Where is your heart? A boy in children’s hospital, was very disobedient. The nurses couldn’t’ control him. One day a visitor had the idea to use positive reinforcement. She said, “If you are good for a week, I’ll give you a dime when I come again.” A week later, she stood before his bed. The boy was hiding underneath his covers. “I’ll tell you what,’ she said, “I won’t ask the nurses if you behaved. You must tell me yourself. Do you deserve the dime?” After a moment’s pause, a small voice from among the sheets said, “Gimme a penny.”
Today we're looking at David, but you can’t fully appreciate King David until you know about King Saul. So, I want to tell you a summary of the end of King Saul’s reign and the beginning of David’s, and then some principles we can glean from this story.
The main idea as you scroll down this blog is right here: If you obey God, it shows you have a heart for God, and you will be blessed by God.
1 Samuel 9 describes him as “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.” In the original language this communicates the idea that Saul was great, and the language in 9:1 for Kish being a “man of standing” most likely means wealthy, successful, prosperous—a powerful man. Saul too was impressive. Unusually tall. He was outwardly everything Israel wanted in a king. Money, power, strength, easy to look at.
At the 2009 Political Awards, I mean “Academy Awards,” this was the same tone as when Sean Penn talked about his admiration of the newly elected president Barak Obama, calling him an articulate man and other compliments, gaining applause from the audience. He looks good, acts good, and we can physically follow him.
Saul had the opportunity to be Israel’s greatest king, but he blew it. He was anointed by God, and told by Samuel in 1 Samuel 10:8, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” After his anointing, Saul was filled with the Spirit and prophesied, and 11:6, “the Spirit of God came upon him in power,” and Saul led God’s people to victory!
Disobedience #1, But Saul disobeyed God!
How? He Offered sacrifices instead of waiting for Samuel (1 Sam 13:11–14)
What’s the big deal? That was Saul’s response. He said, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
Principle #1 Sometimes you don’t understand why you should obey God. But you still should obey Him.
At this point, Samuel rebuked Saul and said, “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
Disobeying God costs you.
Disobedience #2: He spared the evil King instead of obeying God and being God’s instrument of judgment (1 Sam 15:20–23)
Principle #2, obedience is more important to God than sacrifice
Sometimes you won’t see the reason to obey God. But you should anyway. Saul’s actions showed he didn’t value the things God values; he accepted the anointing by God, but then ruled for his own reasons. Again, in 1 Samuel 15:20–21, Saul made excuses for his direct disobedience.
Matthew Henry, in his comment on this passage, gives one explanation of why people swat away God’s commands and disobey Him. “God bade him kill all, and yet he puts in among the instances of his obedience that he brought Agag alive, which he though was as good as if he had killed him. Thus carnal deceitful hearts think to excuse themselves from God’s commandments with their own equivalents.”
Read 1 Samuel 15:22–23
When you disobey God, you reveal your heart is not like His. Like hijacking an airplane, so people hijack God’s plan and twist it into their own. It should be more like the military. An order is given from the Commander-in-chief, and we as His soldiers obey Him!
How can you check if you are obeying God? Ask yourself:
Is God the most important person in your life?
Do you love others? Like other people?
Do you do what God tells you to do through the Bible?
These are important questions to spend a minute and think about. So please, pause, and stop everything to answer them.
I also decided to write down why people disobey God, and not just "those guys," but why "WE" disobey God. Here's a list I came up with:
1. God is not seen, and His presence not always felt, and He gives grace instead of having a lightning bolt to zap people with.
2. It’s hard to obey God. It makes you feel uncomfortable
3. Obeying God separates you from people who want nothing to do with God.
4. In the end, if a person will not obey God, it is because your heart is not like His, there is no motivation, there is no fear of God. You have forgotten that your God is a consuming Fire. You have forgotten that your God is going to be all that is left of life as you know it, and you will need to cling to Him because every plant, animal, and person will depend directly on Him! You have forgotten that He made you, and He bought you!
If I have just described you, you need to confess that attitude, wake up, and know what God wants and then do it! That’s it! No more, add nothing to it. Just that.
There are just 2 choices before us when we read about Saul versus David. You are already walking down one of two paths. Either you are deciding when you will obey God, and when you won’t, and keeping God in a corner, or
Choice #2, you are Knowing God more, and then obeying Him.
Now the opposite, let’s meet David, described as the least of all Jesse’s sons, relegated to the grunt work, and “ruddy,” or reddish and rugged. It is the same word used to describe Esau when he was born, with his red hair all over his body. The Hebrew literally says David has “beautiful eyes.” Not from a powerful family, but a family of shepherds. Not a head taller, but young enough to be a boy, probably teenage years or young adult (though this is debated. He will marry not long into the future, and we will find out later on, when he challenges Goliath, that he fought a lion and bear and beat them).
God said in 1 Samuel 13:14, “. . . the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the lord’s command.” Still following David's story, he was anointed by God, through Samuel, just like Saul(1 Sam 16:7).
Saul and David had the same prophet, same anointing, same promise of a kingdom that would last forever, but different attitudes of obedience, because of different hearts!
Don’t miss that! It’s the most important part of this story!
David courageously fought Goliath; he did not attack Saul though many thought he should have. Let me continue just a little longer to show how David was a man of honor and integrity.
1. David asked God if he should fight certain battles and obeyed God
2. 1 Samuel 23:2 against the Philistines
3. 1 Samuel 30 outnumbered to rescue his family
4. 2 Samuel 5:19, 23, and God told him to wait until they heard the sound of marching in the top of the trees, then to act promptly.
When you obey God you reveal that you have a heart like His.
Wrapping up, here are some principles to walk away with:
1. Sometimes you don’t see the reason why you should obey God but you should still obey Him.
a. Disobeying God costs you.
b. Sometimes you don’t see the reason why you should obey God.
c. Sometimes you have a better plan than God does, but you don't.
If you are living that story, please trust God, that His plan is a better one.
2. Obedience is more important to God than sacrifice
3. When you disobey God, you reveal your heart is not like His.
4. When you obey God, you reveal that your heart IS like His. You value the things that God values!
If you're asking, "What should I do?"
i. Are there areas of your life where you are not obeying God?
ii. Are you daily obeying Him?
Check on this too:
i. Is God the most important person in your life?
ii. Do you love others?
iii. Do you do what God tells you to do through the Bible?
Did God bless David for his obedience? Big time! 2 Sam 7:8–17, the Davidic Covenant, the promise that one of David’s heirs would be the Messiah of Israel!
We have seen through Saul and David's comparisons, that if you obey God, it shows you have a heart like God's, and you will be blessed by God.
Why not obey God today?