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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

I Samuel 17:55, "And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell."
 This morning, our mind is focused on the implications of the knowledge of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Yesterday, we visited the picture of Jesus that is found in David slaying Goliath, and today, we wish to investigate the picture of us seeing that through Saul and Abner. Many today (ourselves sometimes included) see things differently than they really are. Thankfully, our minds, eyes, and perceptions do not define what reality truly is, but when our minds, eyes, and perceptions are aligned with reality, our course becomes much more harmonious. For example, if my eyes missed the fact that there was a drop-off right in front of my feet, I will lose my balance going through the low spot. My perception (or lack thereof) did not change what reality was, but if my eyes had noticed the drop-off, my gait would have experienced more harmony in my steps. What Saul and Abner are doing on this occasion can in no way change what just happened, but they are seeking to know more about what just happened on the field of battle. Goliath is just as dead, and David is as much the victor, but their perception of it needs some attention.
 As we come to the close of this account, a very interesting circumstance occurs. Basically, our verse begins the last portion of this chapter with Saul and Abner trying to figure out who David is. Neither one of them recognize him, and even after David appears before Saul with Goliath's head at the very end of the chapter, Saul still asks him who he is. David quite equably tells him something he already knew but did not know completely. Consider that Saul was already well acquainted with David. In the previous chapter, David is summoned to play the harp for Saul to refresh his spirit. When the evil spirit from the Lord came upon him, David would play the harp, and Saul would end up calm and refreshed. David, in this circumstance, was very close to the king. The king knew his name, his kindred, his hometown, and probably had had some conversation with him. Later, David appears before Saul to fight Goliath. Saul even tries to give David his
 armour, but David puts it from him to go forth to battle.
 So, we see from the context that Saul knew who David was from past experience, and he knew that it was David out there fighting from the circumstance in trying to give him his armour. Therefore, if Saul knew David and knew David was fighting, why the question? Why do Saul and Abner have such a hard time discerning who David is? The failure to recognize David is much the same as the failure to recognize Christ today. Saul knew David as a harp player, shepherd boy, and ruddy faced youth. People today know Christ as a good teacher, moral man, and early-life martyr. Some may even claim to know of Christ's power in battle much like Saul was aware of David's successes over the lion and the bear. However, Saul had never seen or knew anything about this power of David in battle to defeat what seems an unbeatable foe. The hearts of all the camp of Israel melted because of Goliath, but David vanquished him. Not quite the behaviour of someone just a youth, shepherd boy, and harp player. What Saul did not know was that David was all those things he previously understood but so much more.
 Today, it is not wrong to think of Christ as a good teacher and moral man, but He is so much more. He has taken the battle to the foe and returned with His enemy's head. The question is asked in Isaiah 65:1 who it is that cometh from Edom and dyed garments from Bozrah? Who is this One that is travelling in the greatness of his strength and mighty in battle? Who is this noble and mighty one? This mighty one is the very Arm of the Lord that has brought salvation and was upheld by His fury. He trampled on all His enemies and stained all His raiment as one that treadeth in the winefat. Does this mean He is not the gentle teacher, tender shepherd, or loving Master? No, He is all of those things, but we need to also see Him as the victorious one and mighty in battle as well.
 Saul thought he understood David. People today think they understand Christ. But, how did you feel the first time that the finished work of Christ hit home with you? As you understood and tasted just how rich and glorious that grace is, did you recognize Christ? My own experience was much like Saul's on this day. I was taught the Scriptures from a young age, and I cannot remember a time when I did not love the Lord. But, when the clear, bright understanding came of a Saviour's love that finished the work and brought low all the enemies that held me, I saw Christ differently than I did before. No longer were the words on the page special. Now they were SPECIAL! No longer was He just the good teacher and meek, lowly Lamb of God, but He was the very Son of God and Lion of Judah that mightily brought me out with His own arm. He did not lose any of the qualities I previously saw in Him, but His worth was more than my mind had previously held.
 However, when we see Jesus as we should, we see Him crowned with glory and honour. (Hebrews 2:9) We understand that He was, for a time, made a little lower than the angels, but by tasting death for us, we see Him crowned and mighty. What should this sight instill in us? How should this fresh and glorious knowledge drive us? Saul found out that this young lad was indeed the David he knew, but now he knew him better than before. How did Saul react? Shortly after this day, he became jealous of David's glory and became his enemy. Even though Saul's power manifestly decreased and lessened while David's manifestly grew, Saul kicked against the glory of David. People today, I am convinced, have learned better than they are doing about Christ. Some have even admitted that free grace is Biblical but cannot preach it for fear of losing their large congregation. Does any of this short-sightedness change the victory of Jesus? Did any of Saul's oppression
 of David change the fact that he destroyed Goliath? Surely the answer is no on both counts.
 Still, when we focus our eyes on the reality of the situation, the harmony is better. John the Baptist fully understood the true principle, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) That true principle will always stand. Every day, I will decrease, but every day, He increases. May our eyes behold that as we should. It takes a swallowing of pride to see yourself getting worse and smaller with the glory going to another. Yet, that is the reality of the situation. May we see Him who holds the head of our enemy and know that this One is worthy of all that we can give Him. He has done what we could not, and He deserves all that we can do. May our jealousy be cut down at every juncture, and may our steps be ordered to zealously follow after Him. Thank God our enemy is dead, and thank God for delivering us from our captivity. One day, that will be manifest to all, but if we, by faith, have been blessed to see it, may our lives show forth
 that knowledge accordingly.
 In Hope,
 Bro Philip