In our last devotional we’ve explored how the Lord was training David to be king. One might think that it is hyperbole to believe that an average person has the same destiny as David. However, the Lord began Creation with that mindset: that mankind would be the rulers of this world, and do it with excellence.
In Genesis, the Lord made sure that this concept was on the front burner, not to be missed. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…” (Gen. 1:26 ESV). Moses was writing the book of Genesis, not to you or me, but rather to the Israelites who had just been liberated from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Moses begins their reacquaintance with Jehovah God by contrasting their past with their new won freedom.
To assure slaves that they were to have dominion, (which is royal language, with imperial standards) must have been flabbergasting. These slaves were given a new perspective about an old precept. They were created to be like Jehovah. They had just been liberated from Egypt, and the gods of Egypt were not like Jehovah. Egyptian theology believed Pharaoh was a god. In addition, they worshiped nature, so much so that many of their gods were animals or insects. Their primary god , Pharaoh, was a monster, since in Exodus 1 & 2 he had Jewish male babies thrown into the Nile river to drown. Pharaoh was not a magnanimous, compassionate god worthy of nobility. The Lord opposed him, then flattened him.
In Genesis 1:26 ,Jehovah assures mankind that they were made in the image of God. From Gen 1:1 to 1:26, we get a glimpse of God’s character. He is creative, free, has ability to choose, he is moral, uses reason, evaluates, and has the capacity for fellowship with individual men and women. He is also intellectual, powerful, thoughtful, as well as affectionate, and generous. He is affectionate in 1:21, and 1:28, where it says that he ‘blessed.’ This is a term of endearment, targeting animals and humans with adoration, attention, and affection. Pharaoh is not like Jehovah.
Thus, in 1:26, when he creates man in his image, this bestows on mankind a great honor, and with it comes great responsibility. Mankind is to “exercise dominion.” These are imperial standards of ruling. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8 ESV). Mankind is obligated to ‘do’ justice, that is, do what is right. Then he is commanded to ‘love – love’. Thirdly he is to be in fellowship with Jehovah God. Not so with Pharaoh.
So, David is not some ultra-believer who earns nobility. He was like us, a man, with warts and all, stepping into his kingship after serious training. It’s the same training that all believers will get – transforming us into a ruling class, that reflects the nature of the Lord. No one claimed the training was easy…as David was discovering.
In David’s case, King Saul was desperately trying to kill David (1 Sam 19:1-17). The last words David said to his wife: “Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?'””(1 Sam. 19:17). David was being noble, protecting her from Saul’s maniacal behavior. David did not let his wife be a co-conspirator.
What was David going to do? Where was he going to go?
“Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth.” (19:18). Samuel was the prophet of the Lord and the spiritual leader in Israel (3:19). David fled to spiritual maturity, not a fortified stronghold. There were no walls or weapons at Naioth to protect David.
Samuel was a mature and godly man with a reputation of being faithful. He was also a hard-as-nails, no nonsense kind of man. Earlier, when King Saul failed to follow the Lord’s directions and kill all Amalekites, Saul let their king Agag live. Samuel proclaimed: “And Samuel said to Saul, ‘I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.'” (1 Sam. 15:26). Saul lost God’s favor, because he stubbornly disobeyed God’s Word.
Samuel had to minister justice. “Then Samuel said, ‘Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.’ And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, ‘Surely the bitterness of death is past.'” (15:32). Agag was in a good mood, thinking mercy was being granted to him. Samuel is truthful about what was to happen. Here’s the verdict: “And Samuel said, ‘As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.’ And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.” (15:33). Whoa! Samuel was not merely a brainiac theologian who ministered in his mind – he performed godly justice.
Samuel told Agag the reason for his execution: he had killed innocent people. Samuel knew Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Justice was to prevail, and King Saul wimped out. Saul tried to kill an innocent man, David; but hesitated to punish a murderer. Upside down and backward understanding of justice and mercy from Saul. This was not to be the standard for the new King of Israel – David.
David was going to live with Samuel. David tells-all to him (19:18), and Samuel was neither fearful, nor anxious. Samuel did not change his lifestyle. He takes in David to live with him, a fact that must have comforted David immensely.
Wait! There are no guards, no perimeter protection, and no fortifications! “And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth.” (19:18). This was gracious hospitality. This is God-kind of care. Samuel might now be at risk from Saul. One gets the sense that Samuel was not the least bit intimidated.
David needed a safe place to stay, and the Lord provided a person and a place for him. None of the normal things a warrior would expect were provided. No weapons or soldiers- just godly wisdom. “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Rom. 15:7).