1 Samuel 18 continues where 17 ended – with tales of David’s success in battle. But David’s success rouses jealousy in Saul – and then we read the drama-filled accounts of Saul trying to kill David – multiple times – thankfully, with no success.
Many players come to David’s aide, including Samuel and Saul’s own children, Milcah (David’s wife) and Jonathan. Saul pursues David and we read at the end of Chapter 19 a bizarre tale of God intervening directly on David’s behalf…
And [Saul] asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And [Saul] went there…And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night.
The imagery is thick. Here lies Saul, the rejected king, naked before Samuel and David, God’s anointed prophet and king, respectively. Seeing Saul humbled before him, I’m sure David understood this to be a direct answer to his prayer for help recorded in Psalm 59.
Psalm 59 was written in response to an earlier scene in Chapter 19, “Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning” (1 Samuel 19:11). David opens the psalm with a prayer for help, and then he recounts God’s character and his faith is renewed.
But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love (Psalm 59:16-17).
Over the next few days, we will see David’s circumstances go from bad to worse. And we will also see his faith as expressed in the Psalms get stronger and stronger. I pray we learn from David’s example!