The Message of the Arrows

1 Samuel 20:1-42


Intro As we look at this episode in the life of David we should keep in mind that God, from eternity, had purposed to bless David and use him mightily

A)We have seen God establish David as a man after God’s own heart while he was a shepherd boy


B)We have seen God call and anoint David to be King...... raise up David as a Champion of Israel and deliver Goliath into his hands

 1) We have seen God preserve David’s life and give him a song of     gladness in the face of death


C) But at this particular point we find David going through a trial which tested his faith and endurance to the limit

1) Every outward circumstance seemed to contradict God’s plan for David’s life..... His circumstances made God’s promises to look like lies.


D) That can happen to us at times too – In those circumstances – we have to come to that place where we have to decide what are we going to be ruled by

1)    Are we going to be ruled by our circumstances that presently make no sense to us

    2) Or are we going to be ruled by What we know to be true about God !!!


See all of us Struggle with doubts & things that we don’t understand – about God or about Situations –

A) I have had times in my life of just utter confusion / despair / times where I FELT ABANDONED BY GOD – WHERE ARE YOU LORD


B) But it is in those moments that we have to cling to what we do Know : What do we Know?


C) God is faithful / God keeps His promises / true & righteous are His ways – And He is always working w/ your best interest in mind

1) Been walking with him for 29yrs – Never let me down – Stories in the Bible – He is never late / uninterested – Always involved & on TIME

When I look back on those times in my life now I see exactly what God was doing – Brilliant  perfect – things have turned out way better than imagined

A) Joseph had the same realization – in his life – Looking back – He understood – told his Bros / You meant evil God good to save many


B) And David will look back at this time in his life – He will see & understand God’s hand in it

1)   How God was actually going to use this time – to make David into Israel’s greatest king of all time – accept for Jesus Himself


C)  But sometimes in the mist of these times it can be tough – In this Chapter we see David struggling

  1) Now It’s a comfort to know that even a man of God such as David could        begin to buckle under pressure


D) We pick the story up in Chapter 20:1 with David fleeing Saul and going to Jonathan    RD VERSES 1-3 



A)David was uptight even despairing- As the pressure is building – David isn’t handling it very well.


B) Because -David was NOT as conscious of God’s presence and protection as   he was of his own fear –  RP Fear Greatest enemy of our faith 


Bb) Fear causes Despair – fear blows things out of Proportion: My Girls are afraid of Bugs -   Dad there is a Giant bug in my ROOM –

1) It this Big - 5 ft long


C) Fear of Heights – 20 feet becomes 80 ft really easily


D)  At this point in David’s life The pressure is building so bad is beginning to even  Doubt his friends

1)   Says to Jonathan in v.1 What have I done – what iniquity is in me that your father should treat me like this

Now Jonathan tries to encourage David in v.2 by saying look  My Dad would tell me – if – He was still out to get you –

B) Remember Saul in Ch.19 Gave Jonathan his word he would leave David alone


C)  V.3 David says Get real – You Know there is one step …. Me & death


D) This reveals David’s discouragement.

1) He knows that Saul has attempted to kill him many times, and it seems that Saul will not quit until David is gone.


E) David feels that his death is inevitable, and that he is walking

on a slippery plank over a great canyon.


4 So Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you yourself desire, I will do it for you."

A) Now I find it refreshing that Jonathan offers this word of Encouragement


B) I think many would have been tempted to rebuke David – WHERE YOUR FAITH BROTHER – WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU

1) Jonathan is a true friend here – Look I am with you – on your side


                                           Rd v.5-17


This Shows Jonathan had greater faith in God’s promises than David did at this time:    Jonathan knows David is destined to be King

A)In response, Jonathan makes David commit himself in a covenant.

 You shall not cut off your kindness for my house forever:


B) In that day, when one royal house replaced another, it was common for the new royal house to kill all the potential rulers from the old royal house.    1) Jonathan knew that one day, David and his descendants would rule over Israel,


C) And he wants David to promise that David and his descendants will not kill or mistreat the descendants of Jonathan.

1)   So they make this Covenant w/ each other Jonathan and David agreed to care for one another.


D) Jonathan agreed to care for David in the face of Saul’s threat, and David agreed to care for Jonathan and his family in the future    VERSES 18-24



David had to wait for that fateful moment when a matter of a few yards would decide his future

A)Either he would go back to Saul’s house back to the comfort of Jonathans friendship / Back to familiar, secure surroundings


B) Or he would go into exile without a friend to turn to- Having to cast himself totally upon the mercy of God

1) One of these would be God’s path for David to lead to the Throne !!!!



The decision was completely OUT OF  David’s hands

A)All he could do was to stand by a stone & wait for an arrow that would point to the palace or the wilderness


B)The pressure of the circumstances brought David to that place where the decision was not his to make

  1) That is exactly what God does through our circumstances


Bb) They drive us to the place where we can NOT decide the way….should go /  to the place where GOD DECIDES THE WAY

  1) V 19  David was told to wait at the stone Ezel  = the stone that shows the way/ the stone of Destiny




C) For every Christian - in every circumstance of life we have a stone to wait at - a stone that shows the way

  1) Daniel 2:34 tells us that it is a stone “cut out without hands”

      1 Peter 2:4 Peter calls it “a living stone

 2) Isaiah 28:16 Isaiah calls it “a foundation stone, a precious           corner stone, a sure foundation”


D) Jesus Christ is our stone of Ezel


RP “Jesus is our stone of destiny rooted in a rugged hillside outside of the city of Jerusalem. There we understand that he bore our burden / he is the great burden bearer – the pressure of the burdens we face no matter what they may be are rolled away when we bring them & leave them at his feet .


Are you in a predicament, unable to turn this way of that.

A)It is a glorious position to be in: when your hands are off the situation only he can guide.


B)All you can do is what David did as he took his stand at his stone of destiny & waited.


It is good thing to be in a position like that when all you can do is take your stand at Calvary & wait.

A)When all you can do is come to Christ and wait you are in a great place.


B)NOTE: So many paths seem far more attractive than others

1)   Humanly speaking, there are many alternatives more attractive than

     God’s way


C) But - There is only one way for you and I that leads to the throne/ that place of Promise that God has for you


D) We need to let God decide that path (Remember there is only one right path to accomplish that work of God in your life.)

1)   Die to the  temptation to run or to meander  pursue any other Alternative

RP: A throne is God’s purpose for you  A cross is God’s path for you

                                      Faith is God’s plan for                   



So Jonathan & David come up w/ this plan –

A)Now most commentators believe I agree that David did go down to Bethlehem / came back at the appointed time – wait in the field


B) The first day of the feast Saul noticed that David was not there, but he thought that perhaps he was absent because he was ceremonially unclean.

1) A soldier could become ritualistically unclean for a lot of different reason, so this would have not been uncommon.


C) All that an unclean person had to was to change clothes, go through some ritual cleansings, and refrain from the first night of feast.

1) That made them clean and able to participate the second night.


D) But the second night comes and still, there is no David, now Saul knows

something is wrong.

1) And he asks about him and Jonathan tells his Dad that David has gone to see his Family This puts Saul over the edge


E)  When Saul finds out – he is incensed – Yells at Jonathan -"You son of a perverse, rebellious woman!"

 1) This was a horrible statement to make – Because in doing so – Saul was suggesting that Jonathan was the son of a whore – No royal blood in veins


 F) Jonathan knew from this response that Saul’s heart was settled on evil against David.


These were "Taunts that were intended to instill into Jonathan’s heart the poison which was working in his own." (Meyer)

A) The poison was running so thick in Saul’s veins he even– throws a spear at his own Son –


B) Before we leave this section I want you to see one more downward step in the spiral of jealousy.

1) Remember that Saul’s jealousy started out with love, he loved David, he loved his ministry.


C) But the love turned into suspicion, the suspicion turned into rage, and rage turned into attempted murder.

1) At first the attempted murder is directed at one who was classified as an enemy.


D) Now the attempted murder is directed at his own son. Jealousy and anger have a life of their own, we don’t control them, they control us.

1) And they will take us places we could never imagine going.


E) Could Saul have ever imagined that he would try to kill his own son? No

way, but he did.

1) That is the slippery slope of Jealousy.                                         Rd V.35-42


Now Picture David waiting at the stone of Ezel

A)From a distance he hears his friend coming out to him


B)Jonathan, as if he is at target practice takes an arrow and shoots it

David anxiously watches its flight as it arches over him & lands beyond him.


C) Imagine his feelings at that moment......  He knew it meant the Lord was sending him away/

1) Such a small thing – the signal of a single arrow – told David his whole Life would be forever changed.


D) He would no longer be welcome at the palace. He would no longer be welcome among the army of Israel.

1) He would no longer be able to go home.


E) David now knew he would have to live as a fugitive, on the run from an angry, jealous king determined to destroy him.

Sometimes our lives can radically turn on a small thing. One night of carelessness may change a girl’s life forever.

A)One night with the wrong crowd may give a boy an arrest record.


B)It often times does not seem fair that so much in life should turn on small moments, but a lifetime is made of nothing but many small moments!


C) In David’s case - It was no chance thing that the arrow fell where it did

 1) It had come from the hand of God


D)The arrows weren’t from Jonathan’s hand alone/ He was just the instrument The arrow was from the hand of God and it was right on target

  1) It showed him God’s will


E) God will use different instruments in our lives – The words of a friend / a Doctor’s diagnosis – The instructions of an employer –

1)   But Know this Behind that arrow was God’s loving purpose for David


See with every arrow there is a road, with every arrow God is saying, “this way is shut, now come this way”

A) In most cases, it’s a road we don’t want to go down, it’s a road that seems dark and dangerous, , but God says, “this is My road, Will you walk in it?


B) God wants us to say with Jesus, not my will, but thy will be done?

1) Because here is what you are resigning your self to, a road that will make you into the person who God wants you to be !!!


C) For David to be David, the man after God’s own heart, he had to walk down this road. He had to say yes to God.

1) He had to accept that this was the road that God had chosen for him.


D) This was part of the plan that God had in mind to make David into the greatest King in Israel’s History 2nd only to Jesus



Have you accepted the road that God has chosen for you?

A) Have you come to grips with the fact that this road is God’s will for your life and that you are going to accept it because you know that your heavenly Father knows best?


B) Or are you still kicking against the goads, are you still trying to worm your way, or buy your way, out of it.

1) Only you know, if you have come to grips in your heart of hearts with the arrow of God that flew over your head & opened up a new road before you..



If David lingered now, after this word from heaven, he would lose

     his life, the crown and all that God had for him

A)It was of Divine necessity that he move/ Every security he had........ Every prop he leaned on was taken away


B) Swindol – “Sometimes our tendency is to fill our lives w/ Crutches – People & things that we are leaning on”

 1) But Sometimes those Crutches become substitutes for God – Instead of leaning on Him we are leaning on something else / or someone else


C) Some people turn to other people to be their Crutches their spouse / friend / inappropriate friendship – ( Share treasure w/ no one but your spouse )

1)   Where your treasure is your heart will be there also 


D)Some turn to booze or drugs – Helps me relax – Read the Bible – Praise tape /

 1) Some work out – Something to escape the pressures – mask it distract me for an hr. or two


E) Others  It is work – easier to just work –70hrs a week than to deal w/ a marriage that is crumbling -




Crutches have a tendency to keep our focus horizontal

A)See When you are leaning on another person or another thing – your focus is always Side ways – Horizontal instead of Vertical –


Human Crutches paralyze the walk of faith


B)Crutches offer only temporary relief – Like taking a aspirin – mask the pain / tranquilizing people from the experiences & storms of life


C) God doesn’t want to give temporary relief – He wants to give  permanent solution – If we truly seek Him- If we truly surrender all to Him /

  1) If we are consistent & diligent in seeking Him in prayer & thru the word – He will show us / He will speak to us


Duet.33:27 “The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms;


Isa 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

     Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’


So at this point in David’s life it was just He & God

A)Every security he had........ Every prop he leaned on was taken          away

     He must stand alone with God


B) Behind him was comfort, friendship and home / Now David had nothing but God!

1) It is eye opening when you see what else you are leaning on instead of the Lord


C) Me in Oregon – Hard time but it was a Great time – Nothing but me

1)   Satisfaction had to be in God alone – no matter what direction He chose

     to bring me


The Chapter ends w/ these words concerning David -So he arose and departed:

A)David will not return to "normal life" until Saul is dead and David is king.


B)This is a pretty bleak road for David to walk, but it is God’s road for him.

1)   Pretty bleak road but this bleak road is important in David’s life, because if God will put David in a place where people must depend on him,


C) God will teach David to depend upon God alone. Not himself, not Saul, not Jonathan, not anyone except God




This bleak road is important in David’s life, because if David will be safe now and promoted to king later,

A)David must learn to let God be his defense and his promoter.


B) And This bleak road is ….in David’s life, because if David is to be set in a great position of authority, David must learn to submit to God’s authority,


C) That meant even in these difficult times when he didn’t understand what was going on – He had to cling to what He knew to be True of the Lord


QUOTE: Alan Redpath:


                        A throne is God’s purpose for you


                        A cross is God’s path for you


                        Faith is God’s plan for you