One of the most riveting stories of Old Testament heroism, in my opinion, is the story of David and Goliath. Everyone loves historical accounts of underdogs winning. The bounty King Saul had placed on Goliath’s head was that he would give the hand of his daughter in marriage to the man that slew the giant. However, that reward was not what drew David into the fray of the battlefield. David’s hearts cry was: “Is there not a cause?”
David confronted Goliath. And won. He came back to Saul with the bloody head of Goliath in his hand. Israel went crazy over David. The women poured into the streets singing: “Saul has killed his thousands; David his tens of thousands!” This infuriated Saul. Instead of heaping praise on David, he began loathing the man that had brought deliverance to Israel.
Scripture repeatedly bears out that Saul feared David. He was jealous of David’s anointing. This is witnessed by Saul’s unsuccessful attempt to pin David to the wall with a javelin. Somehow, David’s victory over the adversary had made him an enemy to his own.
Because of defeating Goliath, David was entitled to the hand of Saul’s daughter in marriage.
And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be though valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him. 1 Samuel 18:17
Saul began seeking every opportunity he could find to rid Israel of David. In his unbalanced state of mind, he chose to use the reward for David’s valor, as a trap for David’s hoped demise. He was going to set David up if you will. Although scripture does not explicitly state this, it is evident that David had no feelings for Merab. When offered the hand of Merab David refused. Regardless of her being the king’s daughter, she wasn’t worth engaging in another battle with the Philistines.
Once again, Saul’s devious plan was thwarted. Sadly, the story is not over.
And Michal Saul's daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him… 1 Samuel 18:17-21
The element missing between David and Merab was evidently present in the relationship between Michal and David. Michal loved David. When the servants told Saul, he was pleased. What David had escaped, with Merab — he was unsuccessful in avoiding with Michal. Why? Because they loved each other.
What David did not realize was that he was not falling in love with Michal — he was falling in love with a snare. Saul viewed Michal’s influence over David as his ability to trap David. Because David loved Michal, he would be willing to place himself at risk, to gain her as a reward. David would fight 100 Philistines for Michal. From Saul’s point of view, Michal’s hand in marriage became the tip of the javelin. She would get David. Why? Because he loved her.
Be Careful What You Love
Saul’s motive was the same behind offering David Merab’s hand, as it was for providing David Michal’s hand. It only worked, because of love. It takes LOVE for a snare to work. It is doubtful you will ever be snared by anything you don’t love. Love has the propensity to fill in the gaps of character, ambition, and danger that otherwise, reason would have us running from.
Relationships are both horizontal and vertical, and must be governed and formed with this in mind. The Ten Commandments bear this out. Four contain vertical implications (to God); six contain horizontal implications (to fellow men). The intersect of all relationships form a cross. If loyalty on a horizontal level demands disloyalty to the vertical, it must be deemed suspect.
At the cross, Jesus formed and abandoned relationships. One thief was assured a future meeting in paradise, based on his response to the cross; because of the other thief’s response to the cross, no relationship with Jesus was ever forged. A good rule of thumb is to run all relationships through the lens of the cross. Calvary reveals what you — and they — genuinely love. As was the case with Christ, not everyone is worthy of relationship investment. Jesus died for both thieves, but He only granted one access to paradise.
Snares are a Potential in all Relationships
Relationships can be forged with more than just fellow mankind. Is it any wonder that John admonishes believers: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15. No further proof is needed that it is possible to fall in love with a system that can snare you.
We live in a society where people struggle in making relationships with humans. Thanks to social media, we are becoming more comfortable with forming digital, virtual relationships than authentic, tangible relationships. It is easy to fall in love with an online profile that cannot be backed up by a face-to-face encounter. Be careful about falling in love, online. Digital relationships are fraught with snares.
Be Leery of Terms that Always Change
As was the case with David and Saul, David was entitled to receive the hand of the king’s daughter in marriage for killing Goliath. However, now that Saul was aware David loved Michal, he changed the terms of the endowment for Michal. It was no longer just the head of Goliath. Now, he wanted proof that David had killed an additional one hundred Philistines.
Saul was certain that David would not be able to do this, without losing his own life in the process. Hence the snare. David came back with double the requirement that Saul had placed on him. Be cautious of any relationship where the conditions are always evolving.
Can I Avoid the Snare?
The answer is yes. David did. The Psalmist wrote about it in Psalm 91:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty… surely, he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler… Psalms 91:1-5
Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth where there is no trap for him… Amos 3:5
The Psalmist lets us know that where you abide has everything to do with whether or not the snare laid for you is successful. Then, Amos reveals that the pitfalls of pursuing relationships can be avoided, based on where you soar. Earthly snares do not entrap birds who are soaring. You can rise above the snare.
There is nothing like being in a “snare-free” relationship. Instead of falling in love with a snare, fall in love with the One who enables you to soar above the potential pitfalls covertly embedded in improper relationships. The most significant relationship to invest in is one with the Almighty. He will protect you from the snares of any dangerous relationship you may otherwise form.