Can We Rise Above Bad Blood

battle of bosworth

Can We Rise Above Bad Blood?

“Show me the wonders of your great love you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes” (Psalm 17:7).

God Demonstrates Loving Kindness

  • To David, according to his compassion (Psalm 69:16) and in wonderful ways (Psalm 17:7a).
  • To us, By His mercy unto salvation and His renewing of our minds by the Holy Spirit to live differently. (Titus 3:4-6).

God Expects us to Act Differently

  • David had hidden God’s word in his heart so he would know what was right and what was wrong (Psalm 119:11).
  • Saul figured he could determine what was right and wrong on his own which led to him making a bunch of errors at the expense of his people which led to God not accepting him. So, David was anointed to replace him as king.
  • God knew that David would do everything He wanted him to (Acts 13:22).
  • God expects us, as His chosen people, to clothe ourselves with kindness (Colossians 3:12); to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); to actively work with Him to increase our love walk (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Saul’s Back Story

  • Saul was chosen by God to be the first king of Israel at the people’s request. (1 Samuel 8:4-5; Acts 13:21).
  • Saul began his reign at age 30 and ruled for 42 years.  (1 Samuel 13:1).
  • Saul decides to not wait on God – and he makes the burnt offering for the people.
  • Samuel asks him what he has done and gives him this sad report: 1 Samuel 13:13-14 –  “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
  • Saul was a bitter war with the Philistines all of his days and anytime he saw a mighty or brave man, he added him to his army (1 Samuel 14:52)
  • Saul is given another opportunity to obey God – 1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
  • Saul’s disobedience leads to the kingship being taken from his family. (1 Samuel 15:10-26),
  • A tormenting spirit starts to afflict Saul. (1 Samuel 16:14).

How Does David Come to Saul’s Attention

  • Saul’s attendants let him know that music from a lyre would alleviate his torment, and they suggested to him that David could play one. (1 Samuel 16:16).
  • [Just prior to Saul asking them to bring David to him – Samuel is sent by God to anoint David as the next king of Israel].
  • Remember how Saul would add anyone who was mighty or brave to his army – in 1 Samuel 17 David kills Goliath. Thus he is made a commander in Saul’s army

The Turning Point

  • As a result of Goliath’s death – the women started to sing a song – “Saul has killed his thousands and David has killed his ten thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7).

Bad Blood

  • Saul becomes full of anger, worry, fear and jealousy towards David. He lets these emotions swirl around in his mind until he absolutely hated David and starts a pursuit to kill him (Spread throughout 1 Samuel 21 – 31).

David Didn’t Deserve Saul’s Hatred

  • David had always served Saul well – he played the lyre to soothe his attitude; he was an excellent commander in his army, he was married to Saul’s daughter and he was best friends with Jonathan Saul’s son.
  • David had not done anything to bring Saul’s hatred towards him

How Does David Respond

  • He continues to do the best that he can within these restrained parameter to respect Saul because God has given him his position. However, the day does come when he has to finally flee and go into hiding (he had to hide in the Philistine camp!).
  • David has to hide from his new enemy Saul in the land of the Philistines (Israel’s enemy).

Opportunity Presents Itself

  • 1 Samuel 24:4-10 – David’s men tell him this is an opportunity for him to get rid of his enemy and become the next king – since God has already anointed him. David takes the opportunity to be cheeky – and cuts of a piece of Saul’s robe. Instantly, he is convicted and realizes even that was him overstepping his boundaries. So he tells his men that they cannot kill God’s anointed

David Respectfully Faces Saul

  • David humbly tries to reach out to Saul by letting him know that he had the opportunity to kill him but did not take it. And he lets him know that the Lord will decide which one of them is guilty and punish the right one (1 Samuel 24:11-15).


Saul Says Some Strange Things, but Does Not Repent

  • 1 Samuel 24:16-21 – Saul tells David in front of everyone that he is the better man of the two.
  • Why? Verse 19 – “Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power.
  • Saul actually asks the Lord to reward David for his kindness that he showed towards him. And I now realize that you are surely going to be king, and Israel will flourish under your rule.
  • Saul will continue to pursue David to kill him – but in this moment he appeals to David’s kindness and integrity.
  • Verse 21 – “Now swear to me by the Lord that when you become king, you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

David’s Response

  • He promised to carry out this request.


  • David realized that there was nothing he could do to have a restored relationship with Saul. And, he knew that he had to let God take care of the situation. He had to rely on the loving-kindness of God.
  • Show me the wonders of your great love you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes (Psalm 17:7)


Okay, What Can We Learn?

  • God expects us to act differently towards people who treat us badly
  • Are these expectations easy? We are to love and pray for our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48)
  • Wouldn’t revenge be sweet? We are to let God determine how things work out. (Romans 12:19-21).
  • Do we want to be forgiven? Then we need to forgive others. (Matthew 6:12)
  • God will take care of us. Where do we place our hope? (Psalm 33:22)
  • What is the ultimate expectation? That we would conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:21)


Personal  Thought

  • I don’t know if I could have treated King Saul with the respect David did. I don’t know that I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to be free of an enemy. I mean, I’ve never had anyone literally chasing me down with an army to completely annihilate me! However, I can definitely learn from this story and realize, that like David, I need to have a personal relationship with God – I need to work on my character to demonstrate God’s loving kindness to others so God will call me “a woman after His own heart.”


Action: Think About and  Share (By leaving a comment in the reply bar at the bottom)

  • Saul did not rise above bad blood – what about us?
  • What are some of the ways that you deal with conflict?
  • How do you demonstrate kindness to others?



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