SUMMARY: Everyone to some extent has to deal with a little bit of family drama, but how about drama that leads to personal suffering for an extended period of time. In today’s Resolute Podcast we discover the purpose of suffering in David’s life and learn how to leverage it in ours.
RESOLUTE STUDY GUIDE: ROYAL SUFFERING
No family of origin is perfect. Right men? And no family that we marry into is perfect either. There is always a little drama.
My family of origin was always full of drama. When my wife married into my family, she had no idea what she was getting into. Therefore, she thought it would be possible to develop a relationship with my mother, but I knew my mother was a little obsessive compulsive, substance addicted, and a little bipolar. This was all evidenced in her inability to hold down any relationship through her two marriages and numerous boyfriends during my childhood. But for some reason when we got married my wife thought it would be possible to have a relationship with her, and my only response was loving “good luck and I hope you can accomplish something that was impossible for me unable to do. But after her own first hand experience with the drama, see to found distance to be the only choice. And unfortunately my mother died a very lonely woman, who met God in the final months of her life.
In today’s text we are going to see a similar drama. David who has now left his home has moved into the royal home, because of the promise Saul made to the one who killed the giant Goliath. But mowing forward there is a lot of drama with this bipolar king who cannot seem to bring himself to welcome the nationally praised David.
Today I am going to read from 1 Samuel 18 beginning in verse 17. Please read along with me.
17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my elder daughter Merab. I will give her to you for a wife. Only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “Let not my hand be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 And David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who are my relatives, my father’s clan in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” 19 But at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.
A few observations here:
Notice Saul’s growing unrest with David. Saul is privately disgusted with David already that he is willing to manipulate his own children to control David. We learn in these opening words that his currently unmarried eldest daughter, Merab, his own flesh, is going to become a pawn in his plot to silence David. And if you fast-forward to Bathsheba and Uriah you know now where maybe David picked up this strategy.
This is going to be one of a number of situations where we will see Saul’s jealousy manifest itself through familial manipulation. So here Saul’s motivation is to guarantee this marriage so that he will guarantee he can put David in harm’s way. However, what seems to happen is that Saul is going to use more than one political strategy and keep young David guessing with a game of cat-and-mouse. We learn that just before the marriage and Saul changes his mind and betroths Merab to another man at about 4th and goal. This is purely a power play.
I would guarantee that there are a few people listening today who have been manipulated like this by parents who have endless resources or perhaps political power, and use that to their advantage even if it brings harm or damage to the members or the family system. Unfortunately, we hear these stories quiet often, often the view looks to be that the criminal gains and advantage while the innocent experiences the suffering. At least at first glance this is the illusion.
What this recalls for me is all the moments that I have experienced an injustice at the hands of someone else who misuses their power, authority, or influence. It reminds me that unjust people, consistently behave unjust, and sometimes get away it which inflicts suffering on others. And while we might not personally connect with the royalty, power, influence, and riches of Saul’s family, every one of us have all suffered unjustly at some point.
For example, we at some point have unfairly lost our jobs, experienced financial hardship, been victimized, or lived under persecution unjustly at some time regardless of how old or young we are. And what we learn from these moments is that evil people live in this world. And sometimes people of character suffer as a result, and suffering – while not fair – is a human reality and that we in this moment have to trust the sovereignty of God.
This is what I love about David. He is going to have to trust the promise of God through the suffering. His promise was the anointing as King in Bethlehem in the house of his father Jesse at the hand of Samuel by the selection of God. And this is only the beginning of the suffering. If you thought Goliath was his greatest battle, you are wrong. Goliath is only the beginning and the least of his troubles. That was only a few moments on the battlefield. David is going to have to suffer 14 years of escalating mental and physical abuse by Saul, let alone all the other physical battles that he is going to fight. So the application here is trust God, in the suffering, and keep your eyes focused on the promises of God, because all things will make sense in time.
Guys, you might be suffering right now with an issue in your life and my charge to you is to stay in the fight. Keep your head up. Welcome the suffering as God’s refinement of your character until God reveals the full picture. God will reveal the end game. You will understand in time. The one thing that gives me confidence about David is that we know the end of the story. But remember that David cannot see this. He does not realize the 14 years ahead of him, but eventually he does take the throne and all this suffering is just preparation for his day. Gentlemen, maybe your suffering is preparing you for your day. So stay in the fight.