The “Same” But So Different
Robert Deffinbaugh sets up this approach with this introduction about himself . . . .
“When I was just beginning my teen years, my parents bought an old resort. You need to know that the word “resort” was used a bit more loosely in those days, and thus it was not at all the kind of place that first comes to your mind when you hear the word “resort.” It was not a fancy place in the least. There were only six cabins; five were rustic one-room cabins with a small porch, a bed or two, a dresser, and a wood stove. The “luxury cabin” had four rooms, one of which included something that could be found nowhere else on the property – a flush toilet. Those were the days of the outhouse. We did not even have a toilet in my parents’ house until a little later. My chores included cutting, splitting and delivering the firewood, and hauling the garbage.It was not a bad life for a boy, and I look back fondly to those days in many ways. But at the time, there was one thing that bothered me. A friend who was my classmate lived a few hundred feet down the lake. While I had chores to perform each day (for most of the day), my friend did not seem to have any. If I wished to go anywhere on the lake, I had to do so in a rowboat. He, on the other hand, had a speedboat. Technically, it wasn’t his boat; it was his father’s. But it was his to use almost any time he wanted. His father not only supplied the boat, but also the motor and the gas. My friend had an ample supply of friends, many of them good-looking girls. I would wave as my friend sped by, while I returned to my task of washing out boats. . . . .Looking back now, I can see how God used the experiences of these early days to shape my life. It was God’s good hand that brought these things to pass, for my good, and somehow, ultimately, for His glory.
“Now here is another — a second contrast to Saul (Bible character or event) — with Saul it was, but here with David it was/is.”Now the third and last contrast between these two men is reflected in these words, which are found in verse(s) ______.”
This lesson is about the early days of David’s life and how God prepared him for leadership in the years to come. As I compared the early years of Saul with those of David (what we have of them both), I could not help but think of my growing up years, at least in the way I perceived them. Saul seems to have had it easy, while David had to work hard. . . . .Unlike David, Saul was not a mere lad when he was anointed as Israel’s king. There was a reason for this – Saul was to assume leadership almost immediately, while David had a more lengthy period of preparation . . . .In addition to this, we are hard pressed to find anything in Saul’s character which would qualify him for the task of leading the nation Israel. . . . .Saul does not seem able to find them [donkeys]. No doubt this is part of the divine plan, but one wonders how skillful Saul is at wrangling donkeys – not as skillful, I take it, as David was at caring for his father’s sheep. . . . .Saul will serve as the backdrop for David, a man against whom David’s character and conduct are rather consistently contrasted. . . . .While Saul is shown to vacillate and to make foolish decisions, Jonathan is shown to be a man of faith and courage, a man a lot like David. . . .Verses 14-23 (seems to make) — a logical connection is made between the Spirit of the Lord departing from Saul and the Spirit’s rushing upon David. Surely this serves to underscore the fact that God is about to remove Saul and replace him with David.
These verses (17:31-37) tell me as much about Saul as they do about David. . . .
Saul versus David
Saul did not have what it takes to be king. He did not have the character, and he did not really have the experience necessary for the job. He was given the Spirit, but he clearly chose to follow the desires of the flesh, rather than the promptings of the Spirit. In the end, God removed His Spirit from Saul and sent an evil spirit in His place. And God removed Saul and put a man after His own heart on his throne.
Even before he became king, Saul seemed to have it all. Apparently the only child of a well-to-do Benjamite, his life was free from the trials of life which David had to face – alone. David, on the other hand, was the youngest of eight sons. He got the least desirable job – that of tending a small flock of sheep – a job which had many dangers and also many lonely hours. But looking back, we can see that God wanted His king to be a shepherd, and what better preparation is there than shepherding a flock of sheep? Moses, too, was given years of experience shepherding the flocks of his father-in-law in preparation for the task of leading God’s flock out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
“Contrast . . . . The “same” but so different.”
One can either . . . .
contrast two characters who appear together in Scripture . . . .
- David & Saul
- Cain & Able
- Elisha & Gehazi
- Elijah & Elijah (double portion)
- Ten spies with the two spies
- Abraham & Lot
- Stephen & Paul
- Matthew & Simon the zealot
Or one can . . . . contrast distinctly different characters, unconnected in time
- Joseph & Samson – both were sexually tempted / one away from home and one at home / one immediately put into a position of leadership and the other only after years of trials / one ____ and the other ____
- Rahab & Judas – one with so little light makes Jehovah her God versus one with great light walks away and betrays
- Barnabas & Gehazi
- Demas & Timothy
I want you to pay special attention to David’s wording here, because it is easy to overlook his choice of words. David is not saying that he once killed a bear, and another time he killed a lion. He is saying that he has killed both bears and lions. Thus his years of shepherding have served to prepare him for this battle with Goliath. In the course of caring for his flock he has had occasion to deal with both bears and lions: