1 Samuel 19
Reformed thought and life has been on the rise in America for some time. It seems the New Calvinism which took shape years back is now old and wrinkled. The Young Restless and Reformed now have grandchildren. I recall many years ago seeing “Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy T-shirts” in the halls of the Reformed and Evangelical conference scene. Much of that movement seems to have fizzled out. But there are still many who want to do more than merely appreciate the faithful reformers of the past. Yes, there are still thouse who work to continue the reformation.
Now when we get down to real reformation, as opposed to a reformation that lives only in the mind, then we will face the ire of pagan power. Such was the case in John Calvin’s day. Such was the case in the apostles’ day. And such is always the case, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). When godless power raises its hand against the reformation of the saints, then a host of temptations come. One of those temptations is to drift from the Word of God and rely instead on craftiness. Such craftiness was the very thing the Apostle Paul avoided, “We faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2).
There is a wisdom to such craftiness. It is associated with the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 3:19). And that worldly wisdom is foolishness with God. The serpent himself used this craftiness and subtilty to beguile Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3). Now the only way to avoid being crafty is to have rock solid confidence in the Word of God. We have to grasp what Martin Luther understood when he said of his reformation work, “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.”
We see that very power of the Word operating in 1 Samuel chapter 19
The Text – A Summary
Saul’s rage against David came out into the open as he ordered Jonathan and all of his servants to kill David. Jonathan loved David so he shared the bad news with him. Then Jonathan spoke with his father, trying to talk sense into him. Saul listened at the outset. But the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul again and he tried to pin David to the wall another time. David escaped. But Saul sent messengers to his house to kill him. Michael, Saul’s daughter and David’s wife, helped David escape.
David fled to the prophet Samuel at Ramah. But Saul sent men there to capture and finish David off. But, these men came upon prophets proclaiming God’s Word, and Samuel standing there appointed over them (v. 20). And what do you know? These men sent from Saul to murder the Anointed King David are turned into prophets themselves, “And the Word of God increased” (Acts 6:7). Saul found out and sent another band of men to murder David. But this Old Testament Saul found out like the New Testament Saul that it is hard to kick against the goad. The second band of men prophesied like the first. So Saul sent a third. And they prophesied just the same. The prophesying was getting quite robust in Ramah. Saul kept filling the pulpits.
King Saul decided to go himself and do what needed to be done. But as they say, three strikes and you’re naked. Well, that is not what they say at all. But that is what happened in this case. The Spirit of God came upon Saul and he began to prophesy himself. But he stripped off his clothes before doing so and laid down naked all day and night.
Here’s the lesson. There is simply no opposing God’s Word. Those who raise themselves up against will find themselves fallen before it. As worldly rulers rebel against the advance of the kingdom of God, they will find that their efforts only make more and better preachers. The Word of God will abound, being fueled by those who would cut down the promises of God.
We then, who labor for reformation, must remember where the power is. As Luther said, “I did nothing; the Word did everything.”