Fellowship with the saints
“And Samuel died; and all Israel were gathered together, and lamented him; and they buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.” (1 Samuel 25:1)
This is how the Holy Spirit introduces this passage which is about a godly wife and an ungodly husband who opposed the man of God…
Samuel was a great prophet of the Old Covenant. He was also a judge in Israel until the time when the Jews refused to have God as their King who exercised His authority through the judges. It was then that God sent Samuel to anoint Saul as king on Israel. God makes us understand in the Old Testament that no mere human king could be the blameless and perfect Messiah King of Israel. In fact, Saul chose to disobey God, and the kingdom was given to David who obeyed God. Samuel was sent to anoint David as king, after Saul was rejected by God as a king on Israel. Even David who was a man after God’s heart (cf. Acts 13:22) would not be that perfect Messiah, but only the Old Covenant shadow for that Messiah.
Now, Samuel, who was the mediator between God and the people, died. The Jews who refused him during his lifetime realized the importance of this prophet after he died and they gathered together to lament him… It’s always like this: those who disobey God realize the importance of the men of God after they die. They persecute the man of God during his lifetime, and then they want to look godly when that man dies, and they come to show sorrow for his death. And after that, they try to make it seem like this man of God used to agree with them and with their theology, so they attach their teachings to that man after his death, as he can’t oppose them now that he is dead… It is in this way that you find many Christians calling themselves with the name of a saint who fell asleep in the Lord, although they don’t follow his pattern of righteousness… A saint is not a person who is perfect in himself, for all humans are sinners before God by nature. A saint is a person who is poor in spirit, who admits that he is not righteous in himself, that he is a lost sinner who needs the Salvation of God. It is in this way that this sinner is clothed with the Righteousness of God by faith in Christ, and thus he is separated (sanctified) to God. He is a saint by calling. What every Christian should do is to follow the pattern of righteousness that the saints followed, as they also are saints by calling. They should not give the Glory of God to humans by worshiping the saints instead of God… But false Christians worship saints, as they refuse to obey God’s Word. They even try to enter in communication with the dead saints, although God clearly said that He doesn’t want us to practice spiritism. He wants us to find encouragement and hope in His Word, and not by calling dead saints. As God refused Saul, so this man couldn’t find any answer from God to his prayers, and he decided to call the soul of Samuel about whom we just read that he died. And God rebuked Saul severely for doing that (read this in 1 Samuel 28). Many people do like Saul these days…
Now, although many of the Jews opposed Samuel during his lifetime, but there were also godly Jews who respected him during his lifetime and also after his death. Some of those Jews who came to lament Samuel were godly Jews who really respected and loved Samuel, the man of God. David was one of them. Indeed, David writes in Psalm 16:
“I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.”
As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.” (Psalm 16:2-3)
David represented a true godly man. He knew that his only good is God, and that he should not look for any good in mere humans. But he also knew that the saints of God, the true believers who are in the earth, the living saints, are majestic ones whom he loved, and he was very happy to have fellowship with them. The ungodly people do not like to have fellowship with the godly people, as we will see in the example of Nabal in this chapter that we are studying. They may show some hypocrite love towards the men of God, as we have seen in the example of the Jews who came to lament Samuel, but they don’t really like to have fellowship with them. They tell you about how much they love the saints and how they go to meet them, but you don’t see any delight in them in the saints and in their biblical pattern; they don’t consider God as their only good, and they disobey God’s Word even when claiming to obey it…
It is to be noted that the reason of our fellowship with the saints is not because without them Christianity would not exist… David makes it clear that he has no good besides God. Christianity is about Jesus Christ! He is our joy and all our good! And it is BECAUSE Jesus is our only good that we like to have fellowship with those brothers and sisters in Christ who have the Spirit of Christ and walk in obedience to His commandments by His Grace. True Christians are dead to themselves, and now CHRIST lives in them (cf. Galatians 2:20). When we have fellowship with them, we have fellowship with Christ. Any brother or sister who gives a good example of this holiness of Christ is to be our close brother or sister! We should love them with the affections of Christ. We should have FERVENT love for the brethren. Let’s read it together:
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22)
Those who have not yet purified their souls in obedience to the truth cannot sincerely love the brethren. On the contrary, they blame the Christians for the love that they have for each other… We find this example in the love of Jonathan for David… Many Jews wanted to seem faithful to God, but they opposed David. “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man?” (Proverbs 20:6)… So David didn’t find a trustworthy friend other than Jonathan, and he said about him after his death:
“I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant wast thou unto me; Thy love to me was wonderful, passing women’s love.” (2 Samuel 1:26)
Many people today conclude from this passage that David had a sinful relation with Jonathan, as he describes his love as passing that of women… They make this conclusion because their heart is not yet purified by the truth. We will see the same example in Abigail who had her delight in this man of God, David, although her husband was against him…
So Samuel died. David lost one of those in whom he used to have his delight, a saint whom he loved and respected as a spiritual leader. We can feel the sorrow that David had for the loss of this saint, just as many truly godly Jews had. This was a trouble that came on David, and he wanted to go to the wilderness of Paran. He most probably went there to have a quiet time in the wilderness, just as Jesus did when He knew about the murder of John the Baptist (cf. Matthew 14:13). And it could be that he also thought the wilderness of Paran was the best place to hide from Saul who was still looking for him to kill him.
The Holy Spirit gave us an idea about this trouble that David had with the loss of this saint. Now, He will show us how troubles continue to come on David’s head, and how the Lord preserves him through all those troubles. We will see the case of an ungodly man who hates the man of God (David), as if it were not enough for David that he lost a saint (Samuel)… But we will also see how the godly wife of this ungodly man walked with wisdom in this trouble and became a blessing for her house.
We continue this study next time, if the Lord wills.
Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ