Pursue, Overtake, Recover: Engaging An Ancient Enemy That’s Already Defeated

Today’s selected reading begins the second book of Samuel which now describes the journey and path David would take to sit upon the throne in the midst of the land of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first four chapters of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of the narrative of David king of Israel, for the days and time of his being a fugitive in the mist of the land of Judah having come to an end. In order to truly understand that which is written and that which is found in the opening chapters of the book of Second Samuel it’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand how the book of First Samuel ended and concluded. If there is one thing I happen to find so incredibly intriguing when thinking about and considering the narrative of David son of Jesse is that he would not lay hold of and seize the throne for himself. Despite the fact that David was anointed of the prophet Samuel with the sacred oil, and despite the fact that David was chosen of the LORD to be the next king of Israel, he would and could not lay hold of, nor lay claim to that throne, nor the kingdom of his own accord, his own strength and his own might. There was absolutely nothing David would do to lay claim to the throne of Israel, and to wrest it from the hand of Saul who had previously been anointed of the prophet to reign and govern as king in Israel. Time and time again we find David speaking of Saul as being the LORD’s anointing, and David recognized that the anointing oil of the LORD was at one point poured upon the head of Saul, and that he was that man whom the living God had chosen to rule and reign over the people of Israel. Despite the fact that the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul and an evil spirit from God had now come upon him to torment and vex him, he was still the anointed of the LORD. So long as there was breath in the lungs of Saul he would indeed be the LORD’s anointed, and would be the king over Israel. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it brings us face to face with the absolutely incredible reality and truth of how we perceive those who have been anointed of the LORD, and those who have been chosen by the LORD to serve before Him—regardless of what role or capacity they might have among the people of God. Time and time again throughout the books of First and Second Samuel we find David speaking of Saul as the LORD’s anointed, and it was precisely because of the fact that Saul was the anointed of the LORD that David would not strike him down and smite him. Because of the fact that Saul had been anointed of the prophet Samuel as king over Israel, David would and could not lay his hand upon Saul to slay and put him to death. What an absolutely wonderful and incredible truth it is to think about and consider this reality, for I would dare say that David had four different and four distinct opportunities to slay Saul within and during his life, and yet each and every time David had the chance to lift his hand up against this king, he chose to allow the king to live and would not stretch forth his hand to smite him.

Before I move any further into this writing I feel the need to emphatically declare that if you study the narrative between Saul king of Israel and David who had been chosen by the LORD and anointed by Samuel to succeed Saul as king of Israel, you will find that there were essentially four distinct times when David could have stretched forth his hand toward and against Saul king of Israel at least four different times. If you study the narrative of David and Saul you will find that there were two occasions while David was in the palace of Saul when he could have smitten and struck down the king, and could have done so using his own spear. If you turn and direct your attention to the previous book of First Samuel you will find that there were two occasions when Saul hurled his spear at David intending on striking him dead and fastening and securing his body to the wall. What I find to be so absolutely incredible about the narrative and account of David is not so much in the fact that he was able to dodge the spears which were thrown and hurled at him, but the fact that he chose to leave the spears behind and flee from the presence of the king, as well as the presence of the spear. FLEEING FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE KING! FLEEING FROM THE SIGHT OF THE SPEAR! It’s worth noting that David did indeed dodge the spears that were thrown at him, however, the true and underlying revelation is not so much in dodging the spears which were hurled at him, but actually choosing to leave the spears behind, fleeing from the temptation to pick them up, and hurling them back at Saul. It would have been very easy for David to dodge the spears which were hurled at him, and once the spears were out of the hand of Saul and at his disposal, he could have laid hold of the spears and hurled them back at Saul. What’s more, is that there is not a doubt in my mind that had David chosen to pick up the spear and hurl it back at Saul, he wouldn’t have missed, and would have indeed slaughtered and put to death the king of Israel. It would have been very easy for David to dodge the spears which were hurled at him, and picked at least one of them up and hurl it back at Saul, however, the truth of the matter is that David chose to not only dodge the spear, but also to leave the spear. It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that it isn’t as significant in dodging the spear as it is in leaving the spear behind and choosing not to pick the spears up. David not only fled from the presence of this king gone mad, but David also chose to flee from the presence of the spear and the temptation to pick it up and hurl it back at Saul. Moreover, I would dare say that David when David fled from the spears which were hurled at him, he fled from more than just the spears themselves, but everything those spears represented—namely, the bitterness, the anger, the offense, the malice, the hatred, the rage, and the resentment that was directly associated with those spears. When David fled from the spears, he was fleeing from the temptation to lay hold of them, hurl them back at Saul, and potentially become an updated version of spear throwers, and if he had been successful in striking Saul with them—he might very well have set himself up to become the next mad king of Israel.

I have written that there were indeed four chances and four opportunities for David to strike down and smite Saul king of Israel, and two of those opportunities would come when Saul would hurl spears at David while he played the harp in his presence in the midst of the palace. David could have very easily have taken and laid hold of at least one of those spears and hurled it at Saul in order that he might strike him down, and yet David chose to leave both spears behind and flee from the presence of the spear and the king. With that being said, it’s worth noting that as you continue reading the account of David and Saul in the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find that there were indeed two other instances when David could have struck down and smitten Saul king of Israel—once in a cave when Saul came into it to cover his feet, and another by night in the midst of the camp. THE CAVE AND THE CAMP! THE CAVE, THE CAMP & THE TEMPTATION TO STRIKE DOWN YOUR ENEMY! As you read the words which are written and found within the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find that when Saul entered into the cave, he had absolutely no idea that David and his four hundred plus men were there in the cave with him. Pause for a moment and consider the scene within your mind, as Saul went into and entered that cave completely unaware of the fact that David and his men were present in the cave with him. What’s more, is that not only did Saul not know that David was in the cave with him, but also that David’s men attempted to encourage him to strike down his enemy, and even declared that this was the day the LORD spoke of when He declared unto David that He would deliver him out of the hand of his enemy. I find it absolutely astounding and remarkable to think about and consider the fact when Saul entered into the cave on this particular day—not only did he have no clue that David was in the cave with him, nor that by this time David had more than four hundred men with him, but also that some or most of his men were encouraging him to strike down Saul and once and for all be rid of him and his murderous threats and pursuits of David throughout the land of Judah. It’s unclear what David was thinking when he crept up unaware behind Saul and cut off a corner of his robe, and we have to speculate whether or not David had—perhaps even for a brief moment—thought about and considered actually striking down Saul and putting him to death. We know for certain that David crept up behind Saul and cut off a corner and piece of his robe before his heart smote him, and he cried out unto the king and bowed himself down to the ground before him. We know for certain that David crept up behind Saul, yet what we don’t know and aren’t aware of is what went through his heart and mind when he came upon Saul. Was David tempted to use whatever instrument was in his hand and strike down Saul, or was the temptation never present within his heart and mind? What we do know is that David chose to cut off a piece of Saul’s garment, and then used that garment to demonstrate and reveal the true nature and condition of his heart—namely, that there was no anger, malice, bitterness, offense, and resentment toward Saul king of Israel.

There in the cave David had a third chance a third opportunity to strike down Saul and smite him, and yet instead of striking him down, he chose to cut off a piece of his garment, and then after his heart smote him within himself, David would use that garment to humble himself before Saul. I find it absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that David was able to come upon Saul secretly and stealthily without being noticed, and was able to cut off a corner of his garment. Moreover, I am amazed that rather than striking down Saul there in the cave, David chose to cut off a piece of his garment, and then use the garment as a tool and instrument of humility and kindness before Saul. Rather than striking down Saul, David chose to cut off a piece of his garment, and use that garment to display unto Saul that he had no interest, nor any desire to kill and put him to death. This is particularly fascinating when you think about and consider the fact that there would come a fourth time David would have the opportunity to strike down Saul—this time would be under the cover of darkness and by night when he and Abishai would go down into the camp where Saul and his men were sleeping. Once there in the midst of the camp where Saul and his men were sleeping, Abishai spoke unto David and essentially asked for permission to strike down the king while he slept. Abishai declared unto David that it would only take one strike and one blow, and that he would not need to strike him a second time. It’s absolutely remarkable that not only did David stay Abishai’s heart and hand from striking down Saul, but David also chose not to take matters into his own hand. As both David and Abishai stood over a helpless and defenseless Saul it would have been very easy for David to lay hold of Saul’s spear—that spear which quite possibly could have been the same spear which was hurled at him on two different occasions—and use it to strike down Saul in the midst of the camp. The truth of the matter, however, is that not only would David stay Abishai’s heart and hand from slaying Saul, but he also would resist the temptation and urge to strike down Saul and put him to death. Instead of laying hold of Saul’s spear and using it to strike him dead, David would take both the spear and the cruse of water and get him a safe distance away with Abishai who went into the camp with him. It’s quite telling to consider the fact that David cut off a piece of Saul’s garment and used it to demonstrate his humility and compassion toward him, and now here we are with Saul’s spear and cruse of water, and David uses them—not as instruments of war and conflict, but as instruments of peace and humility. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that David actually laid hold of the spear of Saul, and instead of using at a tool and instrument of warfare, conflict and struggle, he used it as an instrument of peace. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for Saul attempted to use that spear as an instrument of violence on two separate occasions, and when David had the spear in his hand he used it as an instrument of peace and humility rather than an instrument of violence and bloodshed.

WHEN THE SPEAR BECOMES AN INSTRUMENT OF PEACE! TRANSFORMING THE SPEAR FROM AN INSTRUMENT OF VIOLENCE TO AN INSTRUMENT OF PEACE! It should be noted that when David laid hold of the spear which was stuck in the ground by Saul’s waist, he deliberately and intentionally chose not to use it as an instrument of violence and bloodshed, as he chose not to use it to strike down Saul and put him to death. Instead of using the spear to put Saul to death, David grabbed and laid hold of the spear, as well as the cruse of water, and using the spear as an instrument of violence and bloodshed, David would use the spear as a tool and instrument of peace and humility before Saul. Once David and Abishai were a safe distance removed from Saul and his men David would cry out to Abner who was Saul’s commander of the army, and essentially taunted and mocked him for not guarding and protecting his lord the king. David held up both the spear of Saul, as well as the cruse of water which belonged to Saul, and emphatically declared unto Abner that he had essentially failed in his duty to guard and protect the king. Essentially David called out Abner for failing to guard and protect the king, for both he and Abishai were able to enter into the camp at night and not only lay hold of Saul’s spear, but also lay hold of his cruse of water. David would hold up the spear of Saul and instead of using it to demonstrate violence, hostility, bloodshed, anger and malice toward Saul, he would use it as an instrument of peace to profess his innocence before and unto Saul—as well as unto all of his men who were with him. David did in fact lay hold of the spear of Saul, and he would in fact have it in his possession, however, he would raise that spear up in the sight of Saul and all his men and use it as an instrument of peace and humility, as he demonstrated the reality that he had absolutely no malice, no hatred, no resentment, no bitterness, and no offense within his heart toward Saul. David had Saul’s spear in his hand, and even the simple fact that he had the spear in his hand demonstrates the fact that he was close enough to Saul where he could have struck him down and put him to death. The fact that David had Saul’s spear in his hand demonstrates the tremendous reality that David was close enough where he could kill Saul, yet instead of striking him down and repaying his violence, his hatred and his malice in kind, he chose to spare Saul’s life, and chose to demonstrate his allegiance to Saul and to the kingdom of Israel. David chose to use the spear of Saul as a tool and instrument of peace and humility rather than an instrument of war, violence and hatred. What’s more, is that David would even return the spear to Saul, and would call for one of his young lads to come unto him that they might recover the spear and the cruse of water. How truly remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that David did in fact lay hold of the spear which belonged to Saul, and not only did he choose not to use it to strike down Saul, but he also chose to return the spear to Saul. It would have been very easy for David to hold on to the spear and to never return it to Saul, however, rather than holding on to the spear, David would return it to the hands of the one who originally chose to use it to strike him down.

By the time you come to the opening chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find Saul and his sons perishing as a direct result of a battle and conflict that would ensue between the children of Israel and the Philistines. While David and his men were smiting and striking down the Amalekites after they had raided Ziklag, burned it with fire, and captured all their wives and children, Saul, three of his sons, and the children of Israel would be steeped in a conflict and battle with and against the Philistines. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about the fact that while Saul and three of his sons were engaged in a conflict and battle with the Philistines, David and his men would be steeped and entrenched in their own conflict and battle, as they would be fighting against the Amalekites who not only should have been utterly and completely destroyed already, but who had raided Ziklag, burned it with fire, and taken captive their wives and children. Perhaps the question I can’t help but ask is what you do when you are forced to engage an enemy and adversary that should have been defeated and conquered a long time ago. What do you do when you are forced to deal with an ancient enemy that should have already been defeated and utterly destroyed? David and his men were forced to pursue and overtake an enemy that Saul should have utterly and completely destroyed—an enemy that had not only burned Ziklag with fire, but also robbed, stolen and destroyed. I can’t help but think about this absolutely incredible and astonishing reality and think about the fact that we too find ourselves dealing with an ancient foe who indeed comes to steal, kill and destroy, yet this ancient foe is not that should have been utterly defeated, but one that has already been defeated and overcome through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. In this generation and from the time of the early church until now we have been entrenched in a conflict and battle with an ancient foe that has stolen, killed and destroyed, and yet the truth of the matter is that this enemy not only that should have been defeated, but one that has actually been defeated. When we think about and speak of the enemy and adversary in our lives we speak of him as one who has already been defeated, which is quite astounding when you think about it, for we aren’t facing an enemy and adversary the way normal battles and struggles are faced. The enemy and adversary we face is not one that should have been defeated a long time ago, but is an enemy that was defeated more than two thousand years ago through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The enemy which we face in our lives is indeed an ancient enemy, yet it is an ancient enemy that was and still is defeated through the death and burial of Jesus the Christ, as well as through the power of the blood which was shed more than two thousand years ago.

I can’t help but be absolutely astounded with and by the fact that both David and Saul were engaging ancient enemies which had provoked and afflicted the people of God with Saul and the children of Israel engaging an ancient enemy from the time of the judges, and David engaging an enemy that had been in existence with the children of Israel since the days they came out of the land of Egypt. What’s more, is that when you think about and consider these two battles which were being waged at this time—they were battles that were fought against enemies and adversaries which for all intents and purposes should have been destroyed and should have been defeated. The Amalekites which David faced should have been utterly defeated and utterly destroyed by Saul, and the Philistines at this time should have been conquered and subdued by Saul as he was anointed as the king of Israel to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Both the Philistines and the Amalekites were ancient enemies and ancient foes of the children of Israel which should have by this time been conquered and subdued. The Amalekites should have been utterly destroyed and consumed by Saul king of Israel, and even the Philistines were should have had no power, nor authority over the children of Israel, as Saul was anointed by Samuel to save the children of Israel out of the hands of their enemies. How absolutely astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that both the Amalekites and the Philistines should have had absolutely no power or authority in the earth any longer, and yet here we have David engaging the Amalekites in conflict and battle, while Saul was engaging the Philistines in conflict and battle. Saul was instructed and commanded by the LORD through Samuel the prophet to utterly destroy Amalek, and because of his failure to carry out this command—not only was Ziklag burned with fire, and not only were the wives and children of both David and his men captured, but so also would David now have to engage this adversary in conflict and battle. How absolutely telling it is to think about and consider the fact that Saul found himself engaged in a battle with an ancient enemy and adversary whose hands he was supposed to save the children of Israel out of, and David was engaged in a battle with an ancient foe that had long had a history of provoking and afflicting the people of God. The core and fundamental difference between the adversary which David was facing was that the Amalekites should have already been utterly destroyed and defeated, and yet because of Saul’s transgression against the command of the LORD, they were able to invade the town of Ziklag, burnt the city with fire, and carry away women and children. We dare not forget and lose sight of this reality, for the Amalekites shouldn’t have even been permitted to remain on the earth per the command of the LORD, for the LORD would have a perpetual controversy with them from the time they came out against the children of Israel when they emerged from the land of Egypt.

I am sitting here this morning and I am captivated and gripped with the reality that when David and his men returned from marching with the Philistines, they returned to Ziklag on fire, and their wives and children having been captured and taken by the Amalekites. This is something worth noting and making mention of, for we must understand that the Amalekites were an ancient enemy and foe of the children of Israel, and they shouldn’t have been permitted to remain within and upon the earth. The Amalekites should have been absolutely and utterly annihilated and destroyed by Saul king of Israel, and yet not only do we find that Saul disobeyed and rebelled against the command of the LORD in the fifteenth chapter of the book of First Samuel, but fifteen chapters later we find David and his men having to deal with and contend with this adversary and foe who had not been completely dealt with and utterly destroyed. It’s absolutely necessary for us to pay attention to this, for if and when we do we find David and his men having to engage an ancient foe in a present conflict which should have never taken place. Oh, what do you do when you are forced to engage an ancient foe in a present conflict and battle—one that should have never even taken place? The Amalekites should have never had the chance to raid Ziklag, burn it with fire, and carry away the women and children as captives, and yet what we read and what we find in the thirtieth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel is the Amalekites being able to invade, steal, capture and destroy. The Amalekites were given the ability to continue their reign of terror in the midst of the earth because of one man’s rebellion and disobedience to the command and word of the LORD, and it would be the disobedience of Saul that would not only permit the Amalekites to remain in the land, but also to enter into the territory of the Philistines and invade the city of Ziklag. I find it absolutely unbelievable to read how when David encouraged himself in the LORD, and when David inquired of the LORD concerning whether or not he should pursue the Amalekites, the LORD not only instructed him to pursue, but He would also declare that both he and his men would overtake them and would recover everything that was taken and captured by them. David and his men would indeed rise up and pursue the Amalekites, and when they came upon them they would fight against them until the evening of the following day until they were completely and utterly subdued. How absolutely intriguing it is to think about and consider the fact that David found himself having to engage an ancient enemy which should have been dealt with and handled by Saul king of Israel. Here Saul was the one who was instructed and commanded of the LORD to completely and utterly destroy Amalek, and yet because of Saul’s rebellion and disobedience in carrying out and fulfilling the command of the LORD, David would not only have to engage this ancient enemy, but would also have to recover that which they had captured and stolen from both he and his men.

I continue to come back to this thought about what we do and how we respond when we find ourselves engaged in a conflict and battle with an ancient foe and adversary that should have already been defeated. For David and his men—the enemy and adversary which they had found themselves engaged in battle with wasn’t even supposed to remain upon the face of the earth. For David and his men—the enemy and adversary they had to face, confront and deal with was an enemy and adversary which Saul king of Israel should have already handled and utterly destroyed them. Essentially, David and his men were not only cleaning up the mess which Saul had left, but they were also having to recover that which the enemy and adversary had stolen. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the command given unto Saul to utterly destroy Amalek was in all reality both a test and preparation—not only to see whether or not he would obey the command of the LORD, but also if he would be able to completely and utterly subdue this ancient foe. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that had Saul faithfully executed and carried out the command and word of the LORD, he might very well have been able to completely and utterly save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. I would dare say that because of Saul’s disobedience to the word and command of the LORD as it pertained to utterly destroying Amalek, he would no longer be given authority and power over the Philistines. If you read the narrative of First Samuel from the time of Saul’s disobedience until the time of Saul’s death you will find that any victory that was won over the Philistines was not because of Saul leading the army of Israel against them in battle and conflict, but because David went before the army of Israel and led them in battle against them. Saul’s disobedience to the word and command of the LORD would effectively render him absolutely powerless and unable to utterly destroy the Philistines and save the children of Israel out of the hands of this ancient foe. How tragic it is to think about and consider the fact that not only would Saul not utterly destroy Amalek, but so also would Saul be absolutely and completely powerless to subdue and overtake the Philistines. What’s more, is that Saul’s disobedience to the word and command of the LORD might very well have led to and resulted in the death of his three sons, which would include Jonathan whom David loved as himself and as a brother. As a result of Saul’s disobedience and transgression before the living God—not only would the Amalekites remain in the land, and not only would the Amalekites invade Ziklag, burn it with fire and carry off women and children, but so also would the people of God be defeated before their enemies with Saul and his three sons perishing in the midst of and as a result of one final battle with the Philistines.

David and his men would have to engage the Amalekites in conflict and battle—not merely because they had invaded the town of Ziklag, and not only because they had burned it with fire and carried off women and children, but also because of Saul’s rebellion and disobedience in refusing and failing to utterly destroy Amalek. It is absolutely necessary for us to play careful attention to this, for it brings us face to face with the undeniable reality that David and his men had to confront and engage an ancient enemy and foe that should have been already defeated. At least when the enemy and adversary comes against us in this generation and during our days, we know that he has been defeated and overcome by the blood, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The enemy and adversary we engage in and face throughout the course of our lives is not one that should have been defeated, but is one that has already been defeated, and one that was defeated through the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. It would be as a direct result of the death of Jesus the Christ that He would descend into the depths of Sheol and Hell, and would emerge at His resurrection having conquered death, Hell and the grave, and having seized the keys to all three. When the enemy and adversary roars against us as a raging lion, it’s not a matter of whether or not he has been defeated, for he has been defeated. Jesus beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven, and when Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels the enemy was conquered and defeated. When Satan fell like lightning from heaven, and when the dragon was expelled from heaven, it was because there was no longer any place for them in the midst of heaven, thus indicating that the dragon, which is that ancient serpent called the Devil and Satan was and had already been defeated. This is perhaps the foundation for the verse that declares that when the enemy comes against us as a raging lion seeking whom he may devour we are to resist him, and when we resist him he must flee. I am convinced that the enemy has to resist us—not because there is inherently anything powerful in and of ourselves, but because he is and has already been defeated. The ancient serpent which is the devil and Satan has already been defeated, which means that when he comes against us, he does so—not from a place of victory and triumph, but from a place of defeat. Oh, how differently would you face and view the enemy if you began walking in the reality that the enemy has already been defeated, and that the enemy was defeated by the power, person and blood of Jesus the Christ more than two thousand years ago. How differently would your battles with the enemy and adversary be if you began walking in and believing the reality that our enemy and adversary the devil—though he roar and rage against us like a lion—is and has already been defeated. I invite you to consider the words which James and the apostle Peter write in each of the epistles which were written by them in the New Testament:

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:7-10).

“Humble yourselves therefore under the might hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he care the for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternally glory by Christ Jesus, after tat ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle you. To him be the glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:6-11).

As I sit here today I can’t help but think about the fact that when the book of First Samuel draws to a close it does so with David and his men being victorious over an ancient foe and adversary which should have been utterly defeated and destroyed by Saul, while Saul and his three sons perished as a result of a battle with the Philistines, and the people of God were defeated and scattered before them. David and his men would pursue and utterly overtake and defeat the Amalekites, and would recover everything that was stolen and captured from them, yet that battle should never have taken place. Perhaps the question must and should be asked whether or not David and his men knew and were aware of the command that was given unto Saul to completely and utterly destroy the Amalekites. Did David and his men fight against the Amalekites when living in the territory of the Philistines because they knew of the ancient controversy the LORD with them, as well as perhaps even the command that was given unto Saul to utterly destroy and subdue them? Scripture isn’t clear on this point, however, we have to conclude that David’s battle and conflict with and against the Amalekites should have never taken place because they should have been utterly destroyed by Saul and the army of Israel. The question I can’t help but ask myself is when David and his men first fought against Amalek—could it be said that they were a defeated and conquered foe because of the command that had been given unto Saul through the prophet Samuel. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if when the LORD instructed David and his men to march against the Amalekites, He did so because He had already given and spoken the command that they were to be utterly destroyed. In a way, the battle and conflict David and his men engaged in against the Amalekites was an extension of the command that was given unto Saul king of Israel when he was instructed to utterly destroy Amalek, yet failed to completely and utterly destroy and wipe them off the map. There is a part of me that feels that even though David and his men were engaging the Amalekites in conflict and battle to recover that which they had stolen from them, they were in a way carrying out the command that was given unto Saul earlier on. What is actually quite astounding and remarkable to think about and consider is the fact that it’s very possible that when David and his men engaged the Amalekites in battle and conflict, they were engaging an enemy which already had a command and decree spoken concerning their complete and utter destruction. Just as the children of Israel were able to conquer and subdue the inhabitants of the land upon entering into the he land of Canaan because they had already been defeated by the word and command of the LORD, so also would David face the Amalekites and defeat them because of a command that had already been given and spoken by the LORD.

Upon coming to the opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find two distinctive battles coming to a close—each with it’s own unique outcome and result. If you read the final two chapters of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find and discover David and four hundred of his men pursuing the Amalekites in order that they might recover everything they had captured and stolen away from them. In the thirty-first chapter of the same Old Testament book you will find Saul, his three sons, and the men of Israel engaged in their own conflict and battle—one that was entirely different from the battle that was fought and waged by David and his men. David and four hundred of his men were fighting to recover that which the enemy had captured and stolen away, while Saul, his sons and the men of Israel were engaging an ancient foe and enemy who continued to provoke and afflict the children of Israel. It’s worth noting that there are essentially two distinct enemies and two distinct adversaries who are found within the book of First Samuel—the first are the ancient foes and adversaries of the children of Israel which were the Amalekites, while the second were the ancient foes and adversaries which were the Philistines. I continue to find it absolutely and utterly fascinating that in both cases of these ancient adversaries and foes, it was Saul the first king of Israel who was supposed to be instrumental in their destruction and subjugation. It would be in the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel we find Saul being instructed of the LORD through the prophet Samuel to utterly destroy Amalek and all that pertained to it, while in the narrative of Saul’s being chosen by the LORD to rule and govern as the first king of Israel we find it being spoken of him that he would save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Please don’t miss the tremendous challenge, the tremendous calling, the tremendous responsibility that was found within the narrative of Saul king of Israel, for not only was Saul to save the children of Israel out of the hands of one ancient adversary, but Saul was also to utterly destroy another ancient enemy—one that had been in existence from the time the children of Israel had emerged from the land of Egypt and passed through the Red Sea. It would be unto Saul the assignment and task of not only utterly destroying an ancient enemy was given, but also the assignment of saving the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. In the thirty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel, however, we find Saul being wounded by a Philistine archer, and eventually and ultimately falling upon his own sword, thus perishing. Moreover, in the final chapter of the thirty-first chapter of the book of First Samuel we find the king of Israel dead and the people of Israel having been defeated by their enemies and foes. It’s actually quite telling to think about and consider this tremendous and incredible reality, for it helps serve as the backdrop and foundation for David’s ascendancy and emergence to the throne in Israel—first as king in Hebron over the tribe of Judah, and second as king over all Israel within the city of Jerusalem.

It’s quite astonishing to think about how the book of Second Samuel begins and opens up, for it begins and opens with Saul king of Israel having perished in battle against the Philistines, three of Saul’s sons (including Jonathan) being killed in battle, and the children of Israel having been defeated by the Philistines. In all reality, the book of First Samuel has an incredibly tragic end to it—almost as tragic as how the book begins and opens up. It would be in the fourth chapter of this book of First Samuel we find the people of God being defeated at the hands of the Philistines, two priests of the LORD having been killed in battle, and the Ark of the Covenant of the living God taken. The thirty-first chapter of the book of First Samuel is almost identical to what is found in the fourth chapter, with the exception that instead of it being priests who are killed in battle, it is the king and three princes. In both instances, however, there is one underlying and fundamental truth—namely, that the people of God were not only defeated before, but scattered by their enemy and adversary. There is quite a tragic end to the book of First Samuel, as within it we find the people of God being defeated and scattered by the Philistines, and the throne in Israel being vacant and empty with Saul king of Israel having perished. The book of Second Samuel begins and opens up with David and his men returning from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and his abiding two full days in Ziklag. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that while the thirty-first and final chapter of the book of First Samuel is one of tremendous tragedy and defeat, the opening chapter of the book of First Samuel begins with victory and triumph, as it is written concerning David returning from the slaughter of the Amalekites. It’s worth noting that David and his men didn’t simply overtake the Amalekites, but Scripture is very emphatic that David and his men slaughtered them, and in the process of slaughtering and destroying them, they recovered everything that had been captured and stolen away.While the thirty-first chapter of the book of First Samuel, and while the book of First Samuel concludes with the people of God being defeated before their enemies, the book of Second Samuel begins and opens up with David and his men being victorious over the Amalekites, and having recovered everything that was captured and stolen away from them by this ancient adversary and foe. The book of Second Samuel begins and opens with David and his men returning from the slaughter of the Amalekites having recovered everything that was robbed, stolen and captured away by the Amalekites, and their returning unto ZIklag which had been burned with fire. It is unclear what David and his men would have done had they not received a messenger who came to them from the battle which had ensued between the children of Israel and the Philistines.

What I find so absolutely wonderful and incredible when reading the opening chapter of the book of Second Samuel is that while David and his men were perhaps uncertain and unclear about what their future held, and where they would go next, a single and lone messenger from the battle that ensued between the Philistines and the children of Israel would change everything. On the third day after David and his men returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites we find one coming unto them from the battle bringing with him disturbing and alarming news—news which perhaps both David and his men were neither expecting, nor anticipating. This particular messenger would come unto David and would speak unto both he and his men how the children of Israel had been defeated in battle against the Philistines, and how even Saul the king of Israel had been killed in battle. The tragic reality concerning this messenger who came unto David and his men in Ziklag, however, is that while he perhaps thought he was bringing good news unto David and his men—that which he was really doing was signing his own death warrant. This man came unto David and his men speaking of the defeat of the people of God before the Philistines, as well as the death of Saul the king of Israel. What caused this messenger to ultimately sign his own death warrant and himself be slain is the fact that he brought unto David and his men the crown that was upon the head of Saul, the bracelet that was upon his arm, as well as a tale of how Saul asked him to fall upon him to slay him. The story this man brought unto David was one which he had fabricated—perhaps in order that he might secure good grace and good fortune in the eyes of David who would certainly be the next king of Israel. The tragic reality and tale of this single and lone messenger was that the false report he brought unto David and his men concerning Saul king of Israel being slain and put to death by his hand would ultimately result in his own death. This man would come unto David and his men bringing news of how Saul the king of Israel was dead, and how it was he himself who had brought about his death. It’s actually quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that this man thought and perceived that he was bringing tidings of good news and great joy before and unto David and his men, and yet what we find instead is David and his men rending their clothes, and proceeding to ask this man how he was not afraid and terrified to stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed. David who himself could have slaughtered and slain Saul four times over knew all too well the struggle and temptation to stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed, so when this messenger spoke of his stretching forth his hand to slaughter David, David immediately had him killed and slain by one of those who were with him.

When you come to the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find David and his men completing and finishing their mourning and weeping over Saul and his three sons, and David then inquiring of the LORD as to whether or not he should go up to any of the cities in Judah. Now knowing that Saul was dead and that he no longer had to run and hide anymore, David inquired of the LORD whether or not he should indeed and should in fact return unto one of the cities of Judah. It is unclear whether or not David was uncertain and unclear about his future given how he had spent the previous decade of his life, and we find him inquiring of the LORD as to what his next step(s) should be. David’s request before and unto the living God was actually quite simple, for David inquired of the LORD whether or not he should go up into any of the cities of Judah. The LORD would indeed respond unto David, and not only declare unto him that he should go unto the land of Judah, but also that he should go unto the city of Hebron. Upon entering into Hebron all the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the house of Judah. What you find in the second chapter of the book of Second Samuel is actually quite intriguing and quite astonishing when you take the time to truly read and consider it, for what you find within this chapter is essentially a tale of two competing thrones. If you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find that while it was true that the men of Judah had come and anointed David king over Judah, there was another throne that would be set up in the midst of the land of Israel—the throne of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul. While we read in the beginning of the second chapter of the book of Second Samuel how the men of Judah came and anointed David as king over Judah, it was also true that Abner who was the captain of Saul’s host had taken Saul’s son and made him king over GIlead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. In verses ten and eleven of the second chapter of the book of Second Samuel we find that Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. What we also find, is that the house of Judah followed David, and it would be in Judah David would be king in Hebron for seven and a half years. In all reality, what we find in chapters two through four of this Old Testament book is competing thrones and competing houses, as it would essentially be a tale of the house of David and the house of Saul. Ish-bosheth son of Saul would reign over Israel for two years, while David son of Jesse would reign over the house of Judah from Hebron for seven and a half years.

As you read the opening verse of the third chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find that there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, and how during the process of this war David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker. What I find to be so incredibly intriguing about the second and third chapters of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel is not only that it is essentially a tale of two competing thrones, but it is also a contrast between a throne that was established by man and one that was established by the LORD Himself. The most distinguishable truth between the throne which Ish-Bosheth sat upon and the throne which David sat upon was that the throne which Ish-Bosheth sat upon was established and set up by man, while the throne which David sat upon was established by the living God. I fully recognize and understand that it was the house of Judah which came unto David in Hebron and made him king over Judah, it was David who had already been chosen by the living God, and anointed by the prophet Samuel with the anointing oil. It was David who had been specifically picked and hand chosen by the living God to rule and reign over the nation and kingdom of Israel, and it’s actually quite interesting what needed to take place before he would finally sit upon the throne over the house of Israel. It would take the death of Saul king of Israel in battle against the Philistines, as well as the end of the house of the Saul itself, as well as the death of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul before David would finally be in ruling over the nation and kingdom of Israel as king. What’s more, is that there was a period of conflict in the land of Israel which took place, as the house of David would be in steep conflict with the house of Saul, and yet how the house of Saul would wax weaker and weaker while the house of David would wax stronger and stronger. Essentially it’s a similar reality to Ishmael and Isaac the sons of Abraham which would be mentioned in the New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul which was written unto the churches in Galatia. The apostle Paul would use the narrative of Ishmael and Isaac to demonstrate the conflict that exists between that which is born of the flesh and that which is born of the Spirit, and I can’t help but find a similar reality being manifested in this particular passage of Scripture as there was that which was anointed of man and that which was anointed of the living God. Ish-bosheth not only represented that which was anointed by man, but also that which was set up and established by man. David, however, represented that which was specifically hand-picked and chosen by the living God, and that which was anointed by the prophet in the sight and company of all his brethren. It would be David that would represent that which was anointed by the living God, and it would be Ish-bosheth which would represent that which thinks and believes it’s anointed and ordained in the place of inheritance, promise and blessing. I am sure to some degree Ish-bosheth thought and believed that he would be the next king over the nation and kingdom of Israel, however, despite Abner’s actions and intentions to make him king over all the nation and kingdom of Israel, it would be short-lived. Abner might very well have thought and believed that the house of Saul could in fact remain in a place of authority in the place of promise, inheritance, and blessing.

Upon bringing this writing to a close, I can’t help but be confronted with the awesome and incredible reality that in order for David to be established as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel, the house of Saul would not only need to be brought low, but would need to be brought to an end. For the throne of David to be established in the midst of the land of Israel, it would require the house of Saul to be utterly and completely destroyed in the midst of the land of Israel. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what would and could have happened had Jonathan not been killed in the battle between the children of Israel and the Philistines. Is it possible that Abner might have attempted to set up Jonathan as king over Israel instead of Ish-bosheth? What I find to be so absolutely astonishing about the narrative of Abner in this particular passage is that it was almost as if he was attempting to hold on to something that was never intended to last. Despite Abner’s feeble and weak attempt to keep the house of Saul in a place of authority in the midst of the nation and kingdom of Israel, the LORD would not warrant, nor would He permit it to be so. The LORD had purposed and determined that the house of Saul would indeed be brought to a swift and speedy end, and that the house and throne of David would be established in the midst of the nation and kingdom of Israel. Moreover, it would be the throne of David that would endure throughout the generations, as one day the coming and returning Messiah would rule and reign from the throne of David in the midst of the land of Israel. It is absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that in order for that which the LORD destined and designed to be set up and established to be so, it would require that which needed to be brought to an end to actually take place. So long as the house of Saul remained active in the nation and kingdom of Israel, the throne of David could not be fully and completely set up and established. While the narratives of Ishmael and Isaac represent the continuing and ongoing struggle between the flesh and the Spirit, the house of Saul and the house of David represents the conflict and struggle between that which was anointed of the living God and that which was established by men. Oh that we would recognize and understand that in order for that which has been ordained, appointed, and anointed by the living God to be established in the earth, that which was established and set up by man would need to be brought to an end. This is actually quite intriguing when you think about the fact that it was the LORD Himself who chose Saul to be the first king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. Through his disobedience and rebellion before and against the word and command of the LORD, the kingdom would be ripped and torn away from Saul and from his house, and would be given unto another. The attempts of Abner to establish Ish-bosheth as king over Israel is nothing more than a futile attempt to keep that which was destined by the living God to die alive. Abner making Saul’s son king over the nation of Israel would be nothing more than a feeble and frail attempt to keep alive that which the living God had determined must die and be brought to an end.

If there is one thing I feel compelled to cal and draw your attention to at the conclusion of this writing, it’s that in order for that which has been ordained, ordained and appointed by the living God to truly be established in our lives, that which has been set up and established by man must not only be brought low, but must also be destroyed. For the throne of David—that place where the Messiah and coming King of kings would rule and reign from—to be established in the earth, the house of Saul would need to be destroyed and completely removed from the midst of the earth. We dare not, cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely and incredible reality, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality that in order for that which has been ordained of God to truly be established within our lives, there is a strong and powerful need for that which we have set up and established ourselves to die, never to rise again. There is perhaps no other passage in all of Scripture which illustrates this even more than the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia. I invite you to think about and consider the words which are found within this chapter as this writing concludes, for it will call and draw your attention to the awesome reality that in order for that which the LORD desires to establish within our lives to be as such—that which we have established, and perhaps even that which has been established by others needs to die and utterly destroyed. I leave you with the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this particular chapter of the epistle written unto the churches of Galatia beginning with the sixteenth verse of the second chapter:

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid, for if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who lovers me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:16-21).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s