A Tale of Two Kings
By Alan Wright — May 15, 2019
King Jesus is a fulfillment of King David not King Saul.
Today’s Text: “And Samuel said, ‘… Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.’” (1 Samuel 15:22–23, ESV)
On today’s broadcast, we’re exploring how King Saul is a “foil” to King David. In literary terms, a foil is a character that bears similarities but also striking contrasts to the central hero of the story. Dr. Watson is a perfect foil for Sherlock Holmes. Both men are smart, but Watson serves to show us how much smarter Holmes is. Watson’s hesitancies and concerns serve to highlight Holmes’ brashness and fearlessness.
Saul and David are both kings of Israel. Both are “anointed.” Both bring sacrifices to the Lord. But they are entirely different. Nowhere is the contrast more pointed than in the ways the two men face adversity.
An in-law of mine owned a seed company that produced one of the finest residential fescues in the world. I asked him how they developed a quality grass seed, and I was amused at his response. Essentially, they planted a big yard with the best, hardiest, greenest, toughest grass possible. They watered it and cared for it until it was plush. Then they starved the lawn, persecuted it, and dried it out until it was all brown except for one rebellious blade of grass that refused to die.
They harvested the maverick seed and multiplied it in order to plant another yard with the extra hardy seed. After that yard grew green, they starved it, abused it and looked for the rebel grass blades that wouldn’t die. They harvested them and repeated the process. Eventually they had the seed they wanted and called it “Rebel.”
David stood in stark contrast to Saul. Under the heat and stress of life, Saul quickly fell apart, but David withstood the heat of adversity and the drought of loneliness. He was a rebel against the norm. When Jesus, the Son of David, came He was the ultimate rebel. He withstood temptation and persecution and betrayal without becoming filled with hate Himself. He rebelled against the flesh and against the religious oppression of the aristocracy. He rebelled against the urge to take a short cut to glory and, instead, took the cross.
When you feel like giving up, look to the Rebel who endured it all for you. Jesus “rebelled” against every norm in the face of adversity and, in so doing, laid His life down for you so that you could be a rebel, too. And that’s the Gospel!