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“As a Man Thinketh” (Part 2 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2023 4:00 am

“As a Man Thinketh” (Part 2 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 27, 2023 4:00 am

King Saul’s jealousy, fear, and anger escalated as he desperately sought to withhold his kingdom from God’s anointed king, David. But find out how God can use an enemy’s evil intentions to set forth His own plan. Listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
The Masculine Journey
Sam Main

In the book of 1 Samuel we see King Saul's pride, his jealousy, his fear, his anger, all escalating as he desperately seeks to hang on to his kingdom, keeping it from God's anointed king, from David. Today on Truth for Life we'll find out how God can even use an enemy's evil intentions to accomplish his plans and purposes. Alistair Begg is teaching from 1 Samuel chapter 18, we're starting at verse 17.

Notice what he says here. He says, I want you to show yourself strong. Fight the Lord's battles.

Remember the law? You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold them guiltless who take his name in vain. What he's suggesting here, inferentially, is that his mind and his heart are actually set on the defense and the advance of the kingdom of God. And so, under the disguise of piety, he seeks to advance his own evil agenda, wrap the dirty business up in a concern that is ostensibly for the vastness and the greatness of God. This is beyond crafty.

This is actually cruel. Because he is prepared to use his daughter—actually, his daughters, as we'll see—to fulfill his own selfish ends. You say, well, how do you get that? Well, you get it from reading your Bible.

This is what he said. Here's my daughter. I'll give her to you as a wife. You advance the kingdom of God, and we'll take it from there. But—or, for is the conjunction in the ESV—for Saul thought, Let not my hand be against him, against David, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him. You see what happens when jealousy grips a mind, when jealousy takes hold? His words said, We're planning a celebration.

His heart was thinking in terms of elimination. Twist it. I'll leave it up to my enemies to do the dirty work.

My hands are clean. It'll be the Philistines that take him out. But the plot fails.

He was suggesting a wedding while hoping for a funeral. And we discover here that David did not claim the prize. Verses 18 and 19 are quite difficult in this respect, that it's hard to tell just what it was that allowed Saul to go ahead and give Merib to Adriel. Was David sufficiently able to, in his honesty and in his humility, convince Saul that he surely did not deserve to be put in that place? Makes you wonder again about the word on the street back in chapter 17, doesn't it? Was it simply his reluctance that shut the thing down? Or was it that Saul reneged for some other reason? Or was it that Merib had this say in the matter? Huh? And so her father says, All right, you're gonna marry David.

And she said, No, I'm not. That's dangerous, but possible. We don't know exactly. All we know is this—that his dirty little plan failed, thus providing Saul with an amazing opportunity. The opportunity to repent of his cruelty, to turn his back on his jealous heart, to acknowledge that he needs the very presence of God that marks David. In other words, his life is like the journey to Florida, down that road that takes you through the Carolinas. Now he is hurtling down the way.

I'll get rid of him, get rid of him, get rid of him, and his brakes go out. And there is one of those ramps that go up the side of the road in the Carolinas, with the opportunity to scoot your big truck right up there, and in that moment of failure, to find safety and the opportunity to begin again. You see, many of us regard things that have come into our lives as failures, as some, you know, condemnation or something to be avoided. Don't miss the hand of God when your plots, good or bad, come to an end. Don't miss it in your marital relationships, when in days of difficulty and sadness and disappointment and failure emerge.

You miss the chance to see that God is at work in the dark shadows as well as in the light. It made me think this morning, and I was bagging my mind again, the book by Walt Van Grun, The Ragman and Other Cries of Faith. That is the story of… That's the title of the book. But he has a number of short stories in there. And one of his stories is of the husband and wife who regularly argue with one another.

They live in an apartment. And as the story unfolds, one of these arguments happens, and the man grabs his coat, because he's looked out the window, and it's bucketing rain. And he grabs his coat, and he goes out the door, and he slams the door. And as he goes to leave, he realized he slammed his coat in the door.

And so now he's got a real problem. Either he leaves his coat lying in the hallway and goes out and gets a third of soaking, or he has to ring the bell. He rings the bell. She opens the door. She's doubled over laughing. And he says in the book, he says, And in that moment there was the opportunity for repentance, for forgiveness, for reconciliation. But like a fool, I grabbed my coat and slammed the door and walked out into the rain. Saul here, in his first dirty little plan, has the opportunity to switch, but he doubles down.

Look what he does. Merib, at the time when he should have been given to David—she should have been given to David, she was given to Adri. Okay. The Mahalathite. Who are you? I'm Adri the Mahalathite. Hmm.

Never heard of you. Thank you. All right. But now there's a second—actually, the children of this couple end disastrously, but that's in 2 Samuel, so you don't need to worry about it for at least a hundred years. The second attempt comes now in verse 20. It so happened. It so happened. Things happened only. People fall in love. It so happened. You say, It doesn't say that. No, but that's what happened. It so happened.

Now Saul's daughter Michal loved David. You see, the people tell me the Bible's boring. How could this possibly be boring?

This is fantastic stuff. Have you seen Little Woman, the movie, yet? I got dragged there the other evening. And I had not clue what was going on, because I'd never read the book.

I hope you're encouraged by the fact that I haven't. But because I didn't know, because they did flashbacks in the movie, and at one minute the lady had cut her hair, and the next minute her hair was long again. I said, What's her hair doing?

What are they doing? Be quiet, we're watching the movie. Okay, okay, okay.

But anyway, my feminine side came out dramatically before the thing was finished. And so when I read this now, I find myself viewing this in kind of Little Woman terms. Because the sisters would talk. So Mary presumably said to Michal, I'll tell you what, Dad's got this thing about, I'm supposed to marry David. I don't want to marry David.

Michal says, What? I would like to marry David. He goes, Well, you can go ahead and marry David, because I don't want to… Anyway, that's the kind of thing that's happening. And so here we have it. The princess falls for the hero.

It's all across the news. The princess has fallen for the victor in the valley of Elah. There's going to be a royal wedding.

Oh, don't go so quickly. Then Saul's daughter Michal loved David, and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. I have a hard time with that.

I hope you do too. When I read it like this, and the thing pleased him. Right? Because it didn't please him like, pleased him. No, it's horrible.

I mean, it is horrible. You see, getting pleased about the wrong thing is not good. Actually, David was pleased about this.

And Saul was pleased about this. But they were both pleased for two very different reasons. It's not just the question of, Are you pleased?

No. Because remember, as a man thinketh, so is he. You've got to say to yourself, Well, why was he pleased about it? What was he thinking?

Now, we don't have to… It's not conjecture. You're told in verse 21, Saul thought, Aha! let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.

I can make this work for me, he says. Because he's only concerned about his own damaged reputation. All he cares about is he has to get rid, somehow, of this shepherd, this Bethlehem boy. Everywhere he goes in the community, the pictures of him are everywhere. He can't turn around, but people are going, Have you heard about David?

Do you know about David? And so he says, I'll give her to him. Now, I've spent a fair amount of my life over the last forty years asking the question that I have had to answer myself on two occasions. That would be a good party question, incidentally. What is that question that Alistair has spent a long time asking and has only answered twice himself in his entire life? The bright among you have already got it. That reduces the number considerably, incidentally.

But who gives this woman to be married to this man? There's the question. No father worth his salt is able, with alacrity, to simply say, you know, like, I do! No, it comes out all kinds of ways. I watch them. Sometimes it squeaks out, you know.

Hi! Come on, try your best. If you're not gonna be able to do it, get your wife up here. She'll take care of it.

Well, you get the point. But there's not a man, presumably, who gave his daughter away with the thought that she may just simply be a snare to her husband. What he's doing here is setting Michal up for a deep sadness. He's got no thought of her happiness. He's actually gonna create this situation whereby her husband will be taken down in the plan that he has, and so her love for him apparently doesn't really matter to Saul at all. As a man thinks, so is he. This is a kind of reckless selfishness.

And yet you will notice that it continues to operate under an ever-diminishing, an ever-thinning veneer of civility. Saul thought, Let me give her to him that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. That's what he thought. Now this is what he said. He said to David a second time, You shall now be my son-in-law. It's interesting.

In the first instance, I will give her to you. That didn't work. He's a little more directive now. Guess what? You're about to become my son-in-law. But I can't imagine that creepy Saul was just doing it in that way. I imagine the conversation that goes something like this.

So they meet together in a café somewhere, as per the plan. And so Saul says, David, thank you very much for agreeing to get together today. You're certainly a popular fellow, and it's hard to find anyone who's got anything bad to say about you at all. Everybody seems to love you. I know Jonathan does, and actually, I'm glad about that. I'm glad that you and Jonathan have become good friends. Jonathan needs a good friend, and you clearly are a friend to him, and it's nice that you've been spending time together.

He regards you as virtually a kindred spirit. And, of course, now, Michal. Yeah, Michal, she's head over heels for you. And Merib, as you know, she's happily married. She's off with Adriel now. And so the pathway is clear.

You shall be my son-in-law. Now, there is nothing to suggest in this, you see, that David is aware of any evil intention on the part of Saul. I don't imagine David as sitting in that conversation and humming to himself, You can't hide your evil eyes, And your smile is a thin disguise. I don't think so. I think David is a sweet fellow. Well, you say, Well, wait a minute. I mean, do you not think he figured out that Saul didn't really like him when he's throwing spears at him when he's trying to do the musical therapy? No, I don't think so.

Perhaps, you know, you can debate it over coffee. I think David said, You know, everybody has a bad day. Everybody has a bad day. I mean, I played the harp for him many times, and he was perfectly fine. I don't know what happened to him.

And furthermore, oh goodness gracious, he couldn't hit a barn door at three feet with that thing. It wasn't even an issue to me. It doesn't matter. So he's gonna come and take this at face value. You shall now be my son-in-law. And then notice what he does.

This is really skillful stuff. Notice what he does. And Saul commanded his servants. Incidentally, you can debate this one as well. Do you believe the servants are complicit in this, or they are not complicit in this? I don't believe they're complicit in it.

It's not germane to the issue, ultimately, but it does affect the unfolding drama. He spoke to the servants, and he said to them, I want you to deliver a message to David. Go to David and tell him, the king really delights in you. All of his servants love you, we love you. And we're here to say to you, it's now time for you to become the king's son-in-law. And so Saul's servants spoke those words in the ears of David. Now, it's an interesting angle, isn't it? We'll come back to this later, because actually, our time is gone.

But isn't this another thing? Like, if you got a message you want to convey to somebody that you can't convey with sincerity, then what you need to do is you need to make somebody your spokesperson. See, if Saul were to say to David—he's now said, David, you should become my son-in-law. If he said, because I really delight in you, David, you know, and this and I, that—it would come out really bad.

Because as a man thinks, so is he. Now, every fourteen-year-old schoolboy knows this game. Don't lie straight to your mother's face. Have your friends do it. Let them do it. Convince them. You don't have to tell them that you're lying. You just tell them the story.

Let them go and say it. Because if you try and say it, your mother knows you inside out. She'll uncover you.

She knows you. That's what he's doing here. He uses these fellows in order to do this. And of course, the rest of the story follows. This is evil, isn't it?

This is evil on his part. And what is actually happening here, if you take now the camera way, way back—way back from 4 Samuel—include Genesis. Include Genesis chapter 3.

Include our little study in there. What was happening? What was the promise? What would unfold? That the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. That the animosity that would then unfold would be an animosity that deepened as time went by, so that it was the kingdom of God versus the kingdom of the world. And what you actually have here, whether Saul would ever have grasped the vastness of it, no, what you have here is essentially kingdoms in conflict. And that is that Saul now is seeking to bring to an end the line of God's appointed plan, whereby one day, great David's greater son will sit upon his royal throne.

Read the genealogy of the beginning of Matthew. That's what's going on. A great reminder from Alistair Begg about God's sovereignty. His ultimate plan will always prevail. You're listening to Truth for Life. Alistair will be back to close today's program with prayer in just a minute. If what you've heard today has made you think about a friend who could maybe use an encouraging reminder, you can share today's message through Truth for Life's mobile app, or on our website at The message is titled, As a Man Thinketh.

Simply select the share icon and you can pass the link along to them for free. Now, do you have college aged children or older children who are about to enter the workforce? If so, the book we've been talking about this month would be a perfect book to share with them. It's titled Assurance, Resting in God's Salvation. This is a 31-day devotional that addresses some of the most common doubts Christians have about their faith, and it provides reassurance that those doubts may be unfounded. Your older children will benefit greatly as they navigate a world that doesn't share their beliefs.

In fact, why not get a copy of the book and highlight some of the questions you know your son or daughter might be wrestling with, like why does God let bad people get away with hurting me, or have I done enough to be saved? Or if you'd prefer, highlight some of Jesus' promises that you think would encourage them, like knowing that Jesus intercedes for us, he advocates for his followers, or that God doesn't doubt even when they do. Request your copy of the book Assurance, Resting in God's Salvation when you make a donation today, and keep in mind your financial support goes directly to the distribution of this daily program, and also toward making all of Alistair's online teaching available absolutely free for you to access or to share with others. You can give a one-time gift through the mobile app, or online at slash donate, or you can arrange to set up an automatic monthly donation, become one of our truth partners, visit slash truthpartner.

And if you'd prefer, you can call us at 888-588-7884. Now here's Alistair to close with prayer. God our Father, we thank you that you are the God who works all things according to the purpose of your will, that the cruel and evil intentions of Saul in all of his envy and hostility actually serve to set forward your plan and purpose. So we pray that we might, in reflecting on this study, realize how desperately we need to trust in you and to rest in you, to bring our failures to you. Perhaps some of us, in a peculiar way today—this rings in a way that I, neither I nor anyone else, could put the pieces of the puzzle together—but that whole idea of coming to a point where it seems as though it has collapsed and yet received in the right way, it leads us on, as it were, to glory, to forgiveness, to wholeness. Lord, fulfill your purposes, we pray. Grant that each of us might cast ourselves entirely upon you in the way that our children say, I'm scared. And we say, don't worry, I've got you. Lord, grant that that may be the testimony of all, for your son's sake. Amen. I'm Bob Lapeen. Tomorrow we'll hear about King Saul's plan for a wedding while he was actually hoping for a funeral. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 05:38:14 / 2023-04-27 05:46:30 / 8

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