“When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezekiel 3:18 NASB).
I often don’t write about sweet baby chicks or soft puppies. Sometimes the messages seem difficult to write but I’m not sorry. While sorting through memoir chapters for my next book, I stumbled upon this message. I started writing this four years ago, and it’s about a man who lost his head. Literally.
If you think you have heard this story, appease me, and reread it.
There was a king named Saul. He started out well as most kings do, but then one day the spirit of the Lord left him, and an evil spirit replaced it.
“Now, the LORD’s Spirit had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (1 Samuel 16:14).
This king had everything going for him. Scripture tells us he even had a brand new heart.
“Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them” (1 Samuel 10:9-10 NASB).
Why would the Father do this? Oh, not the heart part, the evil spirit part? What happened to this king who not only received a brand new heart but also prophesied? He was the most handsome man in all the kingdom, but God looks on the heart, not the outward appearance.
“He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people” (1 Samuel 9:2 NASB).
This king not only was anointed by Samuel, but he also had the whole package, looks, honor, wealth, and esteem until he lost it all, even his head. What happened for the Father to become so angry with him? He had something I see a lot of today.
He was a man pleaser. He sought the honor and approval of man over The Father of Lights.
Most everyone has read about David and Goliath. Even before this defeat of the giant, Saul was disobeying HaShem and not listening to Samuel the prophet, but it is the jealousy and envy of David that destroys him. Have you ever been jealous of someone? Ever desired another man’s wife? Another mans anointing, gifts, and talents? Ever crave something that wasn’t yours?
Saul had lost his anointing and didn’t even realize it. Oh, the fear of even typing that last sentence bothers me. How many of us, like Saul, continue wearing our soiled wedding garments smiling all the way to the assembly oblivious of our condition? I said Saul continued on, but the spirit of YAH had left him! By the time we get to chapter (18), Saul knows what’s up.
(1 Samuel 18:12) “Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.”
David, a shepherd boy of about sixteen years of age, doesn’t even blink or think one second that his Father will not help him destroy, Goliath. And after he cuts off his head, using Goliath’s own sword, David carries his head on a pole. The people now are looking at David. Saul with all his glory is no longer getting the attention from men that he loved.
The spotlight isn’t always glamorous. Many times after speaking at assemblies, I am approached with hugs, tears, and accolades of how well I brought the message. One minute they want to make you a king, the next minute they want to crucify you. But when you are victorious, then they want a dance.
“When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next, they’ll be making him their king!” (1 Samuel 18:6-8).
Jealousy is crueler than the grave.
Did you catch the insecurities in this man? He is fearful of losing something he has already lost. He had already lost the favor of the Father when he disobeyed Samuel’s instructions from God. He had already lost the new heart that the Father had given him in one day.
But that is really not what I want to talk about–that is really just leading you up to the main point of this message. David is running for his life and hiding in caves over Saul and his attempts to kill him. He runs so far, and he becomes so afraid of Saul, that he even feigns himself to be a madman and goes and lives with the Philistine’s. David fights for his enemies. These were the very ones whose giant he had beheaded. How does he get so off track?
The fear of man–we have one king (Saul) who is a people pleaser and fears losing the favor of people instead of Gods favor, and then we have one man (David) who wasn’t afraid to slay a giant over 8 feet tall, whose armor weighed over a hundred pounds, but is afraid of Israel’s leader who has lost the anointing and favor of The Lord Adonai.
I believe a most wicked form of jealousy entered Saul when David took the head off of that giant.
David wouldn’t touch God’s anointed, not even with his lips. He had many opportunities, but he resisted. So the interesting thing about this story and the thing that made me say “wow” is–Saul’s very root of jealousy, bitterness, and fear of losing his people and his crown started with the head of Goliath. It is the very same way this king would die!
“So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia” (1 Samuel 31:9 NLT).
And what do you think David did? Do you think he smiled an evil smile? Do you think he danced with glee over the death of his enemy? No. He tore his clothes and fell on his face and fasted and prayed for Saul and his sons who were slain that day. Then David wrote a song for Saul. And he sang this,
“Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills! OH, how the mighty heroes have fallen! How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions” (2 Samuel 1:23 NIV). David goes on to sing this, “O women of Israel, weep for Saul, for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing, in garments decorated with gold” (2nd Samuel 1:24).
Instead of being happy over this man who he ran from for around 17 years–instead of rejoicing that this man who spent his whole reign trying to kill him had died, he cried and fasted and wrote a song about his mighty power as King.
Oh to be like David! Oh, to be a man after Yah’s own heart. Can you forgive the ones running the race with you? Those running against you? Remember the ones who hold the crown do not always hold HIS HEART.
Photograph by Jeff Manning