Then Saul said to David, "Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage. Only be valiant for me and fight the LORD's battles." But Saul was thinking, "I need not raise my hand against him; let the hand of the Philistines be against him."
1 Samuel 18:17-30. (GIBEAH.) -Proverbs 22:3). There is also a simplicity which is the fruit of innocence, truthfulness, and goodness, and appears in an ingenuous mind, a guileless disposition, and straightforward speech and conduct. In its best sense (simplicitas - without fold or twist) it is opposed to duplicity, deception, and "cunning craftiness" (Romans 12:8; Romans 16:19; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 11:3); and it was exemplified, in an eminent degree, by David, especially in his earlier intercourse with Saul; for, through familiarity with court life, and much more in consequence of the straits to which he was reduced by the craft and persecution of the king, the simple-minded, open-hearted shepherd youth once and again turned aside:from the right path (1 Samuel 21:2). Consider simplicity as -
I. BESET BY THE WORKING or CRAFT. Having given way to envy, and in a violent fit of madness threatened the life of David, Saul continued to hate and fear him (Mark 11:18), and sought to get rid of him, though indirectly from restraint of conscience and secretly from fear of the people (Mark 6:20; Luke 22:2). Sin works in the dark. Malicious craft often -
1. Seeks to accomplish ends which it may not dare to avow. Springing from jealousy for personal position and renown, it aims at the depreciation of every one by whom they seem to be endangered; and at his removal, whether accidentally by the hands of others, or by his committing some overt act which may justify his open punishment (vers. 17, 21, 25). And toward these ends it works with ever greater directness and less concealment; for that which is hidden in the heart must sooner or later come to light.
2. Makes use of fair professions, and uses pretexts which are specious, false, and hypocritical. David was assured that no harm was really meant him, and made "captain over a thousand" (ver. 13); whereas he was removed from the presence of the king because he was hated and feared, and that he might be exposed to greater danger. His not receiving the fulfilment of Saul's promise (1 Samuel 17:25) was probably accounted for by his lack of wealth and social status (ver. 25); but the promise was repeated insincerely. "Only be thou valiant for me" (expose thyself to every hazard)," and fight the Lord's battles" (with zeal for Jehovah, which I know thou hast), and (sub voce) "let not my hand be upon him," etc. (ver. 17). On the loss of Merab he was consoled by the promise of Michal (ver. 21), but only as "a snare," and her love was made use of for the purpose. And at length (when the king had formed his plan, and felt sure of its success), he was told by his servants (as if in confidential communication), "Behold, the king hath delight in thee," etc. (ver. 22), "desireth not any dowry," etc. (ver. 25); "but Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines."
3. Adopts means which are unworthy, base, and godless. Scheming, plotting, murderous attempts on life under the sanctities of affection and religion; at heart, infatuated opposition to the will of God. If it were not the Divine purpose that David should be king, why fear him? if it were, of what avail would resistance be?
II. DISPLAYED IN THE MIDST OF CRAFT. The snares that were woven around David seem plain enough to us; but there is no reason to suppose that they were at first observed by him. The simple-hearted man -
1. Is accustomed to look upon others as sincere like himself, regards their statements and assurances as truthful, and is slow to suspect their evil intentions. Even to the last David could hardly believe that Saul, of his own accord, sought his life (1 Samuel 26:19). He is "simile concerning evil." Large experience makes men cautious; but it is better to be deceived a hundred times than to lead a life of continual suspicion.
2. Entertains modest and lowly views of himself, takes contempt and disappointment without complaint, and accepts humbly and cheerfully whatever honour may be conferred upon him (vers. 18, 23). "Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not" (Jeremiah 45:5). "A pious man is even in prosperity humble in heart."
3. Is intent upon the honest, faithful, and efficient discharge of the duty that lies before him, and fears danger little because he fears God much (vers. 5, 14, 27). "David's calm indifference to outward circumstances affecting himself were very strikingly expressed in his conduct. Partly from his poetic temperament, partly from his sweet, natural unselfishness, and chiefly from his loving trust in God, he accepts whatever happens with equanimity, and makes no effort to alter it" (Maclaren). It has been remarked that "genius is rumply the carrying into the maturity of our powers the simplicity and ardour of childhood."
III. PRESERVED FROM THE DEVICES OF CRAFT. It is the best means of preservation, inasmuch as -
1. It affords the least occasion for an adversary to take an advantage. Although the ingenuous man may appear to lie open to attack, yet he is really most effectually guarded against it.
2. It attracts the respect of other men (ver. 16), gains the love of those who warn and help him (ver. 28; 1 Samuel 19:11), and makes it difficult for his enemies to prevail over him.
3. It insures the favour of God. "The Lord was with him" (vers. 12, 14, 28) to guide, defend, and help him (Psalm 37:24, 33). "In thee do I trust."
IV. RESULTING IN AN END OPPOSED TO THAT OF CRAFT.
1. Instead of returning no more from the conflict, he returns in triumph, and receives an unwilling honour from the hand that was lifted up against him (vers. 27, 28; Revelation 3:9).
2. Instead of being less an object of terror to the wicked, he is more so (ver. 29).
3. Instead of being deprived of the love of the people of God (ver. 16: "All Israel and Judah loved David"), he is more completely enthroned in their hearts (ver. 30). Remark -
1. How ineffectual are the devices of the wicked against "the upright in heart."
2. How beneficial may even their devices become when met with "simplicity and godly sincerity."
3. How inexpressibly beautiful is the character of the Son of David - "meek and lowly in heart."
4. How necessary is the "anointing of the holy One," that we may become like unto him. - D.
Fight the Lord's battles.
1. There must be a deeper sense of the responsibility of the situation. The Master's injunction is, "Occupy till I come." See how it is acted upon in other spheres — the captain on the bridge, the soldier on the battlefield, the premier at the helm of the state, the merchant in the counting house, the scientist in his laboratory, the artist, before the canvas, the musician at the organ, the poet in his study, as well as the husbandman and the workman in their spheres of labour. They all occupy very earnestly their stations. Christians are the dramatis personae who take the stage to show the love of God in Christ Jesus. Time and eternity alike demand the white heat of that earnestness which sacrifices all in order to save come.
2. There must be a stronger faith in the weapons of our warfare. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." In the hand of faith the sword becomes omnipotent.
(T. Davies, M. A.)
1. The Lord's battle is first of all with sin. Seek grace to fight that battle in your own heart. Endeavour by Divine grace to overcome those propensities which continually push you towards iniquity. On your knees wrestle against your besetting sins. As habits appear endeavour to break them by the battleaxe of strong resolution wielded by the arm of faith. Put down pride, and sloth, and lust, and unbelief, and you have now a battle before you which may fill your hands, and more than fill them. And while this battle is being fought, ay, and while it is still fighting, go out and fight with other men's sins. Smite them first with the weapon of holy example. Be yourselves what you would have others be; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Be yourselves clean ere ye can hope to be the purifiers of the world. Let your testimony be unflinching; never let a sin pass under your eye without rebuke. Go ye forth where sin is the most rampant. Go down the dark alley; climb the creaking staircase; penetrate the dens of iniquity.
2. And even so must we cry against error. It is the preacher's business to preach the whole gospel of God, and to vindicate the truth as it is in Jesus from the opposition of man. Thousands are the heresies which now beset the church. O children of God! fight the Lord's battles for truth. I am astonished, and yet more astonished when I come to turn it over, at the want of earnestness that there is in the Protestantism of the present age.
3. And yet again, it is the Christian's duty always to have war with war. To have bitterness in our hearts against any man that lives is to serve Satan. We must speak very sternly against error, and against sin; but against men we have not a word to say. With men the Christian is one. Are we not every man's brother? "God hath made of one flesh all people that dwell upon the face of the earth." The cause of Christ is the cause of humanity. We are friends to all, and are enemies to none.
II. THE LORD'S SOLDIERS: who are they that are to fight the Lord's battles? Not everybody. The Lord has His army, His church: who are they? The Lord's soldiers are all of His own choosing. He has chosen them out of the world; and they are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world.
III. THE EXHORTATION. "Fight the Lord's battles." If you are the soldier of the heavenly King, "To arms! to arms!" And now, I will read you over the code martial — the rules which Christ, the Captain, would have you obey in fighting His battles.Regulation
I. — No communication nor union with the enemy! No truce, no league, no treaty, are you to make with the enemies of Christ.Regulation
II. — No quarter to be given or taken! Have nought to do with its pretended friendship. Ask nothing at its hands; let it be crucified to you, and you to it.Regulation
III. — No weapons or ammunition taken from the enemy are to be used by Immanuel's soldiers, but are to be utterly burned with fire!Regulation
IV. — No fear, trembling, or cowardice! Fear not. Remember, if any man be ashamed of Christ in this generation, of him will Christ be ashamed in the day when He comes in the glory of His Father and all His holy angels.Regulation
V. — No slumbering, rest, ease, or surrender! Be always at it, all at it, constantly at it, with all your might at it. No rest. I see sometimes the captains marching their soldiers to and fro, and you may laugh and say they are doing nothing; but mark, all that manoeuvring, that forming into square, and so forth, has its practical effect when they come into the field of battle. Suffer me, then, to put the Christian through his postures.
1. The first posture the Christian ought to take, and in which he ought to be very well practised, is this. Down upon both knees, hands up, and eyes up to Heaven!
2. The next posture is: Feet fast, hands still, and eyes up! A hard posture that, though it looks very easy.
3. Another posture is this: Quick march, continually going onward! Ah! there are some Christians who are constantly sleeping on their guns; but they do not understand the posture of going onward. Quick march!
4. Another posture is one that is very hard to learn indeed. It is what no soldier, I think, was ever told to do by his captain, except the soldier of Christ: Eyes shut, and ears shut, and heart shut! That is when you go through Vanity Fair.
5. And then there is another posture: Feet firm, sword in hand, eyes open; looking at your enemy, watching every feint that he makes, and watching too your opportunity to let fly at him, sword in hand! That posture you must maintain every day.
6. There is one other posture, which is a very happy one for the child of God to take up and I would have you remember today. Hands wide open, and heart wide open, when you are helping your brethren.
7. Above all, the best posture for Christ's Church is that of patient waiting for the advent of Christ, a looking forward for His glorious appearance, Who must come and will not tarry, but Who will get unto Himself the victory.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
PeopleAdriel, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Saul
TopicsBattles, Behold, Bravely, Daughter, David, Elder, Fight, Marriage, Merab, Older, Philistines, Raise, Saul, Serve, Valiant, Wife
Outline1. Jonathan befriends David
5. Saul envies his praise
10. seeks to kill him in his fury
12. fears him for his good success
17. offers him his daughters for snare
23. David persuaded to be the king's son-in-law,
25. gives two hundred foreskins of the Philistines for Michal's dowry
28. Saul's hatred and David's glory increase
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Samuel 18:17
LibraryA Soul's Tragedy
'And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war; and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. 6. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7. And the women answered one another as they played, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
War! War! War!
And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
Salvation Published from the Mountains
How the Poor and the Rich Should be Admonished.
The Publication of the Gospel
Ramah. Ramathaim Zophim. Gibeah.
The Sixth Commandment
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