1 SAMUEL 23
So, Saul has pretty much given up the weighty matters of being king and has devoted himself full-time to his new hobby: Trying to kill David. The Philistines were still very much an immediate danger to Israel. In fact, at the beginning of this chapter, it was David who saved the people of Keilah from an invasion of the Philistines. But Saul seemed unconcerned with the Philistines and more worried about making sure David wouldn’t live much longer.
Once again, this was striking to me, given Jonathan’s admission to David in verse 17: "'Don’t be afraid,' he said. 'My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.'" Incredible, isn’t it? Just another example of Saul’s refusal to acquiesce to what he is convicted of.
By this time in the Saul/David saga, it is clear that the Lord is with David. The Lord is guiding him, protecting him, and frustrating Saul’s every attempt to kill him. It is also clear that Saul doesn’t care very much where the Lord is or what He’s doing. Since he knows David will be king, he must know that the Lord has chosen David and that he should stop trying to kill him... but it doesn’t deter him.
Funny, then, what Saul says to the Ziphites who promise to hand David over to him: "Saul replied, 'The Lord bless you for your concern for me.'" (vs 21) Isn’t there just something wrong with that? Saul knows the Lord is not with him in his attempts to get rid of David. And Saul is doing nothing in his life to seek God at all, yet he invokes God’s name in blessing over those who would help him destroy his enemy.
Maybe saying stuff like that was just a habit for Saul. Or maybe he was still pretending to be God’s king to the people (even though he knew otherwise). Still, I think if I was God, I wouldn’t let my name be invoked by people who had totally rejected me in their life. Actually, it really annoyed me—that Saul would so blatantly thumb his nose at God, but then turn around and "use" Him when it was convenient.
God is obviously not image-conscious. There have been (and continue to be) an abundance of "Saul"s throughout history. Hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and religious false advertising are still alive and well today. It amazes me that God doesn’t call people out when they misuse His name. It amazes me that He doesn’t expose and shame people who only use His name when it suits them. It amazes me that He doesn’t defend Himself, doesn’t fight back as His name gets drug through the mud.
God prefers to let the evidence do the talking. That’s what the Bible is all about—a record of the evidence. Not just what God will say, but more importantly what He does. And I don’t know about you, but to me, the evidence is speaking loud and clear.