Songs and Praise



1 Samuel 26:1-25; Psalm 54:1-7;

Lesson 215 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5).


          I Saul's Oath and Its Violation

1 Saul took an oath before the Lord that he would spare David's life, I Samuel 19:6

               2 Saul's oath was broken when he cast the javelin, I Samuel 19:10

3 It was broken again in his deliberate planning against David, I Samuel 22:7, 8

               4 It was broken in his pursuit of David at Maon, I Samuel 23:25, 26

               5 It was broken when hunting David at Engedi, I Samuel 24:1, 2

  6 It was broken again, for the last time, at Ziph, I Samuel 26:1, 2; cf. I  Samuel 24:20-22; Psalm 54;1-7

II David's Excursion into Saul's Camp

1 David's spies confirmed the fact that Saul had come again to destroy David, I Samuel 26:3, 4

2 David verified the report of the spies, I Samuel 26:5

3 Abishai volunteered to accompany David to Saul's camp, I Samuel 26:6, 7

4 Abishai, in his zeal, asked to destroy Saul, I Samuel 26:8

5 David's godly character as shown in his reply to Abishai, I Samuel 26:9-11; Psalm 37:5; 27:14

6 God sent a deep sleep upon Saul's men to protect David, I Samuel 26:12; Psalm 76:5, 0; Romans 11:8

III David's Conversation with Abner and Saul

1 David bantered Abner, Saul's captain, I Samuel 26:13-16

2 David submitted his case t Saul, I Samuel 26:17-20

3 Saul acknowledged his wrongdoings, I Samuel 26:21, 25

4 David committed himself to divine protection, I Samuel 26:22-24


The Godly. and the Persecutors of the Godly

We have seen, in previous lessons, various incidents that testify to the godliness of David, the newly-anointed king of Israel; and we have seen also those incidents that demonstrate the extreme perfidy of Saul, the incumbent king of Israel. The incidents found in this lesson are similar to those in our last one, but they are especially valuable to us because they give us an opportunity to consider other godly characteristics in David and to observe again the ungodliness of Saul, that we may profit from their examples.

David is, unquestionably, one of the great 'cloud of- witnesses' who attest to the power of faith and the providence of God toward His children. On the other hand, there is no doubt but that Saul is a Biblical example of the fact that a person may receive some of the very best gifts Heaven has and then reject God and descend into the lowest depths of human degradation and be finally abandoned by God with no alternative but to sink into an endless hell.

Reviewing the history thus far studied, we see that Saul took an oath before the Lord, at the request of his son Jonathan, that he would not kill David. But the words were hardly out of his mouth when he threw a javelin at David in an attempt to kill him instantly. Saul did not seek forgiveness for this act, nor ask God to help him keep the promise he had made; but he broke his vows repeatedly, even though he received a warn­ing and another reminder of his own wickedness and of David's right­eousness at the cave in the wilderness of Engedi. This lesson deals with the fifth recorded instance when Saul broke his vow; and so far as we know, it is the last time that he ever saw David or talked to him.

It cannot be said that the events of this lesson were accidental by nature. This was an incident, not an accident. It was one more time in which the love of God pled with the erring Saul, seeking to lead him to repentance. Saul admitted his guilt, but he did not repent of it. He did not seek the pardon God had for him.

There are many people who say great things, who speak well-phrased intentions, and who utter vows that could more than open the gates of God's pardoning grace, but who do not have the joy of salvation or the assurance that their sins are forgiven. Saul is an example of these. Saul vowed with his lips that he would not kill David, but he kept murder in his heart all the while.

When the Spirit of God leaves a man, an evil spirit comes into his heart instead. As a rule, David was careful to keep himself in the proper attitude before God so he could hear God's voice. David did not want to be separated from the favor of God for even a moment. He placed his all into God's hands and then uncomplainingly endured the consequences. Saul, on the contrary, paid no attention to the voice of God but continuously followed his own way and catered to his heart's desires. His way brought total ruin; but David's policy of following God's way brought a glorious eternal triumph.

Apparently the majority of the Israelites did not take too belligerent a stand with Saul, against David. They were obedient to their king, as they should be; but some of them must not have assisted him as he felt they should, for Saul complained that they must be allied with David. The Israelites were not wholly given over to the spirit of evil as was Saul. When Saul ordered his servants to kill the priests of the Lord because the priests had aided David in his escape, the servants refused to do so. They feared the consequences of lifting their hands against the Lord's priests more than the consequences of disobeying their king. Saul had to turn to an Edomite, one who was outside the called and chosen people, to carry out his command that God's priests be killed.

On the contrary, David had a group with him who recognized the right spirit in their leader and who obeyed him to the very letter, even though his orders were contrary to their own personal feelings. They were willing to undertake the most hazardous moves for their leader and obey him explicitly while on the expedition. They went through innumerable hardships for the cause they felt was right. They could do this because they saw that the right spirit was in David.

Abishai was one of these who served David faithfully. He willingly volunteered to go on the hazardous trip with David into the enemy camp, that David might see first-hand that Saul was there to trap and kill him. But the daring spirit of allegiance Abishai had for his leader was not greater than his obedience to that leader. He saw, in the success of their intrusion into the heart of Saul's camp, made possible by the fact that God had sent a deep sleep upon Saul and all who were supposed to be guarding Saul, what he supposed to be God's will. To Abishai it looked as if God had delivered Saul to them, and David need not lift his own hand in self-defense. Abishai needed to strike the rejected Saul but once! All their troubles would be immediately over! And Abishai would even give God the glory for the deliverance!

In all this we see not only the measure of right that was in the faith­ful Abishai, but the godliness of humble David. David was educated in matters of war from his youth. His brothers had been professional soldiers under Saul. He had begun his own career as a guardian of his father's sheep, had come into national prominence by his duel with Goliath, and had led Israel's armies into battle, in various campaigns, under Saul. He had, also, during his years of exile, led a band of fighting men in numerous attacks on the enemies of Israel. Yet David lived close enough to God that the hardening influences of belligerence, as well as those of a life of such adverse circumstances as he had been forced into during his exile, had no effect upon him. He was tender in heart and able to hear the voice of God above the natural impulses that would spontaneously arise because of the training of his youth or because of his past hardships.

This quality in David reminds us that there is no environment or background that needs to influence us for wrong, if we will but keep our ear turned to the voice of God. Men are prone to make excuses, to blame their failures on their training, their heritage, their lack of education or preparation, or their environment. But the Spirit of God will lead those who want to be led. We need not follow our human nature; we should follow God.

Suffering for Christ

The hardest things a Christian has to face are the accusations that are brought against him, even though he is wrong and the accusations are justified in every way. Whether at fault or not, the first tendency of the flesh is to defend itself. So often the first reaction is to make an excuse or to give a reason instead of suffering for Christ, as He suffered for us when no guile was found in His mouth or sin in His conduct. (Read I Peter 2:19-23.)

Far too often, when a person has made some mistake he will cite the reason for doing that particular thing in justification of himself He will attempt to place the blame upon the reason instead of upon him­self. And if a person isn't guilty of committing the wrong of which he is accused it is likewise difficult for him not to rise in immediate justification of himself It is very hard for many people to let the Lord be their vindica­tion, and their defense, but tilt is what they should do if they would follow in the steps of their Savior.

David had been exiled and separated from all the worship of God — without a just cause. He had been driven from home, from his loved ones, and from the privilege of going with the other Israelites to the House of God three times a year to obey the Law of God — without a just cause. He might have felt that his prayers would not be heard by God, that he was forsaken by God, and that he was unloved by man — without a just cause.

But this did not drive David to despair or to bitterness. He was willing to let the Lord work out His will. David was willing to follow in the way God indicated, to suffer whatever God permitted to come to him, and to let the Lord vindicate him. We can see, in the end, how fully God cared for His trusting child, how completely God vindicated the one who would not raise his hand to vindicate himself, how thoroughly God established the kingdom forever in the name of the man who had a heart that was perfect toward Him.

David honored God, and honored God's anointed; and because of that, David was a man whom God could trust in a place of great responsi­bility, and place in a position of great eternal reward.


1 Before whom, and at whose suggestion, was an oath taken by Saul not to kill David?

2 Was the oath kept? Cite the times when it was, or was not, kept.

3 What great Psalm was written by David in this time of trial?

4 What great Scriptural truth is given to us in the example of David writing Psalms in his times of extreme trial?

5 Tell the story of David's final encounter with Saul.

6 What godly virtues are suggested in the conduct of Abishai?

7 What obligations are included in discipleship of Jesus?

8 What defense did David put up for himself?

9 What was Saul's defense of hinself?

10 Will a Christian suffer persecution? What attitude should he take toward persecution and those who give it?


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