In 1 Samuel we recognise there were 3 distinct camps … the camp of Saul, the camp of David and the camp of the Philistines.
Clearly the camp of the Philistines is the camp of the heathen … those who don’t want to bend the knee to God.
But the defining line between the other two camps is blurry. Both these camps worship the same God and carry out the same ceremonies. They are both Israelite camps yet they are enemies. The same was true of Jesus and the Pharisees; they both worshipped the same God but they were enemies.
What are the real defining differences between the camp of Saul and the camp of David?
One can’t say niceness is a defining characteristic which separates the camps. There’s plenty of nice people in the camp of Saul. Jonathan was clearly a nice guy who loved David but he stayed in the camp of Saul and despite his niceness and his relationship with David, he died with Saul.
One can’t say obedience is a defining characteristic which separates the camps. There’s plenty of obedient soldiers willing to die for Saul and for God in the camp of Saul.
One can’t say that doing everything exactly right is a defining characteristic which separates the camps. David committed adultery and pre-meditated murder and conducted a census for his own pride.
One can’t say that the gifts of the Spirit are a defining characteristic which separates the camps. King Saul, was possessed by an evil spirit, yet prophesied under the influence of the Holy Spirit, all with a heart of murderous intent against David, 1 Samuel 18:10 & 19:23. The Holy Spirit is not restricted by the presence of an evil spirit; in fact, He is in control of all spirits.
One can’t say that everything going right is a defining characteristic which separates the camps. David’s life was often in turmoil. He was opposed by his father-in-law and even by his own son, Absalom, and he lost everything at Ziglag to the point where his men turned against him. It’s more likely that if everything is going right for you all the time then you are not a threat to the enemy so Satan is not attacking you.
The following are some of the characteristics that clearly separate one camp from the other.
The characteristics of the camp of Saul
- Make me look good in the eyes of others, 1 Samuel 15:30
- Envy … people like David more than me, 1 Samuel 18:8. How come you always get the best deal and I don’t?
- Lie … twist the truth. Tells Samuel that he is keeping the animals for a sacrifice, yet keeps Agag alive, 1 Samuel 15
- Possessiveness of Friends and family … you will make me feel good / you will make me look good / you will be on my side / you will do what I think is best for me. This is how Saul threatened his own son, 1 Samuel 20:30. Use friends and family for my own value and self-worth in the eyes of others.
- Don’t tell me what to do … I’m the king; I can do what I like. This is really what Saul was saying to Samuel in 1 Samuel 15. That’s why God counted his attitude as rebellious and stubborn. On the outside ‘nice’ so he would be liked but on the inside rebellious and stubborn.
- Don’t know what you are doing / Lose your right mind yet convinced you’re right … Saul didn’t even know who David was even though David had been playing the harp for him, 1 Samuel 17:55. Saul almost killed his own son for eating honey to gain strength in the battle.
- Seeking elevated position and the best deal, 1 Samuel 15
- Selective opposition to evil. Too afraid to tackle Goliath but ok to attack the Amalekites. No doubt there was more to gain from the Amalekites, and more to lose from Goliath.
- False repentance, 1 Samuel 15:24. Saul can’t repent because his motive is really only to restore his lost position.
The camp of Saul is a “TELL” camp. It uses intimidation and obligation to get people to do what it wants and it resists being TOLD what to do when it doesn’t want to. It loves to TELL; it doesn’t like being TOLD.
The camp of Saul is a picture of the modern Laodicean church. It says it’s against evil but ends up tolerating evil and compromising with evil for its own benefit of self-preservation.
The characteristics of the camp of David
- Doesn’t resist being TOLD, 1 Samuel 17:28
- Separates from the camp of Saul to survive the attack of evil, Revelation 18:4. All the modern church systems are a fake self-preserving money-making business machine preaching prosperity and self-benefits as a reward for following Christ. Like Jonathan, if you stay in any system you will die with the system. Jesus didn’t belong to any system of religion nor did He start a religion.
- Sits in the wilderness for years waiting God’s timing
- Focussed on the task of standing against the enemy, not on the benefits.
- Practices faith to train for each greater battle. David was able to face Goliath because he had tested God by previously facing a lion and a bear, 1 Samuel 17:33-.
- Stays HUMBLE. Doesn’t do things for a higher position, 1 Samuel 18:18
- Stands for God, not himself, 1 Samuel 17:45-47
- Told you are not up to the task, 1 Samuel 17:33
- Disdained by the enemy, 1 Samuel 17:42
- Takes correction and knows how to repent, 2 Samuel 12:13
Which camp are you really in?
- It’s evidence of what camp you are in when the church system hates you for not agreeing with their beliefs, John 16:2.
- It’s evidence of what camp you are in when your own Christian family hates you for not agreeing with their beliefs, Matthew 10:36
- The camp of David takes up the cross of misjudgement and mocking daily for the name of Christ, Matthew 10:38
- The camp of David is living for God, not self.
The camp of Saul is the camp that has the majority. It has the money and the status and the power, but eventually it will all come crashing down and be exposed for its fakeness. No one who lives in the camp of Saul will be saved even though they worship the same God as David. You have to separate from Saul. You can’t keep your feet in both camps. Everyone wants to be a David but the problem is, everyone also wants the security and support of the majority, rather than stopping and seeking and choosing by faith to be willing to suffer the threats and put-downs from the camp of Saul. The broad way is comfortable, the narrow way is difficult, and that’s why few find it, and they won’t be told otherwise.
Not everyone that says unto Me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 7:21
Pastor Scot Steinman