Free in God’s Eternal Freedom – Part Two B
(A different look into Saul and David)
By Fred Pruitt
However, we don’t start there. We all start out as Cain or Esau or Ishmael. Since Adam that has been the way it is.
Though that might seem to be something awful, that we all started in the flesh, it is actually WONDERFUL when we see the glorious plan of God in it. Just as Paul said in Romans 8:17-22 in possibly the most liberating and glorious passage of scripture in the whole Bible, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature [us] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature [us] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
In this model I am seeing, Saul and David are the same man, though divided as separate by the Holy Spirit so that we might see with more clarity. Saul is the first man, the “consciousness” of ourselves as “just” ourselves, flesh, just as the children of Israel were when they left Egypt for their journey through the wilderness.
The people have asked Samuel for a king, “like the nations round about them,” so God gives them a King to their fleshly hearts’ desire, a man taller than everyone else, good looking, a true hero. This new king (in their minds) will keep the land safe and overcome their perpetual enemies, the Philistines. And in our Christian infancy, we also want Saul to be king because he is flashier and seemingly more capable of running the kingdom than any upstart like David. We want God to bless Saul and give him victory.
One might ask, “When have we done that?” Since we have read the story of Saul in 1 Samuel, we know Saul is something like a villain, so why do I say what I just said, that we want Saul to be the successful king? It is because the meaning has left the historical and moved into the spiritual. Saul represents in this instance our false sense of self-ability, our original consciousness that began growing at our physical birth, where we only know, “I, Me, and Mine,” though it may be masked with all sorts of outer respectability.
This “consciousness” (or self-view), sees only itself and everything else through the only lens it has, the lens of itself, and is therefore by default “self-reliant.” When we come into Christ and He into us, this consciousness comes along with us initially. Since we already have a false view or awareness, God does like He does for everything else that evil does – He uses it for His own perfect purposes which are more and greater than we can currently comprehend.
My point is that we start out our Christian life with a self-focus, not a Christ focus, and God uses that for the purposes of raising us up into Him as safe Sons who do the will of the Father and love not their lives unto the death, who lay down their lives that others, even enemies, might live. We start out with a false independent self-consciousness that cannot be annihilated or changed through coaxing or brainwashing, because it comes from a false spirit. Only its death will do what needs to be done. Nothing else will avail.
Thanks be to God; a death has occurred! Through the Cross (death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ), the Spirit leads us through our own personal confrontation with sin and legalism (Romans 7), in order that we might come to acknowledge the final death of that old consciousness of separation and self-reliance. From there the Spirit takes us into the living reality of His eternal resurrection along with ours, by the power of the Father. It manifested in Romans 7 as self-effort or self-reliance. Paul gets to the ultimate negative (and glorious spot), when he says, “I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom 7:21). (My short little book – 42 pages – addresses this issue more extensively. One can purchase a printed copy or download a Pdf file of the complete text for no charge. To check it out click here: The Axe Laid to the Root.)
Israel is looking for an outer king to go before them and keep them safe. They have rejected the invisible King, Who can only be perceived through the eyes of faith (even under the law), and have desired this strong charismatic man to lead and guide them.
And this is like us in our first knowledge of Christ, and the Saul we look to is our false separated consciousness of independence, that “I” am “just I,” and “I” can take these provisions of God and apply them and overcome the enemies with God’s help. You hear it over and over from beginners. “God helps those who first help themselves.” “My job is to take care of the possible stuff, and God’s job is the impossible stuff.” “I am going to rededicate and try harder. I’m going to read my Bible more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to witness more.” Since we think it is all in our “trying,” we want God to bless us with the spiritual gifts, wisdom, strength, healings, etc., so that we can go out there and do what we’re supposed to be doing, healing the sick, have signs wonders and miracles follow US wherever WE go.
We want God to “give us the anointing.” But we haven’t learned yet that the self we’re trying to shore up, the one we think we are, died when Jesus died on the Cross. The “old me” doesn’t get the anointing, though God, gracious that He is, still gives it some measure of success, and many times uses the false “old me” to accomplish His purposes.
That was the sense in which God gave Saul “the anointing” in the beginning. He already knew Saul was not going to work out. He knew Saul wanted “the anointing” for himself, and the anointing pretty much goes Ichabod at that point. God will use self-getting-self up to a point, always knowing in the end it will be the source of its own demise.
That was the “old me,” the “wicked heart” the Old Testament talked about, but I do not have that “heart” anymore. Because the evil wasn’t intrinsically mine – it belonged to the intruder who had invaded my ancestors and before I knew Jesus it lived in me! The snake! And here that snake still is, telling us we can do it, we’ve got the stuff, we just need to try harder, to pray more, be more dedicated, while at the same time he is telling us in our other ear what lousy Christians we are, what horrible human beings, who stand no chance of getting God’s approval, and pretending to be the Holy Spirit saying that stuff to us. What horrible bondage to live continuously under that incessant accusation. But that’s why we’re here – we’re not going to live like that anymore, because that is not Who we are! O how sweet is the liberty, when chains turn to dust, when accusations fall to the ground, when the strong bands that have bound us are shattered in a moment! Let the bells of the city ring until liberty has broken down all the walls, filled every empty space, and finally taken the whole city!
Saul is like the children of Israel in the desert, who, after hearing the law, purpose that, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” (Ex 19:8). They thought they could do it, even as Moses 40 years before had also thought he could deliver the people by killing an Egyptian. And through the wilderness journey in which they still kept the flesh consciousness of and in which they had been born in Egypt, always pining for the onions and leeks, always complaining and grumbling, nevertheless they were fed every day with manna and if there were no springs, water came out of rocks. For forty years they had been visibly led and guided by the Spirit in a Cloud by day and a Pillar of fire at night.
But still, with all that behind them, when they come to the Jordan the first time, they cannot cross as a nation. They are still in their own consciousness of themselves as independent self-acting, self-relying selves. Therefore, when confronted with the obstacles, forgetting God and thus exposing their hidden false inner god (in worshipping themselves they were worshipping the Deceiver), they finally realized they could not do it. (Numbers 13 and 14).
But still, they thought if they repented and tried harder they still might prevail, the lesson having not yet sunk in, that He will have no flesh in His presence. So they went out to meet the enemy the next day, despite Moses’ warnings to the contrary, telling them they Lord would not go out with them. Still they “tried” to conquer the territory but the Lord was not with them, and they were routed.
They had learned that they were weak, but they did not know yet that “trying harder” did not work. So back out into the desert for another 38 years, until all that generation over twenty born in Egypt perished, and the generation going across the Jordan under Joshua had all been born in the wilderness of the daily provision of Christ. The older generation could not get the slavery-bound pleasures of Egypt out of their consciousness, still clinging to it until the end, whereas the generation born in the desert had never known Egypt, and had only known from birth up the daily provision of God for everything.
Christ Growing Up in Us
This is all about the life of Christ growing up in us. That is why we seem to struggle for a long time until we come to the rest. Saul (independent self-consciousness) would love to rule. When we are first born again, most often we think the blessing that God has given, “the new birth,” and the “changes” (improvements) we believe God is to make, have come to this old beast we have been deceived all our lives into thinking is ourselves. It is like it is in the movie, “The Matrix.” We are as deceived about who runs the bulk of mankind as were the people who had not yet escaped the Matrix.
However, unlike the Matrix, the world is real and we live in that world, though we are no longer “of” its system. And in this world we are taught to long to take on the qualities of this Christ in us, to beef up this “me” that we are. Bulk up for Jesus! It becomes apparent that we must assume the qualities of Christ (though in our dim understanding we have not yet understood that this is not about our own self elevation, and that is all this false independent self-consciousness is about). But try we do, and through God’s mercy, we fail.
The sacrifice scene (1 Sam 15), with Samuel, is the unveiling of the full presumption of that false usurping independent self, in that it thinks it has the “anointing” of the things of God in itself, and presumes to perform a sacrifice that is only lawful for Samuel or one of the priests to do. Now, thinking as we do as “New Testament” folks, (those of us who are not RCs anyway), we don’t consider too much a “priesthood” or “special prophet” who are the only ones with the anointing from God to perform certain rituals, including the animal sacrifices. But they did in those times, and it was part of the Law of Moses. (And considering Moses’ law makes Samuel’s participation a bit dodgy since he was not a Levite nor of the house of Aaron, but we’ll get back to that later.)
For the moment we’ll say Saul’s performing the sacrifice himself instead of waiting on Samuel, is the ultimate presumption of this false consciousness, echoing Lucifer’s words in Isaiah 14, “I will be like the most High,” in Saul taking this act to himself. Not only has he disobeyed the clear commandment of the written law, worse, he has, in his heart, presumed to be ‘as God’ even as the Serpent deceived Eve, “wise as gods, knowing good and evil.”
In other words, Saul had taken what is reserved only to God Himself, and assumed it as a natural right of his kingdom of the flesh. That is the heart of Saul’s “sin.” It is the heart of Adam’s sin, and we are all Adam, both first and last. Why is this such a big deal? It is a big deal because it represents the heart of rebellion in creation. Remember from other places where we have spoken of ourselves, of our humanity, as a “clay pot” filled with the treasure of the Lord. We are branches of a vine. We are vessels of righteousness. That is the proper “relationship” in our most inward self. We are vessels, we are containers; we are branches. But we are not what is contained in the vessels or containers. We are not the Vine, but the branch. Saul is reversing that. His “place” is to be empty before the Spirit, and acknowledge all Life by the Spirit. Saul is assuming the place of the Vine, the contents of the vessel. It is the opposite of “yet not I, but Christ.” That is why it was such a big deal.
(One more item on that story before we move on. Sort of an interesting tidbit. Samuel, likewise, technically was not supposed to be making sacrifices. He was not of the family of priests, and according to Moses, the temple priests were required to be Levites of the House of Aaron. That was the priesthood under the law. But Hebrews tells us that there was a change in the priesthood when Christ came. The new Eternal High Priest was Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a Jew of the house of David, born in Bethlehem Ephratah. It was where Jacob buried Rachel his beloved, after she died in childbirth bringing forth Benjamin, Jacob’s last son. I think the Holy Spirit threw in a little preview of Hebrews in the story of Samuel and his succeeding Eli at his death. Eli, the old high priest, was obviously of the House of Aaron. Samuel, oddly enough, seems to have been a Judah-ite! Look at 1 Sam 1:1, speaking of Samuel’s father, Elkanah – “Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite.” An Ephrathite was someone who was from Ephratah, or Bethlehem. David was an Ephrathite; Samuel was an Ephrathite; Jesus was an Ephrathite!)
I would interject something here that is very important to remember. We have all been born and lived in and from this snake. This false consciousness of independent self is his; it is a monster born of him. And it IS a monster! This is where “sin” is exceedingly seen to be sin. This is the Romans 6, 7, 8 struggle, taken apart for us in the lives of these two men.
You see Saul getting progressively worse, alternating between loving David (as the man Saul knows he “should be”, and hating David, because he senses David will supplant him in the kingdom, and now that he has the reign, he does not want to give it up. So David (the new man in us) has to hide in the wilderness and help on the side while Saul’s reign begins to self-destruct.
I remember that struggle in my earlier days. Sometimes I was Saul and sometimes I was David. Saul felt the safer choice, because he had grit, determination and represented the established order. I was suspicious of David. David (in my own thinking back then) was that part of me that I was scared of, because he was too free and too sure of himself, and I didn’t know if I could let go that far. Saul looked good on the outside (when he won wars) and it seemed safer to deal with visible things. The invisible, the things I was reading and the things the Spirit was saying to me even in those days, seemed like fairy tales and too good to be true, so I wavered back and forth for quite a while.
This is that “flesh/spirit” struggle we experience as we are taken by the Spirit into this place of rest and victory. David, the spirit Christ man, hiding in the wilderness, sometimes coming out to be seen and sometimes hidden, whereas the person we do not want to be, but cannot give up being, is this false self-god we have been gripped with as a deception. We seem on top one day and on the bottom the next.
The final moment is when Saul falls on his sword in Gilboa, knowing the Philistines are overrunning them. Saul dies when he realizes he cannot win the battle. This is that crux moment in Romans 7 when we see! We are only conditioned to “see” when that false sense finally self-destructs from the stress of its own efforts, and falls to the ground and cries, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24).
He has looked into himself and finally realized he does not have the stuff to do it. The bottommost is “I find that no good thing dwells in me.” (Rom 7:18). This is it, the end.
Who shall deliver me? I thank Jesus Christ my Lord. I thank Him that He has delivered me, and also he has taught me “how” I work.
The “flesh” or “mind set on the flesh” is the self-focused, self-relying, self-acting self. This “mind” is not the self itself, but a wrong consciousness in the self. Because this same self (who had been seeing double) is pulled by the Spirit through this narrow portal. We find ourselves finally standing on firm ground. This new “ground” that is holding us up, we find is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” We do not see double anymore. The “double” has been swallowed up and now we are seeing God only.
And, it is immediately clear, maybe for the first time or maybe we’ve had glimpses here and there, that we are being held. We are being kept. And that upholding has “set me free from the law of sin and death.” “Kept and held” becomes a whole new inner rest, an easing of fear, our feet finally touching the true ground upon which we have so long wanted to stand. How long ago was it I read of a treasure hid in a field, or about a pearl of great price? Yes, I thought, I want to find that. And here it is in the “kept and held.” The Day of Jubilee!
Here finally, as “Saul” has self-destructed in Romans 7, we find David rising, always having been there but he was dim to our sight. But through this death in Him that we have likewise known in ourselves (“for ye are dead”), we find our new life in the Spirit (“life hidden with Christ in God”). This then becomes our operating reality, to be David on the throne, knowing it is no longer I, but Christ, but now also this “new me,” is Christ as me.
This is the kingdom of David “which shall have no end.”