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Behaving Wisely, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2022 12:00 am

Behaving Wisely, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 3, 2022 12:00 am

Saul deceives David, openly resents him, and even uses his head for target practice! So why does David continually give him the benefit of the doubt? LINKS: Visit our website: https://www.wisdomonline.org Make a donation: https://www.wisdomonline.org/donate Free ebook: https://www.wisdomonline.org/offer Free issue of our magazine: https://www.wisdomonline.org/magazine

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In about 13 years, Saul will be dead. The truth is, he's already started dying. Saul should have been happier than ever. He's got a commander that just wins one victory after another.

His kingdom is more settled and secure than ever. His daughter has found the man she loves, and David should be the one eaten up with envy over what Saul didn't give him. He should be the one eaten alive with resentment and bitterness.

I mean, there are spear holes in the wall. In the aftermath of killing Goliath, David ended up in a turbulent relationship with Saul. Saul was so consumed by envy that he repeatedly tried to kill David. Every time it happened, David responded wisely.

Nobody may be trying to take your life today, but do you ever have difficult relationships to deal with? If so, keep listening. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey takes us to 1 Samuel 18.

He's in a series on the life of David called The Singer. Today, he concludes his message entitled, Behaving Wisely. Listen, walking wisely means you are able to discern what moment is the perfect time to keep your mouth shut.

The problem is everybody else is talking. Look at verse 6. As they are coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. If they are coming back, it could even be a later campaign. The Philistine could be a general usage of one more campaign against the Philistine. But this is common in ancient times. Victory celebrations normally led by the women who meet the returning troops with dancing, singing.

The Hebrew text informs us it's antiphonal. That is, a group of women would sing one thing and another group would sing back to them. We'll see how the lyrics are shared between them in just a minute. But according to historians, you also need to understand that when it says they're out there dancing, they're not doing some random shuffle. This isn't some unrehearsed two-step twirl or whatever.

This is actually very well organized. In fact, you need to think in your minds of a parade. And they're dancing the war dance, the victory war dance of Israel, details which have not survived the centuries.

We're only told they're doing it. But typical of every culture, there are symbolic, culturally rich songs and dances that kind of embody the heart and the soul of that nation. In our Western world, we've dropped the choreographed dance and we have the national anthem. And that alone stirs our hearts whenever we hear it sung or we sing along. By the way, as a side note, and I've got to be really quick about this, this was the issue in Judges 16 where the Philistines had captured Samson, put out his eyes. He had given away his secret to Delilah. They had him now captured, the King James translates it that they brought him out when they were celebrating this banquet in this temple supported by these columns.

The ESV says they brought him out to entertain them. King James translates it to make sport. It's the same verb found here in 1 Samuel 18. What they did effectively was they brought Samson out into the courtyard near supporting pillars and then made him, to mock him, dance the victory dance of Israel and to sing the national anthem of this nation that had been defeated and, more importantly, the God that had been defeated. So they make this man dance and sing their victory dance and song and they kind of revel in the fact that he's been and his nation and his God defeated and they laugh and they jeer until Samson, of course, brings the house down. God is not vindicating Samson's sinful stupidity. God is effectively judging the Philistines utter blasphemy. Now back to Samuel, you have this victory parade, the victory dance and the chant and it's going back and forth and they have some lyrics that they've added and these are the lyrics given to us. Here's what they're singing. Verse 7, Saul has struck down his thousands, David his ten thousands.

They go back and forth. Saul has struck down his thousands and David his ten thousands. Talk about raining on Saul's parade.

That did it. Verse 8, and Saul was very angry and this saying, these lyrics displeased him and he said to himself, by the way, they have ascribed to David ten thousands and to me they have ascribed thousands and what more can he have, here's the issue, but the kingdom. And Saul eyed David from that day on. Now whether or not David picked up on the suspicion of Saul, we're not told and I would doubt it because of the way the chapter bears out, at least until near the end of the chapter. But what we do know from this chapter is that David isn't saying anything. He's not poking Saul in the eye. He's not going around the palace humming the new lyrics to this song. I love that new chorus. Let me sing it for you.

None of that. Behaving wisely means responding to promotion with humility. Secondly, behaving wisely means tolerating the weaknesses of others with grace. Let me show you what I mean. Verse 10, the next day an evil or harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre as he did day by day or whenever he was called upon.

Let's stop for a moment because this needs a better understanding. God isn't doing evil. He doesn't. Or does he tempt evil?

He's not worked out a deal with some demon. The word spirit, it might help you to write on the margin of your Bible, can be translated breath, breath. This is the breath of God. The question is, it says evil or harmful. I think it's a better translation. It could be translated unpleasant.

You could actually translate it as well, miserable. In fact, the words rushed upon Saul or fell upon Saul is from a word that means to literally overwhelm. He's overwhelmed by this miserable breath from God. What does that sound like? It sounds like conviction to me.

That's exactly what it is. In fact, Job will use the same verb to talk about his despair and it will be translated terrified. What's happening to Saul is a deep despairing, terrifying, miserable, depressing conviction over his sin. Not to mention the crumbling of his self-made plans and his self-made kingdom and his self-made throne and the promise of Samuel where he's been told it won't be your dynasty. Your throne is going to go to your neighbor.

He just didn't name them. Now he's contending with the rise of this young man who may very well be the man to take his place. And did you notice we're told this takes place the day after the parade with this new song ringing in his ears, tearing away at his pride, the convicting work of God in his heart because he refuses to repent. It's eating him alive.

That's what's happening. So what do you do when you try to silence a guilty conscience? What do you do when you refuse to repent? I'll tell you what you don't do. You don't get along where it's quiet. You turn up the music. You get distracted. You don't want to drive to work in silence. You don't want to think. The moment it's quiet around you, it becomes even more miserable.

So find something to distract you, to forget, to help you forget. Just about anything will do. I'll never forget hearing Howard Hendricks in class talk about his neighbor who owned a boat. He spent every spare minute on that boat. He would spend his day off waxing and waxing and polishing his boat. And then he would come over to Hendricks. He came over to him one time and he said, I've got 37 coats of wax on my boat.

Hendricks would look at us and say, you know, I never disparaged him. In fact, I didn't even say anything negative to him because I knew that my neighbor's boat was his only form of anesthesia to deaden the pain of an empty life. I had to find something to distract me.

It might not be bad in and of itself. Nothing wrong with a boat. If you feel convicted and want to give it to me, great. See me after the service. All right. That's not the point. The point is we've got to do something with our hands. We've got to turn up the music. We've got to get distracted.

We've got to be entertained. We've got to do something because we cannot be quiet under the breath of a convicting God. So where is that musician? Only now he recognizes him. Verse 10. While he's raving in his house, David's playing, the lyre at the small hand held harp, the forerunner of a guitar. And Saul had his spear in his hand, and Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, I will pin David to the wall. David evaded him.

This is the most shocking word of all. Twice. Twice. In other words, David didn't dodge one spear, but two. More than likely, this phrase summarizes the fact that Saul threw it two different occasions, two different times a speared David, or it could mean that he missed the first time and grabbed another spear.

I mean, you duck once, how do you come back? Later, Saul will throw a spear at his own son, Jonathan. So here's the downward digression of a man who's eaten alive with envy. I think it's well said by Francis Bacon that envy is the worst of all passions because it never gives you a holiday. It begins with hurt, your hurt, which leads to hate, which leads to hostility, which can lead to harm.

Hurt, hate, hostility, and harm. But again, no word from David, no angry retaliation. David doesn't whistle that lyre back at Saul's head.

I don't know what he does. Ducks. And by the way, what do you do when somebody throws a spear at you?

Duck. And then second of all, and more importantly, don't pick it up and throw it back. Because when you do, you lose. You join them in that digression.

There are plenty of people out there that are skilled at spear throwing. Don't learn that art. Don't join them in that downward spiral.

It will never give you a day off. Don't rush to the wrong interpretation here. I think David is unaware of Saul's true intention. And I think the chapter bears it out, which is why I principle as the second observation in the way I did. Evidently in the minds of the people in the court and in David's own mind, this spear throwing is categorized as well, Saul's raving again.

We don't know what brings it on, but maybe it's a dark mood or maybe it's the pressure or maybe he can't help it. He doesn't really mean anything by it. Like one author said that everyone at this point in time would have believed that King Saul was dangerous, but not malicious. Again, we're the ones that are let in on the inside scoop. We know what's happening.

They don't. I just think that Saul is overwhelmed by something he can't control. He's overwhelmed by some dangerous, some difficult, some depressing episode. But this means then, especially for David to get back on that little stool within spear reach is that David is making allowances for Saul as well, even though he's the one used for target practice.

David, I think if he were a part of our assembly or if he were in your family or where you work, he would probably be the kind of person who is insulted. And then he says, they really didn't mean it. You know, there's something else going on.

I'm sure they didn't intend that. Don't you just love those people? Giving the benefit of the doubt, which by the way is an evidence of true love. Maybe they're bothered by other things. This is exactly the grace of Jesus Christ, the coming son of David. And it still blows my mind that on the cross he would effectively say, Father, forgive them. They really don't fully understand what they're doing.

Are you kidding? You're on a cross. This is not naivete. I think this is willingness to offer someone the benefit of the doubt. This is the oil of relationships.

This is what salves relationships. This is the salve of grace. The truth is we want people to give us the benefit of the doubt, don't we? That's why we'll do something rather horrid or mean or unkind, and we'll say, you know, I'm just having a bad what? A bad day. In other words, void all of that, contextualize all of that because I'm having a tough day.

We want people to give us the benefit of that kind of doubt. Can you imagine, David? Here's a spear. Phew, I know you're just having a bad day.

And I'm really glad you're a bad shot. When you do this, you are walking in wisdom. Behaving wisely means responding to promotion with humility. It means tolerating the weaknesses of others with grace. David didn't know what was going on.

He won't for a while. There's one more characteristic I want to point out. Behaving wisely means surrendering to the providence of God without complaint. So far, this rise of David has been kind of a Cinderella story, hasn't it been? Apart from the crazy king who every once in a while throws spears, this has been an amazing life. David is now in the palace. His closest friend is the king's son. He's been promised the king's daughter. He's traded in as tattered tunic for royal clothing.

He's training in the art of battle. He's been promoted, and everyone loves him. But in the remainder of this chapter, which I'm going to fly over, David is going to encounter some setbacks which we could easily miss. I want to point them out, two of them.

First of all, he's demoted. Now, find verse 5 and then look over at verse 13. I want you to notice the subtle difference. In verse 5, David is placed over all the men of war, no doubt under the train, the unexperienced eye of General Abner, but effectively in command of the entire army. Now, look at verse 13. Saul removes him from his immediate presence and makes him a commander of a thousand. In other words, David loses his seat with the joint chiefs of staff, and now he's given a single regiment of men. This is a demotion that's obvious.

It would have made people wonder and talk. Second of all, he's not only demoted, he's denied. Now, there is some space of time in this chapter as we allow for several campaigns to take place. David's coming and going.

This is military terminology for leading campaigns. Saul is delaying his prize. Do you remember one of them? To give his daughter to the man who defeats Goliath. That hasn't happened, David. Saul has two daughters.

That hasn't happened. Verse 14 informs us that David is walking wisely in all his undertakings. Everybody sees, observes the Lord is with him. Next verse 15, when Saul saw that he had great success, that as he was walking with wisdom, he stood in fear for all of him, but all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them. Saul is thinking to himself, I'm just going to wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Maybe one of those campaigns, he'll get it by an arrow or something, but David just won't die. David, in his humility, is saying to the king and others, he really doesn't deserve to be a son-in-law as this delay continues on.

He's giving the king, again, the benefit of the doubt. Now, notice verse 19, but at the time when Merib, Saul's daughter, should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the meholothite instead. David's demotion and now the denial of the king's daughter is spelling trial. Everybody loved David, but now it's clear that not everybody loved David. David, again, purposefully resists any urge to get even, to strike back, to demand his due, to defend his honor.

In fact, I think by now David could have probably mounted a successful coup. The army's behind him. They love him. He's successful in every campaign.

The household servants, that would also include the officials of the king's palace, love him. Saul is a raving, mad lunatic. He's lost a tremendous amount of credibility. He lost it by not fighting Goliath, by actually allowing an unarmed shepherd effectively to go after Goliath, unable to claim any of that prize. He's lost his reputation among the palace elite by his spear-throwing episodes.

Everybody's just kind of on eggs now. Everybody knows that God is with David and Saul knows that, too. And then, about the time I think Saul wonders if David is just going to fade away, it'd be yesterday's news. Look what happens in verse 20. Now Saul's daughter, Michael, loved David and they told Saul and the thing pleased him.

What? They told Saul that his daughter loved David and it pleased him? No dad is happy to find out that his daughter loves anybody, right? You mean to tell me my youngest daughter loves this man, this young man?

Why? You don't have to wonder why it pleased him because in verse 22 we're told Saul commanded his servants, look, without telling them or him that I've sent you, speak to David in private and say, behold, the king has delight in you. I mean, never mind the spear holes in the wall, the king actually really delights in you. And all the servants love you, now then become the king's son-in-law. David says, oh, that'd be great, but how?

I'm a poor man. Which by the way, tells us that the king has also lied about fulfilling another one of his promises, to give wealth to the champion over Goliath. I can't pay the mohar, the bridal dowry if he demands it of me.

Oh, that's not going to be a problem, David. You can do what Caleb did of old. The king is hearkening back to his Old Testament. He's thinking about Caleb and he's going to allow you to become the champion and you'll get the daughter.

Well, what do I have to do to be the champion? Go kill 100 Philistines, cut off their foreskins and bring them to the king and that'll be payment enough. Talking about crass and rude and gross and bloody, yet it was a common practice that Saul is practicing here.

In fact, we have discovered on the walls of the temples of Ramses III, scenes drawn depicting the counting of hands to prove the death of enemies and a pile of foreskins collected for the same purpose. See, David, what you got to do is go out and kill 100 Gentiles and you got to be able to prove they weren't unsuspecting Israelites. Bring them in and Saul will give you his daughter. Now, Saul assumes that David won't live through this campaign.

I mean, every Philistine is going to rally to this charge. Verse 27 tells us he not only did that, but here's another 100 for good measure. I think David is wise to the king now. He knows how the king gets out of his promises and the text implies a public display and counting. David publicly lays out his scouts, so to speak, and the king is entirely boxed in. He's stripped of all his excuses. He is publicly to his servants promised his daughter and now he has to give his daughter to the man he dreads more than anybody else on the planet.

He has no recourse now. Verse 29, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David's enemy continually. Don't miss that last line. It isn't the throwaway. None of it is.

It's easy to downplay the implications. Saul was David's enemy continually. The Cinderella story is going to change very quickly because Saul isn't going to stop until one of them is dead. In one of his books, Lloyd John Ogilvy retells of an Olympic race in early Grecian history where one young athlete came in second place and it so disturbed him, upset him, devastated him. He trained long and hard. He believed he was better than the young man who won the gold medal. His memory was haunted by that day of things he might have done differently, the race he should have won, the crowd that chanted and cheered the name of the victor. They both had come from the same town and when they returned home, the city fathers agreed to commission a statue carved out of granite made in the likeness of this gold medalist.

It was completed. It was positioned on a towering base so that the city's most revered athlete stood some 20 feet high in the center of the town square. It was more than this defeated athlete could take. Corrosive envy ate away at him, couldn't bear the daily reminder of his failure. So he decided to destroy that statue and he developed a plan that took shape in his mind. Late each night when the city square was empty, he would sneak out to that towering statue with a chisel and a hammer and he would as quietly as he could chisel away at the base of that statue hoping to weaken the foundation so that maybe in some blustery rainstorm or some driving windstorm it would topple over and break into a dozen pieces. One night as he chiseled away with a little too much energy and anger and envy he went too hard and that heavy statue toppled over and the villagers found him the next morning crushed beneath the statue of the one he had grown to hate. Among others, the moral of that legend lies in the fact that that young man in reality had been dying long before, one stroke at a time. In about 13 years Saul will be dead. The truth is he's already started dying. By the end of this chapter Saul should have been happier than ever. He's got a commander that just wins one victory after another. His kingdom is more settled and secure than ever.

His daughter has found the man she loves and that brings happiness to their home. David should be the one eaten up with envy over what Saul didn't give him. He should be the one eaten alive with resentment and bitterness.

I mean there are spear holes in the wall and I've never treated him unkindly. Verse 30 though ends with the same phrase that began this chapter that David had more success. There's that word again. David walked more wisely than all the servants of Saul so that his name was highly esteemed, certainly among the people. Walking in wisdom is responding to promotion with humility. It is tolerating the weaknesses of others with grace.

It is surrendering to the providence of God without complaint. Wouldn't it be wonderful if in the story of your life God were to declare that you walked wisely? This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davy. Stephen's main objective is to teach you God's wisdom from God's Word so that you can live wisely.

This broadcast is the main component of our ministry but I want to make sure you know about our other resources as well. All of Stephen's books, commentaries and Bible study guides are available on our website wisdomonline.org. I encourage you to visit that site and by the way if you ever miss one of these lessons we post those online as well so it's easy for you to keep caught up with this series. When you're at the website please be sure and get your gift from us. All this month Stephen's ebook entitled Do Babies Really Go to Heaven When They Die?

is free to download. You'll find a link on the home page with instructions. Once again that's wisdomonline.org. If you have a question or need assistance with something else you can reach us today at 866-48-bible. Thanks for joining us. I'm Scott Wiley and I invite you back tomorrow for more wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-02 11:31:09 / 2023-07-02 11:41:05 / 10

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