A Trust that Saves: A Study of the Differences between David and Saul

tree in desert david and saul

One of the easiest traps to fall into when reading the Bible is to read it as a collection of hero stories and to try to extract “life lessons” from observing the characters within. (In actuality, the Bible is moreso an expansive, multi-millennia story about God’s actions on this Earth to bring the human race back into relationship with himself.) But, I do think there are lessons to be learned from study of characters in Scripture. One of the clearest character juxtapositions in the Bible seems to be that of two of Israel’s kings, David and Saul, as detailed in the Books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. Here’s what I think it comes down to: David has this intriguing, almost excessive trust in God whereas Saul, although a “religious” man, at the end of the day, won’t put anything in God’s hands. I never noticed this until recently when I read through much of 1 and 2 Samuel quickly while studying the Message translation. There are handfuls of brilliant and sometimes comical details in the narrative which illustrate this. Let me start with Saul. Saul’s Need for Control There are some strange events that happen in Saul’s life as king. But one way to summarize these events is through the lens of Saul’s fundamental lack of trust in God. The first example comes early in Saul’s reign. While Saul is in preparation for one of the largest battles of his early career, Samuel, the prophet of Israel who anointed … Read More