Taking Refuge in the LORD (1 Samuel #23)

Envy runs Saul’s life because he refuses to submit to the LORD (vss 1-3)

  • Saul has never taken refuge in the LORD by submitting to Samuel’s preaching. He’s never yielded himself to the LORD. And because he’s never taken refuge in the LORD he has no defense against being consumed with hatred for David.
  • He’s become a manic depressive, highs and lows, ups and downs, eat up with evil thoughts. He’s a carcass of flesh and a habitation of devils. Saul is consumed with evil because he refuses to take refuge in the LORD by submitting to God.
  • There is no satisfying this evil spirit in Saul. He is set on murdering David.
  • Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
  • Maybe you’re Saul this morning. You refuse to submit to the LORD and now have no defence against wickedness. So you sit consumed with hatred, depression, anger, wrath, malice, and emotion. Your battle is not with David. Your battle is with the LORD.

Saul emotions are out of control because he’s never submitted himself to the LORD (vss 4-7)

  • Reasoning with Saul won’t last. Jonathan tries to get his dad to understand that David has only treated Saul well. He is not a threat to Saul.
  • Saul may have been telling the truth in the moment in verse 6 because he is so emotionally out of control. No rule of his spirit. One minute he’s sincere about his intentions, but it doesn’t last.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
  • A word about Jonathan as a Christian who thinks he can satisfy the flesh and love Christ at the same time. Jonathan will find he cannot accept both Saul and David. He must choose the LORD or choose his carnal dad.

Saul’s temptation to kill is met with opportunity (vss 8-11)

  • As he sits in his house, in his own mind, considering his javelin and his hatred for David. Exacerbated by David’s recent victories and increasing popularity, Saul’s evil imagination consumes him.
  • Put it in a modern context, Saul sits in his palace handling his gun as thoughts of hatred for David consume him, he fires off a shot at David.
  • Saul’s drawn away of his own lust.
  • The phrase Saul sent messengers occurs six times in this chapter. These are messengers of death. When they come knocking they aren’t selling Girl Scout cookies. For David, their presence means his death.
  • Reminds me of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan. Always reminding him of his mortal and feeble state.

Deceiving Saul makes him even more angry (vss 11-17)

  • Michal tries to save David which only makes Saul more angry.
  • Saul thinks his trouble in life, his lack of emotional control, his problems are all David’s fault in verse 17.
  • Your battle is not with David, Saul. Your battle is with the LORD.

David goes where the Spirit of God is (vss 18-24)

  • If you’re going to find refuge in the LORD, you go where the LORD is. David is the opposite of Saul in regards to the LORD.
    • Samuel had established a college at Naioth in his hometown of Ramoth for those who had interest in the ministry of the words of God. (Remember there is no open vision in those days and the word of God, the scriptures, was most valuable.) It apparently had housing for preaching students kind of like a dorm setting perhaps. I’m sure it was more like the Roloff Homes used to be in Corpus Christi. They were self-sufficient with farming, animals, fishing, etc.
    • Saul sends three sets of assassins to this place where the worldly things have completely lost influence under the leadership of Samuel. These assassins begin to prophecy. We don’t know if they’re lamenting their evil work or praising God, but either way they are prophesying.
    • Finally Saul himself goes. But even he is unable to contend with the Spirit of God in Naioth. He hears the preaching and the worship service going on in Naioth and he strips off his clothes, probably overcome with sorrow for who he is and his attitude toward God.
      • The scripture says Saul is naked which either means he has no clothes on or, according to Isaiah 20, he is only wearing something like a sumo wrestler wears.
  • Refuge in the Spirit of God means eliminating the world’s influence and willingly yielding to the influences of the Spirit of God found in the word of God
    • Naioth is a place where devilish and carnal powers have little influence.
    • There is apparently such a presence of God in this place that when the messengers show up to kill David they are overwhelmed, their hearts are moved to worship God, and the Satanic influence of Saul is forgotten. It is flushed out with the sweet Spirit of God.
  • Refuge in the Spirit of God means being subject to preaching or prophesying as it’s called here and in the New Testament.
    • 8 times in verses 20-24 the word prophecy or a variation of it shows up.
    • 1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:20 Despise not prophesyings. Reasons people despise preaching.
      • It’s too personal.
      • It’s not pleasurable.
      • It’s not popular.
    • Here are some ways people despise prophesyings.
      • You say the messenger is no good
      • You say there are better things to do
      • You are a hearer of the word, but not a doer of the word
      • You sit distracted from preaching because you won’t control your thoughts
  • Refuge in the Spirit of God provides safety from the LORD.
    • The LORD defends David without a sword or spear.
    • The LORD defends David by changing the hearts of his enemies.

Salvation application

  • Death is after you.
  • Death’s messengers are relentless.
  • Death is only swallowed up in victory by the Spirit of God. But you must submit to the LORD. Quit trusting you. Quit living by your ideas.