And David said to Saul, "Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the son-in-law of the king?"
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.
What is my life?
I. IS MY LIFE A NEW LIFE? Amongst the Hebrews the birth of a child was an occasion of gladdest joy. Its birthday was a festival. So now "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." If we are in Christ we are new creatures, old things are passed away; old ideas of life, old habits of life, old associations of life — all things are become new. Another world has come into sight, as clearly as this world came into the view of the blind man to whom Jesus gave sight. I do not say the old life is altogether gone. No. The silkworm's winter skin clings to the moth until it is ready to spread its wings and soar away, and much of the old nature clings to the Christian till he is ready to "depart and be with Christ, which is far better." Paul felt the old man still clinging to him. "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" So shall we. But for all this, the new life is there. We love prayer, we love God's house, we love to talk with Christ; we bear the blossoms in us of the better life — the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace.
II. IS MY LIFE A DIGNIFIED LIFE? Yes! Dignified! Have we come to this, that we think ermine-clad judges, and purple-clad rulers, alone have dignified estate? Let me hope not! It was once thought a great dignity to be a Roman citizen — but there was a greater dignity. I am a man! sounds a deeper depth of dignity than I am a Roman citizen. Yes, and what the world wants just now is to feel this: the dignity of life, as life. Why the greatest physical wonder in creation is man; and the greatest moral wonder is man. Do you think if men and women felt this, that our towns and cities would be disgraced as they are by lascivious songs and dances at our places of public entertainment, or by debasing drunkenness, or by hollow-hearted profanity, which misnames itself wit? Do you think, if the dignity of life itself was properly estimated, that men would not rather be bankrupt in cash, than bankrupt in character? Men would say, Think what manner of men we are; and pointing to the lofty hills, or the all-surrounding sea, they would say: these shall perish, but we shall remain.
III. IS MY LIFE A DIVINE VOCATION? I hold, with Mr. Ruskin, that we were never sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts. That is a serious statement, and not to be adopted without reflection; but I for one believe it to be quits true. Now let us remember that every honourable vocation is a Divine vocation; that circumstances and fitnesses constitute the calling of God, the voice speaking to us and saying "Son, go there." If we miss this, we shall come to artificial ideas of vocation.
IV. IS MY LIFE A PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY? Is it like imprisoned air, that once released returns to the universal atmosphere? Is it like the tiny mountain rill which flows into the great river, and thence into the wide sea? Is it, that is to say, in any personal sense mine? Upon our answer to this depends our deliverance from all these Pantheistic ideas of God, which make Him the great Spirit of the Universe; all life being His life, and our own spirits only part of the great spirit, departing at death to its central source. Now the Bible declares emphatically our personal and unalterable individuality, and our consciousness accords with this. We are, in the strictest sense of the word, separate existences, and when we depart hence we shall be separate existences still. Any property we may possess, be it large or small, changes hands at death; we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we shall carry nothing out. But we do not lose ourselves; thought, conscience, memory, remain the same, I cannot change my life for yours, nor can you change with your brother. "What is my life?" Is it a dreary fatalism? Our inner life answers with swift decision, — No! Is it the result of influences which have helplessly overborne us? No. The Spirit of the Living God has been nigh to every one of us. Had this poor man cried, the Lord would have heard him and delivered him out of all his troubles.
V. IS MY LIFE A REDEEMED LIFE? It depends upon which side of Redemption you look at it. In one sense, all lives are redeemed lives. Christ is "the propitiation not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world." Christ "died for all." So far then as the Great Atonement is concerned, the oblation was for all. "Once in the end of the world Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." But on the other side of the Redemption comes in our personality again. "Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Faith then, as you well know, is the condition of redemption, and faith is the trust of the soul in the redeeming Christ. Surely we know whether we have trust or not. In human affairs it is not so hard to tell. I saw a diamond this week, and held it in my hand, which at the African diggings was sold for three thousand five hundred pounds; it had been consigned to an agent here, far away from its finder and possessor. Could that man, across the seas, have any difficulty in deciding if he had trusted his agent here? I trow not And what does Paul say, "I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him unto that day." Beautiful are human trusts — in love, in commerce, in friendship — there is poetry enough in human trusts. But there may be failure here. Alas, there often is! But Christ never deserted or failed the soul committed to Him. Never!
VI. IS MY LIFE A MORTAL LIFE. Here again it depends upon which side you study it. On one side it is, "For what is your life, it is even as a vapour which appeareth for a little time and then passeth away." Yes! "All flesh is grass." Yes! "The wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more." Sad enough on this side is human life. The fairest forms and faces lie tonight amid the clods of the valley. Tennyson's little May Queen sees the hawthorn blossom no more, and the Pride of the Village becomes the prey of worms. It has been ever so. The dark Egyptian beauties, the fair Grecian forms, the proud Roman damsels, descend to the dust. Pharoahs leave their palaces for the pyramids. Caesars leave their purples for the same chambers that their meanest slaves occupy. There, the rich and the poor — the strong and the weak — the servant and the master — all meet together. Few of us like to think of it. The tabernacles we have dwelt in so long, tended so carefully, adorned so constantly, and have come to consider part of our very selves — these must not only die, but become the subjects of corruption tool. "The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away." And is this, we may ask, all of life? Did God introduce us into this world, where temptation tries, care wearies, doubt perplexes, sorrow burdens, sickness weakens, bereavement embitters — only to pass through much tribulation to the tomb! Oh! it cannot be! All the teachings of Scripture, all the promises of Christ, all the undying hopes of the human heart, tell us it cannot be. Immortality is the birthright of humanity, and though, during long ages the light of this truth burned dimly, Christ "came to bring light and immortality to light through the Gospel." My life is mortal — and it is immortal too.
(W. H. Statham.)
PeopleAdriel, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Saul
TopicsClan, David, Family, Father's, King's, Kinsfolk, Law, Saul, Son-in-law
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 18:18
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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