You Will Reap What You Sow 

Why did Saul go down in shame, but David increase in fame?

First Samuel 30–31

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 1, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – No suggestions


  1. Saul began with humble origins, 
    1. rising to glory as Israel’s first king, but
    2. dying in humiliation.
  2. David began with humble origins, 
    1. rising to glory as Israel’s second king, but
    2. dying in honor.
  3. Why did their lives end differently? 
    1. First Samuel shows the difference.
    2. First Samuel show how Saul hid himself from becoming king, but then
      1. trying to eliminate David,
      2. fearful that David would receive more glory, and
        1. become king,
        2. which he did.
    3. Saul sought David relentlessly,
      1. hoping to kill him, but
      2. Saul also had to fight the Philistines relentlessly.
        1. The last two chapters of First Samuel
        2. show him fighting the Philistines yet again, and
          1. Saul’s 40-year reign as king
          2. is about to end, because
            1. he had forsaken the Lord, and
            2. the Lord had forsaken him.


  1. First Samuel 30.1–3 – Amalekites Destroy David’s City

    30.1 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive.
  2. First Samuel 30.4–6 – David’s Men Speak of Stoning Him

    4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
  3. First Samuel 30.7–8 – David Inquired of the Lord

    7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
  4. First Samuel 30.9–10 – 200 Stay Behind

    9 So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the Brook Besor, where those stayed who were left behind. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor.
  5. First Samuel 30.11–15 – David Keeps His Word

    11 Then they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David; and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water. 12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. So when he had eaten, his strength came back to him; for he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 Then David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” And he said, “I am a young man from Egypt, servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind, because three days ago I fell sick. 14 We made an invasion of the southern area of the Cherethites, in the territory which belongs to Judah, and of the southern area of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15 And David said to him, “Can you take me down to this troop?” So he said, “Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this troop.”
  6. First Samuel 30.16 – The Amalekites Celebrated Too Early

    16 And when he had brought him down, there they were, spread out over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.
  7. First Samuel 30.17–20 – David Recovers Everything in a 24-hour Battle

    17 Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. 18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. 19 And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all. 20 Then David took all the flocks and herds they had driven before those other livestock, and said, “This is David’s spoil.”
  8. First Samuel 30.21–25 – David Makes a Law that All Share Alike

    21 Now David came to the two hundred men who had been so weary that they could not follow David, whom they also had made to stay at the Brook Besor. So they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near the people, he greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart.” 23 But David said, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. 24 For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.” 25 So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
  9. First Samuel 30.26–31 – David Sends Gifts to Israelites

    26 Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord”— 27 to those who were in Bethel, those who were in Ramoth of the South, those who were in Jattir, 28 those who were in Aroer, those who were in Siphmoth, those who were in Eshtemoa, 29 those who were in Rachal, those who were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, those who were in the cities of the Kenites, 30 those who were in Hormah, those who were in Chorashan, those who were in Athach, 31 those who were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to rove.
  10. First Samuel 31.1–3 – The Philistines Kill Saul’s Sons and Wound Saul

    31.1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons. 3 The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers.
  11. First Samuel 31.4–10 – Saul Dies in Shame

    4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. 5 And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. 6 So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, and those who were on the other side of the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. 8 So it happened the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
  12. First Samuel 31.11–13 – The Men of Jabesh Gilead Rescue the Bodies of Saul and His Sons

    11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
  13. David Reaped What He Sowed 
    1. David Strengthened Himself in the Lord
      1. We may understand initially the distress that all the warriors felt, but
      2. they wanted to stone David.
        1. They saw him as the problem.
        2. Yet, what would they all be without him?
          1. David did not retaliate.
          2. He did not do with them as they thought to do to him.
            1. He found the solutions to life’s problems in the Lord.
            2. He found strength in the Lord.
              1. That is why David was the leader and
              2. why he would soon be king of Israel.
                1. It was not about him,
                2. it was about the Lord’s and His battles.
      3. How did David strengthen himself in the Lord?
        1. Part of it would be that he inquired of the Lord.
          1. He knew that the Lord was aware of the situation.
          2. He also knew the Lord could remedy the problem.
            1. David knew that it was the Lord’s battle, the Lord’s show.
            2. David knew what Samuel knew when Israel asked for a king,
              1. that the true king of Israel was the Lord.
              2. Do we think as David or the children of Israel?
                1. Who is king of our lives?
                2. Who is king of America?
        2. David may have read Scripture.
          1. We know that he wrote Scripture.
          2. Many of the Psalms show his thoughts during troublesome times.
            1. Write out your prayers as David did.
            2. Write down your thoughts of your situation.
        3. He prayed to the Lord and praised Him.
        4. He thought of the Lord.
    2. David Kept His Word
      1. He swore to the Egyptian
        1. not to kill him
        2. nor to turn him over to his former master.
      2. David wrote Psalm 15 in which he asked who would live with the Lord,

        1 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
        Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

        4b He who swears to his own hurt and does not change…
        (Psa 15.1, 4b)

        1. Therefore, when David promised the Egyptian
        2. that he would not kill him or turn him over to his Amalekite master,
          1. David kept his word.
    3. David Equalized Everyone
      1. Remember First Corinthians 12.
      2. David explained that everyone would share alike, because
        1. the Lord had
          1. given to them what they won,
          2. preserved them, and
          3. delivered the enemy into their hand.
        2. The warriors were not the greatest, but
          1. the Lord is the greatest.
          2. Everyone was needed,
            1. those who engage in warfare and
            2. those who support the warriors.
    4. David Blessed Others from the Spoil
      1. These people were not numbered among David’s 600 men.
      2. David always thought of Israel.
        1. Should we not always think of the church?
        2. What did Jesus say in Matthew 6?

          33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6.33).
    5. Therefore the Lord Kept His Word to David.
      1. The Lord told David to pursue the Amalekites and
      2. that David would overtake them and recover everything and everyone.
        1. It happened that very way.
        2. David did what the Lord said to do.
  14. Saul Reaped What He Sowed 
    1. Saul lived for his own glory and died in shame.
      1. Saul thought Israel and the Lord existed for
        1. his personal use and
        2. for his glory.
      2. He forgot
        1. that the people wanted a king and
        2. the Lord selected him as Israel’s king.
          1. Therefore, Saul existed for Israel’s benefit and
          2. for the Lord’s glory.
      3. Since he got everything mixed up,
        1. he died and led others into his shameful death, and
        2. received no glory.
    2. Too bad, his sons had to die with him, including Jonathan.
      1. True, if Jonathan had lived,
        1. there may have been some who wanted him as the king, and
        2. they would have fought for it.
      2. Yet, the heart of Jonathan would have stopped their efforts.
        1. He acknowledged that David would be king, and
        2. that he would be at David’s side.
          1. What a great team they would have made.
          2. I wonder what they are doing now?
    3. Saul took his own life in shame.
      1. There are different reasons why people take their own lives, but
      2. the narrator shows that the Philistine archers hit Saul,
        1. meaning that he had more than one arrow in him, and
        2. he was dying and he knew it.
          1. He feared what the uncircumcised Philistines would do to him.
          2. Since his armorbearer would not take Saul’s life,
            1. he ended it himself.
            2. This is not how a child of God or the first king of Israel
              1. should die.
              2. However, he brought this fate upon himself.
    4. Therefore, the Lord Kept His Word to Saul.
      1. Samuel told Saul that he would die in battle against the Philistines.
      2. It happened just as the Lord had spoken through Samuel, and
        1. it was because of Saul’s disobedience and
        2. his self-serving ways.
          1. The Lord keeps His word toward us,
          2. whether it is for good or bad.
            1. Let us so live and so drink of His grace,
            2. that it will be for good.
  15. Jabesh Gilead Did Something Brave 
    1. The people of Jabesh Gilead had changed.
    2. Judges 21 shows that they did not come to help the rest of the tribes.
      1. The rest of the tribes sent 12,000 valiant to strike Jabesh Gilead.
      2. The virgin women who survived,
        1. the tribes gave to what was left of the tribe of Benjamin,
        2. after the tribes had punished Benjamin for a horrible sin.
          1. Later, after Jabesh Gilead had been reestablished,
          2. the Ammonites sought to capture Jabesh Gilead, but
            1. they asked Saul for help, and
            2. he came to their rescue with an army of 330,000.
              1. It was because of his battle against the Ammonites to save Jabesh Gilead
              2. that his position as king of Israel was sealed in the eyes of the children of Israel.
    3. Therefore, when they heard of the shameful treatment
      1. that the Philistines gave the bodies of Saul and his sons,
      2. they went on a daring mission to rescue the bodies.
        1. They had not forgotten what Saul did for them
        2. although it had been 40 years since.


  1. David 
    1. Gave
    2. Sought Israel’s Glory
    3. Sought the Lord’s Glory
  2. Saul 
    1. Took
    2. Sought His Own Glory
    3. Used the Lord for His Own Glory
  3. How shall you die? 
    1. In shame?
    2. In fame?
      1. Be self-seeking and you will die in shame.
      2. Be Christ-seeking and you will die in fame.

        6 [The Lord] “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom 2.6–10).

        1. Right now seek Christ.
        2. You will find Him, because
          1. He is not far from you, but
          2. He has been seeking you your whole life.