After David’s victory over Goliath, he was greatly praised. The people were overjoyed and full of pride over him. In a single day, David had become the hero. But, as the women sang loudly the song of his glory, the rejected rival – the imitation king – became irate.
As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”
8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on.~1 Samuel 18:6-9
The joyous song these women sang of David not only glorified him – it indicted Saul as inferior, not good enough, and as the wash-up that he was. Therefore, Saul was angry. Even though the song’s main purpose was to glorify David, it’s result was inevitably shame to Saul.
Saul knew he had been shown up. He knew he would soon be removed from his lofty position. He couldn’t help but be suspicious of David, knowing his replacement was soon to take the throne away. His jealousy, coupled with demon possession, led him to attempted homicide.
The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand.11 And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.
12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him.15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them. ~1 Samuel 18:10-16
Twice Saul tries to kill David. Twice he fails. On top of his anger and jealousy, Saul becomes afraid, knowing that God is protecting David. So he sends him out to war, just to get rid of him.
And David won. He won, he won, and he won some more. He had success wherever he went. God gave him success after success, despite all the hostility, anger, and jealousy of his superior.
As David’s victories mounted and his confidence in God grew, Saul’s diminished. He became more and more fearful and suspicious of David. But it didn’t matter what this reject thought – all the world loved David because, not only was he victorious in battle for them, but he was willing to be intimately acquainted with them – as a friend.
David is a type of Christ. Saul represents anyone or anything that we may place in Christ’s position in our lives – an imitation king. Whether it is self, pride, religion, good works, entertainment, occupation, recreation, sin, ministry, another relationship, etc., we often fall prey to exalting something or someone over Jesus Christ. But, just as David single-handedly gave God’s people the victory, only Christ will give us our victory. Christ plus nothing. Christ alone. And anyone who follows Christ is intimately acquainted with him. He is willing, not only to fight for us, but also to befriend us. The same ought to be said those who follow him.
Our victory song, which is always meant to glorify Christ, often indicts the imitations and causes great shame to come upon them. So, if you are following an imitation king, beware. Remember that rejected, imitation kings are jealous. They are angry. They are hostile and murderous – especially when we sing loudly of Our Hero’s victory despite them.
Never expect authenticity from imitations. They will lack courage when it’s time to fight and they will become your enemy when you win. Christ alone will give us the victory. Christ plus nothing. Christ alone. And anyone who follows Christ is intimately acquainted with him. He is willing, not only to fight for us, but also to befriend us. The same ought to be said those who follow him.