Bible Readings for August 26th

1 Samuel 18 | Romans 16 | Lamentations 3 | Psalm 34

It was not Yahweh’s intention for David to wait passively for the throne of Israel, hidden from the public eye, until the day Saul died. Rather, Yahweh sovereignly orchestrated that the lives of the two anointed kings should begin intersecting immediately upon the anointing of David. David first encountered Saul when he played the harp for Saul (1 Sam. 16), and later when he joined Israel’s battle against Goliath (1 Sam. 17). In today’s reading, David becomes best friends with Saul’s son Jonathan (1 Sam. 18:1–5), and he marries Saul’s daughter Michal (1 Sam. 18:17–29).

Saul’s relationship with David begins on a friendly note but quickly sours when Saul starts to compare Israel’s praise for David with Israel’s praise for him: “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Sam. 18:7). When Saul hears this, he worries about the increasing prominence of David, asking himself, “what more can he have but the kingdom?” (1 Sam. 18:8). Deep down, Saul recognizes that the real threat extends beyond his crown and to his spiritual condition: “Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul” (1 Sam. 18:12).

As Saul stews on these thoughts, the harmful spirit from God continues to torment him. So, one day while David is playing his lyre to soothe Saul’s madness, Saul attempts to kill David with his spear (1 Sam. 18:10–11). And when Saul is unable to kill David himself, he attempts to kill David through the battlefield, first by appointing David as the commander over one thousand Israelite warriors (1 Sam. 18:13) and then by asking David to bring him one hundred foreskins of the Philistines in exchange for the hand of Saul’s daughter Michal in marriage (1 Sam. 18:25). But when Yahweh gives David victory over the Philistines, Saul’s fear—as well as David’s fame—grows greater and greater (1 Sam. 18:29).

Increasingly, Saul’s greatest downfall is his own scheming. While David entrusts his life to Yahweh at every turn, Saul attempts to protect himself, regardless of whom he might hurt in the process. And even though Yahweh continually thwarts his plans and continues to exalt David, Saul refuses to repent, choosing instead to double down on his schemes as he furiously tries to fix the problems that he himself creates.

Where in your life are you scheming rather than trusting God? In what areas are you taking matters into your own hands rather than entrusting yourself to the God of David—and to the Son of David who loved you so much that he died for you? To imagine that you are the only person who will look after your welfare is a lie from hell. Repent of your schemes and entrust yourself to the God who judges justly (1 Pet. 2:23).

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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