The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is studying God's providence or divine providence in the lives of David and Joseph and how we can apply His providence in their lives to our lives today.
The providence of God or divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe. He is in control of the physical world. He is in control of the affairs of nations. He is in control of human destiny. He is in control of human successes and failures. He protects His people.
In Session 11 Saul admits that "he has played the fool" in his dealings with and pursuit of David. This life of foolishness ends in tragedy for him and his sons. At the end of the study, we look at the analogies between the death of Saul and the death of Christ.
For our study we will be using Great Lives: David: A Man of Passion and Destiny, by Charles R. Swindoll, and The Hand of God by Alistair Begg. To study along with us you can purchase the books by clicking the Links here or the images after the notes.
The providence of God or divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole, He is in control of the physical world, He is in control of the affairs of nations, He’s in control of human destiny, He’s in control of human successes and failures, He protects His people. Through divine providence God accomplishes His will.
God Is Working for Your Good
By Rick Warren
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.” Psalm 23:6 (NLT)
Even in the middle of your hurts, habits, and hang-ups, God is watching over you.
King David says to God in Psalm 23:6, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life” (NLT).
When David says, “Surely your goodness will pursue me,” he’s not saying, “Surely only good things are going to happen to me.” David knew as well as anyone that bad things happen to good people. He had been abused and treated unfairly and was still a man who followed God’s heart. But he had also sinned terribly against people who had done no wrong to him.
David’s point is that, no matter how bad, evil, or difficult something seems—and no matter how much we mess things up—God will work it out for good. His goodness is pursuing us, no matter which way we turn.
It’s one of God’s great promises that he’s given to believers: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
In everything that happens to us, God is working for our good—if we love God and are following his plans. This verse does not say that all things are good. But if you’re a believer, all things are working together for God’s plan and purposes, which are always good.
That means there is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately turn toward his purpose.
When you believe that, it changes how you view everything in your life—your relationships with God and other people, your past, your future, and whatever you are facing today. As you trust in God’s good work in your life, you will be able to face even your toughest challenges with confidence.
Last week we talked about David going into the pits after being victorious over the temptation of taking revenge first on Saul and then on Nabal. After great victory comes attack because our guard may be down. What made David become depressed and descend into the pits?
1 Samuel 27:1 NIV But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
His perspective of his life became horizontal and took a humanistic viewpoint “he thought to himself” and not vertical so he became pessimistic, “I will be destroyed” and he resorted to human logic “ The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
He then had to keep up a charade that he concocted when he went to the enemy for protection. All this resulted in disaster.
1 Samuel 27:8-12 NIV Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’ ” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”
Some of the enemy didn’t go for it and wanted him gone so he was told to take him men and go home.
1 Samuel 29:1-5, 9-11 NIV The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?” Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.” But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “ ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’ Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.” So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
When he got home he had a big problem because his friends were about to turn on him and finally he changed is perspective, his viewpoint from horizontal to vertical.
1 Samuel 30:1-6 NIV David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
We are going to leave David for a bit and talk about Saul the guy who started out with great potential
1 Samuel 10:1-2, 9 NIV Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance? When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, “What shall I do about my son?” ’ As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.
He blew it by being disobedient because his viewpoint was horizontal not vertical.
1 Samuel 13:7-14 NIV Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
We know that man who was after God’s own heart was David who became a hero to Isreal and who Saul became paranoid about and became afraid. That resulted in Saul chasing David for years.
This all culminated in tragedy for Saul and his family. We read about the time that David could have killed Saul in the cave and didn’t do it.
1 Samuel 24:1-4 NIV After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
After David spared Saul’s life in the cave and David let him know that he could have killed him, but he was going to leave vengeance to God.
There was another occurrence just before Saul’s death that we are going to consider today and talk and after this one Saul sums up his entire life.
David and one of his men snuck into the Israelite camp and found Saul asleep along with his bodyguard. David could have killed Saul in fact his partner Abishai encouraged him to let him do it, but again David left it up to God. Again, he let Saul know that he could have killed him, but this time he chided those who should have protected him.
1 Samuel 26:8-16 NIV Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.” But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.” So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep. Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?” Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?” David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your Lord the king? Someone came to destroy your Lord the king. What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”
1 Samuel 26:21 NIV Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come
back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”
I HAVE PLAYED THE FOOL.” How aptly that describes the life of Saul. “I had God on my side, yet I lived as though He did not exist. There was a great, glorious sunrise in my career in which He anointed me as the king, or at least the people did. I was the pick of the litter in Israel. I was ahead above all the other men. I was handsome. I was winsome. I was a strong, natural leader. I was the man who could do the job. The people of Israel chose me to lead them. But they didn’t know the inside of me. I have played the fool.”
J. Sidlow Baxter born in Australia, 1903; died 1999 was a pastor and theologian, and later served as an Evangelist describes what it means to play the fool.
A man plays the fool when he neglects his godly friends, as Saul neglected Samuel. A man plays the fool when he goes on enterprises for God before God has sent him, as Saul did. A man plays the fool when he disobeys God even in small matters, as Saul at first did; for such disobedience nearly always leads on to worse default.
1 Samuel 13:8-14 NIV He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
A man plays the fool when he tries to cover up his disobedience to God by religious excuses, as Saul did. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” A man plays thefool when he tries to persuade himself that he is doing the will of God, as Saul tried to persuade himself, when all the time, deep down in his heart, he knows otherwise. A man plays the fool when he allows some jealousy or hatred to master and enslave and deprave him, as Saul did, toward David. A man plays the fool when he knowingly fights against God, as Saul did in hunting David, to save his own face.
A man plays the fool when he turns from God, from the God he has grieved, and seeks an alternative in spiritism, in traffic with spirits in the beyond.
1 Samuel 28:3-8 NIV Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said. So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”
1 Samuel 28:16-19 NIV Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”
The end of all these ways of sin and folly is moral and spiritual suicide. We can only finish any such downgrade course with the pathetic groan of Saul, “I have played the fool.”
Saul along with his sons met a tragic death in battle. In fact Saul committed suicide.
1 Samuel 31:1-6 NIV Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
He committed suicide because he didn't want to suffer the final indignity of having the hated Philistines makesport of his body or mock him in death. Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
He’s very concerned about his image with the enemy but shows little concern for his relationship with God whom he is about to meet? That happens when disobedience has dulled our senses. We’re very, very concerned about what people will say, but somehow we’ve lost contact with what God thinks and what God might say.
The defeat of Israel was devastating. Thus, the Philistines moved in; they not only sacked the area, they also began to live in the cities in which the Israelites had once lived.
1 Samuel 31:7-10 NIV When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them. The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
CHRIST’S DEATH: A CLASSIC ANALOGY
Behind the great tragedy of Saul’s life is a very interesting analogy—an analogy betweenSaul’s death and Christ’s death. At first glance, we might say, What in the world would we find common to both Saul and Christ? Actually, there are six analogies.
First, Saul’s death appeared to be the end of all national hope. When Saul died, many people must have thought, That’s the end of Israel. The Philistines will surely conquer us now. In a similar way, Christ’s death appeared to be the end of all national and spiritual hope. Put yourself in the place of those surrounding the cross. Some of them watching from the safety of the shadows must have thought, There’s no kingdom! We’re finished. Others said, “We believed in a hoax. Our dream was merely a phantom. We’re finished.” It looked like the end of all national and spiritual hope.
Second, with Saul’s death it seemed that the adversary had won the final victory. The Philistines marched in triumph, displaying the heads of Saul and his sons, and dangling the bodies for all to see, probably shouting, “We won the victory!” When Christ died, it seemed as though the Adversary of our souls had won. He must have strutted all over the gates of hell declaring, “The victory is mine. I am the conqueror. The Messiah is dead.”
Third, Saul’s death paved the way for an entirely new plan of operation and ushered in David's Kingly line, which led to the Messiah. When Jesus Christ died, a whole new operation moved into action and set in motion our great salvation.
Fourth, Saul’s death opened the opportunity for another who would not otherwise have been included in God’s line of blessing, namely David. Christ’s death graciously opened the opportunity of salvation’s blessing to the Gentile who would never have otherwise been able to enter and come boldly to the throne of grace.
Fifth, Saul’s death ended an era of dissatisfaction and failure. Christ’s death ended an era of law and guilt, introducing an entirely new arrangement based on grace.
Sixth and finally, Saul’s death displayed the foolishness of man. Christ’s death displayed, in human terms, the foolishness of God. Through the “foolishness” of God’s plan, He brings to pass the incredible. He takes the preached word, and He changes lives because of His Son’s death. They bruised and mocked the body of Jesus and soon after His death, His body was hurriedly placed in a grave because the Sabbath was coming. Little did anyone realize that God was on the verge of doing the greatest miracle the world has ever known