1:1-27 - ‘How are the mighty fallen!’ (19,25,27). The tragedy of Saul was there for all to see. He had made a right mess of things! What are we to think when we read of this tragic figure? He started out so well. He ended so badly. There were high hopes - but it all came to nothing. Do we not see ourselves in Saul? - This could happen to me, if I’m not careful. The danger signs are there. Satan is at hand. He is ready to sweep in. He will sweep the feet away from us, if we don’t watch out. We are very weak, but the Lord is ‘able to keep us from falling’ (Jude 24-25). These are things we must never forget - our own weakness and the strength of the Lord. Disaster threatens. Tragedy looms. Jesus draws near. He speaks His Word - ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). By grace, we shall stand!
2:1-32 - It was a new beginning. There was a new king. Saul was gone. He had been replaced by David. One thing had not changed. The Lord is King. To know His blessing - His ‘steadfast love and faithfulness’ - is more important than anything else. We look beyond the servants of the Lord. We look to the Lord Himself (4-7). The names and the faces change - Saul, David, - but the Lord never changes’. Some liked one king - ‘If only we had Saul back again’. Some preferred the other - ‘Things can only get better, now that David’s here’. Some people would never be happy. There was no pleasing them. What is the most important thing of all? - Keep your eyes on the Lord. God’s servants are not in competition with one another. They are not trying to outdo each other. Let God be glorified!
3:1-39 - ‘There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David’ (1) - What a sad situation! It was shameful. It was sinful - a scandalous situation, which brought no glory to the Lord. The conflict seemed to go on and on - it was ‘a long war’. Perhaps, there were times when things didn’t seem too bad. Still, the problem showed no sign of going away. They were at ‘war’ with one another. Is there any hope in a situation like this? We may wonder. Humanly speaking, things seem to go round in circles. There appears to be some progress, then there is another outbreak of violence. There is hope. Our hope is in the Lord. He continues to speak His Word - ‘…I will save My people… from the hand of all their enemies’ (18). Whatever happens, don’t forget the Word of the Lord.
4:1-5:25 - ‘…They came into the house… and slew him…’ (4:7). What are we to make of this kind of thing? - ‘What’s the world coming to?’. Where’s it all going to end?’. It is difficult to maintain real faith in the Lord when this kind of thing is going on. What are we to do? Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t pretend that such things are not happening. Don’t imagine that they will just go away. ‘Inquire of the Lord’. ‘Do as the Lord commands’. Keep on believing that there will be a breakthrough - from the Lord (19,23,25,20). Can you ‘hear the sound of rustling in the leaves of the trees’? - ‘The Spirit of the Lord has come down on the earth’. Let us ‘rise, a mighty array, at the bidding of the Lord - The Spirit won’t be hindered by division in the perfect work that Jesus has begun’ (24; John 3:8; Mission Praise, 274).
6:1-23 - ‘When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart’ (16). Michal was a very angry young woman. Her husband had embarrassed her and she didn’t like it! What had David done to deserve this? - ‘I will celebrate before the Lord’ (21). This is really quite pathetic. God’s children are learning to ‘worship Him in Spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23-24). In comes ‘the stiff upper lip brigade’. They have no real heart for worship. They put a dampener on it - ‘This has to stop’. This is not only pathetic. It is sinful. ‘Do not quench the Spirit… Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… Be filled with Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart…’ (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18-20).
7:1-29 - David was king. God was looking on the next king, Solomon. Knowing the kind of man Solomon would become, God speaks of chastening: ‘When he does wrong, I will chasten him’. This chastening is an expression of God’s ‘steadfast love’: ‘Those whom I love, I rebuke and chasten’. How do we respond to God’s chastening? Don’t be like ‘Saul’. He was ‘put away from’ being king because of his continual disobedience. ‘Be zealous and repent’. When you are being chastened, don’t forget the love of God: ‘The Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives’. Why does God chasten His children? - ‘He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness’. Beyond the ‘pain’ of ‘discipline’, there is ‘the peaceful fruit of righteousness’ (14-15; Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5-11).
8:1-9:13 - David was involved in many battles with his enemies. Their antagonism had been aroused by his strong stand for the Lord. David enjoyed many victories. Why? - ‘The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went’ (8:6,14). Jesus said, ‘Apart from Me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). We are not left on our own. Through ‘the kindness of God’, we receive strength (9:3). ‘The heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind’. Through His kindness, He has provided ‘plentiful redemption’. When, through the kindness of God, we enjoy His victory let’s not forget, ‘Every virtue we possess, every victory won, every thought of holiness, are His alone’ (Church Hymnary, 218,336). The ‘victory’ does not come from ourselves. It is ‘the victory of our God’: ‘Sing to the Lord… He has done marvellous things’ (Psalms 44:3; 98:1-3)!