The work of God and the work of man

Published 20 June 2011  |  
In the contrasting lives of Israel's first two kings, Saul and David, we can learn some valuable lessons about God's ways.

Consider the following five areas:

1. Who's idea is it? Saul was chosen because the people demanded a king. In doing so, they rejected God's authority over their lives (I Samuel 8:7), wanting to make their own decisions like the rest of the world did. David, on the other hand, was God's choice (I Samuel 13:14), signifying complete submission to God's authority. Application: Do the decisions that you make in your life begin with your bright ideas? Then they will end in destruction just like Saul's kingdom did. Instead, let God be the one who decides what you need and when.

2. How do you make choices? Saul was the tallest and most handsome man in the country (I Samuel 9:2) and was chosen by lot (I Samuel 10:20-21). Picking him based on these criteria was the natural way of making choices. As a result, when he felt threatened by David later on, he had to protect his throne by natural means. David, on the other hand, though despised by his own family, was chosen by the prophetic utterance of God, based not on the outward appearance, but on the heart (I Samuel 16:1-12). Since the heart is God's creation, not man's, and since God's word never fails, David could always rely on God to defend his throne. Application: Is your life self-made, and something you can be proud of? Then you will always have to fight your own battles to protect your "turf". And, unless you repent, you will eventually be exposed and God will remove the anointing from you, as He did with Saul. If your life is "God-made", however, you can be sure that God will see you and defend you, even if no one else does! The "God-made" life is one of constant dependence on God, and that comes from hearing the prophetic word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

3. Whose approval do you seek? Saul was led into disobedience as a result of wanting to please the people (I Samuel 15:15), and, when Samuel exposed his sin, Saul was more worried about his reputation before these people than about the seriousness of his sin. His response was, "I have sinned; but…" (I Samuel 15:30). When David's seemingly greater sins of adultery and murder were exposed, his repentance was without excuse: "I have sinned against the Lord," and he therefore received immediate forgiveness from God (II Samuel 12:13). Application: You face the choice of either pleasing people by your life, or serving Christ (Galatians 1:10).

4. How do you use your authority? Saul used his delegated authority to take advantage of the people – grabbing the best of their financial profits and using their children as his slaves – for his own personal gain (I Samuel 8:11-17). David's use of authority, on the other hand, is exemplified in the way he shepherded his sheep. He was not willing that even one of the lambs under his care should perish, but risked his own life for their sake (I Samuel 17:34-36). He was loving and merciful even to his enemies (Saul, Shimei, Absalom, etc.). Application: Are you unwilling to lay down your life for the sake of those in your care? Do you derive personal gain out of your ministry? Then God will discard you and replace you with a shepherd after His own heart.

5. Whose glory do you seek? When Saul was established as king, he built a monument to himself (I Samuel 15:12). David, however, lived to worship God, and so he wanted to build a house for God (II Samuel 7:1-2). Application: What is the goal of your life? Amid all the blessings and peace in your life, or the hardships and turmoil, is it your only desire to seek God's face and worship Him? God will honor you if you honor Him.

God's covenant with David was an everlasting one (II Samuel 23:5), fulfilled in Jesus, the "Son of David", who exemplified this life to perfection. He is our Example, the start and finish of our faith. Let us follow Him!


More News in Life