David was very distressed, because the men were talking of stoning him, for all the men had become very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself by Jehovah his God.
~1 Samuel 30:6
When David and his 600 men came home from pretending to ally with the Philistines, they found their village had been raided by Amalekites (1 Sam. 27:2; 29:9,10; 30:1-5).
Thus David faced a revolt from the men who had been very loyal up to that point.
Instead of fleeing, panicking, giving up, or attempting to eliminate the instigators, David “strengthened himself by Jehovah his God.”
After inquiring of Jehovah, he led his men to seek out their kidnapped families and they liberated them (1 Sam. 30:8,18,19).
This is an example of how hard it can be at times for our elders to carry out their roles in the congregation, since sooner or later they all have to make unpopular decisions and face the scrutiny of others.
Instead of becoming embittered or depressed, elders can take refuge in their strong relationship with Jehovah and continue to find joy in carrying out their ministry (Ps. 31:1).
[…] David’s servants came to Abigail at Carmel and said to her: “David has sent us to you to take you as his wife.” She immediately rose up and bowed with her face to the ground and said: “Here is your slave as a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” Then Abigail quickly rose up and rode on her donkey with five of her female servants walking behind her; she accompanied the messengers of David and became his wife.
~1 Samuel 25:40-42
Abigail was a “discerning and beautiful” woman (1 Sam. 25:3).
On top of that, she was humble and hard-working.
Despite being the recent widow of a very wealthy man, she did not think she was above her servants in the sense that she would leave them all the dirty work (1 Sam. 25:2, 36-39).
At the time David proposed, he was not yet ruling as king.
He was dwelling in caves (1 Sam. 25:4).
Also, after being deprived of his first wife by his father-in-law, David had already taken on a second wife- making Abigail his third wife (1 Sam. 25:43,44).
This makes Abigail’s answer to his marriage proposal seem all the more selfless.
Abigail considered it a great honor to become David’s wife because she put faith in Jehovah’s words that David would one day be king (1 Sam. 25:30,31).
When I put myself in Abigail’s shoes- how she had just gotten out of a terrible marriage, how she was willing to leave her ranch estate for David- a man who lived like a fugitive, a man who a few days earlier had gone to take vengeance against her own household, a man who was not going to focus on her primarily, a man that had not even gone to propose in person!
I would not have reacted the way she did.
That is why I marvel at her faith and her self-sacrificing personality.
Michal took the teraphim statue and placed it on the bed, and she put a net of goat hair at the place of [David’s] head, and she covered it with a garment.
~1 Samuel 19:13
Why did David’s wife, Michal, have a teraphim idol if God had forbidden their use (Exo. 20:4,5)?
The Watchtower gives a possible explanation in that her heart may not have been complete toward Jehovah and it is possible that certain superstitions still influenced Israeli culture.
Perhaps David did not know about the idol, but it is also possible that he let her keep it because she was the king’s daughter (Watchtower 06-01-04, p.29, “Questions from Readers”).
With that the king said to the guards stationed around him: “Turn and kill the priests of Jehovah, because they have sided with David! They knew that he was a runaway, and they did not inform me!” But the king’s servants did not want to lift their hands to assault the priests of Jehovah.
~1 Samuel 22:17
The guards in this story are a fine example of fearing God instead of man (Matt. 10:28).
When human authorities come in direct conflict with God’s will, the right thing to do is to carry out God’s will (Acts 5:29).
This principle alone would avoid modern cases of genocide.
So David got up early in the morning and left someone in charge of the sheep; then he packed up and went just as Jesse had commanded him. When he came to the camp enclosure, the army was going out to the battle line, shouting a battle cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up so that one battle line faced the other battle line. David immediately left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he began asking about the welfare of his brothers.
1 Samuel 17:20-22
David was undoubtedly a unique boy.
It is without wonder that God chose him as the new future king of Israel (1 Sam. 16:11-13).
In just this short passage, we are able to see his distinct qualities in action and appreciate what really set him apart from the rest.
First, young David was responsible in leaving his flock of sheep attended by someone else.
He obeyed his father Jesse ‘just as he commanded him.’
When he gets to the battleground, he shows to be cautious when he leaves his baggage “in the care of the baggage keeper.”
Then we see him compelled to run to the battle line, worried about his brothers’ welfare.
David was an orderly, detail-oriented, brave, faith-driven boy of action whom Jehovah trusted would become a great king.
Though hardly any of us aspire to royalty, these noble qualities are worthy of imitating to gain God’s favor.
Chapter 17 of the first book of Samuel is one of the most exciting renown Bible stories.
The implications of this series of events coupled with the prophet Samuel’s intense emotional writing style makes for one of the must-read stories of any person’s lifetime.
“[…] Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer was behind him; and the Philistines began to fall before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer was putting them to death behind him.”
~1 Samuel 14:13
By standing up to their people’s oppressors, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were demonstrating great faith in Jehovah, crediting him with the victory before it begun (1 Sam. 14:6).
There is another lesson in their actions: teamwork goes a long way.
They were obviously very coordinated, being able to carry out this extraordinary deed of striking and putting 20 men to death, despite being outnumbered 10 to 1 (1 Sam. 14:14).
Although as Christians we do not participate in deadly combat, we do need to collaborate extensively with other members in the Congregation on a weekly or sometimes daily basis.
The success we experience spiritually is directly related to our ability to subject to theocratic arrangements, which in turn is directly related to being humble (1 Cor. 14:40).
Like Jonathan’s armor-bearer, we need to be willing to sacrifice personal interests in order to demonstrate our unyielding loyalty toward God and our spiritual family (1 Sam. 14:7).
Then we will clearly see Jehovah’s blessings and his loyalty toward us (1 Chron. 16:34).
“Here I am. Testify against me before Jehovah and before his anointed one: Whose bull or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded or crushed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me look the other way? If I have, I will restore it to you.”
~1 Samuel 12:3
Samuel had a clean conscience because he maintained sincere, wholehearted worship of Jehovah throughout his life.
The people he served were able to testify: “You have not defrauded us or crushed us or accepted anything at all from anyone’s hand,” (1 Sam. 12:4).
While leaders of false religion use their religious institution as a sort of business and as a means to sustain themselves materially, true believers do not take advantage of their spiritual brothers to gain material benefits (Matt. 10:8; 1 Pet. 5:2).
We must be careful to always keep our form of worship free of commercial or potentially corrupt personal interests in order to not imitate the oppressive attitude of hypocritical church leaders (John 2:15,16).
Then we should ask ourselves: can I swear before Jehovah, like Samuel, that I have defrauded no one?
But he would return to Ramah, because his house was there, and there he also judged Israel. He built an altar there to Jehovah.
~1 Samuel 7:17
While reading the account of how Samuel went about leading the Israelites in true worship, I couldn’t help but wonder that he had built an altar at a place other than the tabernacle (De. 12:11).
Worshipping in high places was a practice God had clearly condemned until shortly before then (Jos. 22:29).
The indicated place of worship was supposed to be where God’s sacred Ark resided- the Ark symbolizing God’s divine presence.
However, with God’s sacred Ark having been robbed from the tabernacle, Jehovah allowed his worshippers to practice their faith elsewhere, so long as it remained clean of idolatry (1 Ki. 3:2-4).
God’s reasonableness is thus reflected in the flexibility he offers his servants when they are sincerely approaching him to worship.
A Samaritan woman once inquired of the Messiah about the proper place to worship (John 4:19,20).
Jesus’s reply clearly indicates that the determining factor in whether God accepts someone’s worship is the attitude with which a person approaches God, not so much the physical place the person is at.
He also mentioned that it should be spirit-based, or free of idol use (John 4:24).
An example of this can be seen today in the hundreds of conscientious objectors who are imprisoned for practicing their faith.
Although they are in most cases isolated from the worldwide brotherhood, without a doubt Jehovah hears their prayers and holds their worship in high esteem.
“Then Elkanah went to his house in Ramah, but the boy became a minister of Jehovah before Eli the priest.”
~1 Samuel 2:11
A few years prior, when Elkanah’s sterile wife Hannah came before Jehovah to pray for a son, the high priest Eli had mistakenly made offensive comments to her, misjudging her for a drunkard (1 Sam. 1:10-14).
Her reply to him reflected a quiet and mild spirit (1 Sam. 1:15-18; 1 Pet. 3:4).
When Hannah’s prayer was answered and her child was ready to be weaned, neither her nor her husband held resentment against the house of Jehovah nor toward his appointed servants.
They understood that the center for pure worship was the tabernacle at Shiloh and did not restrain from taking their son to serve there (1 Sam. 1:21-25).
They had faith in Jehovah that he would look after their son and that it was the best place for him despite the imperfections of those serving there.
Likewise, we should not let the imperfections of others in the congregation deter us from offering ourselves up for greater service.
We may witness personality defects that could work as stumbling blocks, but we should continue to recognize Jehovah’s congregation for what it really is: the center for pure worship (Isa. 2:2,3).
If we do our part and leave the rest in God’s hands, we will surely be blessed, like in the case of Hannah and Elkanah (1 Sam. 2:20, 21; Mal. 3:10).