2005 header for issue 36

Thinking Points by Mickey Chiang

King David?  Or Kill David!
[I Samuel 18 – 26]

David is remembered as the shepherd boy who slew a fearsome giant warrior, with a single stone, in one-to-one combat.  We picture him as a great warrior and a warrior king.  The one time he should have been at war but wasn’t, he fell into temptation and sin by seducing a married woman Bathsheba, she who was taking a bath on her open rooftop.  Ba, is that the place to take a bath? 

But David was also “a man after God’s own heart” [1Samuel 13:14].  In what ways was David a man after God’s own heart?  Let us look at how King Saul treated David and how David retaliated or reacted, and see if that sheds any light on the matter.


Saul’s Treatment of David

David’s Reaction

1. After David killed Goliath, Saul kept David with him.  "What-ever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army" [1Sam18:5].  But Saul grew jealous of David and "while David was playing the harp [for Saul]...Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it [at David], saying to himself, 'I'll pin David to the wall'.  Did he think David was a butterfly?  But David eluded the spear, twice.

David did not retaliate, and remained in Saul's service. How forgiving and meek the warrior David was.

2. Saul plotted to get David killed by offering David his daughter, for a dowry of a hundred Philistine foreskins.  "Saul's plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines" [1Sam 18:25]

David and his men killed not 100 Philistines but 200.  The foreskins stank but David did not smell anything fishy.  David also did not dwell on the bad side of Saul.

3. "Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David" [1Sam 19:1].  But Jonathan warned David and spoke to Saul about David not wronging Saul and reminded him how God gave Israel a great victory in David's slaying of Goliath.  Saul swore, "As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death".

David came out of hiding and continued to serve Saul as a harpist and a military commander.

4. "But an evil spirit ... came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand" [1Sam 19:9].  Hello?  Does a king normally sit at home with his spear in his hand?  So why did he?  "While David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear" [1Sam 19:9,10].  Again?!

"That night, David made good his escape" [1Sam 19:10].  David did not retaliate but fled to his home.

5. But "Saul sent men to David's home to watch over it and to kill him in the morning" [1Sam 19:11].  It was right decent of Saul to give the man a good night's sleep first.

David escaped through a window.  No retaliation against Saul.

6. David fled to the prophet Samuel at Ramah.  Saul sent three groups of assassins to kill David there.  Finally he went there himself.  But God made all of them prophesy, instead of murder.

David fled from Ramah. No retaliation against Saul.

7. Saul plotted to kill David at the New Moon Festival at his palace, but David was warned by Jonathan.

David did not turn up.  No retaliation against Saul.

8. When David rescued the town of Keilah from the Philistines, "Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men" [1Sam 23:8]. 

God told David to escape, and he did.  No retaliation against Saul.

9. David hid in desert strongholds in the Desert of Ziph.  "Day after day Saul searched for him" [1Sam 23:14].  Didn't King Saul have anything better to do?

"God did not give David into his hand" [1Sam 23:14].

10.When Saul was told that David was in the Desert of En Gedi beside the Dead Sea, he "took 3,000 chosen men from all over Israel" [1Sam 24:1] to hunt David down.  There, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself.  Unknown to him, David and his men were deep inside the cave.

David could have killed Saul, but merely cut a corner off his robe, unnoticed. 

11.Later, Saul hunted David in the Desert of Ziph, again with 3,000 elite troops.

David and Abishai crept into the heart of Saul's camp to the sleeping king's side.  David stopped Abishai from killing him.  Instead, they took Saul's spear and water jar to prove they meant him no harm.


Saul made at least 11 attempts to assassinate or kill David.  Yet, David the great warrior and commander of warriors never retaliated.  He had many opportunities to kill Saul, but refrained from doing so.  Why?


David trusted God to protect him.  He told Abishai, “As surely as the Lord lives, the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed” [1Sam 26:10,11]”.  In this vengeful, violent, world, what an excellent example David set for us, in being slow to anger; in not retaliating when he was attacked; in being merciful; in trusting the Lord to protect; in not dwelling upon the badness of Saul, and in according him all due respect as the King and as one anointed by God. 


But does non-retaliation apply only when the attacker is the Lord’s anointed, or is the right of self-defence applicable in other cases of violent attack?


How Can We Possibly Rejoice Always? 
(Phil 4:4-7)

Dr Aquila Lee on 16 Nov 2005

 Joy is the main theme of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Conscious of problems faced by the Philippian church (a serious threat by the Judaizers, their own financial needs and concerns for the welfare of Paul), Paul gives three sets of commands.

First, rejoice in the Lord always (v.4). But Paul tells them not only to rejoice but to do so always, because for him it depends not on changing circumstances but on the One who does not change. Notice he didn’t just say “rejoice always,” but “rejoice in the Lord always.”

Second, be gentle or show a forbearing spirit to all (v.5). This is the first key to rejoicing. Paul knew that genuine Christian joy is not inward-looking. He knew that it is not by concentrating on our need for happiness, but on the needs of others’ happiness, that we learn to rejoice! (see 2:2-4). If our primary concern is whether or not we are being treated fairly by others we will not truly experience joy in our lives.

Third, “Do not worry about anything” (v.6). Paul was not speaking of imaginary troubles or phantom anxieties. So when he tells them to stop worrying, in every circumstance, it is not because he makes light of the troubles which they face, but because he knows that God is greater than all their troubles. What then is the alternative to worry? Paul’s answer is: by prayer. Notice that he uses three synonyms of “prayer” strung together in a row. What the NIV translates as “present your requests to God” literally means “Let God know what is troubling you.” This is Paul’s way of expressing the very personal nature of prayer.

Finally, we are told that the peace of God will protect the very source of our anxieties, our harsh attitude towards others, and the very source that keeps us from being thankful. The peace of God will guard the very driving-seat of our emotions and thoughts. The verb “to guard” is a military term picturing God’s peace as a garrison of soldiers keeping guard over Philippi, in this case thoughts and feelings of the Philippian Christians.


Chapel speaker on Nov 23 will be Dr Paul Stevens.


‘Introduction to Apologetics’ 
(TS230, 3 credits)

Originally we set the first tutorial on Nov 22nd, 7.15-9.15pm, at No. 31 Tanjong Pagar Road. This was to be a time when we would ascertain from you when you are free to meet for the remaining tutorials of this course. But in view of the many who have asked we have delayed the first tutorial to Monday, Nov 28th, 8.30-10.30pm, still at No.31, Tanjong Pagar Road, 2nd Floor. Please note that you will need to register (if you have not done so), come to pick up the VCD's for this course and you should have viewed the first lecture and come prepared with the answers to the first tutorial found on page 30 of the Course manual.

Please note that because of the numbers who have responded, Mr Brian Thomas, our Apologetics Tutor has agreed to the possibility of having two tutorial groups meeting on different nights. This will enable us to come up with configurations:

Group 1 - which will meet on a particular night of the week to be agreed by those present at the first meeting. This group will attempt to finish the entire course within a shorter time. This is to allow those who have time constraints to complete the course sooner.

Group 2 likewise will meet at another time and this will be ascertained in the same manner. This group will take the course at a more leisurely pace and the course can last up to two or three months.

Do not come to the first tutorial unannounced as we need to prepare the Course Manual and give out the VCD's BEFORE this meeting. Those who cannot be present, we need you call our Admin Office (tel. 62276815) and speak with Anthony or Kok Wee.

Dr Quek Swee Hwa
Coordinator for Theological Studies


  1. BGST alumnus, Daniel, sends warm greetings to all at BGST. Since his return home 3 years ago he and his family have seen the grace of God in their lives. They were glad to have met our Dean recently. A fuller account is available from our website. See "BGST Alumni".

  2. Congratulations to Song Young Hak and Young Kang on the birth of a baby girl.

A Blessed Birthday to…


Ms Sherry Hua  23/11

Ms Joyce Tay  23/11

Ms Amy Teo  23/11

Ms Koh May Fern  24/11

Ms Carol Cheang  24/11

Ms Hukali Aye  25/11

Ms Chia Meow Hah  27/11

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