1 Samuel 19:18-24
18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said. 23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
This must have been a desperately confusing time for David. Samuel has anointed him as king of Israel while Saul, also anointed as king, is still ruling. The more faithfully David serves Saul, the more Saul hates him and tries to kill him. I can imagine the questions that must have been in David’s heart as he escapes. “What on earth are you doing, God?”
David runs to Samuel, famous for hearing and speaking for God, and lays the whole confusing mess out to him. In response, Samuel took David to live with him. I’m guessing that his (and God’s) answer was not a simple quick fix.
Saul sends soldiers and finally comes himself, but not to seek wisdom. God gives it anyway. The word translated as “prophesy” (hitpa“el) spans everything from an ecstatic experience to teaching God’s word to speaking for God about the future. Whatever form it took, they are all overcome by God’s presence – first lesson: God rules, even over kings; Saul strips off his royal robes – second warning: God gave Saul the kingship and God will strip it away; and Saul lies there naked and humiliated before Samuel (and God) – a final lesson in humility and repentance that Saul refuses to receive.
Some obvious lessons here for me too. When I’m confused and fearful, it’s so important to seek God and his wisdom, and its highly probable I will need Godly people to help me do that. When I’m in the wrong, I need to strip off my pretence and pride and humble myself before God in repentance. I’m so blessed when Godly people speak wisdom into my life, especially when they tell me when I’m wrong. I’m so foolish when I think I can cope on my own.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, when you speak into my life, and when you correct me. Thank you for your fabulous, wise, faithful people you put around me.
Written by David Cornell