“And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him.” (I Samuel 18:14, NKJV)

The amazing thing about the Bible is it tells things like they are—the good, the bad, the ugly. It shows us the ugliness of man’s sinful nature, but it also allows us to see the beauty of God’s redemption and a transformed life. We see hatred, pride, selfish ambition, and greed. But we also find examples of humility, servanthood, sacrifice, and integrity. If we are willing, we can learn so much from the contrasts we find in Scripture.

In the Old Testament we read the story of two men. Both had humble beginnings, and both became king, both handpicked by God and anointed by the prophet Samuel. But their stories diverged at that point. It is interesting to observe how differently each man handled his successes and his failures. Meet King Saul, the first king of Israel, and King David, his successor.

We can read their complete stories in I and II Samuel, but let’s briefly look at a few of the contrasts in how each faced life.

Saul wanted to please the people.David wanted to please God.
Saul sought glory, fame, and success.David strived to honor and glorify God.
Saul justified his sin rather than repent.David confessed his sin and repented.
Saul was not a worshiper.David worshiped with his whole heart.

God provided both men with similar opportunities, but because of life choices their outcome was vastly different. God rejected Saul and ended his kingship (I Samuel 13:13-14). God prospered David and gave him an eternal kingship (II Samuel 7:16).

As we consider the lives of Saul and David, perhaps it should prompt us to examine our own focus in life. Are we more concerned with the image we project to others rather than how God sees us? Do we desire personal glory, or do we give God the glory? Are we willing to acknowledge our sins or try to justify our actions? Are we sincere in our worship or is it just a ritual?

Neither Saul nor David was perfect. Nor are we. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Yes, we have all failed God at some point in our lives, but the important question is how did we respond? Like Saul, did we justify our actions or try to shift the blame elsewhere? Or, like David, did we humbly admit to the Lord, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4).

Ask yourself: Am I a Saul or a David?


Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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