The Flesh Seeks to Kill the Beloved Son



“And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David.” – 1 Samuel 19:1

Saul means asked for. He  is the king that Israel asked for when they rejected God as their king. From Adam and Eve on, man has sought to be, or asked for, his own king. Man wants to rule himself instead of submitting to the rule of God.

Jonathan means Yahweh has given or the Lord is giving. Jonathan is a picture of those who know that the Lord gives a king better than the one we asked for.

David means beloved. David is a picture of Jesus, the beloved son of God.

Saul seeks to kill David. Jonathan delights much in David.

This is an issue of control. Do we want to be in control of ourselves, living in the flesh? Or, do we want to yield ourselves to the Spirit to be “controlled” by him?


In 1 Samuel 16, David was anointed by Samuel to be king. According to 1 Samuel 16:13, “And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” Think of this as the baptism of Jesus when the Spirit descended from heaven and remained on him (John 1:32).

In 1 Samuel 16 after the Spirit rushed upon David and remained, the very next verse says, “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.” While Saul was tormented by an evil spirit, I wrote in Does God Work Against Himself? that this evil spirit was not from God.

Even though David had been anointed king, he came into the service of Saul, who was still in the office of king. David soothed Saul’s tormented spirit. Saul was refreshed and well. And, “Saul loved him greatly.” In 1 Samuel 16:22, Saul said, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.”

When Jesus serves us, soothes us, heals us, then we say that he has found favor in our sight. When our flesh is soothed, calmed, and healed by Jesus it is willing to give honor to Jesus.


Saul had no problem with David when he soothed his tormented spirit. But, things changed after David defeated Goliath, Israel’s feared enemy. After David defeated the Philistine, the women of Israel sang, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and Davis his ten thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7)

1 Samuel 18:8-9 says, “And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?’ And Saul eyed David from that day on.”

Saul is jealous of the praise heaped upon David for slaying Goliath. Saul is in the flesh. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:2-3, “And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”

Further, Saul perceived that the next step was for David to have the kingdom. This angered Saul. From this moment on, Saul eyed David.

The Hebrew word for eyed is awon. It means to twist, to do wrong, to be bent, irritated or confused. Saul was not simply watching David. Rather, Saul began to twist everything David did into a plan to take the kingdom from him. Saul began to take the good David was doing and see it as doing wrong.

So, when the harmful spirit came back upon Saul the next, David played the lyre to soothe Saul as before. But, this time Saul’s tormented spirit was not soothed. Instead Saul took his spear and hurled it at David in an attempt to kill him. It was when Saul twisted what David was going, believing that he was going to take the kingdom from him, that Saul sought to kill David.

Our flesh is fine with Jesus when he soothes. But, when our flesh twists Jesus’ healing into an attempt to rip our self rule out of our hands, then our flesh seeks to kill him. It’s at this moment that our flesh works against Jesus.


Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

David freed Saul from the spirit that tormented. But, instead of using this freedom to love David, Saul used this freedom as opportunity for his flesh to seek control of the kingdom even though David had been anointed king.

Galatians 5:16-17 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.”

To walk by the Spirit is to permit the Spirit to rule you or control you. But, this puts the flesh against the Spirit. The flesh fights against the Spirit because it knows it must be crucified if we are going to walk by the Spirit.

So, the flesh seeks to kill the life of Jesus in us, the Spirit, so that it can remain in control.

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