Continue to Overcome Evil with Good 

David pursued goodness relentlessly even while evil pursued him relentlessly

First Samuel 26–27

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 8, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Scripture Reader and Reading: Tim Braden – First Peter 2.11–12

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Doing good works


  1. What do you do 
    1. when you have devoted your life to good things, but
    2. the people who would receive the most benefit from you,
      1. persecute you, or
      2. otherwise frustrate your efforts?
  2. Do you give up in discouragement? 
    1. If not, what do you do?
    2. You just power through their evil with good,
      1. remembering what the Holy Spirit told our Corinthian brethren,

        58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1Co 15.58).
      2. Therefore, do not give up,
        1. even as David did not give up,
        2. showing why he was a man after God’s own heart.


  1. First Samuel 26.1–3 – Betrayal

    1 Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?” 2 Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon, by the road. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
  2. First Samuel 26.4–6 – David’s Dangerous Proposal

    4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had indeed come. 5 So David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Now Saul lay within the camp, with the people encamped all around him. 6 Then David answered, and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”
  3. First Samuel 26.7–12 – David Protects Saul

    7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 10 David said furthermore, “As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got away; and no man saw or knew it or awoke. For they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.
  4. First Samuel 26.13–16 – David rebukes the general

    13 Now David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great distance being between them. 14 And David called out to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Do you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered and said, “Who are you, calling out to the king?” 15 So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not guarded your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water that was by his head.”
  5. First Samuel 26.17–20 – David Pleads for His Life

    17 Then Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, “Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
  6. First Samuel 26.21 – Saul’s Confession

    21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.”
  7. First Samuel 26.22–24 – David puts everything in the Lord’s hands

    22 And David answered and said, “Here is the king’s spear. Let one of the young men come over and get it. 23 May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24 And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.”
  8. First Samuel 26.25 – Saul Blesses David

    25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
  9. First Samuel 27.1–4 – David Joins the Enemy

    27.1 And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.” 2 Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s widow. 4 And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more.
  10. First Samuel 27.5–12 – David’s Raids While with the Philistines

    5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have now found favor in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” 6 So Achish gave him Ziklag that day. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7 Now the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was one full year and four months. 8 And David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. For those nations were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as you go to Shur, even as far as the land of Egypt. 9 Whenever David attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achish. 10 Then Achish would say, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David would say, “Against the southern area of Judah, or against the southern area of the Jerahmeelites, or against the southern area of the Kenites.” 11 David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath, saying, “Lest they should inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did.’” And thus was his behavior all the time he dwelt in the country of the Philistines. 12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has made his people Israel utterly abhor him; therefore he will be my servant forever.”
  11. First Samuel 26.1–3 – Prepare for Betrayal 
    1. For a second time, the Ziphites sought to betray David.
    2. What did they hope to gain?
      1. What does any betrayer hope to gain?
      2. How many betrayers have succeeded in life?
        1. Some have gone down in history, but
        2. not famously, rather infamously.
    3. Saul brought 3,000 chosen men to get one man,
      1. although he knew that David had a small army,
      2. numbering 600.
        1. Saul’s envy and rage led him to focus
        2. all his energies and all his concerns of the kingdom
          1. against one man and his small army.
          2. Watch out for envy and rage.
  12. First Samuel 26.4–6 – Trust the Lord in Danger 
    1. Who would have thought of going right to the middle of the enemy’s camp?
    2. David did not want to go alone, but
      1. asked two men,
      2. which one of them would go with him.
    3. Abishai was the son of Zeruiah, David’s sister,
      1. making Abishai, Joab’s brother,
      2. both of them being David’s nephews, went.
  13. First Samuel 26.7–12 – Respect Authority 
    1. David and Abishai walked into the middle of 3,000 chosen soldiers!
    2. When they got to Saul,
      1. they had the perfect opportunity, because
      2. it was easy since the spear was stuck in the ground.
        1. They would not have to bend over and search for one, but
        2. just grab it, pull it out of the ground, and stab Saul.
    3. Abishai volunteered to do that very thing.
      1. That way David would not be guilty of killing the king.
      2. He could keep his record clean.
    4. Yet, David could not endorse such actions against the Lord’s anointed.
      1. Whoever stretched out his hand against the king would be guilty.
      2. David then proposed possible ways that the Lord would do the job:
        1. The Lord would strike Saul down directly.
        2. Saul’s day to die would come.
        3. Or he would die in battle.
    5. David forbid himself that he would stretch out his hand against the king,
      1. although it would have been Abishai, but
      2. David was in charge, and he was there to prevent it.
        1. However, he wanted Saul to know that he had been right there,
        2. able to strike Saul down.
          1. Therefore, Abishai and David took
          2. the spear and a jug of water by Saul’s head.
    6. The writer explained
      1. that Abishai and David were able to talk,
      2. that they were able to come into the camp and to leave the camp, for
      3. the Lord had caused the Israelites to go into a deep sleep.
  14. First Samuel 26.13–16 – Rebuke Those Who Neglect Their Calling 
    1. David got far enough away for safety, but
      1. close enough to be heard, and
      2. rebuked Abner for not protecting the king.
        1. David rebuked the general
        2. for not protecting the man who was trying to kill David!
          1. The way David thought was like this:
            1. Israel was God’s chosen nation.
            2. Saul was God’s chosen man to rule the nation.
          2. Therefore, the general should protect the king
            1. regardless of his evil.
            2. David’s honor, who shall declare?
    2. David chastised Abner strongly,
      1. verifying that Abner was a man,
      2. verifying that Abner was a great man, but
        1. that he had failed miserably in his job, and
        2. making him worthy of death.
    3. To prove his point,
      1. David challenged Abner to find the spear and jug of water, because
      2. they were no longer by the head of the king.
  15. First Samuel 26.17–20 – Seek Understanding 
    1. Saul recognized the voice of the man he was trying to kill.
    2. Consider David’s well thought-out plea before the king:
      1. He wanted to know why Saul was pursuing him.
      2. He wanted to know what evil he had committed.
      3. If the Lord had stirred up Saul, David would make an offering to the Lord.
      4. If men had stirred up Saul, David cursed them for driving him out.
      5. Therefore, David plead for his own blood.
      6. He told the king that he was seeking a flea or a partridge.
  16. First Samuel 26.21 – Confess without Blaming 
    1. Saul confessed his sin without blaming anyone.
    2. How could Saul resist the words of David?
    3. Therefore, he promised not to harm David and explained why,
      1. that David considered the life of Saul as precious.
      2. That means Saul had played the fool and erred greatly.
  17. First Samuel 26.22–24 – Put Everything in the Lord’s hands 
    1. David wanted the Lord to repay every man for what he does.
    2. David acknowledged that the Lord had delivered Saul into David’s hands.
    3. David told Saul that he was the Lord’s anointed.
    4. David wanted the Lord to value his life even as he had valued the life of Saul.
    5. Finally, David wanted the Lord to deliver him out of all tribulation.
      1. His confession shows two reasons why he would not kill Saul:
        1. He was the Lord’s anointed, and
        2. David wanted to reap as he had sown.
      2. This shows the heart of a man who thought as God thinks.
  18. First Samuel 26.25 – Receive Blessings 
    1. One moment Saul sought to kill David, and
    2. the next he blesses David.
      1. However, it was not that Saul went back and forth, no,
      2. the words and actions of David touched the king.
  19. First Samuel 27.1–4 – Don’t Persecute Good People 
    1. Here is the saddest thing about Saul’s actions against David,
    2. Saul drove David to Israel’s enemies.
      1. David had just heard Saul’s blessing, but
      2. he also knew that Saul could turn back to pursuing David.
        1. Therefore, David just got away, but
        2. he went where he knew Saul would not go,
          1. the land of the Philistines!
          2. David brought his 600 great warriors.
  20. First Samuel 27.5–12 – Fight the Lord’s Battles 
    1. Chapter 21 shows that David had fled to King Achish before, but
      1. his men did not want David among them, because
      2. he was a mighty warrior.
        1. When he saw that the king’s men did not want him around,
        2. he pretended insanity, and
          1. the king wanted David taken away,
          2. saying that he already had enough madmen around him.
    2. This time something had changed that David would try again, and this time
      1. Achish and the Philistines accepted David, yet,
      2. later the lords of the Philistines will not want David to fight with them.
    3. When David went to Achish,
      1. he only asked for a city in the country, because
      2. David said he was not worthy to live in the royal city with Achish.
        1. David lived in Ziklag for 16 months.
        2. While there he would make raids against Canaanite tribes, but
          1. he would tell the king that he had made a raid against Judah,
          2. or some other place belonging to Israel, and
            1. by this David made Achish think
            2. that David had turned his people against him,
              1. making his stay with the Philistines safer.


  1. The Holy Spirit put these things about David in the Bible 
    1. that we might learn from them.
    2. Truly, Paul taught that we should pursue doing good relentlessly,

      9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good (Rom 12.9).

      14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Rom 12.14).

      17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

      “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
      For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

      21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12.17–21).

      1. In that last section, Paul
        1. referenced Leviticus 19.18 about not avenging ourselves,
        2. quoted Deuteronomy 32.35 that vengeance belongs to the Lord, and
        3. quoted Proverbs 25.21–22 that we should help our enemy,
      2. showing the authority and influence of
        1. the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament,
        2. for the lives of Christians.
          1. The Spirit of God intends for us to know
          2. the stories of the Old Testament and
            1. to let them guide us in our Christian behavior.
            2. Relentlessly overcome evil with good, and
              1. you shall fulfill the Spirit the Old and the New Testaments.
              2. You shall have the Spirit of Jesus, the Son of David,
              3. living in you.
  2. Make a decision now to follow what we have observed in First Samuel 26–27