Summary: Here we try to understand how David coped with the loss of his best friend Jonathan. Through David’s reactions we are challenged to embrace our seasons of grief in ways that would show that we are relying on God rather than relying on ourselves.
Opener: This week we reflect on David’s real life struggle with grief. With last week’s teaching on fear, and this week’s text focussed on the theme of grief it seems like we’re wading through some heavy waters aren’t we?
But this is good for us. Because I firmly believe that we (as followers of God) need to be a people of depth…a people of substance…and people who are able to embrace not only the joy’s of life, but also the sorrow’s of life. It’s quite fitting, then, that we have had a moment of silence today…and taken time to honor those who have fought for our country and also acknowledge the grief and the sorrow that families have gone through as they have lost loved ones in the midst of war…..
And sometimes silence is the best way to honor times of grief and sorrow….
And that’s what it means to be a people of depth…a people who are willing to walk deeper and acknowledge that life is not all about feeling good and feeling happy…
You and I have been called to be a non-anxious presence in the midst of a world that is all about temporal feelings. Do you realize that if we only deal with the happy things in life we’re only dealing with ½ of our lives?
So today as we walk through this text, there are 3 ideas that we can learn from David’s story that will help us to understand that there is a blessing for those who mourn….and yes, the mourning will be comforted (see Matt. 5: 4).
An aside: Did you read through the rest of 1 Samuel last week? I’m telling you…it’s an absolutely fascinating story isn’t it? Who says God’s Word is boring!!
· ch. 22: Saul goes on a killing spree, killing the priests of God
· ch. 23: Saul pursues David…he almost gets him and then gets distracted by another fight
· ch. 24: The infamous “Saul relieving himself in a cave” episode…David gets so close that he could have easily killed him, but instead only cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe….Saul is humbled…scared….acknowledged David’s kindness….and seems to be willing to back off his relentless pursuit
· ch. 25: David has a run in with Nabal and his wife Abigail….Nabal ends up dying after a wild party…and Abigail then becomes David’s second wife
· ch. 26: Saul is back in “I’m gonna kill ‘em” mode but once again David is able to spare Saul’s life while he & his men are in a “Lord-induced” slumber….of course, we see Saul repent again….promising not to harm David anymore…
· ch. 27: David is finally realizing that Saul is not to be trusted (interesting that he didn’t catch on a little earlier….like when Saul used to throw knives at him when he was his harpist?!?). At any rate, we see David return to Gath and find favour with King Achish who used to detest him….and he “sneakishly” becomes the King’s right-hand man…..interesting! The king thinks that David’s being noble and killing his enemies but instead David is actually killing off philistines!
· Ch. 28: Saul and the Witch of Endor….this in an incredible story….Saul is out of the Lord’s favour and is desperate to get some advice on his future battles….so Saul uses this witch to call Samuel from the grave (yikes!)….and Samuel shows up! And Samuel is NOT a happy spirit (This is the “spirit of Christmas past” gone bad!)…..the classic line here is found in v. 18-19: “Because you did not obey the Lord….tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.”
· Ch. 29-30: David gets released from King Achish’s regime….and goes to Ziklag only to find out that his people have been plundered and captured…and so he goes after the Amalekites and ends up getting everything back that was lost….including his 2 wives (v. 18 is sure to note this!)
· Ch. 31: The grand finale of Saul’s life…..the Samuel word comes true…..Saul goes into battle with his army and his boys….and he dies by his own sword…for fear that ending up in the hands of his enemies would be worse than death…Jonathan dies too….and the Philistines revel in the death of the first King of Israel….
And so this leads us into 2 Samuel, chapter 1….would things get any better for God’s people….and their new leader??
Before a new chapter would begin, there would need to be a season of sadness…
1) Embracing a season of grief (v. 1-12)
As we look at David’s response to the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan, we can be encouraged that David showed the proper response: he grieved.
What can we learn from David’s reactions here?
David is willing to embrace his sorrow (see v. 11)…He doesn’t play the strong and silent role that so many men feel is appropriate in intensely emotional situations. Instead, in keeping with his culture, he tears his clothes and he mourns….he weeps…and he fasts…from the time that he hears the news until the evening.