A Worried King

Bible:

Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap. And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. And behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “ . . . For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him. I Samuel 20:18-34 ESV

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Matthew 2:1-2, 7-14, 16 ESV

Reflection:

When Jesus was born, a man named Herod was the ruler of the area. He was a very jealous king, and always worried about losing his throne. When wise men came to him asking where the new king was, he got really angry and upset. This new baby was a threat to his throne, and he had to be destroyed! But God warned the wise men not to tell Herod where Jesus was, and he warned Joseph to take Mary and the baby Jesus away so that Herod wouldn’t kill them. Herod was so angry when the wise men didn’t come back to him that he killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem!

Saul was getting to be like Herod. He was becoming more and more angry and jealous and upset about David. David hadn’t done anything except serve his king faithfully and lead the armies of Israel into battle, but Saul was worried about David’s power and popularity. He was determined to put him to death. Saul even threw a spear at his own son, he was so angry and upset!

Herod was foolish to be worried about the baby Jesus. Jesus wasn’t an earthly king, and he was never any threat to Herod’s throne. Saul was also foolish to worry about David. David served him faithfully, and we will see that David had no intention of taking the throne away from Saul. He was willing to wait for God’s time before he became the king. It was Satan at work behind these two jealous, evil men, because Satan is always trying to interfere with God’s plans. God’s plan was to give David a kingdom and a dynasty that would bring the promised Savior into the world, and Jesus is that promised Savior. Satan worked through Saul and Herod to try to stop God in his purpose of destroying sin and evil for us.

Nothing can stop God in his purposes. Jesus grew up to be our Savior and to defeat death and the devil when he died on the cross and rose again from the dead. God’s purpose is to make us his own people and love us and keep us with him forever. Satan might cause us trouble and pain in our lives, but nothing that happens can ever take us away from the love of God.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your plan to send us a Savior and make us your people forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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