1. FACING PERSECUTION
a. What triggered jealousy in Saul’s heart against David? 1 Samuel 18:5–9. Name a principle which explains why Saul’s actions followed his sentiments. 1 Samuel 18:11; 1 John 3:15.
“It was the ambition of Saul to be first in the estimation of men; and when this song of praise was sung, a settled conviction entered the mind of the king that David would obtain the hearts of the people and reign in his stead. Saul opened his heart to the spirit of jealousy by which his soul was poisoned.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 650.
b. Why does God allow Christians to undergo situations such as the one David now experienced—and what did David learn through his connection with Saul? 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12–17.
“David’s position at court would give him a knowledge of affairs, in preparation for his future greatness. It would enable him to gain the confidence of the nation. The vicissitudes and hardships which befell him, through the enmity of Saul, would lead him to feel his dependence upon God, and to put his whole trust in Him.”—Ibid., p.649.
2. SERIOUS DANGER
a. When Saul saw that God had protected David, what other plans did he arrange in seeking to destroy him? 1 Samuel 18:12, 13, 17, 20, 21, 25. What preserved the life of God’s faithful servant? 1 Samuel 18:14, 30.
b. How did Saul’s worst nature again recur—and what arrested his pursuit of David at Ramah? 1 Samuel 19:9, 10, 23, 24; 20:1 (first part).
“[Saul] was determined to wait for no further chance to kill David; as soon as he should come within reach of him, he intended with his own hand to slay him, whatever might be the consequences.
“But an angel of God met him on the way and controlled him. The Spirit of God held him in Its power, and he went forward uttering prayers to God, interspersed with predictions and sacred melodies. He prophesied of the coming Messiah as the world’s Redeemer. When he came to the prophet’s home in Ramah, he laid aside the outer garments that betokened his rank, and all day and all night he lay before Samuel and his pupils, under the influence of the divine Spirit. The people were drawn together to witness this strange scene. . . .
“David had little confidence in the king’s repentance. He took this opportunity to escape, lest the mood of the king should change, as formerly.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 654.
c. Describe the deadly nature of envy and jealousy. Proverbs 6:34, 35; 27:4.
“Envy is one of the most despicable traits of Satanic character. It is constantly seeking the lifting up of self, by casting slurs upon others. A man who is envious will belittle his neighbor, thinking to exalt himself.”—The Signs of the Times, August 17, 1888.
“Envy is not merely a perverseness of temper, but a distemper, which disorders all the faculties. . . .
“If an attempt be made to convince the envious person of his sin, he becomes even more bitter against the object of his passion, and too often he remains incurable.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 56.
3. THE TERRIBLE RESULTS OF PANIC
a. Relate the wrongs of David in his flight to Nob. 1 Samuel 21:1–6.
“[David] was in constant fear of discovery, and . . . in his extremity he resorted to deception. . . . David told the priest that he had been sent by the king to accomplish some secret business which required that he should go alone. He asked the priest for five loaves of bread. There was nothing but hallowed bread in the possession of the man of God; David succeeded, however, in removing his scruples, and obtained the bread to satisfy his hunger.”—The Signs of the Times, August 31, 1888.
b. How did David’s failure to be honest and forthright with Ahimelech trigger a tragic series of events? 1 Samuel 21:7; 22:6–11, 16–19.
“Had the facts been plainly stated, Ahimelech would have known what course to pursue to preserve his life.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 656.
“Doeg was a slanderer, and Saul had such a spirit of envy and hatred and murder, that he desired the report to be true. The partial and exaggerated statement of the chief of the herdsmen, was suited for the use of the adversary of God and man. It was presented to the mind of Saul in such a light that the king lost all control of himself, and acted like a madman. If he had but calmly waited until he could have heard the whole story, and had exercised his reasoning faculties, how different would have been the terrible record of that day’s doings!
“How Satan exults when he is enabled to set the soul into a white heat of anger! A glance, a gesture, an intonation, may be seized upon and used, as the arrow of Satan, to wound and poison the heart that is open to receive it. If the Spirit of Christ possesses us wholly, and we have been transformed by His grace, there will be no disposition to speak evil, or to bear reports freighted with falsehood. The falsifier, the accuser of the brethren, is a chosen agent of the great deceiver.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1020.
“This deed [of slaying the priests] filled all Israel with horror. It was the king whom they had chosen that had committed this outrage. . . . The ark was with them, but the priests of whom they had inquired were slain with the sword. What would come next?”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 659.
4. FRENZY IN FEAR
a. What was David forgetting when in a state of panic? Psalm 23:4.
“[David], when in a great emergency, had looked up to God with the steady eye of faith, and had met the proud, boasting Philistine. He believed in God, he went in His name. He trusted in His power to do the work of defeating the armies of the Lord’s enemies. But as he had been hunted and persecuted, perplexity and distress had nearly hidden his heavenly Father from his sight. He seemed to think that he was left alone, to fight his own battles. He was confused, and knew not which way to turn. . . .
“We must learn to trust our heavenly Father, and not allow the soul to be defiled with the sin of unbelief. In trying to save ourselves, we do not commit the keeping of our souls to God, as unto a faithful Creator. We do not expect Him to work for us, but frantically beat about in our own finite strength to break through some wall of difficulty which God alone can remove for us. . . . When man relies implicitly upon God, he will be true to himself; and he can hope and rejoice in the God of his salvation, though every friend on earth becomes a foe.”—The Signs of the Times, August 31, 1888.
b. How should we take warning—even when in danger—from David’s other wrong committed in his desperate flight? 1 Samuel 21:10–13.
“God requires that truthfulness shall mark His people, even in the greatest peril. . . .
“David fled to Achish, the king of Gath; for he felt that there was more safety in the midst of the enemies of his people than in the dominions of Saul. But it was reported to Achish that David was the man who had slain the Philistine champion years before; and now he who had sought refuge with the foes of Israel found himself in great peril. But, feigning madness, he deceived his enemies and thus made his escape.
“The first error of David was his distrust of God at Nob, and his second mistake was his deception before Achish. . . . As trial came upon him, his faith was shaken, and human weakness appeared. He saw in every man a spy and a betrayer.”— Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 656, 657.
5. TRUE FAITH . . . TRUSTS
a. How did David humbly acknowledge his partial guilt in the tragic matter of the slain priests? 1 Samuel 22:20–23.
b. How does our Lord Jesus Christ reprove the type of fear that too often paralyzes us from trusting God as we should? Mark 4:40.
“Wherever the children of God make a failure, it is due to their lack of faith. When shadows encompass the soul, when we want light and guidance, we must look up; there is light beyond the darkness.”—The Signs of the Times, August 31, 1888.
c. Name one promise that echoes down through the centuries to every faithful child of God in times of desperate need. Isaiah 54:10.
“Oh, how precious is the sweet influence of the Spirit of God as it comes to depressed or despairing souls, encouraging the fainthearted, strengthening the feeble, and imparting courage and help to the tried servants of the Lord! Oh, what a God is ours, who deals gently with the erring and manifests His patience and tenderness in adversity, and when we are overwhelmed with some great sorrow!”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 657.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why does God hate it so much when we indulge in envy and jealousy?
2. Why couldn’t David trust Saul, even after he seemed peaceable at times?
3. How might I be in danger of making mistakes like David in such trials?
4. How does the Lord want us to handle matters when our life is in peril?
5. Under what types of circumstances do I really need to trust God more?