MEMO 1037: Saul Academy
We left off last week when Samuel was anointing David as the next king. That news was kept quiet for Saul was still on the throne and would probably not take too kindly to the news—as will be proved later in the story between those two men. The closing verse of David's anointing ceremony reads, "So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David" (1 Samuel 16:13). So what did the Lord do next with His new regent? Did Samuel host a banquet? Did they have a small celebration with his family? Did David go on a tour of his kingdom? No, none of that occurred. Instead, the Lord enrolled David in school, specifically the Saul Academy of Leadership Training.
We read about David that "the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully" upon him. In the next verse, we learn, "Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him" (1 Samuel 16:14). That provides quite a contrast, doesn't it? One man had the Spirit of God on him, the other had an evil spirit from the Lord tormenting him. Instead of Saul seeking help and instead of his staff confronting the problem, they all looked for a band-aid temporary fix:
Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me" (1 Samuel 16:15-17).
It's always sad when an organization cater to the problems of its leaders rather then serve others or the faithful staff they have, but that's besides the point here. Saul had a serious spiritual problem that they could only hope to sedate with worship music. So what was their plan?
One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul (1 Samuel 16:18-20).
The summary the man gave Saul of David begs the question I asked last week as to why David's family had so little use for him when everyone else saw him with rock star qualities. Be that as it may, let's look at another aspect of this story before we close.
A STRANGE SCHOOL
Of all the places the Lord could have sent David, it seems like a man with an evil spirit running rampant in his life would be the least likely. Yet that is exactly where the Lord sent David, and his family seemed only too happy to ship him off to serve the madman with a few day's rations and their best wishes for future success (I doubt if Saul's problem was a kingdom secret). True to form, David was no less successful in this new role than he had been as his family's sheep keeper:
David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.” Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him (1 Samuel 16:21-23).
Little did David know that he had just been enrolled in Saul Academy, a place run by a family that would impact his life for the next 25 years. Yet his place in class was obtained and secured by the Lord God Himself. God had things to teach David and that was the only place he could learn them. While he was there, God expected David to maintain his own high standards while those around him were serving a madman. That's some kind of training.
Where does the Lord have you? Have you assumed there is nothing for you to learn where you are? Have you lost of sight of the fact that God sent you where you are and is watching you—and watching over you? Are you being productive despite your harsh or barren surroundings? As you answer those questions, think of David's example. God handpicked the Saul Academy for David and He has done the same for where you are. In the coming weeks, we will examine some of the lessons David learned at Saul's hand, but for now, just chew on the fact that God hired Saul as David's tutor and He has probably chosen some unusual instructors for you as well. It's your choice whether to learn or run from them. Have a blessed week.