Deceiving and Being Deceived

(Concerning First Samuel Chapter Nineteen)

Each chapter heretofore has laid the groundwork for the succeeding chapters. We now have enough background laid to get a feel for the size of the picture God is painting here.

“Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.” (1 Samuel 19:1)

There was at this point a spirit of murder on Saul, but he was not as yet entangled in a spirit of deceit. He was trying to kill David, but he was not trying to hide it from anyone. By the end of this chapter, this has changed.

“I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.” Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?” Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.” ( (1 Samuel 19:3-6)

At this moment Saul was not only without overt deceit, he was entreatable. His favorite son was able to bring logic and truth to bear and expose the obvious insanity of his intentions. Saul even swore an oath which was embedded with more truth than he knew: He swore David’s life was as safe as God’s

“So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before. Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.”
(1 Samuel 19:7-8)

It seems that whenever David struck the Philistines, Saul yelled, “Ouch”! He wanted the Philistines killed, but he wanted even more to be the most honored man in the kingdom. This attention to outward appearances was a Philistine attitude. Therefore, because Saul had what was really a Philistine spirit, he unwittingly moved to preserve the Philistines.

“But an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp,” (1 Samuel 19:9)

This verse is intentionally similar to the tenth verse of the previous chapter. We are seeing a repetition of a previous scene, as scientists say, with only one “variable” changed: David’s heart.

“Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.” (1 Samuel 19:10)

“Made good his escape” is the Lord specifying that David did not stay around to give Saul a second shot this time. Saul did not re-commission him and send him off to the front lines as he did before. David was not around to send. David, who was now married to Michal, had now received, temporarily, a Saul heart! He was no longer certain he could not die before he had become king.

“Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” (1 Samuel 19:11)

Though this warning sounds like the words of a loving wife, it is much more than that. She was indeed doing her best to save David, but she was a true daughter of Saul. Her warning was saying that he had to protect himself, for God would not protect Him if he didn’t. The old David-heart-David would have stayed in Saul’s court, which would have cast brilliant light on Saul’s darkness. “The righteous are as bold (confident) as a lion,” but the Saul-heart David ran like a rabbit!

“So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped.” (1 Samuel 19:12)

Why would the Holy Spirit give us this seemingly inconsequential detail about the window? What difference does his route of escape make? Second Samuel 6:16 says that Michal watched David worshipping God “from a window,” and from that point despised him. The despising of the David-heart by the Saul-heart was, and is, pure witchcraft! In both of these cases Michal effected her power through a window. [I repeat, Michal here meant to save David’s life. But she was preaching Saulish unbelief.] The Lord linked the two “window scenes” together to cue us to their spiritual similarity! David has here been conned into trying to save his own life, a dangerous practice indeed. If you doubt me, read on. The plot thickens!

“Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.”(1 Samuel 19:13)

A Hebrew word sometimes translated “demons” in the Old Testament is literally “goat idols.” With that in mind, we come to an amazing insight into Who God Is. Saul believed that his daughter would be “a snare” to David. (“The fear of man brings a snare”). He believed he should make arrangements for the holy shepherd boy to be immersed and enmeshed in a marriage to a demon worshipper. He thought that surely Jehovah would smite the polluted vessel that David would become. But God, of course, knew Saul was ignorantly operating as though the Lord knew nothing of his plans.

God’s response was the purest and most poetic justice. Though the Lord let Saul succeed in demonizing David, He made it look to Saul as though a demon (the idol) and Michal had worked together to save David from Saul’s hands! The Lord was going to ultimately frustrate Saul’s every attempt to manipulate Himself and His power. Unfortunately for Saul, he was slow to see what God was rubbing in his face!

Four centuries after Saul’s time, Ezekiel had an experience and a revelation that spoke to the heart of what was happening with certain idolators in his day. It also applies to King Saul, the spiritual ancestor of the idolators of Ezekiel’s time.

Ezekiel 14: 1-8

Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front of me. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and have put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts up a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the Lord will answer him in keeping with his great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have deserted me for their idols.’ “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says : Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices.’ “‘When any Israelite or alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer him myself. I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord. And if a prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the Lord have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel.'”

Because Saul’s heart did not really know or love the Lord, he was not “after His heart.” When he inquired of the Lord, it was only because he had some angle he was pursuing which made it advantageous to inquire of God, or at least to be thought by men to be inquiring of God. Thus, as it says above, he had “separate[d] himself from [God}.” This was the very essence of idolatry, the very thing Samuel had charged him with at Gilgal. If you inquire of God for carnal advantage, bet on it: you will surely hear from God! And he will speak something to you that will surely break you, because His intent is “to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel.”

“When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”” (1 Samuel 19:14)

[It’s written between the lines that Michal took Saul’s men to a bedroom door and pointed to a bed that appeared to have an “ill man” in it. All they really saw was a form under some cover with some black goats hair sticking out where the head of the “ill man” should have been.]

“Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair. Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’ “”
(1 Samuel 19:15-17)

Those who do not love the truth will eventually love deceit. They will “go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Saul first put his daughter in such a place so as to force her to deceive her father or see her husband killed. Then he put her in the place of having to choose between facing her own death at her father’s hands or deceiving him by vilifying David. She chose to lie to her father, knowing full well of David’s innocence. She also knew fully her father’s eagerness to be deceived into believing David had threatened his daughter, which he had “so graciously” given to the shepherd boy! Thus had Saul actually “witchcrafted” himself [through Michal] into a demonic stronghold of self-deceit. He could, from this point on, ignore what he knew with his heart, and focus on what his daughter had witnessed against David. This is what Ezekiel called “separating” from God. All the Saul hearts in the books of Samuel eventually were separated from their heads – they were decapitated or their necks broken. It goes without saying, God is our Head.

It was now Saul’s duty as a father to hunt down David and kill him! He who was trying to use witchcraft as a weapon was falling on his own sword. And he believed he was serving his own interests in doing so. Some advice that will serve you well: Don’t be surprised when persons in a panic or a rage lie to you. When those two war horses are loosed, truth is quickly trodden down in the streets.

This thinly veiled threat against Michal followed by an increase in the strength of the stronghold in Saul’s soul is parallel to the thinly veiled threat Saul made against Samuel at Gilgal which was followed by an evil spirit being loosed on him.

“When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there.” (1 Samuel 19:18)

Once David began running from Saul, he could find no place to stop. He could no longer muster the faith to abide in Jehovah in Saul’s house, ignoring whizzing spears. Michal had said, “He is ill.” He was indeed an “ill” man. He was “temporarily insane” with a Saul heart. For the first time in his life he had come to believe in outward appearance. This will be important later.

Think of this: Saul planned to use Michal, her demons, and her marriage bed to make David become one flesh, (and one soul), with his daughter, thus weakening him. Instead of Saul’s plan succeeding, Jehovah saw to it that not only did it seem that David was saved from Saul’s murderous intentions by one of Michal’s idols/demons, he was also saved by Michal’s bed!

“Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men and they also prophesied.”
(1 Samuel 19:19-20)

Samuel, in his later years, had established a school of the prophets where worship was as strong as it had been when David worshiped God in Saul’s house. Saul’s men, who had been sent to arrest David, were paralyzed by the presence of God at this “school”. But you can be sure, God was going to save the overwhelmed and confused David regardless of how He had to do it. The Judge of all the Earth is the only One who can know for sure when a person is an incorrigible Saul, and when they are a David temporarily overwhelmed by a Saul spirit.

“Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied.”
(1 Samuel 19:21)

Saul believed very little in the invisible, though he had experienced it himself. He thought that if he kept throwing enough troops, (with enough spears), that David’s luck would have to run out, and one of his men would manage to kill David. Finally he said to himself, “I CAN DO THIS! I can place one foot in front of the other and I can go kill David myself!”

“Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.” (1 Samuel 19:22)

This is very important. Saul drank from “the great cistern at Secu.” “Secu” means “surmount.” I believe that surmount in this context means, “I can surmount anything I set my mind to. I can, by my own strength, be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. I am my own lord and I will take care of me.” Which, of course, is the song of those who serve outward appearance. And Secu is a cistern. We will see later that it is significant that the word “cistern” is used here, and that a man’s wife is called his “cistern”, (Proverbs 5:15). As a glass of water, once drunk, permeates your whole body, so this “secu spirit” had become the thing Saul was drinking, was “married to.” Also notice in the above verse that it says …”Samuel AND David.” This is important for what we will read in the first verses of the next chapter.

“So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”” (1 Samuel 19:23-24)

First Samuel is a tale of two hearts. It didn’t matter how much God did for Saul, if Saul refused to entrust himself to God, he was doomed to die by his own hand. Saul had seen and felt so many God things you could hardly consider him to be an atheist. He had a certain kind of “belief”; he knew for sure God was there and He could do miracles. But there is a second kind of belief he did not have, a kind of faith/belief/trust that only David-hearts have.

In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus fed the five thousand. Afterward, there was certainly not an unbeliever in the bunch! They were talking of making him king by force. When Jesus seemed to disappear, they even crossed the lake in search of him, just on an off chance of finding him in Capernaum. And they did this, even though they had ascertained that He had not been in any of the boats that had left their area. They were convinced He had the capacity to have transported himself across the lake without the benefit of a boat. When they did find him, they immediately started trying to induce him to open the chow lines again. They had absolutely no doubt of his power to do the miraculous, but He refused to feed them. He basically said that if they wouldn’t follow Him without being fed by Him, then they didn’t have what He called “belief”.

This, the “Jesus kind of belief”, says: “Lord, I have ‘seen’ you so I know you and love you. Therefore I will serve you for nothing, if need be.” This kind of belief is the essential nature of the David heart. It is absolutely foreign to the Saul heart.

On the other hand, things happen to Davids. They seem to lapse into a Saul heart at times. But it isn’t permanent; it passes. David had been conned into coming under a stronghold in the above chapter. But his Lord knew that when he was away from Michal long enough, he would revert to being who he really was. Furthermore, David was aware, at least part of the time, that he had been “snared” by Saul. Psalm 142, written by David in one of the caves he hid in while fleeing from Saul, says: “…men have hidden a snare for me.” He seemed cognizant that his fear was hindering his ability to praise God, for he wrote in the last verse: “Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name.” Thus, we see the originator of spiritual warfare with his most trusted spiritual weapon (praise) knocked from his hand. But he will recover. David will become David again.