Faithlife Sermons

The Art of Admitting Defeat

1 Samuel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  36:09
0 ratings
· 67 views

'Are we able to surrender our own goals for that of God's goals?'

Files
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

My bag of tricks

When I joined the army I had no idea of what was in store for me.
Not often, but whenever there are disagreements in the house or with friends, or colleges, and I sense that my argument is perhaps the weaker argument, I have a bag of tricks I revert to.
In my mind I know I have lost, but my bag of tricks is usually enough to break away from the disagreement and not confront the truth.
In fact, often I have so much to learn.
My bag of tricks enables me in my stubbornness to admit defeat to myself, but not directly admit it.
If I lose argument with the kids, instead of admitting I am wrong I would just say “Because Daddy says so”.
If you are anything like me, you will come up with a plan to attack the day.
If I lose an argument with my mates I could sometimes get away with the “Oh, your breaking up, what did you say…beep beep beep.”
With Laura, I find myself so desperate I misuse Scripture, which compounds the sins I need to repent of. The go to line when I have nothing more to say is “Get behind me Satan.” Which is ridiculous.
Day one someone shaves your head and yells at you and you lie there in bed just thinking “What have a done?”
We have our own little world of all the things we will do that day and nothing will stop us from achieving our aim.
It’s stupid. It’s foolish. And at every reaction I know and everyone else knows that I am wrong. And repentance is needed.
But when traffic hits on the way to doing Scripture at Guildford West, I lose my temper in the car. “How can this person be driving this slowly?”
And the issue here isn’t bad debating skills.
Instead of admitting that my plan failed to factor in traffic or really slow drivers, I sit there and say “Move!”.
My bag of tricks to get out of this situation is limited at best.
In fact I can do nothing but just get angry and blame others.
So what is the issue here? Is it my poor planning? Is it the slow driver on the road?
No - it’s me.
The issue here is pride. Pride in my own goals and needing my plans to be right. I refuse to admit defeat. I refuse to admit that perhaps my little world needs have a bigger picture.
But things ease off a bit as you settle in and I certainly settled into the Army culture of mateship, teamwork, integrity, swearing and drinking.
Don’t we all have that? Isn’t it something we struggle with. When we get told no to things, don’t we rile against that? When we have our usual ways of going about things: the seat we sit in every Sunday for church (or at school), the coffee we order every morning at the same time, even the way some of us escape into our phones to play some pointless game until someone interrupts us and we are asked to stop what we are doing and do something else. We get fustrated. We get angry. What we don’t often do straight away is admit that we are not the centre of the universe. We don’t often admit that our plans for our world and our day need to be changed at the expense of what we really want to be doing for us.
The sins might not be as prevalent, and we might not go to the length of misusing Scripture, but we might often stubbornly still decide to go our own way rather than humbling submitting to anyone else - particularly God’s way.
We have it here in church.
And then after a couple of weeks, something strange happened. I got invited to my first ever Bible study.
This morning we see two worlds, two kingdoms and two plans at war with each other and only one will prevails. And this morning is a little confronting because we are placed on the losing side from the get go. The main perspective we get throughout this morning is not of our hero David, but the tragic perspective of Saul. And the question posed to Saul and to us is ‘are we willing to surrender our own goals to that of God’s goals?’ Are we willing to fully come to God, fall at our knees and say ‘not my will, but your will be done’?
And it was really nice. Up until that point my friendships were fairly service level and rough. But here I was introduced to a group of people whose lives were obviously different to mine. There was something else.
Now, over the next 12 months, every Wednesday, I heard the gospel a number of times and I was told the importance of telling others and letting it shape your life. But every Thursday I was out with the boy drinking away the pay packet and generally up to no good.
My relationships at Bible study and in life didn’t deepen further, they just stayed the same. And I had this bag of tricks I would reach into to give my self excuses as to why I would miss Bible Study here, why I didn’t talk to someone about Jesus there, why I it was ok to chase after girls - essentially why it was ok not to change. On Wednesday’s I acted like a Christian, but the reality is that I was fighting a losing battle against God himself with my life. There was no fruit in my life because I would tell God on a weekly basis that I did not need to change.
My core issue wasn’t ability or skill. My bag of tricks meant that I was articulate and knew what to say in Bible study. I could present well at times. No, my issue was that I was not willing to fully surrender my goals and my life over and commit to God’s plan for my life.
And this is our question this morning - are we willing to surrender own own goals for that of God’s goals?
We see this question asked of us with increasing intensity. It is like a mini series with three episodes. In episode one we have Saul’s son Jonathan and his clothes so let’s look at the passage.

Episode 1: Saul’s son and his clothes (18.1-5)

Look down with me a verses 1-5 of chapter 18.
Let’s just notice how actively involved David is in this scene.
The answer - not very.
Instead of doing the action, David is the object of the action. We hear of the response of Jonathan to David and our perspective of what is going on in this scene is less viewing things in line with the hero David, but from the outside.
We hear Jonathan’s affection and loyalty to David.
We their friendship described in a fairly one way manner with verse 1 saying that Jonathan loved David more than himself. He became one spirit with David (which describes a deep level of friendship). But we don’t read of David’s reaction to Jonathan within this chapter too much to we?
Jonathan made a covenant with David in verse 3. We don’t get the details of the covenant, or the agreement here, but we do get a hint of what was involved in verse 4.
1 Samuel 18:4 NIV
Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Jonathan hands David his robes. There is nothing homo erotic about this, this is a political move more than anything. The robes of the king’s own son were the robes of a prince. These were royal robes and a princely sword. This means that Jonathan aligned himself with David and in many ways says without using words ‘David is the man who should inherit the throne - not me’. What a move to make! “Here you go David - what you did against Goliath proves that clearly the Lord is with you. I need to align myself with you” says Jonathan. It is an interesting comparison to make last week when we say King Saul offer his own armour to David.
1 Samuel 17:38–40 NIV
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:38–40 NIV
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:38–39 NIV
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.
1 Samuel 17:38 NIV
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.
The king’s clothes didn’t fit David. Not only in size - but he was not the king. Jonathan, the man who should inherit the throne gives up his tunic and they appear to be accepted by David. We see no hint of rejection of them here. Here is a very strong indication that although David was not the king yet, not did he pretend to be, he was the king that is to come.
So Saul sends David out on missions and each step of the way, David is successful. And with each success David begins to show that perhaps he is suited to these clothes that Jonathan has given him.
So Saul sends David out on missions and each step of the way, David is successful. And with each success David begins to show that perhaps he is suited to these clothes that Jonathan has given him.
Here we see the prince of the land, the son who should inherit the throne see that his plans, his aspirations are not what they needed to be. Is Jonathan willing to surrender his own goals for that of God’s goals? The answer appears to be yes. And it is interesting to note what characterises Jonathan’s response - a willing love. Jonathan sees the fruit of the presence of God in David and desires to live for God’s goals, not his own. Let’s look at episode 2 to see how Saul’s reaction develops.

Episode 2: Saul’s displeasure and his spear (18.6-16)

To start to begin to see Saul’s growing stubbornness and unwillingness to side with the presence of the Lord, verse 6 cites the crowd’s reaction to one of David’s victories, specifically over Goliath. cites when David was coming home from defeating ‘the Philistine’, which is Goliath, women came out to meet King Saul and they sung in their victory. Now this probably points to the author, Samuel, inserting the Goliath account in earlier than it actually occurred so that the narrative might build the tension well. This explains how back in people can call David a mighty warrior. It appear his military service may of included breaks where he would return and tend to the flock, which is how we find him at the start of .
We gathered a hint of this in when David was described as a warrior
1 Samuel 18:6 NIV
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.
1 Samuel 16:18 NIV
One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
So when we look at the song they sung to Saul, we get the impression that David had already begun to build some popularity through military service prior to the Goliath battle:
1 Samuel 18:7 NIV
As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
Literally, they sung that Saul has stuck thousands, but David: a myriad. Almost a countless number. How great is this David guy!
Without hesitation, we get Saul’s reaction in
1 Samuel 18:8–9 NIV
Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
Saul was angry. He saw the writing on the wall - what more could David get from Saul than the kingdom itself. And here we see Saul’s problem - he will not admit that it is not his kingdom at all.
When we pray the Lord’s prayer we being with ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come..’ don’t we. Jesus taught us in that we are not to hope for our own earthly kingdom, but that of God’s kingdom. Here Saul says, ‘What more can he get my the kingdom?’ without realising that it was never his kingdom to let go of. This success, it’s not because of Saul’s greatness, or even David’s greatness - it’s because of God’s greatness.
So the story progresses and an evil, or a harmful, spirit is sent to torment Saul. Instead of the Spirit coming forcefully on Saul, much like , the Spirit of God is withdrawn from Saul and the vacuum of space that is left is filled with a Spirit that terrorises Saul. It is more accurately described, less as a ‘evil spirit’ but as a spirit that causes disaster in Saul’s life. Saul is being judged here, and in his pride he refuses to let go of his own goal of power and fails to grasp the correct response to witnessing the divine favour upon David.
Saul is so angered by this that he hurled a spear at David. His objective to ‘pin him to the wall’ in is less “Oh I hope just to catch his shirt and pin his clothes to the wall’. No—Saul wants him dead. But David eludes him twice and seemingly puts it down to Saul just having a bad day.
tells us that Saul by this stage knows that he has lost this battle with God and the Lord has chosen David. But does he surrender? No. He goes into his bag of tricks, and in his fear of David sends him to the front lines hoping the enemy would kill him. But does it work? No.
In fact, Saul’s problem is getting worse. Read with me
1 Samuel 14–16 NIV
One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba. Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.” So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.” So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre. Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God. Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there. Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.) While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven. Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food. The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.” Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?” That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood in it.” “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood still in it.’ ” So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had done this. Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.” “Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied. But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.” So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day. Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word. Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.” “Do what seems best to you,” they replied. Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken. Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!” Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.” But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death. Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land. After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them. Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel. All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service. Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites. Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night. Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.” When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?” Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.” “Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” “Tell me,” Saul replied. Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!” As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord. Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites.” Agag came to him in chains. And he thought, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal. Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel. The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.” Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
1 Samuel 18:14–16 NIV
In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
Is it any surprise that David is successful? No. Quite plainly, because where the presence of the Lord is there is always victory. God is always in control and he will always claim the victory. The cross to many appears to be foolishness—how could we worship a defeated King. But with the resurrection, God shows that where his presence is, there will always be victory. The whole Bible points to God’s plans never failing. There are centuries of evidence of that being true within these pages!
1 Corinthians 15:54–57 NIV
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So with Saul in we see that he is struggling with the art of admitting defeat. Saul’s response to the presence of the Lord is despise and anger.
The presence of the Lord is and always has been with Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ defeated the most formidable of enemies, Death itself. Where the presence of the Lord is there is always victory. If we skip back to Saul in we see that he is struggling with the art of admitting defeat. His response here is despise and anger. But note the response of the people of Israel - all of Israel and Judah loves David. Is Saul ready to surrender his own goals for that of God’s goals? No way. And this is really brought home for us in our final episode.
But note the response of the people of Israel - all of Israel and Judah loves David. Is Saul ready to surrender his own goals for that of God’s goals? No way. And this is really brought home for us in our final episode.

Episode 3: Saul’s daughter and her price (18.17-30)

Saul finally recalls the promise he made at the Goliath confrontation that he would give over his daughter to David ().
Saul says, well- you have proved yourself, here is my daughter. His reasoning is a little back handed though. Look what he thinks to himself in the second half of . “I’m not going to lay a hand against him—I cannot speak for the Philistines though!”. What he attempted in the previous verses is now made clear. He wants David dead, but doesn’t want the blood on his hands.
But David declines - he says rather humbly “Who am I to be your son-in-law?”. He recognises his humble roots and appears to decline. So when time comes for them to be married, she is married off to someone else.
is interesting. For the third time in this chapter we are told that someone loves David. First Jonathan, then Israel and Judah and now Michal. The love for David, who is blessed with the presence of the Lord is in stark contrast to that of Saul isn’t it.
Saul isn’t pleased just because Michal loves David, once again it is probably just a political alignment. In the same way that many Americans seemed to love Trump at the last election - the love here is of preference to victory, and isn’t necessarily erotic. Saul hears of this and thinks that this is good news. He has another bite at the cherry to get David to marry one of his daughters, send him off the fight and for him to die.
Saul is thinking ‘Now I know he has killed many Philistines, and has even effortlessly killed their Goliath, surely one of these days the Philistines will get him”. And we see the foolishness of this plan in the way it unfolds.
David is approach and again simply says “Look, I am poor and humble, I cannot afford to marry into this family.”
So Saul says: “Ok. It’s not money we are after here. You are handy with a sword, go and fetch me 100 Philistine foreskins.”
Now this was not something the Philistines would of been keen for. They were not willing to ‘nip the tip’ so to speak willingly. And David knew this. He wasn’t going out to persuade Philistines to convert to Judaism - he was being sent out to kill. And was David up to the task - you bet.
1 Samuel 18:27 NIV
David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
David went out and because the Lord was with him, he did twice as much as what Saul thought was impossible - 200 Philistines. And just to make sure Saul knew about it, they counted out each one.
In the face of defeat - knowing he has lost this one and his story only ends one way, does Saul surrender to God’s presence here?
1 Samuel 18:28–29 NIV
When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.
1 Samuel 18:28 NIV
When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David,
No. He responds with a fearful and a hardened heart towards the man who would be the king of Israel.
David was certainly the next king to come, but he was not the true king of Israel that would last forever. In , David is promised that not him, but a descendant of his would be the eternal king of Israel. This king is Jesus.
Jesus did not simply have the presence of the Lord with Him, he was God himself equal with the Father and the Spirit. describes Christ in amazing terms doesn’t it. Let these words sink in.
Philippians 2:6–11 NIV
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The true king of Israel was obedient to the goals of God his entire life, even when that meant death on a cross. But where the presence of the Lord is, there is always victory.
And God exalted him to the highest place - to his right hand in heaven. His kingdom is the one that is coming. He is the king on the throne that we stand for.
The art of admitting defeat is something we all need to learn. It’s simply coming to a point in your life where you recognise that your goals are not the most important thing in this life. The plan that you had for your own little kingdom is actually ruled by another. It’s ruled by Jesus. So this morning is not about reshaping our plans to make them fit us better, it is about ditching the plans all together and realising we are not the kings of our own little kingdom.
The end result of God’s plan will be obvious to all of human history, but in the meantime how are we to know if we are living out his plan for our lives?
I think there are two helpful places for us to settle here. One looks inwardly and the other outwardly.
Firslty, we look outwardly at every thing we do here as a church. says
Matthew 7:15–20 NIV
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Is the fruit of the Gospel evident in everything that we do here at church. Do you feel like you are growing in holiness and a love of God in your small group, or do you need to change (we have pleantly of opportunities by the way)? Do you think our Bible Study leaders need more training? Is the Night School growing disciples who will use what they are learning for the benefit of God’s kingdom? We can look at all our ministries, everyone who leads here and ask, “Is this person or ministries producing fruit?”. If not, I suggest that the plan in action there is perhaps not God’s plan, but one that we are trying to force through with our own will and strength, and no matter how long that has gone on here, we need to be prepared to get out the pruning sheers and cut them off from active service and replaced by something else.
And if we have ministries or people here that are clearly producing fruit of the Gospel, I would also suggest that we water those and help them continue to grow. Get more people alongside them and to highlight just one place there - Kid’s club on Friday afternoons. It is often to the most daunting part of my week, but the growth of that from the start of the year has been really exciting. In terms of staff capability, that ministry is watered - but it needs more help. So, as part of the community of believers here, consider how you could serve and help water the Gospel ministries going on here. If you can spare 2pm-5 pm on a Friday to sit with primary aged children and talk about the Bible, then talk to Tim, Anna or myself and come along to check it out.
Firstly, says:
Finally, let us have help us look inwardly:
2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
With the truth of the Gospel in our heart, that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour, can we look inwardly and see that we do not live for ourselves, but we live for God in everything we do. Is our walk into church shaped by the excitement of sharing in a Christ shaped worship of God, or are we more interested in getting to our seat so that no one else takes it? Are our daily decisions on what to spend money on or not shaped by fulfilling the cravings of our own plans, or are they shaped by ideas of how to grow God’s kingdom here in Guildford. Are our hearts, minds and goals surrendered over to the king who died for us, or are we living for ourselves.
Matthew 7:15–20 NIV
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Is the fruit of the Gospel evident in everything that we do here at church. Do you feel like you are growing in holiness and a love of God in your small group, or do you need to change (we have pleantly of opportunities by the way)? Do you think our Bible Study leaders need more training? Is the Night School growing disciples who will use what they are learning for the benefit of God’s kingdom? We can look at all our ministries, everyone who leads here and ask, “Is this person or ministries producing fruit?”. If not, I suggest that the plan in action there is perhaps not God’s plan, but one that we are trying to force through with our own will and strength
Let us pray.
Related Media
Related Sermons