Come Follow Me Insights – 1 Samuel 8–18: David & Goliath – powered by Happy Scribe
And I’m Tyler.
This is Book of Mormon central. Come Follow Me insights. Today, the Book of First Samuel.
Now last week we covered chapters one, two and three, so that’s not part of today’s lesson, but the rest of the book is there. And the curriculum you’ll notice focuses on certain chapters and leaves out many of them. And we’re going to skip most of them as well. We’re going to follow roughly what is in the Come Follow Me manual. So, Taylor, how would you classify the Book of First Samuel? What is the 30,000 foot overview?
King ship, who is the King? This book is focused on how did Israel get a King? Now it’s interesting. If we turn to Second Nephi 1014, God says this very plainly, I the Lord, the King of heaven, will be their King, and I will be a light unto them forever. That hear my words. So Jacob is living from the Book of Mormon hundreds of years after the time period of one Samuel, but he probably understands what’s going on in one Samuel of how we’ll see the Israelites want a King so they can be like all the other nations. So the narrative is setting up how do we get to a point where the people rejected the judges like Samuel, and why are they clamoring for a King to be like all the other nations, and why did God allow them to get what they wanted but not what they needed? And I find it significant that so much of what’s going on in the rest of the Bible is a question about who is the real King. And if you look carefully at the Book of Mormon, much of the Book of Mormon narrative is driven by that very question, who is the real King?
It’s God. Now, God allows for circumstances to have a leader or a set of leaders to represent him, to have divine kingship or have divinely appointed kingship, and how people are willing to listen to God’s commands and obey him through the divinely appointed leader is what makes the difference between prospering or not. We see that throughout the Book of Mormon. So the Book of First Samuel, we can get lots of weeds of lots of details, lots of really fun stories. If you just remember it’s about how did kingship come to be in the Israelite time period? And what does that mean about the people’s relationship with God, who is the real King?
You know what’s fascinating, Taylor? You talk about the Book of Mormon, and every time the kingship or the government is brought up in the Book of Mormon, there are some really fascinating things going on there. Nephi. The people wanted him to be a King and he didn’t want for that. But he said, Nevertheless, I did under them that which was in my power.
We will talk briefly that Nephi did all the things that God expected of a King and yet he refused the title. And my personal opinion is he had read the Old Testament and realized the problems of human kingship, which is fascinating.
Because then when Jacob takes over there in Jacob chapter one, he talks about NEFA and he says, unto whom you look as a King or a protector, which isn’t that interesting in the Book of Mormon context there. Early on, the role of a King was to protect the people. It wasn’t to abuse them or to sit lazily upon a throne while they do all the hard work like King Noah did. So you see all these contrasts throughout the Book of Mormon. You get King Benjamin, who tells the people, I’ve served you, and then you get all of these Kings in the Book of Ether, and it’s just one bad King after another sprinkled in with a few good Kings along the way of what, 30 31 profits listed, or people who have been the ancestors of Ether back to Jared. And it’s just a disaster when it comes to the government of the people, because they refused to turn heavenward, and they kept turning to their Kings to save them and to do everything for them. So as we jump into this story today, you’re going to notice a significant transition for Israel. They go away from the model of following a Prophet Moses and then Joshua and then to the judges.
And for a couple of hundred years, 300 years of judges, you get these struggles. And now Samuel appoints his two sons in chapter four and five and six after Eli and his two sons die. Now Samuel takes over and he puts his two sons in as judges. And then it’s here where the people say, no, we want to go from judges to Kings. So it’s the inverse. It’s the opposite of what you get in the Book of Mormon, where King Mosaiah in chapter 29 of Mosiah 29, he says he’s trying to convince the people to go away from Kings and go towards judges. Do you think he was spending any time reflecting on the story of King Benjamin in contrast to King Enoch and what he did, or even back to Nephi as the first King or protector over the people. And he’s saying, you know what? I’ve just read the story of the Jaredites. I’ve translated the record in Mosaic, chapter 28. Let’s get away from this idea of Kings and let’s go to judges instead. So there’s kind of your inverse story of what we’re covering here in the Bible.
So important book, important book if you want to understand how humans across the ages have struggled with choosing the real King.
So let’s pick up the story in chapter eight. Samuel, chapter eight, verse four, tells us that all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together and came to Samuel unto Rama and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways. Now make us a King to judge us like all the nations. You’ll notice the rationale they gave it was, you’re old. Your sons aren’t righteous. They’re not following. And we want to be like all the nations. We want to fit in with all the nations.
Now, typically, that’s not the first thing you should be doing when you’re thinking about how to live your life. Now, I want to make it totally clear there is goodness and beauty all around the world, and we should find and embrace it, but we shouldn’t simply follow the crowd because it’s a popular thing to do if we don’t first know what God wants. My personal opinion, I don’t think God has a problem if we’re following him. If we say, oh, it’s interesting somebody tried that particular strategy to solve a problem. If we’re following God and we’re like, I’m going to try that strategy, too. Not rejecting God right, bringing all truth together. But these individuals are saying now we really only want to use the world’s model. We have no interest in God’s model at all.
So you’ll notice what happens in verse six. The thing displeased Samuel when they said, give us a King to judges. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord, I love that he goes to the heavens for direction on this. So what you now see is in verse ten, it says, Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a King. So all the words that we get that Samuel was given by the Lord, all we get is a little handful of verses in verse seven, eight, and nine.
And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee, and here’s what matters, for they have not rejected thee, Samuel, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. That’s so sad.
That’s a turning point in our whole biblical narrative moving forward. That is kind of this little teeny decision that they made that is going to shape the whole future narrative for these people and for multiple generations to come.
If you read the rest of the Bible narrative carefully, particularly when the people are under duress or distress or being oppressed or they’re taken off into captivity, it’s always tied back into Kings, misleading the people into apostasy. The Bible writers are very clear. The Kings of Israel, there were some righteous ones. The Kings of Israel and Judah primarily led the people in apostasy instead of being like Nephi or Benjamin Mosiah, who were in a kingly role. But they spent their time teaching the gospel, reminding people the Covenant instructions and making sure people were living them. So it’s actually kind of sad. It’s like, you know, how the story is going to end. It’s just hard to get started and realize this is going to turn into a tragedy. And the tragedy gets started right here.
Yeah. If we could diagram this on the board. The way it works traditionally in the world is you have a King who is at the apex of that society and everybody’s there to serve him, to do things for him, and anything he says becomes the law. Well, look at what Samuel does with the people, starting there in verse ten, all the way down through verse 18. What he’s doing is he’s giving reason after reason after reason. He’s trying to convince them this is a really bad idea. If they’re really good, that’s wonderful. But you can’t guarantee they’re going to stay good and their children are going to continue to be good. So bad idea to put the King in position because he can overthrow all these laws and he will basically make you serve him. Now, isn’t it fascinating? We’ve talked about some of these incredible examples of good Kings in the Book of Mormon, for instance, Nephi, Benjamin, Mosaic. You’ve got wonderful examples. What makes them wonderful? It’s because they’re following the Christlike pattern, because in the Kingdom of God, did you get that Kingdom of God? If you will be greatest of all, then you will be the servant of all.
It’s an upside down topsyturvy diagram. The King is the one who serves the power that he has actually gives him the capacity to serve at a greater degree. He’s not taking anything from the people. Instead, he’s giving everything to the people. And in the ultimate Kingdom of God, with Jesus Christ as the King of Kings, it’s not in the world’s model. It’s he who descended below all things in order to exalt us up in the Kingdom of God. You don’t look for callings in order to be in charge, in order to have people serve you. You accept callings that come and opportunities that come as invitations from the Lord Jesus Christ to become more like him and to be able to serve more and more people in more powerful ways, connecting them with heaven and giving them what they need and filling their needs and mourning and comforting those that stand in need of comfort. It just gives you more capacity to do that for more people in more profound ways as life moves on. So I love this. I love this comparison, this contrast. And now you would think Samuel has laid out a pretty significant case against a King to the people.
Look at verse 18, and you shall cry out in that day because of your King, which he shall have chosen you. And the Lord will not hear you in that day because we just read it before. They’ve not rejected you, Samuel. They’ve rejected me. And so you’re going to cry to your King for deliverance, to protect you, and he won’t be able to do that. You’re going to see that over and over. And Oliver, in our stories coming forward, look at verse 19. After all of that, the answer is, nevertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, Nay, but we will have a King over us, that we may also be like all the nations and that our King may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles, which is what happens here. But it doesn’t happen here. What’s happening is you’re going to go out and fight his battles. And at that point, Samuel says, all right, agency wins the day.
It’s interesting, one of the most powerful and repeated titles that we have of God is Lord of Hosts or Lord of Saba oath, which is a transliteration of Lord of HOS, Lord of Host. Host is a military entourage. God himself is the divine warrior. He’s the one who will fight all your battles. People are saying, no thanks, we want to do it on our own. What happens in the Book of Morphin when people say, we’d rather fight with our own armor flesh? What happens to the knee fights or the Lehmanites? They always lose. And it’s always about to question, who do you choose to have as your Lord of hosts? Who’s your King to go out to battle for you? Are you going to choose the Kings who want to enlist you into their battles, or God who will fight your battles? It’s fascinating. In fact, if we turn back to Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verses 14 to 20, God lays out his expectations for what a King should be like, and we’ll put it here on the screen. But here’s the expectations coming up to Kings should not do these things. Don’t acquire a lot of horses, meaning don’t build a military.
Why? Because God himself is the Lord of oath. He fights the battles. Don’t return the people to Egypt, which I interpret as don’t return the people to the house of a bondage or apostasy because God saved them out of Egypt. Save them from bondage, save them from apostasy. The King should not take the people back into bondage. Don’t acquire many wives. Don’t seek out for silver and gold. So that’s what a King should not be doing. Here’s what a King should be doing. Have a copy of the Scriptures. Read the scriptures every day. Teach the scriptures, instruct the people about the Covenant path and its obligations. Do not lift yourself up above your brethren. If you look at the Bible and the stories that go on here, this is exactly what Samuel seen. Your King is going to break the Covenant on oath. He’s going to make himself act like God and take everything but the real Kings promote God’s word in his Covenant instructions. If you look at Nephi, what’s one of the first things he does? He goes to preserve the Scriptures, and he happens to get a sword out of that effort, too, which he uses to defend people.
What’s significant is that Nephi understands a real King spends his time teaching the word of God. What does King Benjamin do? He teaches people the word of God. What does King Mosaiah do? All of them are focused on teaching about Jesus and preserving the records and reminding people when a Benedict shows up, he has to show up teaching the word of God. Because the King Enoch had chosen to have too many wives and search after silver and gold, he was doing the exact opposite of what God expected. So the patterns we see here in Samuel in the Old Testament about God’s expectations for kingship play out really well. They play out really clearly in the Book of Mormon. And it’s very clear that the Book of Mormon, the leaders there, are judged according to the covenantal kingship model that God revealed in Deuteronomy that we see playing out here in one Samuel, chapter eight.
Well, there’s nothing to be done for it. Let’s get us a King because the people are demanding it. Right. So we turn over to chapter nine. Samuel goes to find the King, and God guides him in this process to a man of the tribe of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, and he had a son whose name is Saul. Verse two tells us he’s a choice young man and a goodly. And there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he from his shoulders and upward, he was higher than any of the people. So he’s unusual for his surroundings. He stands out. He caught the attention, which, by the way, is going to come up later on when we’re picking David as the second King, because Samuel is kind of he’s programmed at this point. Okay, well, the King must be the biggest, tallest, strongest guy, and we’re going to get that corrected with David a few chapters down the road.
This freeze good leave is interesting because the Bible authors are trying to help us to focus on a key hero. And if you look carefully at other heroes we have in the text that they’re often called goodly. Nepha’s name in Egyptian means goodly, beautiful, desirable. So it seems like it’s a word that you might use to identify God’s chosen. Even David is described about that he is beautiful and comely words that in Egyptian you would render as the word Nephi. Nephi is so fascinating that God chooses people and he makes them good because he is good. And we’ll see what happens to Saul when he decides to take power in his own hands and take dictation from the people instead of from God.
Well, before we get there, we need to get him as a King first. Here we go to verse 21. After Samuel has had some interaction with him. Saul is a little taken aback by this. Look at his description and tell me on the meeknessometer, where would Saul be? It says, and Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin, Wherefore then speaks out. So to me, Samuel, why are you coming and paying attention to me? And what are you doing here? We’re like the smallest tribe and I’m in the least significant family within this smallest tribe where nobody’s you’ll notice that meekness, that smallness of his perception of who he is and his level of pride. The level of pride is really low here, but watch what happens. So turn the page over chapter ten, we get verse one. Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it upon his head and kissed him and said, is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? So there’s the anointing.
Keep in mind three different types of people in the Old Testament get anointed, prophets, priests, and Kings. Here, you get this kingly, anointing for Saul. And remember the word anoint. In Hebrew, that Messiah is Messiah. In Greek, it’s Christos or Christ. So it’s Jesus, the Anointed, who, by the way, Jesus is our Prophet, priest and King, all three, he is the anointed. So all of these are smaller symbols of the real deal. So then you’ll notice verse seven says, let it be when these signs are coming to thee that thou do as occasion serve thee, for God is with thee. That’s what that calling. That anointing. It’s the phrase that President Thomas S. Monsoon used to use whom the Lord calls the Lord Qualifies. And this is a great example of a guy who he may be really tall, but he feels like an absolute nobody in the house of Israel, in the greater Kingdom now of Israel, and he feels really inadequate. And so Samuel’s propping up his courage, God is with thee. And he tells him, you’re going to go down. And then in verse nine, and it was so that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart.
And all those signs came to pass that day. God changed him from the inside. It’s that empowerment to rise up to the calling, rise up to the occasion that is placed in front of you. And it may not be something that you asked for or even wanted or are excited about, but it’s that it’s harkening back to Joshua. Give me this mountain perspective, knowing that God is with me. And if he’s with me, I’m going to prevail in whatever it is I need to do that.
Anointing oil is a symbol of God’s spirit, his atonement, his love. And so when the spirit is with you, you have a member that God had with you. So oil is simply just a physical symbol that God is with you. And when God is with you, if you think back to the Nephi, when God was with them, they didn’t lose battles. This is what God is saying, I want to be with you. I am the King who will support you in doing my cause. And I love the fact that Samuel, he didn’t think highly of himself. He was quite Meek. I think most of us at some point in our lives feel at times like, how could God make use of me? We might feel like Saul here. And God will give you his spirit. He will anoint you with his spirit. When you receive the gift of confirmation, when you partake of the Sacrament, the promises, you’ll have the Spirit with you. God will do great things with you. Now, maybe it’s not written about in the history books, but any act of love, any moment of kindness, a turning of repentance or forgiveness, those are all empowered by God, and it makes us great through God.
And I see this is what Samuel Saul represents for all of us.
So now, here we go. It’s the grand unveiling for the whole Kingdom. Here, here’s your new King. So Samuel assembles all the tribes together. You can picture this big assembly. They’re all excited. You can picture the drumroll and you can picture the cymbals crashing and the opening of the curtains, so to speak. Here he is, TADA. The lights turn on, and he’s not there. And they look everywhere and they can’t find him. And you go over to verse 22, and it says, Therefore they inquired of the Lord further if the man should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. That’s a really peculiar word in our English King James Version of the Bible. Stuff, not a word that people would picture being in the Bible. He hid himself among the stuff. I wonder if you and I today are called to certain things or given those divine commissions to accomplish something. And we feel so inadequate that instead of going and doing it, we go and hide among the stuff, the thick of thin things, as Elder Maxwell would say, Absolutely. And that stuff can be anything.
It’s stuff. It’s the stuff of the world, rather than those divine callings. Anyway, as you ponder your own life, it would probably be worth a little bit of effort to stop and reflect for a moment on what is the stuff that I hide among. When the Lord’s voice calls me to do things or to go and do certain missions for him, whatever those may be, big or small, what’s the stuff that I’m prone to hide among? So then they ran and fetched him fence in verse 23. And when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel now introduces him to the people. Now, chapter eleven and twelve, you get some interim storyline, and we’re going to jump over to chapter 13, where Saul is newly anointed as the King, and it doesn’t take long for him to kind of turn away from the King of heaven and stop following that perfect example.
So as we transition over into chapter 14, there’s a couple of things about how ancient kingship worked among the Israelites. And in the ancient world, there are three core things that typically we see for how ancient kingship works. One, the individual received divine designation as a King. We definitely have that with Saul, where he’s appointed by God through Samuel and he’s anointed with the oil. Second, the King is supposed to provide a demonstration to grain public attention and public support. Now what we notice is in chapter eleven for Samuel, Saul has not yet had a chance to proclaim himself through his deeds. And there are some detractors who don’t think he should be the King. In chapter twelve, he takes on the enemies, the ammonites, and wins. And then the people say, okay, clearly he’s the King. And part three is the public confirmation of the new leader. So one and three happen in chapter eleven, and chapter twelve is where part two happens. And yet Saul loses the divine designation because of choices he deliberately made. And we’re going to now look at what did Saul do to lose this divine appointment and therefore go off track personally and actually cause problems in the society that he was supposed to be serving?
So as we turn over to chapter 14, let’s set the stage here for what’s about to happen. Starting in verse five, the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel 30,000 chariots and 6000 horsemen and people as the sound which is on the seashore in multitude. So what you’re going to end up with is this group of Philistines over there, a steep Hill in between. So you’ve got the army of Israel over here. You have the Philistines over here, and we have the stage set with the numbers. Now we understand that in Old Testament and with some translations, there may be some issues of inflated numbers at a time, multiple of ten. So often, if you were to divide by ten, that might be around about guess as to where probably the more accurate numbers would be in English. Either way, even if you David by ten, you still got 3000 chariots, 600 horsemen and people as the sandwiches on the seashore in multitude, and they’re pitched against the Israelites. Look at verse six, when the men of Israel saw that they were in a Strait, for the people were distressed, and the people did hide themselves in caves and in thickets and in rocks and in high places and in pits.
So what we’re going to end up with is thousands of the enemy camped over here. We’re going to find out that it’s 600. If you look at chapter 14, verse 2600, of the soldiers in Saul’s Army with Jonathan. His son noticed. Verse nine says Saul said, Bring hither a burned offering to me and peace offerings. And he offered the burned offering. He’s not in the tribe of Levi. He’s a Benjamite, he’s the King. And you could say, well, the King can do anything he wants. But under strict Mosaic law, the King can’t just do the priestly functions without the priesthood. And he just did. So Samuel, when he arrives, says to him in verse 13, Thou hast done foolishly. Thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee. For now with the Lord have established thy Kingdom upon Israel forever. You could have had a Kingdom forever, Saul, but you weren’t obedient. You didn’t follow God. So then 15, Samuel arose and got him up from Gilgal unto Gibbya of Benjamin and saw numbers of people that were present with him. About 600 men. So there we go again.
You’ve got about 600 men. They’re hiding in the rocks, in the caves and the trees. They’re scattered. And what’s more, verse 19. There was no Smith found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, lest the Hebrews make them swords or Spears. So if you want any blacksmith work done, you have to go down to the Philistines because they’ve taken all of your Smiths out of the land of Israel. And verse 22, it came to pass in the day of battle that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan, but with Saul and with Jonathan, his son was there found. So you get the King and his son, Jonathan, and their armor bearers who have weapons, but nobody else does. The 600. Are you noticing the astronomical odds against the Israelites at this time? I find it fascinating that of all of the Old Testament heroes that we often talk about, there’s often a lot of emphasis put on David because he slew Goliath. This young shepherd boy actually took down the giant, and we love that story. It just somehow sings to our soul that hero’s journey that he goes on and comes out on top.
Can I just suggest to you that I would personally much rather any day I would rather have David’s odds or David’s chance at the battle that he wages with Goliath than I would with Jonathan and his armor bearer, with the battle they’re going to wage here in chapter 14, one of the ironies is that David we always love the David and Goliath story. At the end of the story with David, you’re going to see some struggles that he has. Ironically, we don’t see very many struggles at all with Jonathan. He seems to stay faithful down to the very end, and yet he often gets overlooked. And I just have to speak personally here for a minute. He’s one of my personal heroes from all Scripture study. One of these characters who often gets skipped, often doesn’t get his story told, and yet it’s quite remarkable. Watch the faith play out because we spent so much time in this episode talking about the struggle with Kings. Well, now, watch Jonathan, the son of a King. Watch his faith, watch his devotion, watch the Christlike attributes come off of the page as we cover this story in chapter 14.
Jonathan, the son of Saul, said unto the young man that bear his armor. Unfortunately, we don’t have this guy’s name. Someday I can’t wait to meet him on the other side of the Vale and thank him for his faith and his dedication and consecration to the Lord. So Jonathan turns to him. Keep in mind, we’re up here, we’re totally outnumbered. Everybody’s just hiding, scared to death. And Jonathan says, Come, let us go over to the Philistines Garrison that is on the other side. But he told not his father. So Saul has no idea what’s going on. And you’ll notice that they went down the Hill into this Valley between the two armies. And it says in verse four, between the passages by which Jonathan sought to go over into the Philistines Garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And he turns in verse six to his young man that bare his armor and said, Come, let us go over under the Garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.
Oh, I love those words that he’s saying, we don’t need to have equal numbers. In fact, it’s just you and me compared to those numbers that you got over there in chapter 13 of the King James translation showing 300 chariots, 60 horsemen, and people in the sand of the sea. And we have two. But what we really have is an army of three. We have Jonathan, we have his armor bearer, and we have the Lord of Hosts, who’s on their side, the captain of Heaven’s Army is on their side. And I can only imagine what this story felt like from a premortal perspective for you and me. If we were given the chance to look down and watch certain things play out, how my heart would have just longed to have the kind of faith that Jonathan and this armor bear have as they look at those astronomical numbers of opposition at this steep Hill between them and that opposition. And Jonathan saying, Come with me, because the Lord is able to Oliver, now you’ll notice the response of the armored bear. I don’t know about you, but if I were the armor bear, I might be saying something like, really, Jonathan, you and me, we’re going to do that.
But not this armor bear. He’s filled with faith book of verse seven. And his armor bears said unto him, do all that is in thine heart turn thee. Behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. I love this guy. I love his faith. He’s saying to Jonathan, Whatever you do, I’m with you, I’m going to go with you. Which, by the way, can I just say that is a beautiful concept, verse seven for any who serve as counselors in a presidency. That idea of I’m here, I’m going to sustain. I’m going to give you my best thinking and my best effort as we move forward to overcome this opposition that we’re facing. So then Jonathan says, here’s the plan. We’re hiding behind these two rocks. We’re going to come out from behind the rocks. We’re going to make ourselves known to the guards up on the Hill here. We’re going to somehow get their attention. And then one of two scenarios is going to play out. They are either going to say, Yo, you wait right there. We’ll come teach you a lesson. Then he said, if that’s the case, we’ll stand our ground and we’ll let them come down to us and we’ll meet them in the strength of the Lord.
But then Jonathan said, option two, they might say, Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson. And Jonathan said, if they say that, then we will know that the Lord God of Israel has delivered the Philistines into our hand to this day. Once again, I don’t know about you, but if I were the armored bear, I might say, let’s think this through a little more carefully. But not this armor bear. He tells him, I’m with you. You do whatever you want, I’m with you. So they come out. They discover themselves under the Garrison in verse eleven. And the Philistines. Can you picture them? Can you picture the haughtiness of this group looking at the numbers and the weaponry backing them as they look down at these two Israelites at the bottom of the steep Hill, waving at them, trying to get their attention and them thinking how quaint? And they shout down, come up to us and we will show you a thing. I don’t know about you, but I can picture the look on Jonathan’s face there. I can pictures. They’re straining to hear what’s the response going to be. And they hear that response.
I can picture Jonathan looking at his armor bear saying, did you hear what I heard? And him saying, yeah, I did. And Jonathan saying, all right, the Lord has delivered them into our hands. Let’s go get them. I love this phrase, Come up after me, for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. Now, just how steep is the Hill? Look at verse 13. And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armor bear after him. If you’re climbing up a Hill on your hands and your feet, it tells you that it’s a pretty serious incline to be able to get up the Hill. Now, if you’re going upwards trying to fight with swords, which they are, that means Jonathan going up first, can’t get at the vital parts of the body, the head or the heart. He can’t kill anyone. All he can do is knock them down, knock them over. So notice what it says. He went up on his hands and his feet and his armor bear after him and they fell before Jonathan and his armor bearer slew after him. So Jonathan’s knocking them over and the armor bearer is then killing them.
Notice verse 14 says, and that first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bear made was about 20 men. 20 men. So you take all of those numbers of the Philistines that we had before and now you subtract 20 and now you have a more reasonable fight, right? I can only imagine once again what this must have looked like from our premortal perspective if we got to watch this play out, watching those two struggle up the Hill with gravity, working against them with the might of the Philistines pressing down on them, and they’ve killed 20 men by the time they get near the top. Oh, how we must have longed to be more like that when it was our turn to come to the Earth. Now, brothers and sisters, this is a really beautiful moment in the story of the Bible where the Lord God of Israel seeing their faith and they’re moving forward in the face of such incredible adversity and opposition. It’s here where he basically says, now let me fight the battle for you. And the same Heavenly Father back then is in his heavens today and His Son Jesus Christ will help us today as we face our Philistine odds that are totally outnumbering us on so many levels.
Notice it says verse 15, there was a trembling in the host in the field, and among all the people, the Harris and the spoilers, they also trembled and the earthquaked. So it was a very great trembling. So you can picture God stepping in now and doing things that no mortal could ever do. But he’s taking their acts of faith and he’s now saying, now watch what I’m going to do. And the ground starts shaking. The whole group is in disarray and they start fighting themselves. We don’t know if this is taking place at dusk when it’s starting to get dark and people are a bit disoriented or if they’re just waking up in the morning. We don’t know any of that because they don’t give us a time stamp. But what we do know is the whole group in verse 16 says the multitude melted away and they went on beating down one another. So as you face opposition, don’t feel like it’s your job to overcome every single element of that opposition. Sometimes all the Lord needs is for you to move onward and upward on your Covenant path in faith, facing just a small handful of the opposition, knowing that those acts of faith in Him can lead to much grander miracles down the road.
Now the rest of chapter 14 tells a very sad tale of how far Saul has already slipped in his leadership. And you can read the rest of the story on your own. Two more pages here of where he came this close to killing his own son Jonathan because of a silly decree that Saul had made over here, not knowing that his son Jonathan had started this whole thing. And he said, made a mandate, nobody eat or drink anything until we’re done fighting. Jonathan didn’t hear that. And he’s going to eat some honeycomb, and Saul’s then going to want to kill his son for that. Gratefully many of the people step in and save his life and say, you will not do that to Jonathan after what he did on this day.
I love all the lessons we can get out of the Scriptures if we take the time to think about how they might apply to us first. Samuel 15 is a very sobering text because of what happens to Saul. He’s given very explicit instructions from Samuel the Prophet about what he’s supposed to be doing as a King. So he goes to fight a battle and he doesn’t do exactly what he’s supposed to. And I want to point out specifically, if you look at verse twelve, and when Samuel rolls early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel saying, Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set him up a place and has gone about and passed on and gone down to Gilgal a couple of things. You might read that and say, oh, they’re supposed to meet and Saul wasn’t there. Don’t miss a meeting with the Prophet when the Prophet has given you explicit instructions from God, we’re supposed to meet here. But even more problematic is what Saul is doing here. This phrase, and he set him up a place. Now, in English we might not think about that. The original Hebrew means he set himself up a Memorial.
God’s asking, you, do this work, protect my people, and it’s not for your glory. Wasn’t there a whole battle in the premortal life with one guy wanting glory for doing God’s work? So Saul has won this battle, didn’t win the battle according to God’s instructions, and establishes a monument for himself. I find this extremely telling, that in God’s view of leadership, leaders should not be setting up personal monuments and memorials to themselves of any type. We should be memorializing God who delivers, God who empowers, God who saves. And this is one among many things that Saul does to lose the divine designation as God’s chosen King.
Isn’t it fascinating than the way Samuel talks to him after this experience? These are some of the most sobering words in the whole story of one Samuel, verse 17. And Samuel said, when thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed the King over Israel that’s sobering. So when you were little in your own sight. God gave you big things, and now you think you’ve done such big things that you’re no longer little in your own site. You think you’re the end. I’ll be all where you’re going to set up memorials so that everybody now glorifies you. You’ve now taken the attention off of heaven and you put it on you. This isn’t ending well. And then he has some other discourse with him about you didn’t obey. And he’s like, no, I made a sacrifice. He’s trying to defend in his pride. He’s trying to defend what he did rather than saying, you’re right, Samuel. I need some time to go to the Lord and get right with him and then get right with you and then get right with the people and try to correct these wrongs, because you’re right.
I’m struggling right here. Instead, he’s defending it. And then look at verse 22. And Samuel said, Half the Lord as great delight in burned offerings and sacrifice as in obeying the voice of the Lord. Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of Rams.
And it gets worse. Verse 24, it’s almost as if Saul did not hear what Samuel had just taught. He said, I have sinned, for I have transgressed repented, as you were talking about the command of the Lord and the words, thy words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. So he’s basically saying, I did what the people told me to do. Now, good leaders do listen to the people. You listen to God and you listen to people. A good leader does not just simply impose his will on people without knowing them. There’s a powerful principle called empathy. And there’s this field of study called design thinking, where you actually spend time immersed in people’s lives to understand what they need so you can design solutions for them. Good leaders do that. They create solutions based on real people’s needs. Terrible leaders, noncompeted leaders, leaders who should not be followed are ones who, instead of taking ownership of their own bad choices, blame the people. No good leader should ever blame the people for their own mistakes. And this is kind of what Saul is doing now.
Gratefully. There’s a little bit of a reprieve for Saul here in verse 31, he says then he said, I have sinned, yet honor me now. I pray thee before the elders of my people and before Israel and turn again with me that I, Mary, worship the Lord thy God. So it’s not perfect, but we’re going to celebrate baby steps in the right direction, right? He’s still wanting to look good in the eyes of the people. Honor me, honor me in the eyes of the people.
Honor God first, then maybe we could work with you.
So Samuel in verse 31 turned again after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord. But you’ll notice it’s not going to last very long. You go down to chapter 16 and it’s time to pick a replacement. But that replacement isn’t going to take the throne for years. We’re going to struggle with self for many, many more years here and the rest of first Samuel. So when he’s picking this new leader, verse six of chapter 16 says, and it came to pass that when they were come that he looked on Eliyah. So now we’re in the household of Jesse of the Kingdom of the tribe of Judah. And Eliab is very tall. And so he’s like, well, this must be him, the oldest son of Jesus. That’s the next King. Verse seven. But the Lord said unto Samuel, look, not on his countenance or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him for the Lord seeth not as man seeth for man. Lookth on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. So then Jesse calls child number two, Abina Dab, and then number three, Shama, until he’s gone through all seven of his sons.
And Samuel’s thinking, okay, well, then it’s him, it’s him, it’s him. And now we’re all done. And he says, Is there any more? He David. Yeah, we’ve got the youngest, but he’s out keeping the sheep. He’s like the least of my children. He’s young, he’s just a shepherd boy. There’s no way he’s the one you’re looking for. Look at verses twelve, description. And he sent and brought him in. Now, he was Ruddy and withLe of a beautiful countenance and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise anoint him, for this is he. And thus we get introduced to the great King David, the most famous of the Kings of Israel, who down at the time of Jesus. That’s what they’re looking to is somebody to take David’s throne. That’s what they expect of their Messiah is the son of David to restore the David throne, the Kingdom of Israel, and overthrow the Romans and any other worldly oppressors and make the Kingdom return to the house of Judah yet again through David.
I like this phrasing of beautiful countenance and goodly. But in the Egyptian, you might say Nephi. So this seems to be a word indicating who God’s anointed who God’s chosen leader is. So this leads us to one of the most famous stories in the Bible, the story of David and Goliath. Now, this story is significant in a variety of reasons. One, it’s preserved to indicate who is the rightful ruler. So, David, some of what we saw, the story of Jonathan is this individual standing against a fearsome foe and God empowers him to win. Now, it’s fascinating that this story follows a literary pattern that we see in other places in the ancient Near East. And actually, even in Greek, if you know the Iliad, there’s this conflict between Hector and Achilles or Paris. And then Alex, there’s an ancient Egyptian tell the story of Sinoui, where Sinui, the hero has to approach a Syrian military guy and use an arrow to take him out and then a sword to behead him. What I want to point out here is that this story follows some very interesting literary conventions, almost like if you were watching a Western movie, how would that show end?
All Westerns end with a shootout and justice being delivered. And this story follows symbolically a similar pattern, that God’s chosen hero wins and preserves and protects God’s people and then becomes the Anointed King who will go on to continue to protect God’s people.
I think a beautiful insight from the story of David and Goliath is actually something that Taylor has done a lot of work on. And writing and speaking about is a crossover, a symbolic comparison between David and Goliath with our Book of Mormon story of Nephi and Laban.
Yeah, it’s fascinating. One morning I woke up early and I actually like to sleep in and not use alarm clocks. And I just had this thought, like Nephi chopped off Laban’s head with Laban’s sword. Not a particularly inviting story. And I remember David had done the same thing. And I thought, is there intertextuality going on? Are there literary echoes? And it turns out I and some other people have found more than 30 parallels between the Nephi and Leven story of David and Goliath. Now my wife, who taught English for years, would say two students submitted papers that follow the same pattern of 33 times. That’s called Plagiarism in the ancient world. It’s actually how you would write stories that you would Echo other stories to help the reader get more sense and meaning. Now, David was probably the great hero for the ancient Jewish people. Nephi, growing up in Jerusalem, would have known the story of the shepherd boy, David defeating the enemy Goliath.
Just as a side note there, as far as the name is concerned, this is the most common proper name in the entire Bible, used more frequently than the name of Jesus. Even the only name that appears more frequently is the name of God in the Old Testament, Yahweh or Jehovah is how we would say it today. But as far as the human characters of the story, David is the number one most often name. They love King David in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the Jewish people looking backwards, they are looking for the son of David to redeem them and to restore the Kingdom.
So this story of King David or sorry, the Shepherd, Boyd, David versus Goliath is foundational to the narrative, the Israelite National narrative. Nephi seems to narrate his own life and the starting of his own new nation in the guise of David, just as David. Now listen to some of these interesting parallels and we’ll put a link down below where you can find more of this. You have the youngest son sent by the father on an important mission to support the older brothers who are confronting a fierce military foe who is standing against God’s chosen people and keeping them from progressing. The young man goes forward in the power of God, not a military person, and he confronts the enemy and with the power of God, overcomes the enemy, takes the sword and becomes the ruler of a new people and the protector of God’s chosen people. That is actually the purpose of the story of David is to indicate why David was chosen or to give evidence to people that David was the chosen one. He seems to be trying to tell the same story.
There’s no question that this story is fresh on his mind as he’s telling his own story.
He never mentions David. Now, this is my personal opinion. There are only three instances of King David ever being mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Nephi never mentions them. It’s only Nephi’s younger brother, Jacob, and all in the negative. It’s actually all about how David took too many wives and sought silver and gold. Remember earlier, good Kings teach the scriptures. Kings who are non covenantal seek after a lot of wives, a lot of silver and gold, and seek to build up big armies. And the memory seems to be from Nephi that the Vidic kingship eventually goes off the rails. And therefore, let’s not replicate that. Let’s not put David up as the model to look to. Let’s put God up. And it’s interesting that David does not show up in the Book of Mormon. And you can have this really compelling case at Nephi in 600 BC, having access to the Israelite records realizes the problems of what happened after shepherd boy, David became a King.
When thou works small in thine own eyes. Yet again, here’s this young shepherd boy who’s been anointed as a King. Chapter 17 opens up and you get this nice foil, this contrast that the Editors of this book put beautifully juxtaposed side by side. You get the contrast of Saul, the sitting King, with David, the King that’s been secretly anointed in waiting for the right time. He’s not going to take out the King. That’s God’s job, because Saul was the anointed of the Lord. But you’re seeing this totally different approach. To Goliath to the opposition, look at Saul verse eleven. When Saul and all Israel heard these words, the words of the Philistine giant defying the name, the armies of Israel and the God of Israel. When Solanal Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. I don’t know about you, but we live in a world that is filled with all of these claims and very shrill, loud voices and claiming certain elements of truth as they portray. And if we’re not careful, we’ll tune our ear to those voices of discord, those voices of dissent, those voices that would turn us away from God or away from God’s prophets.
And they can be very convincing and very loud and very outnumbering if we keep tuning our ear to them. So you get this, they were filled with dismay and they were greatly afraid. Now they’re going to make their decisions based on fear of what the world is threatening to do to them in this context. And he’s doing this 40 days, it says inverse. 16 Once again, we don’t know if that’s exactly 40 days or if it’s just many days, a long period of time. Now notice as our hero steps into the story now from out of nowhere, a shepherd boy delivering on a DoorDash or a food delivery run to his brothers and notice verse 22, David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage and ran into the army and came and saluted his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath Goliath, by name out of the armies of the Philistines. And he spoke according to the same words. And then you’ll notice these next four words, and David heard them. Now the theme is italicized, which means there was no Hebrew word there for them.
But the King James translators felt like it completed the sentence better. So if you just left it as and David heard in my mind is even more powerful here’s. This Philistine defying the armies of Israel and defying the Lord God of Israel. And David heard, and it stops him. He’s like, wait, what is going on here? And he asks for the story, who is this guy? And why is nobody doing anything about this? And so David goes and speaks to Saul. And look at verse 32. You have to contrast, David, this newly anointed King in waiting, speaking to the guy who’s head and shoulders above everybody else. Goliath is the giant. The only one who should be fighting him is Saul. But Saul’s afraid, and he’s taking counsel from his fears.
David reminds me of the Stripling Harris, these young lads who trust in God and have no fear that God ultimately is the divine warrior who’s going to fight the battles.
Isn’t that amazing that in these two stories, David, as well as Jonathan and the armor bearer, it’s that rising generation who is willing to stand up. And that’s not to disparage the Oliver generations. It’s to say that sometimes there are some things that the rising generation can accomplish that maybe the older generations weren’t given as their divine Commission from God to accomplish. But here’s, David, I love this exchange that takes place here. In verse 32, David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. Don’t keep being afraid. And then 33 said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. So instead of saying, wow, finally we’ve got somebody who’s brave enough to go and face this giant. He meets David’s expressions of faith and loyalty to God with expressions of fear, expressions of doubt. You can’t do this. Who do you think you are? You’re just a kid.
He’s describing things that are true, but he’s not including God in the equation. It’s true. David is just a young shepherd boy who’s never fought. David will acknowledge that. It’s interesting what happens when you describe reality and don’t include God in that reality. You can say lots of things, and they all might be true, but not the totality of reality. When God is not in the equation.
And if you take counsel from your fears, it will paralyze you on the Covenant path. Ultimately, if that’s where you tune your ear to listen to all of the fear and the disparaging, doubt filled comments. So David rehearses to Saul how the Lord had delivered him out of the mouth of the lion and out of the mouth of a bear as a shepherd. And then he says, I love this line. Verse 37. David said, Moreover, the Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the line and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. You’ll notice he didn’t say he’ll help me fight this Philistine. He didn’t say he’ll help me stand up to this Philistine. And if I die, so be it. Well, I died boldly and nobly, he says, he will Oliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. Once again, I can only imagine what that must have been like for people if we were up in our premortal state getting to watch any of these experiences play out, how that must have inspired us to say, oh, I want that.
I want that level of faith in heaven and in the Savior and in Heavenly Father as I get my life down on the Earth. Now, if you look at your own life, chances are pretty good that you don’t have a host of Philistines camped against you. Chances are pretty good that you don’t have a really steep Hill to climb. Chances are pretty good that there’s not a giant standing there mocking you and God. But chances are pretty good that you are facing some pretty gigantic opposition in your own life and that you’ve got people around you who are trying to convince you that you should be driven by fear and that you should doubt your capacity to move forward. And I could be wrong. But if David or Jonathan or his armor bear were standing here today teaching this lesson, I don’t think they would say, don’t get out of your comfort zone. Just stay with the stuff. Stay hidden, stay out of sight. Don’t draw attention because we only get one life. We only get one mortal life experience. And what an amazing thing it is to follow this example of saying the Lord will deliver me out of the hands of fill in the blank with whatever your Philistines are, with whatever your Goliath, your giant opposition may be.
I love this story. And so Saul finally says, you’re on.
I would tie this into the Book of Mormon because if you look carefully at first, Nephi, chapter one, verse 20, Nephi concludes that chapter with the Lord delivers his people. So Nephi has been reading these stories. I think he understands deliverance. And look at young boy Nephi, who’s asked by his dad to go on a tough journey up to Jerusalem to confront Lehi, who is a bit like Goliath. And what does Nephi say? I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded. Lord, giveth no commandment under the children of men, save he shall deliver them, meaning he shall prepare a way that they can fulfill the things which he commanded. It’s all tied in. So I believe that young Nephi really looked to young David as a model, but not to King David as a model.
Yeah, the shepherd boy when he was small in his own site. Now this next part of the story to me is fascinating. And I have used this analogy, and I’ve heard people use this analogy over and over again. It’s so powerful. Verse 38 Saul armed David with his armor, and he put in a helmet of brass upon his head. And he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armor. And he has saved to go, remember how tall, how big Saul is. And remember, we’ve got just a shepherd boy. And everybody keeps talking about how little he is in comparison. So if David has now put on Saul’s armor, you can picture Saul acting in fear. I don’t want this kid to lose, because then we automatically forfeit and we surrender. But he kind of motivated me with that speech. So I’m going to protect him with my armor. I’m going to put my huge breastplate on him and my huge helmet to cover him and my sword that’s probably too big for him to wield effectively. And then I’ll send him out there. And can you picture this moment with David looking down and feeling really awkward, feeling out of place, saying, I don’t need this armor, Saul, because I haven’t proved it.
Notice his wording here. And he has said to go, for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. How do you feel if you’re solid and you’re watching your quote, unquote champion taking off the protection, this oversized protection, because he’s going to need all the protection he can get. Right. And he’s now taking it off. And Saul’s thinking, oh, no. And I love the heaven perspective looking down on this, saying, oh, thank you, David, as you’re taking off Saul’s armor, you’re actually putting on the armor of God, the whole armor of God. You don’t need Saul’s shield because you have a shield of faith that has been worked on over years of faithful discipleship to the Lord, of trusting in him, of turning to him, of relying on him, not in the arm of flesh. This is such a powerful, powerful story. If you picture now David turning away from that protection that had been offered to him the best that Israel had to offer with protection. And he puts it all off as he now takes the protection of heaven with him.
And what do we take with us instead? You go to verse 40. He took his staff in his hand, which is a perfect instrument for a good shepherd. You can see some Christ like symbolism going throughout this story. And he chose him five smooth stones out of the Brook, and he put them in a Shepherd’s bag, which he had even in a script. And his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine. Now, can you picture that moment? Both sides assembled, both armies waiting for their champion, and one side clearly feeling like they have the upper hand in this battle, thinking, Goliath, this is going to be easy, this is going to be entertaining. And here comes this shepherd boy. And Goliath has no idea. He thinks it’s a one on one fight. What Goliath can’t see is it’s actually a one on two fight. And Goliath is totally outnumbered because the Lord of hosts is with David. This young shepherd is not a warrior, but this shepherd who is very gifted with a sling. So the Philistine in verse 43 says to David, Am I a dog, that thou comes to me with staves?
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And he said to David, Come to me and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air and to the beasts of the field. What he doesn’t know is what’s in verse 45 then said, David, to the Philistine, thou comet to me with a sword and with a spear and with a shield. And by the way, back at the beginning of this chapter, it gives you kind of the descriptions of the length and the weight and the size and the scope and the scale of this giant’s weaponry and of his armor. And he says, But I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied this day, will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand, and I will Smite thee and take thine head from thee. And then down at the end of that verse, that all the Earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Did you know the contrast? I’m going to do all this. Why? So that everybody can know that there’s a God in Israel. It’s his battle that’s going to be fought today.
It’s not mine. I’m not doing this. So people walk around saying, look at David, he’s amazing. David doesn’t want people talking about David. He wants them talking about the Lord God of Israel. I love that perspective. That unfortunately isn’t going to last for his entire life, just like it didn’t last for Saul’s life.
Yeah, it’s sad when God does great things in people’s lives. People start to believe that they have done the great things. Instead of giving the honor and glory to God, they give it to themselves.
Well, sad ending all of those parts. Now look at verse 48. It came to pass that when the Philistines arose and came and drew nigh to meet David. You’ll notice he gets up, he starts coming, he advances towards David and David doesn’t retreat. What does he do? David Hasted and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. He runs into the battle in faith. He doesn’t shrink from it. He doesn’t say, well, terrible timing for us to have been born on the Earth to face this particular guy. It would have been easier if we had had a different opposite. He’s not going there. He’s saying, this is what our opposition is. I’m going to face it. And he runs into it and he put his hand in his bag and he took fence of stone and he sling it and he smolt the Philistine in his forehead. But the stone sunk into his forehead and he fell upon his face to the Earth. Now, by the way, just as a little side note here, do you know why Goliath was so shocked when David hit him with this rock? Because such a thing had never entered his mind before.
It was remarkable. Caught him off guard. Terrible joke. But David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone. And then he slew him with his own sword and wins that battle.
I want to tie this into another Book of Mormon story. I see an interesting literary connection to Ammon, who goes out to serve. Remember where Kings are supposed to serve and he goes to serve the Lehmanites. And what happens? A bunch of Goliath type guys try to scatter his flock. He’s a shepherd. What does he do? He kills them with stones, except for the leader. He uses the sword to kill him, almost like David. And so you have these inversions going on that even Ammon, who is the son of a King. And it could have been the King, is acting like shepherd boy David to kill the enemies in the name of God and that he doesn’t take kingship. He instead turns people to the real King, to God. And we have these incredible conversion stories. You go on among the Lehmanites because one man who could have taken power among the Lamanites could have become the King, said, It’s not about me. I did the service. So, you know, who the real King is. I just love how the scriptures make things quite clear.
I want to be more like Ammon, like Nephi, like young David, like Jonathan and his armor bear. And you’ll notice in the rest of these chapters in one Samuel, what you’re going to get is Saul getting worse and worse and Jonathan and David forging this incredible friendship. Oh, and by the way, traditionally, monarchies are past father to son, from King to Prince, which would make Jonathan kind of the next in line for the throne. And yet Jonathan is the main person who’s helping to preserve David’s life, who is defending him from his dad so that his dad can’t kill David because he’s trying multiple times in the rest of this book to do David in because of jealousy, because of pride. And he can’t stand the fact that the people are now singing David’s praises instead of his own. And to me, it’s this story of once again, Jonathan is one of my heroes. I love the fact that Jonathan isn’t focused on what’s in it for me. If I just let my dad kill David, then I could maybe be the next on the throne. He doesn’t care about the throne in Israel because he seems focused on the throne in heaven.
In fact, the word where it says Jonathan loved David, it’s the covenantal, meaning that he was covenantly committed to God’s chosen anointed. When God says he loves us and he wants us to love him, it’s about that covenantal relationship. And Jonathan knows God has chosen David. Therefore, I need to be covenantly connected to David. So he knew from a covered standpoint where he should be standing.
Yes. And in the process, he lost the possibility for an earthly throne. But if Jonathan were standing here today, I don’t think he would lament having lost that earthly power and prestige and glory and honor that might have come. Now he and Saul and the others are going to lose their life in a battle here towards the end of this book. But I think if Jonathan were here, he would remind all of us, along with young Shepherd David, along with all these characters from the book Horn we’ve talked about. I think they would encourage us to face our steep climb, to face our philistine garrisons, to face our giant Goliath, whatever they may be, without worrying about what’s in it for us, without worrying about what attention we might be getting from the world or what riches or honor or accolades may come, or even if nobody notices or gives us any kind of acknowledgement or any credit for it, because the only one we’re really trying to get any kind of acknowledgment from in a lasting way is the Lord God of Israel, who delivered these people back then. And if you move forward on the errand of the Lord today, whether it’s in a Church calling, in a family setting, in a relationship in a career, on a mission, through a disease, through a loss, whatever it is, if you move forward with faith, trusting in God, then you have just become an army of two and an army of two.
As long as one of them is the Lord God of Israel can do.
Anything taking us back to what Jacob the Brother Nephi said in second Nephi chapter ten, verse 14. God is the Lord God of heaven. He is our King. And these stories are about encouraging us to look ultimately to the real King who preserves us, gives us life, protects us from all things that we might have fears of know that he lives.
And, oh please know how much he loves you. And we leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
Come Follow Me Insights
Taylor and Tyler bring in Lisa Halverson for this week’s episode. The stories of Ruth, Naomi, and Hannah, three incredible biblical women, are taught.
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Lynne Hilton Wilson gives an overview of the life of Ruth and her service to Naomi.
Annette Tillemann-Dick praises Ruth’s good character and explains how she meets Boaz.
Casey Griffiths compares the book of Ruth to a classic romantic comedy.
Marianna Richardson describes the “ceremony of the shoe” that is demonstrated in the book of Ruth.