Better Call Saul

or Mr White and the Black Hat

“There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.”
(Proverbs 14:12)

King David committed far worse sins than did King Saul. Saul was not an evil man, yet his judgments caused the deaths of many people, including Jonathan, his other sons and even the priests of God. Why did a reign that began so well end in such tragedy?

David, for all his sins (adultery, murder, trusting in armies), was not disqualified, yet Saul was rejected by God for lesser sins. What was the difference between them? Besides the fact that David owned his sin and Saul blamed everybody else, the difference was that David understood that his rule as a king over God’s Covenant people would only ever be on God’s terms. He could never be a king like those of the Gentiles.

Although his power was sourced in Israel’s priesthood, David was to embody the Covenant in a greater way than the priesthood. He was to be “Pentecostal” in the sense that he was to be not only under the Law, he was to embody, open and expound upon the Law for his people. He was to be the Law of Moses incarnate, and from David’s anointing by Samuel we see his soul broken as a priestly sacrifice, exalted in kingly fire, and finally taking on a prophetic nature. The fundamental point here is that the Law was a light to David’s path. He saw the future through God’s eyes, which means he could see a lot further ahead, by faith. He had a wisdom beyond his years.

“I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.” (Psalms 119:100)

Saul’s victories led to a misguided belief in his own divinity, which is possibly why he honoured Agag by sparing his life. As kings, they had something in common. They trusted their own judgment. Saul’s “Pentecost” became instead the ministry of an evil spirit, and the anointing of David by the Holy Spirit. Saul was a wily warrior king, but his was not the serpentine wisdom that is harmless as a dove. His judgments were based on the pragmatism of the flesh, which can only see so far. Guided by his own wisdom, rather than becoming a “Covenant shelter” for his people, Saul’s manipulation of and meddling in the Covenant processes of God put at risk those in his care. Like Walter White, those for whom he fought were the very ones he put at risk, alienated, grievously harmed and eventually lost.

David’s various sins still brought tragic consequences, but when challenged he crossed the courtroom floor to stand with God against himself and received mercy. He listened to God. Saul refused to listen, and when God stopped speaking to him he sought guidance through witchcraft. God simply repeated, through Samuel, what He had said before. The voice of Samuel was “deuteronomic” but not in a good sense. It was a legal witness against Saul from the courts of God and would end his tyranny. Saul’s own blood atoned for his kingly sins. Obedience (prevention) would have been better than sacrifice (cure).

In hindsight, Saul’s unwillingness to be a living sacrifice and place himself in the hands of a faithful, just and merciful God, is easy for us to condemn. But in so many ways this is exactly how we live our lives. Saul loved the gifts of God more than God Himself, which is an incredibly subtle form of idolatry when it is the good things that we love. If we attempt to preserve the mind of the flesh (false Altar), we will then turn to a false spirit (false Lampstand) and the spirit of prophecy, the legal witness, will not be for us but against us. The outcome of our “Covenant” missions will be plagues instead of plunder.

This Saul versus David, first Adam versus last Adam pattern was replayed in the first century. Saul’s sins were lesser than those of David, but we must remember that the anointing of David is what put the brakes on Saul’s reign. It was the Ascension of Christ and the Day of Pentecost which empowered those Jews and Gentiles who were “after God’s heart.” But the events of Pentecost also “enlightened the eyes” of many who saw Jesus for who He is and yet rejected Him, blaspheming His Spirit. From that day on, the Rabbinic Judaism of the rulers of Jerusalem, with its pragmatic compromises and manipulation of the priesthood and Temple, became entirely demonic. The persecution of the saints by the Jewish leaders was inspired by the same jealousy that filled Saul. As Saul employed Doeg the Edomite to slay the priests who had fed the Showbread to David and his followers, so the Edomite Herods slew Christ and then set about wiping out the New Covenant priesthood.

The Herodian “voice of God” which they listened to (Acts 12:22) was Covenantal sorcery, and it was the prophetic witness of the apostles which condemned them to the great Day of Coverings. Unwittingly, the Herods had offered Christ as the Head of the sacrifice and His Church as the Body, making their own Temple redundant. Like Saul and his sons, Jews attempting to escape the Roman armies were “lifted up” for the birds and the beasts in mass crucifixions. Like David, Christ became a Covenant shelter and an eternal table for the remaining sons of Saul. [1]

The Jewish compromise was born of earthly pragmatism, a short-sighted wisdom. They sat in the seat of Moses but they trusted in their own wisdom. Their “Pentecostal” Lampstand eyes were filled with darkness. God’s ways are not our ways, and they are most often veiled to us, but we can trust Him, and walk in His ways, in the knowledge that He knows the end, and our end will not be the end of Saul.

[1] Walter White has a crippled son. And his lawyer’s name is Saul Goodman.

See also Spiritual Power.

Share Button

Comments are closed.