Themes in 1 Samuel 05: Covenant Friendship

Date: 7/26/2015
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Friendship
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

We have seen how 1st Samuel provides a saga of Israel’s disobedience and God’s deliverances: first through Samuel, then Saul, then David. Though Saul was good (10:7ff; 11:6ff; 2:3-13), he prematurely acted by improperly offering sacrifices, instead of trusting God (13:14;15:22). The rise of David unfolds as he proves to be “a man after His own heart” (13:14). David was first a worshiper, but also skilled as a slinger. He had been delivered by the Lord before: David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (17:37). Because of this David knows “the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S” (17:45-47). The rest of the book shows David’s rise and Saul’s decline (16:1-31:13). David’s successes provoke Saul’s jealousy (18:1-30) and so Saul schizophrenically seeks to kill David (19:1-23:29).  Saul, now devoid of the restraining and convicting ministry of the Spirit, acts as a mad man, always with a spear in his hand (18:10, 19:9, 20:33, 22:6, 26:7). In the midst of this Jonathan, Saul’s son, helps David escape (20:1-42). They form a covenant friendship. “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself” (18:1). “Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself” (18:3) and so he gives David his royal clothing (18:4). Jonathan had already been spared (by the army, against Saul’s rashness, ch 14). He knows that David will be the next king (not himself) and yields to David. When it becomes evident that Saul is not simply given to fits of madness against David, but is intent on destroying him, David must seek refuge in Gath (oddly the hometown of Goliath, 21:10-15). Dissidents in Israel come to side with David and pressure him to kill Saul. In rage, Saul slaughters the priests at Nob who unknowingly aided David (22:6-23). The major events that unfold after this are: The Philistines ironically save David from Saul (23:7-29);  David spares Saul in a cave (24:1-22); Abigail keeps David from bloodshed (25:1-44); David spares Saul in the camp (26:1-25); David flees to the Philistines (27:1-12); Saul consults the witch of En Dor (28:1-25); David is forbidden to fight with the Philistines (29:1-11); David overcomes the Amalekite raiders (30:1-31); and finally the Philistines defeat Israel and Saul’s sons are killed and he takes his own life (31:1-13). Such is the summary of the second half of 1st Samuel.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more