By Kerwin Holmes, Jr.
Sometimes you can have the right friends and still be a screw-up because, hey, that’s your choice.
We left off with David being employed as a bodyguard/musician in the court of King Saul. David became (one of) Saul’s armor bearers, meaning that he would accompany the king into war and be a wingman of sorts to make sure to slay all of the enemies threatening to kill the king when the king may not notice or be able to deal with them in battle. David also finished the foes off after Saul incapacitated them, and David did the heavy lifting work of, you know, carrying and maintaining the king’s armor while the army was on the road.
Now, contrary to popular belief, we encounter David when he is a very sturdy, and warrior-like young man, see 1 Samuel 16:17-19. Not exactly at all the timid and short youngling who we like to fashion David was before he fought Goliath. Nope. Not only was David a handsome young man and well-mannered, but he was also pretty strong looking. I mean, the guy did fight off lions and bears for a living as he shepherded sheep. Was his physique a result of his lifestyle conditioning…there’s no reason to believe why not. And this should still empower all of the Facing the Giants fans out there. David had to put in confidence and effort to get into where he was, but also God brought him to that point in a constant state of humility despite David’s understandable right (in human terms) to develop hubris to counter his father Jesse’s under-esteem in him. But I digress.
God allowed a devastatingly evil spirit to plague Saul precisely because Saul continuously failed God. See the earlier posts in this series by clicking the “David Life Series” tag below. Mind you, God saw this coming, and was now only giving Saul the opportunity to turn from his wickedness and to see in the younger man David the model for how to please God.
Saul did not have the rest of his life to be king, but Saul did have the rest of his life to choose to live for God.
In what only God can cause, David ended up being found immediately because Saul heeded the wise words of his councilors in order to relieve himself of the evil spirit that vexed him. God sent the spirit; God surrounded Saul with wise men who would tell him good words of counsel; God led Saul’s servants directly to David his successor; God used the good music of David to drive the spirit from Saul directly, so that Saul could rest while listening to David play.
Folks, the signs couldn’t have been more obvious if God had some disembodied hand write the signs on a wall. Oh… Well…that’s a totally other story for your own time to read.
So with such good company surrounding him, surely Saul recognized David and even appreciated him enough to have a few good conversations with him? Surely Saul even asked David how his music could heal him– and we all know what would have been David’s response– a response which King Saul desperately needed to hear.
Surely Saul’s hubris wasn’t so ingrained into what Saul desired that he chose to do the right thing right and actually at least get to know David as a person, right?
God, to demonstrate Saul’s arrogance in himself, allows the Philistines to battle Israel. Problem is that the Philistines had been around since the time of Abraham, and they happened to have come from a sea culture that specialized in ancient weaponry. And…they also had the advantage of some choice human genes in a particular warrior family of theirs from the Philistine city of Gath. Case in point, there was a warrior named Goliath who was the super-athlete of even today’s standards. He was literally almost bred for war. The man was 9’9” tall and had bronze scaled armor (the best around town) that itself weighed 125 pounds. In terms of today’s MMORPG’s…Goliath was a tank.
Neither side wanted a lot of bloodshed, so they agreed to stage a single bout of combat between the best warrior of either side, Philistia and Israel, so that the winner would determine who’s army won. Problem was that the Philistines chose Goliath…and the Israelites didn’t choose anybody because no one would volunteer, anti-Katniss style.
Saul promised riches, tax exemption, and his daughter Michal to anyone who would volunteer and fight Goliath. But no soldier thought that that woman or the wealth was worth the risk of never being able to marry ever because of being dead.
But where was David? Well…Saul only employed David part-time, and this time wasn’t one of those times (Saul kept on making stupid-behind decisions). Fortunately for Saul though, he did have David’s 3 eldest brothers in the army, and that made Jesse the Ephrathite (Ephrath in an old name for Bethlehem) send David to give some food to his brothers from home.
So did David and Saul ever hit it off well enough that Saul would recognize David when he arrived?