1 Samuel 25-26, Romans 15

The Godly Life Done God’s Way.

1 Samuel 25-26, Romans 15

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. – Romans 5:1-2 ESV

There is always the temptation to live the godly life on our own terms, instead of God’s. Situations arise that can cause us to take matters into our own hands, and make us forget that we are always better off if we listen to God. When David had his unfortunate encounter with Nabal, he quickly determined that the best response to this foolish man’s insult was to wipe out the entire male population of his household. David was so incensed by Nabal’s boorish treatment that he was willing to commit genocide against his people. But thankfully, God intervened. He sent Abigail, Nabal’s wife, to intercede and intervene. She persuaded David to give up his plan for revenge. “Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand” (1 Samuel 25:26 ESV). Even Abigail recognized that David was attempting to take matters into his own hands, and that the results would be disastrous, not only for Nabal, but for David. And David, once he had calmed down and listened to reason, understood the significance of what Abigail had done. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand! For as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male” (1 Samuel 25:32-34 ESV).

What does this passage reveal about God?

God was not only protecting David from Saul, He was protecting David from David. David was to be a king unlike any other king. He was to be a man after God’s own heart. But sometimes David’s heart was tempted to pursue what David wanted. He was prone to follow his own heart. But God stepped in. He sent Abigail to protect him from himself. And David was given the opportunity to see God work. Because in just a short matter of time, Nabal became sick and died. David would see the hand of God in Nabal’s death. “When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, ‘Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head’” (1 Samuel 25:39 ESV).

David was learning the valuable lesson of trusting God and living according to His will. David’s near-miss encounter with Nabal would prove to be a great lesson for him to remember when he found himself with yet another chance to take the life of Saul. David and his companion, Abishai, had crept into Saul’s camp at night and found the king sound asleep. Abishai counseled David to take Saul’s spear and kill him, putting an end to David’s plight as a fugitive. But David refused, saying, “‘Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?And David said, ‘As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed’” (1 Samuel 26:9-11 ESV). David was learning to trust God with his battles.

What does this passage reveal about man?

The godly life is to be just that – godly. It is meant to be lived on God’s terms, not our own. Living godly requires that we see life through God’s eyes, not our own. It means that we must look for God in the midst of our troubles and trials, fully believing that He is there and that He has a plan in mind. Paul writes, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1 ESV). The strength Paul speaks of is not human strength, but strength provided by the Lord. Our strength is to come from God. As we live according to His terms and in His power, we are able to live with our eyes focused not on ourselves, but on others. David knew that his only job was to live faithfully to God. He told Saul, “The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation” (1 Samuel 26:23-24 ESV). David was having to put up with Saul. He was having to endure his constant harassment and unjustified treatment. But David was learning to be more focused on pleasing God and less on pleasing himself.

How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?

Paul writes, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6 ESV). As believers we need God’s help and strength in order to live godly lives in a godless environment. We even need His power to live among fellow believers. Because we will always be tempted to take matters into our own hands and live to satisfy our own selfish desires. Given the right opportunity and the wrong treatment, we could easily determine that our way is the best way and end up doing something we greatly regret. David was learning to live his life in a way that pleased God, not himself. I must learn that same lesson. Had David taken matters into his own hands, he would have murdered Nabal and every other male in his household. And he would have had to answer to God for his actions. Had David listened to the “wise” counsel of Abishai and taken Saul’s life, he would have had been guilty of killing the Lord’s anointed. But David was learning that God’s ways are not man’s ways. He was learning that the godly life is distinctly different than the way most of us tend to live our lives. The godly life is lived to please God, not men. The godly life is based on God’s will, not our own. The godly life results in God’s blessing, rather than some short-lived form of self-satisfaction.

 Father, I want my life to please You. I want to continue to learn to give up my agenda for Yours. Help me to understand that the godly life is only possible with Your help. It is impossible in my own strength. Thank You for giving me Your Spirit as a source of empowerment and encouragement to live the life You’ve called me to live. But I ask that You give me a growing sensitivity to Your presence in my life and a willingness to live according to Your plan for my life. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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