A Tale of Two Men

     John teaches us, by inspiration, that the devil is the father of all lies, that he has been a liar since the beginning of time, he is the great deceiver and is a murderer (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9).  All of these attributes come from his basic nature as evil and rebellious toward God. How long has he been involved in leading man to sin?  Soon after the creation of the world and man, we find Satan immediately casting his influence on Adam and Eve.  He lied to them!

     One such other case is found in First Samuel, beginning in chapter 11.  Saul was made king of Israel by the worldly, selfish desires of the people (I Sam. 8:5).  They desired a king in order to be like all the other nations around them.  These were not God fearing nations.  Instead, these were heathen, God-rebelling nations who served themselves and gave no respect toward God.  How sad that God’s people desired to be like nations who did not know nor love God!  In chapter 15 Saul is given a commission by God to destroy a heathen nation.  Saul leads his people into battle – but does not fully obey God nor fully heed his commands regarding the battle.  His instructions were to “utterly destroy” all of Amalek’s possessions (men, women, child, infant, ox, sheep, camel and donkey).  Instead, Saul listened to the voice of the people (15:24) and, as a result, disobeyed God’s direct command.

     The direct result of this, as well as past actions, was the kingdom of Israel being taken from Saul.  God had rejected Saul as king because of his evil done before Him (15:26).  David is then anointed as king of Israel (16:13) and soon becomes the most popular person in Israel.  After his infamous victory over Goliath (17:37-50) David’s popularity began to increase with the people – and especially with Jonathan, Saul’s son (18:1,3).  This growing popularity, combined with Saul’s daughter who loved David (18:20) and all of Israel lauding David’s great deeds (18:7), fueled Saul’s hatred toward David.

     Here we find our tale of two men.  Saul was initially seen highly in the eyes of the people for his great stature (10:23,24).  Yet, the problem was their sight.  They looked only at the outward appearance – not at the inward person of the heart (13:14).  David was a man after God’s own heart – and revealed such throughout his walk with God.

     After his victory with Goliath, we begin to see the differences between David and Saul.  The tale of two men reveals divergent paths taken by men in the same setting.  One man follows the steps spoken of in James (1:13-15).  The other follows the road spoken of in Matthew (7:13,14).  Saul no doubt followed the world and its lusts for power, prestige and pride.  David followed the humble and meek path which leads to obedience before God.  On at least eight different occasions in just two chapters, Saul repeatedly tried to kill David.  This effort was not because David personally hurt or mistreated Saul, but because of Saul’s own jealousy and ungodly selfishness (18:11,17,21; 19:1,10,11,15)

    Saul only treated David in this way because David had humbled himself before God and obtained God’s great pleasure.  Saul had displeased God and lost the throne because of it.  Saul was no doubt being led by the spirit of the world (the devil) and not by the Creator of the world (Jehovah God).

     Who is leading your path today?  Will our tale be one of obedience before our Righteous God, or one of disobedience and pride before a sinful and wicked world leading to destruction?  Jesus came to give us life (Jn. 10:10).  Let us be faithful – unto death (Rev. 2:10)!          By  Andy Burns

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