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1 Samuel 17:34-37 Lion and Bear

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 15, 2016


1 Samuel 17:34-37 Lion and Bear

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NLTse (34) But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, (35) I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. (36) I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! (37) The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!”

I had a feeling this story about David had something to do with Jesus, but I had no idea how to put together a study. For one thing, I couldn’t think of a way to locate parallel texts in the New Testament. Looking at words repeated in the texts, it became obvious David was comparing the lions and bears he fought in the field to the Philistine. I knew the word lion is used in the New Testament, but where bear is used didn’t fit the same context. I found one verse in the New Testament that fit the context of 1 Samuel 17:34-37.

1 Peter 5:7-9 NLTse Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (8) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (9) Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Its easy to identify the lion as our great enemy, the devil. All you need to do is search the word lion in a Concordance or a computer Bible program to find corresponding New Testament texts. But there are a number of texts to choose from. How do you know which is correct? By looking at the context. Does the reference texts have the same theme as the subject texts? Compare the main theme.

1 Samuel 17:34-37

I have been taking care of my father’s sheep

The LORD who rescued me

rescue the lamb from its mouth

will rescue me from this Philistine!

Notice how the main theme is established by repeated words and phrases with the same concept? Supporting texts MUST convey the same thought.

1 Peter 5:7-9

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Notice how the word, “care,” forms a relationship between the two verses. There is also a speculative connection. 1 Peter 5:9 mentions the word faith, which is also the underlying theme of 1 Samuel 17:34-37. David is conveying his faith to king Saul. David is not asking Saul to trust in him, but God.

Once a relationship is formed between the Old Testament prophecy and the New Testament fulfillment, other related texts sharing the same theme can be located. Supporting texts should include supporting words in addition to the key word, in this case, “lion,” to ensure all the texts are related. David also used lions as a spiritual symbol.

Psalms 10:1-11 NLTse O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble? (2) The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor. Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others. (3) For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the LORD. (4) The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. (5) Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies. (6) They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!” (7) Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. (8) They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people. They are always searching for helpless victims. (9) Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. (10) Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. (11) The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us! He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”

You may be asking why additional texts are required. The answer is obvious. To provide additional information. A lion is a symbol representing Satan and his followers. First of all, we see Psalms 10:1-11 is connected to the subject texts by the words, “lion,” and, “mouth.” In this example, lions and mouths are used as a spiritual symbols. A new word is repeated, “helpless.” This helps to identify the condition of people spiritual lions, wicked people, attack. It’s important to know how helpless we are against these people. In essence, the Bible is turning us back to God for protection. This follows the theme in 1 Samuel 17:34-37. Other proof texts emphasize this concept of worship.

Psalms 17:9-13 NLTse Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. (10) They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! (11) They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. (12) They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart– like young lions hiding in ambush. (13) Arise, O LORD! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!

Psalms 17:9-13 also shares a series of key words with 1 Samuel 17:34-37. We also see how Psalms 17:9-13 builds upon Psalms 10:1-11 by sharing the word, “wicked.” Each proof texts builds upon the other by adding more detail. Some are warnings, other texts remind us about the support God offers. One feature is missing, a clear connection to Jesus. How does 1 Samuel 17:34-37 relate to Jesus and His ministry?

Psalms 22:13-18 NLTse Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. (14) My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. (15) My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. (16) My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. (17) I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. (18) They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.

Psalms 91:11-13 NLTse For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. (12) They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. (13) You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

Psalms 22:13-18 and 91:11-13 are clearly prophecies pointing to Jesus. Psalms 22 points to Jesus on the cross. The lions point to religious leaders who put Jesus on the cross. They followed Jesus for years trying to find something to use against Him. Why did they follow Jesus to spy on His ministry? It seems the world was filled with false Messiahs at the time. One after another popped up and faded away. Some organized military uprisings. Others made predictions which failed to evolve. After a while they faded away. There was no reason for the religious leaders to give any of those false Messiahs the attention Jesus had to put up with. So what did Jesus do to attract all that extra attention? Its simple, Jesus healed a leper. When Jesus healed him, He told the leper, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (Mark 1:44 NLTse). Most people miss the lesson in Mark. Following a simple Bible study rule, we look at the introduction to find the theme of the chapter. “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way.'” (Mark 1:1-2 NLTse). The entire chapter tells about the messengers God sent to announce Jesus’ ministry. Its amazing how scripture is opened up when read within the context it’s written.

Why did a leper lead the priests to impose such a unprecedented resistance to Jesus’ ministry? After all, isn’t a leper on lowest wrung of the social ladder? The fact is, the priests never saw a leper healed. They only account of a leper being healed is recorded in scripture when God healed Miriam and Naaman was healed by following Elisha’s direction. The priests could have looked at those scriptures two ways. God was the only one to heal a leper, or a prophet received the power from God. Either way, once it was verified the man was a leper, the priests were faced with a decision.

Put yourself in their place. What would you do if someone appeared, claiming to be the the Messiah? They heard the story before, but this one was different. He healed a leper, and sent the leper to the temple to offer a sacrifice. The answers were limited. Of course all the leading priests were called together to debate the situation and plan the best course of action. A man comes out of nowhere. They knew little about what the man was preaching. He had a connection with another strange man calling himself John the Baptist, who already established a strong following. John had two messages. He claimed to be the one chosen to announce the Messiah and his preaching centered on exposing the priest’s preaching as corrupt. Some priests suggested Jesus is attempting to claim He is a prophet. Healing a leper should confirm His claim, but other priests insist if God sent a prophet, He would send him the the leading priests. Some of the priests insisted Jesus was another in the long line of people claiming to be the Messiah. Once again the priests insist the Messiah would come to them. They thought the Messiah had to work through God’s established church. Since Jesus made no attempt to work through the priests, in their minds there was no chance He could be a prophet or Messiah.

Something bothered the priests about the leper. The first problem they had to solve was figure out what ceremony to preform. The priests had no choice but to look at scripture for the answer. Once they found out the ceremony for the leper is the same as anointing a priest, there was no way they could bring themselves to conduct a public ceremony. The priests were afraid the people might get the wrong idea. How could God place a leper on the same level as a priest? After a long debate the priests decided gathering more information was the only course to follow. They sent out spies to gather information as well as plant seeds to lead the government to believe they couldn’t trust John or Jesus.

At first glance the priests thought they would quickly put an end to Jesus’ ministry. A few well worded sermons would take care of most people. It shouldn’t take long to gather a list of mistakes Jesus made to expose Him as a fraud. The priests left their meeting confident their well laid plans would result in an acceptable solution within a few weeks. But as days and weeks passed, Jesus’ following grew. It didn’t take long for the priests to see they had underestimated their opponent. Jesus didn’t stop at healing a leper. Reports of Jesus healing all kinds of diseases and casting out demons were being circulated all over the region. Jesus’ ministry was growing like wildfire. There seemed little the priests could do but sit and watch. Unless, they could expose Jesus as a fraud.

The priests had no choice but to take matters into their own hands. They had no choice but to go out and listen to Jesus preach themselves. Everyone they sent failed. Some went as far as crossing over to their enemy. Leading priests put in long hard hours following Jesus, listening to Him, and questioning Him. No matter what they tried, Jesus always had a way of turning their words against them. The priests had to create a new plan. It was soon evident, the only way to deal with Jesus was to kill Him. Secret meetings were held to plan the best course. The longer it took, the more control the priests lost. Privacy was not an option. The priests had to recruit anyone who could help them.

Eventually the priests received a break. One of Jesus’ disciples sold Him out. It cost the priests more than they cared to spend, but they had no choice. Now that they found out where to arrest Jesus in the still of the night, avoiding crowds, they had one chance to make their plan work. Every detail of the trial had to be planned. Long hours went into planning and rehearsals. At last the moment had come.

Jesus’ trial was a mockery. Not much different than His experience at the hands of Rome’s guards. The high priest showed up, intentionally neglecting to wear Israel’s breastplate of judgment. The show piece didn’t fit into his plans as he cut a small slit in the collar of the triple hem sown around the heck opening on the ephod he wore. Strange he cut so close to the neck while neglecting to wear God’s symbol covering his heart. Some of the priests noticed the preparation put into the trial and thought it was strange.

Once they convinced Pilate to crucify Jesus, they followed Him to Golgotha, gathering close to the cross to see their nemesis suffer as they shouted challenges and insults. Like lions they stalked their prey. The site and smell of blood drove them mad.

Like David, Jesus fought and defeated His own lions before He was crowned King. God’s first chosen son, the Levites failed to successfully represent the Messiah. Instead they rejected and crucified Him. It took thousands of years, but God’s plan of salvation was back on track. You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10 NLTse).

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