Passages: 1 Samuel 22-24
Saul the Persecutor
With God no longer central to his life. Saul spiralled and became the persecutor of God’s anointed ruler. We see:
- He focused on himself
- He desired power
- He was jealous
- He imagined the worst
- He falsely accused others
- He hated and loathed
- Those around him saw his unreasonable behaviour
- He looked for someone to agree with him
- He persecuted
Each of the above can be areas we all struggle with and can be symptoms of our distance from God. It is important that we carefully consider ‘are these behaviours present in our lives?’ because if we don’t address them they could cause us to spiral into self centred behaviours that may hurt others.
David the Persecuted
David was on the run from Saul, but even in the midst of this persecution he continued to live as a anointed person of God, with God at the centre of his life. We see:
- His Heart for justice
- His dependance of God
- His willingness to follow God in the face of opposition
- His example strengthened his followers
- His confidence in God in the face of disappointment and retreat
- He didn’t seek revenge
- His example demonstrated his righteousness
- He let God be the judge
As we seek to live as disciples of Jesus, persecution will come from many different sources. We shouldn’t be surprised as we know we are in a spiritual war, Jesus said:
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you:‘No servant is greater than his master. ’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
Think about different sources of persecution, and how can they affect the church?
How do the verses below build on what we have looked at and how do they encourage you?
Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Matthew 5:16 light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
As we seek to become more like Jesus and introduce others to him, let us learn from David and keep God in the centre of our lives.
As we journey through the Bible let us ask, how does knowing this help me to become wise for salvation through faith in Jesus?
- What does it teach me?
- How does it rebuke me?
- Is it correcting something in my life?
- What training can I put into place to help me live a righteous life?
- How is this equipping me for every good work?
Additional questions you may wish to consider for personal study or in Life Groups.
As I reflect what have I found interesting?
As I reflect what has challenged my life, attitudes and actions?
Is there one practical step I can apply to my life to help me to become more like Jesus?
How would this help me to introduce others to Jesus?
Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?
Is there someone I should share with, pray with or encourage?