a third of the world is starving. Covet not the riches of others, even those of christian profession, for then you will not have to give account for them on the day of judgment.
Back to Saul v David. David became very popular by slaying the Philistines. The people attributed more praise to him than to Saul. This gives rise to Saul’s jealousy. He envied David’s prowess in battle. He feared David’s power, knowing he could take the throne from him. Jonathan who was directly in line for the throne saw no threat in David. In fact he made a vow of homage to David, giving him his princely robes.
Saul is further jealous (v 12) because the Lord was with David. He gives David a small army with which to fight against the Philistines. Saul talks spiritual language, when talking of the “Lord’s battles” but true to type as the flesh, though he could prophecy and say religious things, his heart was against the Spirit of God. Secretly he hopes that David will be killed by the Philistines’ This reveals his true colours for he is clearly on the side of the Philistines hoping that they are victorious. It is similar in the spiritual realm, for the flesh is very subtle in it’s desire to kill the spirit. In the young Christian, the flesh makes demands upon the Spirit which it hopes (secretly) he can’t fulfil. “If you are a child of God then do this or do that”etc. Sometimes young Christians foolishly are tempted to go back to their old paths of temptation, just to see if they have really changed. Many are surprised to find that their flesh hasn’t changed. Others with great enthusiasm seek to do great miracles or take on things in the “Lord’s work” which they are hopelessly ill-equipped for, in terms of maturity. Paul warns against giving a novice any office or church authority for this reason. If we venture head first into the territory of the enemy we can be sure that we are no match for the Devil who has been around a long time. Had Saul fought the Philistines he would have certainly been defeated. On this occasion David fought and was victorious, but that does not alter the fact that Saul instigated this battle and his intention was to have David killed. However, what would have killed Saul did not overcome David and he survived. The Philistines: It must be time now for us to consider who or what the Philistines symbolise in this analogy of the Flesh versus the Spirit. The Philistines were a constant thorn in the side of Israel. They never seemed to go away. Battles and skirmishes were constant. The Philistines are typical of tribulation or suffering. There is no doubt that the scriptures clearly warn the believer of battles with suffering and tribulation. Scores of verse could be quoted here, but suffice a few; Phil 1:29; For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Rom 8:17: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Rom 5:3: And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 2 Tim 2:12:If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 2 Cor 4:11:For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
If the young Christian encounters such hardships early in his Christian life, then the flesh taunts the Spirit by questioning God and asks why He is allowing such things. As the enemies of David used to say, “where is your God now?”. The flesh is really testing the presence of God in him. Job’s wife told Job to “curse God and die”, when he was suffering adversity. That is exactly what our flesh seeks to tempt us to do that the Spirit may “die”. (alienate ourselves from) Fortunately the Spirit uses such tests to bring victory and strength. Unfortunately some do perish. In the parable of the sower we learn that the same sun (of persecution) that causes seed to grow in one environment will scorch the ground and plants in another.
His subtle challenges turn to temptations, to include the offer of his daughter for marriage on condition that he kills two hundred more Philistines. Remember that Satan offered the world to Jesus. But had Jesus bowed down the devil would not have given him all the kingdoms of this world. He is a liar. Saul was lying also. His later offer to give another daughter to David was fulfilled but he sought only to ensnare David. However as the story unfolds we read in 1 Sam 25:44; But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim. Michal can truly be seen as an ally and lover of David though a daughter of Saul. May be there are offspring of the flesh that would join themselves to the Spirit. May I suggest that “natural talents” might come into that category.
Later his attacks become more blatant. Saul is often if not always referred to as having the spear in his hand. We are told in Ephesians ch 6, that we should be clothed daily in our spiritual armour, taking the shield of faith, whereby we can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. The darts or spears of accusations are to destroy us by smiting us in the heart. If we don’t hold unto our faith which is a shield, the dart will destroy our love for God. His usual taunt of “ why does God allow this if he says he loves you?” is not only slandering God, but blatant cheek because he is the source of the tribulation in the first place. To summarise; 1. The Spirit is wiser than Conscience. 2. From this chapter then we learn that the flesh is jealous of other’s praise; He can’t rejoice in others’ victories or testimony, but expects all to rejoice in his. 3 . The flesh seeks to kill spirit, by over tasking its strength. v.11; Added to our previous comments, it is worth the mention of those who serve the Lord that all too often, almost immediately after accomplishing some service for the Lord, they feel totally washed out spiritually. It is worthy of note that in Mark ch 1 we read that Jesus had a very full and hectic day, but the next morning he rose up early to pray. Unfortunately we tend to rest on our laurels of the previous days service rather than obey the promptings of the Spirit to get fired up again immediately. 4. The Flesh makes gestures of love and sacrifice; for his own ends; Saul gave his daughter, more as bait or a spy than as a wife which is proved by the fact that later Saul gave her to someone else. It has been known for the flesh to “give up things” to the Spirit soon after conversion, but at a convenient time later, takes them back again.
Romans ch 7. says, “In my flesh dwells no good thing.” Romans 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. The Flesh (Saul) knows what is right for he agrees with the persuasive reasoning of Jonathan. (Conscience) We have already questioned where Jonathan fits into the picture as a type. Jonathan is the product of the natural man, yet he sides with the Spirit. This can also be said of Conscience. Every person in the world has a light within them. John ch 1 says that Jesus is the one that lights everyone who comes into the world. Light in John’s gospel is truth, so everyone has a little awareness within of what is the truth. Romans 7, says that in our natural mind we consent unto the law of God that it is right and good, but we nevertheless have no power to keep it. Throughout this story Saul is constantly repenting, so it would seem. He is made aware of his folly by “Conscience” and the “Spirit”. (Jonathan and David) He confesses to both that they are right. So we see why the flesh can be quite moral at times, but the purposes of God are never to be fulfilled through either Saul or Jonathan. Jonathan could never have accomplished what David did. John chapter 1. goes on to speak of the “sons of God” . Such are those in-filled, led and controlled by the Spirit. Jonathan took the allegiance he had to Saul and offered his allegiance to David. Read the first 17 verses of Romans ch 8. Romans ch 6 tells us that just as previously we handed over our members to sin and unrighteousness to be used by them like slaves, now we should offer our members to the Spirit to be slaves of righteousness. The Flesh previously held control of the body; and “quickened “ it. In other words, it was the source and power of its life and activity. It did not do the will of God. Now the indwelling Spirit wants to take over that roll so the battle ground is really our body. Both the flesh and the Spirit desire to be sovereign. Either can rule in power. Verse 5: David questions Saul for the reasons he is seeking to kill him, for he does so “Without a cause” It was said of Jesus in prophecy that they hated him without a cause. Jesus said that if the world hates him, it would also hate his disciples. It is amazing how christians have suffered and do suffer at the hands of unbelievers for no just reason. It happens often in our places of employment. It confirms that the spirit in us is recognised by the spirit in them.
Saul knew it was wrong to attack David.; he made vows that he would not do it again. But “to will is present “ with the flesh, but how to perform it, is not. Romans 7:16-25 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God— through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. With my mind (conscience) I consent that the law is good. But flesh cannot be subject to the law of God. It cannot please God. Dual Nature: As we discuss Saul and David as types of the flesh and the spirit we might miss the closeness of the two within our own lives. They are as different and separate as Saul and David in nature, but they are both within each believer. Notice as a small parable two verses which contrast the flesh and the spirit v 8; Victory in the spirit v 9; Distressing spirit The operation of the flesh and the spirit within us can be as close as these two verses. It is often the case that our own great victory’s give rise to the flesh making a comeback. (Check out how often you feel bad after some service for the Lord.) Someone who should be nameless was once driving his car accompanied by his wife. Feeling very serene and contented he was singing a well known worship song. As he did so, suddenly another car failed to make a clear signal and the cars almost collided. Just as suddenly the serene and sweet tempered christian driver blurted out his verbal character assassination of the other car driver. Verse 8 and 9 were very close on this occasion. Jesus who once said to Peter “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven” In other words he had known the power of the Spirit at work in him. But it was not long before Jesus had occasion to say to the same man; “Get behind me Satan”,
v 18 Spirit (David) flees to Samuel; If the flesh is subtle then the Spirit is ingenious. In any warfare it is essential strategy to outfox or outwit the enemy. It could be argued that David tells a few porkies in his time, and it could be argued that Jesus spoke in parables so that those in darkness would remain in their darkness. He was not fully making known the truth. The two facts are not unrelated. (Cf. 2 Kings 20 11-19 Hezekiah & Babylon)) It illustrates the “intelligence of the flesh” compared with the “intelligence of the Spirit”. As in World War two, when Britain cracked the enemy’s code, the side with the greater intelligence service had greater advantage. God has deliberately hidden things from the wise who by nature are wanting to know, and revealed his secrets unto babes. David keeps his enemies in the dark as much as possible concerning his movements and operations not only with Saul but with the king of the Philistines, whom he also fooled. In this chapter we read that David escapes by deception. The Flesh is often deceived by the Spirit. For example, one might go to Spring harvest, or similar convention This can be a sanctuary for our Spirit just as David retreated to Samuel for sanctuary. The flesh however is fooled into thinking he is going on holiday. but the Spirit has other plans. It is good to get away to sanctuary; where there is Prayer and the Word of the Lord. Spiritual retreats for the “soul” purpose of renewal are very beneficial, but beware, for the flesh won’t be long in arriving on the scene. Saul sends his cohorts in groups to join in the proceedings. Then later Saul arrives and joins in the proceedings. When one goes on such a spiritual retreat, what happens? The Spirit soon experiences the flesh in others. On the platform, at the dinner table, and in general behaviour and conversation. Soon after we are part of it, for our own flesh catches up, Saul arrives so to speak, and starts prophesying. Notice how Saul starts prophesying. His “nakedness” speaks volumes as an expression of the flesh. The flesh doesn’t mind Spring Harvest, Billy Graham meetings, Benny Hinn Conventions etc. Big crowds, big meetings; the flesh need not battle to join in. Saul chased David and caught up with him but significantly because he found some means of expression at Samuel’s convention he did not kill David. The flesh is jealous of the good things that the spirit enjoys, and is happy to take part when it can. While Saul is there, we have no reference to what David was doing, They both cannot “live out” together at the same time. So we see that the flesh allows the Spirit to operate but never to reign. Is it not true that the flesh will allow the Spirit the time in which our flesh also takes a rest or also gets pleasure; How familiar are the following? “I feel tired so as I drop off to sleep I will pray” “ I will go to Keswick Convention for my holiday” “I’ll go to that church where the preaching’s enjoyable and lots of good looking people go.” Here is a verse you wont find in the bible “So Jesus lay down on the beach and licking an ice-cream , he began to pray” No! He went up mountains and into wildernesses to spend nights in prayer.
The typology in this chapter is difficult to identify fully,. It emphasises that Conscience and the Spirit (Jonathan and David) are allies on the side of truth. Jonathan was of Saul's flesh and blood. So the flesh has a conscience. It also shows a further step downwards in Saul as he tries to kill his own son. If this story is a type of spiritual growth then certainly here the Spirit is being strengthened and the flesh more desperate. At the beginning of the Christian life, there are occasions when the Conscience tends to guide the Spirit by sending arrows in certain directions. New converts often ask if this is wrong or that is wrong, when quite frankly they only have to look within to their own conscience for an answer. Later in the young christians life the Spirit takes over completely from the Conscience. Indeed the Spirit will convict of things that the conscience would never think were particularly wrong. He will even convict one believer of something which He gives liberty to another to do. This is because He is fashioning us all differently and what is good for one is not necessarily good for another. The weeping of David with Jonathan in verse 41 shows the love of the Spirit for that part of created man that still bears the image of his creator. David knew that Jonathan would not reign. Like Abraham of old who cried “Oh that Ishmael might live before you”. But it was not to be. Jesus wept over Jerusalem; God does not delight in having to reject anyone. There are truly some beautiful people in this world. Beautiful in soul, lively in conscience. Teachers who dedicate their lives to children far beyond the call of duty. Nurses, carers, neighbours, and millions of mothers, all marvellous loving people, BUT they are all in the flesh. God’s perfect and holy nature can never accept the slightest part of sin. Only a completely new person, without sin, incapable of sin, is acceptable. That which is of the earth is earthly. That which is from above is heavenly. The difference is the difference between heaven and earth. The natural mind may not consider the gap to be so great between God and man, but it is clearly spelt out in scripture. v. 34 . Shame of Jonathan. This is conscience speaking up. Natural Man is often ashamed of his deeds.
Spirit on the move; Persecution is good for spiritual growth and expansion. We shall see this emphasised when David leaves Keilah later. It was evident also in the growth and spread of the early church. Also David (the Spirit) was putting distance between himself and Saul (the flesh). This symbolically signifies further spiritual growth. A moving target is difficult to hit. So the moral is to keep moving on with God. But that doesn’t mean to keep changing from one church to another, as some seem to think. Don’t settle down in your Spiritual life. Those who have the most problems may be a trouble to their pastor, but he knows that they are the usually the people who care and in whom the Spirit is working. Those who never seem to be troubled are usually settled down in the flesh within the comfort zone. In this chapter we see that the Spirit seeks refuge in Sanctuary with Ahimelech; It is a sanctuary of the Word and Prayer, for He ate the holy bread and enquired of the Lord; Doeg listened; This reminds us that there is spiritual wickedness in high places; Even in such places (such as a prayer meeting) the enemy is listening in. It behoves us to dispense our words with wisdom and frugality. Sword of Goliath; This is a great truth illustrated here. It was the law in the hands of “Sin & Death”, which threatened us with death and condemnation, but when through Christ we are set free from the law, that same law, in the shape of the Word of God becomes our guide and strength. The Sword (the Word) and the Spirit, are as Siamese twins in the scriptures. Not all Christians fully recognise the connection between the Law and the Spirit. The Spirit was sent on the day the Jews celebrated the giving of the Law. Passover represents Calvary and Sinai represents the day of Pentecost. Significantly, David’s longest Psalm is the celebration of the Law. Almost every verse has a synonym for the Law or Word of God in it. David delights in the law of God. He regards its authority as a hedge of safety. The Authority of the Word; We have discussed in other notes the great illustration of “The Law, The Spirit and Ourselves” in the human body. Each one operates authority within the body of Christ.. Take for example the human arm. There we have “Bone, Nerves, and Muscle.” These three things are symbols of authority in the church, which is His Body.- the arm of the Law. The Bone is the written law. Strong and firm but can be broken. The nerve is the Spirit which causes the muscle to have the power to move the bone. When the law was first given there was no nerve with it, so man had no power to do it. Now we have the Spirit, that spirit or nerve enables us to move the bone, i.e keep the law. If there was no bone our arms would flop about without strength, if no nerve, then no movement. If you haven’t already seen the analogy then the three authorities in the church are therefore “The Written word: The Holy Spirit and Human authority- Pastors elders teachers etc. (Bone Nerve and Muscle) v 10-15. David flees to Gath, where Goliath came from. He was tolerated by his enemies because he was regarded as mad;
Ingenuity of the Spirit: It is difficult to imagine how the Spirit can find refuge from the flesh in the presence of his enemies. But that very phrase will remind us all of Psalm 23 “You feed me in the presence of my enemies”. This story of David’s feigned madness, foaming at the mouth is full of amazing and thrilling typology. The Philistines are types of suffering. The flesh (Saul) regards suffering as an enemy and will try to keep as far apart from it as possible desiring ease and plenty. But sometimes the Spirit finds refuge in that land, even though suffering is also an enemy of God, so to speak. The suffering fails to kill the Spirit because the Spirit is foaming at the mouth, and is regarded as mad. The mouth in scripture symbolises the expressions of the heart and foaming is a sign of madness in some way. So when a christian is in suffering and is foaming at the mouth with praises to God, every observer is mystified and can only regard them as mad or crazy. But the Spirit is rejoicing being free from the flesh. The flesh keeps away and is no longer dominant when we are suffering. There is a strange verse in Peter which one finds difficult to understand, but may have some relevance here. It says 1 Pet 4:1-2: Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Kindred spirits. David’s gathered his army from people who were outcasts like himself There is strength in kindred spirits. (Hebrews 12:22-23) Furthermore if the outlaw gangs are illustrations of spirits becoming subject to THE Spirit then we see debt, discontentedness and distress becoming subject to the Spirit. These are not circumstances which produce proud spirits, but humble spiits. This is usually soon evident in the child of God as he experiences such circumstances. The things which overcame him become subject to him. These were very needy folk. The Spirit operates well in those who are conscious of their needs. They know how to depend. So in practice we see that when we become a christian the Spirit is able to sort out all areas of our lives, socially domestically as well as spiritually. What the world may call a disadvantage, can be an advantage when coming under the command and guidance of the spirit. God desires a meek and gentle spirit. David wrote; Ps 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Jesus said; Matt 11:29-30: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. God not only is able to supply all our needs but can create his new spirit in us through our needs.
Verse 6; Here we see The Flesh (Saul) is feeling sorry for itself. The spirit must be getting stronger and the flesh more isolated and neglected. However, Doeg speaks up. “There’s life in the old Doeg yet” you could say. He was in the place when David was in prayer “enquiring of the Lord”. The flesh soon reacts to things done in the realm of the Spirit. In his anger Saul kills off the priests. This endorses his own fate that he has no means anymore of communicating with God for guidance. The flesh hates prayer. He is jealous because he cannot get in touch with God as the Spirit does. Later we read that the one surviving priest goes to David with the Ephod. Only David has the ephod. The ephod was used for guidance. David continually sought guidance. This is one of the most significant things about David throughout his life. He was always seeking the mind of the Lord. “As many are led by the spirit, they are the sons of God”, for the Spirit knows the mind of the Lord. (Romans 8.)
The Keilah Experience- Building a reputation:
David rescues others from the enemy; This symbolises the call of the Spirit -led believer to good works and service for others . However David does not take refuge in such “places”, for the Flesh (Saul) could have caught up with him here, but David did not seek his identity in his good works. Fleshly reputations are often built by doing God’s work. Such strongholds will fail. The Spirit wanes in such things. If these studies tell us anything it should be that we are never safe from the influence of the flesh. Keep moving on with God, Nestling down to fleshly reputation building is folly. The comfort of popularity and recognition could have been David’s had he stayed in Keilah, but he enquired of the Lord and the Lord said, “Move on”. Note carefully that one would hardly believe that the people David had rescued, who were his work in the Lord, would have betrayed him to his enemy, the flesh. The ministry as a sacrifice of service to God is wonderful, but as a secure profession is a meal for the flesh. Remember how the kingdoms of this world were offered to Jesus. In this part of the parable we are reminded that like him, we have no continuing city. We are pilgrims in a barren land. One of the reasons that Jesus told his disciples to wipe their feet and keep moving was to enable them to keep moving into new situations. We are all comfortable in what we are accustomed to but new situations demand fresh faith and trust. The persecution of the early church scattered them abroad from the comfort of familiar surroundings. v 14; Spirit lives in wilderness and mountains; The Lord led the children of Israel far from the fleshpots of Egypt. You could not get further than the wilderness. But there he provided water from a rock. The Christian life is a miraculous existence. In the wilderness is where the Spirit survives best. There it is well able to deal with the attacks of the flesh. The world offers no sustenance for the spirit. The wilderness offers no sustenance for the flesh. The world with all it’s delights and pleasures provides only for the flesh. The rejoicing throngs in heaven. according to Revelation, are those who have been through tribulation. v 22 Here we can recognise that the flesh is getting weaker. Saul shows signs of being fed up chasing. Even in the wilderness he makes despairing efforts to slay the Spirit. But he was definitely in foreign soil and would much prefer to be at home in comfort. So we should always be aware of the flesh in any situation. Jesus prayed in the garden, so that he sweat drops of blood, but the disciples were in the same place but were feeling no such agonies and soon gave up praying. Jesus said to them “the Spirit is willing but the Flesh is weak.” The flesh would rather be at home asleep than with the Spirit in the wilderness of prayer. It is a wilderness to the flesh but a place of survival by faith for the spirit. This sheds light on the benefits of fasting. Luke 5:16: And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
Days of grace; Once again in this chapter Saul’s life is spared. The grace of the Spirit is shown . At the time of the flood we read that “My Spirit will not always strive with men.” So also in the references to the end of the world we read “he who now lets will let until He be taken out of the way.” This refers to the Holy Spirit, who controls all things in this world and in the church. (See booklet on “The Pattern of Threes in Scripture”) David allowed Saul to live and even granted his request not to blot out his family. So when David was on the throne and Saul’s relatives were subject to him, they were allowed to live in peace. This shows the grace of God towards us. He regards man as sovereign in his own right. He may be against our sin but not against us. He loves us and gave His son to die for us while we were His enemies. So God is not a killjoy. It is not God’s intention to obliterate all human joys. Sometimes the flesh thinks that if the Spirit reigns then that is the end of any normal existence in this world and it’s off to a monastery for the rest of your life. But Jesus clearly said that if we seek first the kingdom, i.e. the Spirit’s reign, then all these things would be added. We are told that all things have been given us to enjoy. But not as a primary indulgence of the flesh but as an experience of the love and goodness of God. Thus returning praise and glory to Him. Do not fear that if you surrender to the Spirit that you will lose out, for the opposite is true. One can have all the pleasures of this world, and not realise that it is the pleasures that possess you, rather than you possess the pleasures. Man becomes a slave to such pleasures. But when the Spirit reigns there is liberty. The joys of life are still there but they are subject to the Spirit. The Christian has his “life” source in the Spirit, not in pleasure.
This chapter puts us in mind of those verse sin Romans 8:12. "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors— not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh." The flesh has had it’s far share of our devotion and given us nothing in return. We owe it nothing. On the other hand we owe God everything. Nabal means “fool”. We read that the “Fool has said in his heart that there is no God”. So mankind generally lives as if there is no God. He is not acknowledged, thanked or worshiped and seldom is He given His dues. Like David watched over Nabal, though Nabal was not aware of it, so God watches over all, even those who don’t acknowledge him. God’s eye is seen in the providence of nature. It is only right that God should expect some return from his investment. Like the tenants of the vineyard parable, he expects some rent. Nabal foolishly thought not to pay his dues to David who had protected him from poverty for so long. We owe our lives to God and the Spirit. Everything we have is a gift. Those who count themselves to be achievers in this world were born with the ability to achieve as a gift from God. within them. Set up a class to teach music to 20 random people and a certain few will learn easily and well. Teach the same group how to make a pair of step ladders and others will learn it easily. So it would be true if you taught Maths or English, each would learn according to the gift within them. No matter how much we have achieved, God deserves our thanks. So we can see in this passage that as Abigail fed David, so later David fed, cared and loved Abigail. Because it involves the heart we are definitely in the realm of the Soul here. Love him with all your soul. The heart that feeds the Spirit, the Spirit feeds. Significantly God took his bride from this world. as David took Abigail
Once again we see Saul pursue David into the wilderness. This is the home of the Spirit. The flesh is on foreign soil. So instead of the flesh pursuing the spirit we see that the spirit pursues the flesh. David sent out spies and when he located Saul he did not keep his distance as one might suppose but he advanced towards him. 1 Samuel 26 :5. The Spirit takes the initiative “And David arose and came to the place where Saul was camped” Previously when David spared Saul’s life he took only a little of his clothing. This is suggestive of the grace of the Spirit who controls all things on this earth, as the one “who now lets until he be taken out of the way” In this instance he takes the sword and the water jug. It fits in with the typology of the scriptures that both these things are said to be “at his head”. The flesh has a sword to enable its survival and it also has its own water supply. It is not a vast and flowing lively stream but a jug. Its satisfaction is short, and soon runs out. In the wilderness he would have been a goner without it. There comes times in our christian warfare when the spirit takes the initiative to reveal to us our limitation in the flesh, as David did with Saul in this chapter. He shows us that the things we are trusting in can soon be shown to be useless. In the hymn “Stand up stand up for Jesus” we sing “The arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own” The flesh in a prayer meeting soon runs out after an hour or two. Likewise in any province of the Spirit, the flesh soon fails. Saul’s limitations are revealed and he once again says words of repentance and honour to David. However, circumstances and not his heart made him say such things. He wasn’t in the wilderness to be converted. Had he been able to, he would have killed David. Sometimes our failures in God’s work make us realise we have been trusting in the flesh, so we repent. But had we achieved our aims in the work through our own fleshly efforts we would have continued. If the flesh could pray all night it would, and if it could achieve anything in the realm of the spirit it would. But like Saul the flesh soon falls asleep in the wilderness. Spiritual things are a bit of a bore to the flesh. The disciples went to sleep in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was battling in the realm of the spirit to such a degree as to sweat drops of blood in agony. You could not imagine a greater difference in perception as to what was going on at the time. Jesus described David & Saul when he remarked, “your Spirit is willing but your flesh is weak”
David’s alliance with the Philistines surely confirms who the Philistines typify? He was with them for fifteen months. Once again we ponder on the ingenuity of the Spirit. He spends his time attacking the enemies of Israel while at the same time he makes King Achish think he has been attacking Israel. Sometimes even in adversity or suffering, the Spirit does not merely stay on the defensive. The spirit is always in the service of the King no matter in what circumstances he may find himself. Even in sickness it may seem that he is in the submissive hands of the enemy but the battle can continue in prayer and worship. There are plenty of other spiritual enemies to attack even in adversity. He was as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove. Yet he ever remained the enemy of the Philistines. The significant things is that he was using his Philistine “stay” to keep him safe from the hounding of Saul, for Saul would not pursue him into Philistine territory.
Saul’s resorting to the witch of Endor reveals the total spiritual depravity of the flesh. Having slain the priests of God, he had nowhere else to turn for guidance. Paradoxically it reveals the “spirituality of the flesh”. In other words, there is in man even just on the human fleshly level a sense that there is more to life than what we see, smell, touch, taste, or hear. Man is incurably religious, and the devil is in the business of providing false religion and false guidance through the “Spiritualist” Church, Astrologers, New age spirituality, tealeaves, and the like. The more the hocus pocus the more some things are believed. However, the flesh is flesh and the spirit is spirit. Significantly, in the Spiritualist Church salvation is achieved not by grace but by the kind of life one leads. They dislike the idea that the biggest sinner on earth can get to heaven by trusting alone in Jesu’s work upon the cross. This deceived and deceiving church is definitely the flesh at worship, and their source of enlightenment comes from beneath. The only spiritual realm available to the flesh is the realm below, from which the flesh originates. There is a definite spirit world which God clearly told his people to stay away from. Those who take drugs will testify to the different world which they enter into. It provides the inspiration for much of today’s fleshly music and art. The music of such groups as “Guns and Roses” is inspired from the pit. In all probability its inspiration is drug induced. One only has to study the fruits of witchcraft, and drug addiction to conclude whether such things are of God or not. The mystery of Samuel’s appearance and his prophecy that Saul would die the next day, is a point of argument for some, but within the context of this study, wherein it is claimed that the story is recorded as a parable of the warfare between the flesh and the spirit, then this story is just the icing on the cake. It takes us into the realm of the spirits whether we like to or not, so we can say that there is more than just a human story or earthly tale recorded here. The spiritual kingdoms are involved from beginning to end. The next chapter provides insight into the evil forces at the other end of the spiritual ladder. If you desire a knowledge of the spirit world then let the air and atmosphere be your parable. It is significant that the Devil is described in scripture as “the prince of the power of the air”. This does not mean he commands the British Air force or is chairman of BA, Virgin or Easy jet. He operates in higher levels. The air consists of gases. Gases are types of spirits. The number of gases in the world is infinite. All material things of earth can be reduced to gases. It should not therefore be difficult to accept that everything was made from God who is a spirit. Hebrews tells us that the visible world was made from the invisible. If we want to change this world we have to enter the invisible world that controls all things.
Notes on Chapter 29
David’s survival, even existence in the land of the Philistines fits in with some of the amazing and mysterious ways of God, which puzzle both the believer and the non believer. Why some christians are going around healing people in the name of Jesus, while others who know the same God spend their lives nursing the sick rather than just rebuking the enemy and healing what he has violated. While even more mysteriously some believers are actually sick themselves and live with a testimony to God’s power on their lips and a seeming denial of it in their sick bodies. The Aviation Missionary Society once recorded that it had lost 28 pilots in 50 years of existence. What a testimony.! Any other airline would be sued for negligence with such a record. Where is God in all this? one could ask, not once but 28 times. This chapter teaches us by illustration that the Philistines, no matter how hospitable they were to David, and no matter how much a benefit David had proved to the Philistine society by his “good works”, they were nevertheless, when it came to the crunch on opposite sides. 1 Samuel 29:9 Then Achish answered and said to David, “I know that you are as good in my sight as an angel of God; nevertheless the princes of the Philistines have said, `He shall not go up with us to the battle.’ If the spiritual connotations in the Witch of Endor passage were clearly perceived, then anyone familiar with scripture will see the underlying forces of good and evil portrayed in this verse. Angels and princes. The princes find their name from Principalities and Paul when making mention of such things is generally referring to the evil forces within such realms. Note this reference in Romans 8:38 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come," He is definitely speaking of opposites such as life and death, height and depth (v 39), so we can take it that angels and principalities were opposites in Paul’s estimation. David Identified as an enemy Spy: The recognition of the princes marked David’s true identity. When Paul met an evil Spirit they knew who he was; Acts 19:15: And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” The evil spirits recognised Jesus as the Holy One of God. Another truth embossed into these verses is that the subtleties of the flesh and spirit are not always obvious. In this part of the parable we have moved into a higher realm. The Philistines had their princes. Adversity and suffering don’t come from God they are governed by princes. They are principalities who rule the darkness in HIGH places. Also on the same theme of higher spiritual realms, is it not true that many a church fellowship has split through trouble in HIGH places. Spiritual controversy among christian workers is all too frequent. The sad thing is that were they not serving the LORD, no controversy would arise. Both factions will claim to be “led of the spirit,” and a difference in opinion or guidance gives rise to the digging in of heels. Both believe they will be letting the Lord down if they move from their righteous ground. Consequently, they prove to be easy targets and unwitting agents of the accuser of the brethren. Attitude towards sickness is an ongoing controversy within christian leaders. Many don’t believe that there is healing available today as in the days of Jesus. Others are appalled at such beliefs, because they smell more of unbeliefs than beliefs. There will always be differences. Someone once said, “If it were not for the differences we would all be the same”. Let’s beware of following the doctrines of a man. Cultishly setting up in opposition to other true believers is hardly obeying the word, to love one another. This fleshly attitude needs to meditate upon Peter’s question to Jesus, “What shall this man do?” (John 21.) He was referring to John. The Lord’s reply was take no regard for what happens to him, `”you follow me.” In other words if one was not able to do what one does as unto the Lord then better that we stopped doing it, rather than do it at the expense of love for my fellow believer. If your work in the Lord and your consecration, makes you think less of a fellow believer then it would be as well to consider this area of the flesh, which operates in high places disguised as spirituality. The elder brother of the prodigal son suffered the same problem. Paul refers to a cleansing of the spirit as well as of the flesh. 2 Cor 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Threesome: Having detected some inference to spiritual realms in chapter 29, and anticipating the physical bodily deaths of Saul and Jonathan in chapter 31, we could be again forgiven for suspecting that some aspect of the soul would be seen here in chapter 30. Lo and behold what do we find? 1 Samuel 30:6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the SOUL of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. Wherever loved ones or human relationships are mentioned we know we are in the realm of the soul. This chapters tells of David’s LOVED ones being taken away 1 Samuel 30:18-19 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all. Need more be said concerning the shepherd and the soul. David had often rescued his sheep from their enemies, be it human or wild animal. He is the restorer of my soul. Wonderful! Your soul is the real you. It is what makes you unique from every other creature God has made. It is sin that has marred the soul. It makes it dirty, and encompasses it about with all kinds of complexes and miseries. Jesus, by the Spirit has plans to bring your soul back to what God originally intended and more. If you have ever seen an old dirty oil painting restored then you can imagine perhaps what it means when scripture speaks of your soul being restored by its original creator. The Spirit within us does this work. Sometimes the greatest tests are within the realm of the heart. It is a weak spot within all of us. But David strengthened himself in the Lord. Let the weak say I am strong! In the final few verses in this chapter, David shares the spoil with all other members of God’s people. This not only illustrates the joys of fellowship and sharing testimonies of God’s deliverances but also remind of Isaiah and Ephesians Isaiah 53:11-12 He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Ephesians 4:3-10 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, We are probably all familiar with the hymn “Jesu, lover of my soul”. The title can be interpreted in a mutual fashion, in that Jesus loves my soul and My soul loves Jesus. Yet an added thought comes from 1 Pet 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. The devil may have power and access to the body to cause suffering but God is committed to saving the eternal soul, not necessarily the temporal body.
This chapter records tragedy in the natural, but to those who hopefully are seeing the spiritual dimension, it marks the beginning of a new era in the realm and life of the Spirit. 1 Sam; 31:6. So Saul, his three sons, his armour bearer and all his men died together that same day. The end was total. We see the death of Flesh, Pride, and all the things that protect and aid the survival of the flesh. There is a sense in which we can say that we will never be totally free of the flesh until the flesh (the body) physically dies. That will be heaven. However the bible seems to indicate that we can have our moments of heaven, anticipated while here on earth, by FAITH. This latter sense has been the main thrust of this study, so we will close along the same lines.
The Spirit will not reign until the flesh has committed suicide We sing about being “happy in Jesus”, and some would testify that “we never can prove the delights of his love until all on the altar we lay, for the favour he shows and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey” F.B. Meyer once wrote; “If we fight the cross we will only augment its weight” In other words if we keep refusing to die to ourselves we will only become more miserable in our adversities. If we surrender to his will and allow the Spirit to reign on the throne of our hearts, then we wont have any more trouble from the Philistines (adversity) for David will be on the throne. Adversity is not a problem to the Spirit. The Philistines were only a problem to Saul. David defeated their champion, and he had power in Israel and in the land of his enemies. He could outwit them if need be, as he did in feigning madness and later when he lived amongst them. He certainly could defeat them, and eventually totally conquered them. There are no literal Philistines around today. One day all tears, all sorrow, all famine all adversity will be gone forever more. In the mean time we can prove to be more than conquerors over them if we totally believe in the love of our God for us at all times. In so doing we are living in Romans ch 8, living in the Spirit and not the flesh.
1 Sam 23:14 And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds,
Should you be tempted to think that the author of this study must be a remarkable spirit filled victorious christian, then consider that a graduate in mechanical engineering does not necessarily have to be able to drive. The author’s confession would have to be that while he may understand all the workings of the christian life, and agree that the Spirit is the best person to drive the vehicle, he is prone to suddenly take hold of the steering wheel and so cause a crash. Maybe some readers can identify with this. In this regard we can consider the kind of life that was lived by the Apostle Paul. We can justifiably regard him as the supreme example of Christian living, so if anyone lived in “Canaan” it must have been Paul. Here then are a few scriptures. Read them, don’t be tempted to skip over them. 2 Cor 4: 8-11 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor ch 6; 4-5; Paul commends himself as the servant of God, by “ in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Are they ministers of Christ?— I speak as a fool— I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—
This kind of life is hardly the stuff of attractive advertising to would-be christians. Evangelists can often be accused of representing the Christian life to the unbeliever., as joy, peace, endless happiness and all problems solved, Jesus said “In the world you will have tribulation , but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” So the Philistines who were always easily defeated by David, certainly seem to be symbols of that situation. We are seemingly beset on all sides by such adversity but we do in fact grow in our inner man as the outward perishes. It is worth noting that the Israelites did not begin in Egypt. They originated in Canaan, but adversity in the shape of famine took them to Egypt for an easier life. Egypt has since become synonymous with the world, the flesh and the devil. Pharaoh as the devil, Egypt as the world and the education and lifestyle of Egypt offered many flesh-pleasing luxuries in their day. As with sin, we find the experience at first pleasant and desirable, but eventually we come into slavery. The children born in Egypt, who knew nothing else, had no concept of freedom. All men similarly, having been born in sin and natural slaves to sin and pleasing oneself, have no other concept of happiness other than that which they achieve by their own grasping and possessing. God however knows differently. It was never his intention for His people to be in Egypt let alone stay there. They never would have overcome Pharaoh and reign in that land, likewise God never intended his people to rule or live under fleshly riches, but to know spiritual riches of the milk and honey of Canaan, such as Faith and Love However, his plan of redemption from Egypt by the blood of the Passover lamb, has become for us who now believe, like a giant play or drama, acting out in physical form a wonderful parable of what God has done for us who are now saved. Christ is our Passover. That is why we look for the analogy represented in the Philistines, for they are surely as much a part of Israel’s survival as Egypt’s was, and Egypt is definitely analogous of the “world system” opposed to God’s kingdom. The Passover lamb and the deliverance from the judgment of death through the blood on the doorposts, is exactly what has happened to every believer, but in the spiritual sense, rather than the physical. After that experience, and indeed immediately after, they had to leave Egypt. They went through the Red Sea, where they miraculously saw all their past masters drowned and the path back to Egypt was cut off forever. It was either Canaan or perish from then on, for the Israelites. Similarly we have passed through the waters of baptism, being identified in the death and burial of Jesus, and as far as God is concerned our old life is finished, having died in Christ on the cross, we now are born again and are alive onto God in the spirit. We have been redeemed, the blood of Jesus has paid the price of our freedom from slavery 1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. However God’s plan of redemption had a purpose. He desired to give them their inheritance back with as little effort as possible. He was willing to give if they were willing or rather knew how to take. The easiest thing for a man to do is to believe. Everyone in the world believes something and usually is willing to tell you. To believe, as far as God is concerned is to rest in. Resting doesn’t take much effort, you will agree, in fact just the opposite wouldn’t you say? However, Natural man (the flesh) believes easier in things seen rather than things unseen. So God who is invisible needed some way to get man to believe in what he did not see more than in what he did see. A frequent sentence in John’s gospel is “Come and See” This is the gospel invitation into the invisible world of the Spirit. The unbeliever says he will believe when he sees, but God’s conditions are opposite to that. Those who come to God must first believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him That is why God took his people into a wilderness where cut off from fleshly supports and crutches they could learn to rely on and exercise their spiritual resources, of faith and trust. There they had to trust God for their survival. He proved more than adequate when it came to miraculous supervision. Apart from the mighty miracle of the Red Sea, he kept them supplied with food and water throughout and even the soles of their shoes never wore out. These supplies were not without tests and trials, for God was seeking to make his people to have strong faith, which could survive hardship. More often than not they failed to maintain their faith and began accusing God and Moses of letting them down. Consequently they perished in the wilderness. Compare such with David who survived in the wilderness, indeed survived because of the wilderness. He built strongholds in the wilderness. The children of Israel could have got back to Canaan in twelve days, but it took them 40 years, and only two of those who came from Egypt survived to enter the Promised Land. Apart from teaching them faith, he wanted to teach them about Himself and also about how they were to live as His people so that they could be identifiably different from every other nation in the world. He taught them the commandments and also he gave them a practical demonstration of his awesome power and holiness when He gave them the law. Mount Sinai shook as in an earthquake, it looked as if it was on fire, when God came down to meet with Moses. The people were told to stay away from the mountain. Scripture records that they were too afraid to do anything else. However, in spite of this awesome demonstration of power they still failed to believe that this same power was behind them to enable them to take the Promised Land. Had they realised how great their God was, then they would have gone in much sooner. Twelve spies were sent to report on the land and the people, but ten came back with fearful news of giant men and only two came back with joyful news of giant fruit. Had they seen how big God was, the giants would not have appeared giants. They obviously thought that they were going to have to kill these giants on their own, rather than with God ensuring their safety and victory. They were called only to do what they could do without fear or frustration and leave the rest to God. But they failed to see this. Moses had a similar experience when he was called to deliver the children of Israel from Pharaoh. He pleaded to God about all that he was NOT, but God’s answer was always I AM. The books, which record these events, are Numbers and Deuteronomy. The key word in Numbers is “Believe” and the key word in Deuteronomy is “Remember”. The word Deuteronomy means “The law (nomos) a second time (deutero)”. This new (second) generation born in the wilderness was being exhorted to maintain their faith and obedience by remembering. If you know what Roman Ch. 8 is about you will understand why at the end we are exhorted to be more than conquerors over nakedness, famine, peril, sword, etc. This is done by remembering that “If God be for us who can be against us?” and by remembering that “If God spared not his own son, will he not with Him freely give us all things.” Jesus himself did not leave us many rules, but one that he did was to remember his death. “Do this in remembrance of me” That is why we can typify these inhabitants of the land (Philistines etc.) with such things as outlined in Romans Ch 8, and 2 Corinthians Ch 4, 6 and 11 as quoted above. The fact that the flesh dies and the spirit lives in such adversities is seen in the Apostle Paul’s life and more than illustrated through Job
If you read the book of Job you will see what is at the back of all things. Satan wants to rob God of His glory by ruining the very thing that glorifies Him. Man is a magnificent work of the creator, or rather was; - A spiritual being in a beautiful physical world walking with God. That is paradise. All is perfect. Satan wants to ruin it all so he seeks to get man to do things that God wouldn’t do, so that separation is inevitable, given the holy character of God. In the Garden of Eden he had no trouble getting Eve to do as he wanted, but in the case of Job, Satan received much sterner opposition. He could not get Job to sin, because Job had his head screwed on and his heart in the right place. He knew that he was on a good thing, by pleasing God for it ensured his health happiness and prosperity. Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden. Job was enjoying it. So in order to get Job to sin against God, he sought permission to ruin the “garden” and then suggest that God was to blame. Satan was granted this permission and God just sat back to see what would happen, knowing that if Job survived the test then God would really be glorified, because he would then be able to boast that he had a creature who was not just a physical sponge crying out for physical comfort and pleasure, but a spiritual being of real faith. Faith which did not depend upon the physical being pleasant, and all the answers neatly set out before him. Job was plunged into chaos and confusion, darkness and death were his nearest friends, yet he survived. Yea he not only survived but his spiritual side grew beyond all expectations and he spoke out what are probably the greatest statements of faith in scripture. He said things that he had no reason to believe; in fact they were not in his present day catechism. They came out of him like a fountain under the influence of the Spirit. As his flesh got weaker, his spirit grew stronger Here he pleads with his so-called friends, who are attacking him with words of condemnation all the time; Job 19:20-22: My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth. “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has struck me! Why do you persecute me as God does, will you never get enough of my flesh? So we can see that herein is as clear a parable as you would ever wish to hear or see. His flesh is being taken away, BUT what do we read a few moments later? Job 19:25-2: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
It is patently obvious from the last line that Job was being carried into a realm that amazed him. His spirit had filled his heart with such faith, that he rejoiced in His God. If you study the book you will see that his spirit gets stronger throughout the book as the flesh gets weaker. This is seen in the story of Saul and David. As the fight goes on Saul more and more loses strength to pursue. David gets stronger. It is significant that the flesh (Saul) would not pursue David while he was amongst the Philistines. Saul found no delight or desire to fight the Philistines unless he had to for very personal reasons. The flesh will not choose to follow Christ through wildernesses and experiences as outlined in Paul and Job, in the scriptures mentioned previously. So here we see clearly the whole point of the Christian life. Romans Ch 8 clearly sets it out. We are here to glorify God. It is an amazing fact to discover that the glory of God is invested in mankind. God boasted of Job, and had Job failed, God would have lost his glory to the devil. We glorify God more when we continue to believe He is with us and in us when all the hordes of hell have so ruined our circumstances and environment, that we might only be described as “God forsaken.” How can God be in famine or defeat? (Read Psalm 44) But the Christian is always being “delivered” into such things. Who is it that delivers us into them? It is God himself. He throws us in as sheep for the slaughter. “Here you are Satan, have a go at this one, see if you can break his faith? Romans Ch 5. tells us that when our faith is tried it turns it into “endurance” (patience). When God sees this quality about our faith H e stamps his “approval” upon it. This approval stamped in the full face of Satan brings “glory” to God because the Devil cannot deny it, as he did at first concerning Job Compare how this scenario is different from the natural man When he sees his circumstances go against him or his environment in chaos, he immediately charges God with foolishness and cruelty. Famine in the world makes the natural man mock at such stories as the feeding of the five thousand. (Romans Ch 1 sets out all this as the beginning of the explanation of the gospel). Remember, it was famine that sent the children of Israel into Egypt in the first place. They did not think of trusting God in that situation, because man is an unbeliever by nature. He believes in what he sees, feels, tastes, hears and touches. He is a fleshly being in a physical world having lost his spiritual powers and potential. God’s plan of salvation and redemption is to restore all that and get man to come back to the same land and overcome these enemies of God. David killed Goliath. The hero of the Philistines. Therefore he never had any trouble, nor did his followers and soldiers with the Philistines. He could defeat them any time. If Goliath represents Sin & death, then if death is conquered, where is the power of sickness or adversity? For death is their champion we all are supposed to fear. The worst thing that could ever happen to the natural man is death, but the spiritual man overcomes in that he rejoices, yea, is even at times like Paul, perplexed at times because he has a dilemma; Phil 1:23-24 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. Yet again we read; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Goliath representing sin, cannot kill us with the sword of Law, for he has himself been slain by the law. The penalty has been paid. The law has had its pound of flesh. (Galatians 2:20-21) Now the Spirit has the “sword”. The word no longer condemns us, it becomes out weapon against the enemy of our soul. We through the spiritual power in us are able to overcome the enemies of God; all those things that would tempt us to deny his love and goodness. Those evil powers that would tempt us to sin through resentfulness and bitterness. If you read the Psalms of David you will see that times without number he is asking God “Why?” and “How long O Lord?” Are they not familiar battle cries? His life was no picnic either, yet he was “the apple of God’s eye” David was the only king who conquered all his enemies. In fact he was more than a conqueror, he caused his enemies to supply Israel with taxes and riches from their own lands. The temple was built to the glory of God through such hard fought riches. The God of Israel is our God. He trains his soldiers in the wilderness. We might only have been accustomed to the ease and comfort of Egypt, where we had to trust in magicians and soothsayers, but now we have been set free from sin death and hell, by our “David” who is Jesus. Let Him be our banner. Let us be more than conquerors through the full assurance of His love for us. Let’s learn how to turn minuses into plusses, and plusses into multiplications, as Jesus did with the cross, and endeavour to build strongholds in the wilderness to prepare us to reign in the land of God’s promises. Luke 5:16 16And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
The word "wilderrness" occurs in the A.v. Bible more than 300 times. Can you recall any other book with such emphasis The wilderness is on God's map.
Fight the good fight of Faith; (1 Tim. 6:12)
Victory is not getting the answer to our problems, victory is maintaining our faith despite the problem, whether that problem is personal sin, a dying loved one, total injustice, unanswered prayers for salvation, personal suffering, personal need, starvation or whatever. Only believe: All things are possible.