David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him. — 1 Samuel 18:14
Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” (1) Throughout his administration, Lincoln was a president under political fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. Though he knew he would make errors while in office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he declared, “I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.” (2)
In our text today, we see how David exhibited his character and integrity before God, King Saul, and the people of Israel. After the slaying of Goliath, Saul became very jealous of David. Everything David did was upright and acceptable. Verse 5 tells us, “He was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.” David did not let his position or successes go to his head.
We know David’s actions were right in the sight of God because the text says, “the Lord was with him.” God led him in battle and he was able to defeat the Philistines in every conflict. Even when King Saul sent David into battle with the hope he would be killed, God provided the victory.
If we have the true love of God down in our hearts, our character and integrity will reflect the indwelling presence of God. As we behave ourselves wisely in all our ways, we can have the confidence that God will be with us.
In our text David had just returned from killing the Philistine giant, Goliath. He was taken before King Saul, who took him into his own house. As a man perhaps as young as eighteen years of age, this must have made a real impression on David. There were probably many temptations that came with living in the King’s palace and having a position of authority in the army, but we read how David behaved himself in spite of these temptations.
David and Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a deep and close friendship. This was based on their mutual trust in God and the fellowship in their souls that resulted from that trust. Both men were warriors who were victorious because they believed God would give Israel the victory. It is possible that Jonathan was as much as ten years older than David. Jonathan’s gift to David was symbolic of the covenant between the two of them.
When David was successful in battle, he received praise from the people of Israel. Although the numbers the women sang about were exaggerated, King Saul became jealous and twice tried to kill David. He even devised a plan to send David into a battle that appeared to be certain defeat and his probable death, but God was with David. We read three times the statement, “David behaved himself wisely” (verses 5, 14, 30). He was prudent.
Saul had not fulfilled his promise to give his daughter in marriage to the warrior who slew Goliath. In this chapter, he demanded a further dowry from David. The requested dowry seemed humanly impossible, but with God’s help, David brought twice the required number.
The intense jealousy King Saul had for David turned to fear, because he knew the Lord was with David and had departed from himself. This combination of jealousy and fear made King Saul perceive David as his enemy. These feelings continued until King Saul finally committed suicide in battle a few years later.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The reign of Saul
B. The decline of King Saul and the rise of David
1. David in the court of Saul
c. The separation of David from Saul
(1) Jonathan’s love for David (18:1-5)
(2) Saul’s jealousy of David (18:6-9)
(3) Saul’s attempts to kill David
(a) His attempt to spear David (18:10-16)
(b) His attempt to have David killed by the Philistines (18:17-30)
 Saul’s aborted promise of Merab (18:17-19)
 Saul’s promise of Michal (18:20-30)
What we do in private is the real indicator of who we are. May God help us to spend quality time with Him privately, so that we may behave ourselves wisely, with character and integrity, when we are in public and living our lives before the watching world.
1. Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln’s Own Stories.
2. Max Lucado, The Inspirational Study Bible.