1 Sam. 18:6-9
Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward.
Saul’s heart was a twisted mess, and his words here would be prophetic. If we go back several verses in the previous chapter, we see that he sent David into his fight with a blessing. He said, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” [17:37] Saul knew that something had to be done about this Philistine. All the men in his camp knew that, but none of them could do it. They all had the same deficiency of fear, and none was better or worse than another because of it. Then, along comes David with the courage to take down the giant, and he does so spectacularly. Saul was as impressed as anyone by this feat, and he took David home with him from that day forward. Yet, once he heard others revering David over him, the blessings and admiration left him. David was now Saul’s target.
Had Saul seen David clearly, he would have seen a man who was an obvious asset to his army and kingdom. He not only asked for this fight, but he actually had to fight to be allowed to take on the giant. He had to argue his case before the king himself to be trusted with this job, and then he succeeded. Saul felt for only a moment the pride anyone would feel at having this young man on his side, but Saul’s own pride for himself was greater. David did only what was right and good for his people in the name of God, and it resulted in persecution at the hands of the most powerful man in Israel. Read through the Psalms, and you will see the pain and confusion that resulted from his king turning on him the way he did.
No one knows what will result when he or she obeys the call of God or takes advantage of an opportunity for greatness as David did. We are sure that God will reward our work and obedience, but we never know the circumstances our actions will create. Some will revere us, but others might hate us for it. The enemy might target us, and he could use the most unsuspecting people as pawns in that game. When we endure this kind of persecution, we can look at David’s life and draw encouragement from the prize produced by his perseverance. God just might have even greater prizes for us. Father, remind us of the end of the process as we work for You, knowing that persecution for your sake results in reward.