Summary: David as a model in his relationship with Saul on what to do when someone mistreats you.
I’ve titled the sermon, “when you are stabbed in the back” because it’s a fact of life that at some point in your life someone is going to stab you in the back, take advantage of you, cheat you, rob you, or do you wrong in some way. A “friend” might gossip about you, sharing your deepest darkest secret. A fellow coworker might lie about you so they get the promotion ahead of you. Someone might take you to the cleaners and financially harm you out of their greed, but it is inevitable because people sin.
As we focus on the life of David this summer, we realize David knew what it was like to get stabbed in the back by the same person, King Saul. On several occasions King Saul tried to harm David:
1. On the first occasion, which we read this morning, Saul literally tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, while David was serving in Saul’s court playing his harp to try to soothe the fits he was experiencing.
2. Saul sent David into war as a commander over a thousand men (possibly a demotion), with the hopes that David would get killed.
3. As a reward for defeating Goliath, Saul was supposed to give his daughter Merab away in marriage to the victor, but after David defeated Goliath Saul added another requirement of continued military service to marry her, and once David humbly declined to marry her, Saul gave her in marriage to another man.
4. Later Saul actively pursued David across the nation of Israel to kill him. David had to go into hiding for years moving around from place to place to flee from Saul.
Why would a man like Saul try to stab David in the back? David never did anything against Saul, in fact David helped Saul in many ways. David played his harp to soothe `1victory against their enemies, thereby helping Saul. Why was Saul so adamant about destroying David? Look with me at 18:6:
1 Sam. 18:6 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 tambourines and lutes. 7 As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
Saul tried to backstab David because Saul was jealous of David. A few verses later in verse 12 it says, “Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.” Saul was no dummy. He knew God had taken his blessing off of him because he disobeyed God, and he realized God was blessing David instead, and he was both jealous and afraid that David would take his throne, and so he decided to strike first against David by attacking him and causing him grief.
When people stab you in the back or cause you harm to you, frequently it is done out of jealousy or fear. A coworker may be jealous because you have integrity and are a hard worker. You receive praises from the boss, or are rewarded for your diligence. Perhaps a friend is jealous of your life, you’re happily married, you have obedient children, you have a good job, a large house, whatever. Rather than turning to God and working to have a life like yours, they decide they want to bring you down to the misery they are experiencing by trying to harm you, or your reputation. Christians have been known to be targets because, like David, God blesses people who have a heart for him. God shows his favor upon those who life their life for him, and like Saul people become jealous of that blessing, especially when they do not have it.
Even though David was stabbed in the back on several occasions by Saul, David teaches us what our response should be when someone wrongs us, what God wants us to do, or rather what God doesn’t want us to do.
David teaches us:
1. Do not get revenge, revenge is for God alone
No matter how many times Saul tried to get David, David never got even with Saul. We never read of David saying, “that’s the last straw, I’m going to take him out.” Even though David had the Lord’s blessing and anointing to be the next king, David never took action against Saul, even though Saul did so many horrible things to him.