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Against All Odds (David and Michal) 

David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

1 Samuel 18:27-29

READ 1 Samuel 18:20-29.

Not all weddings start with kissy faces or long walks near the seashore. That definitely wasn’t the case for David and Michal. He was the shepherd boy fresh off the battlefield after slaying the giant Goliath. She was the king's daughter, pledged to be married to another man, but madly in love with David. King Saul’s jealousy of David’s growing popularity increased, and that anger prompted him to offer his daughter in marriage. What kind of love story was this?!! 

It’s a crazy way to kick off an engagement, but in Saul’s eyes, the marriage would never occur. Tradition demanded that David present a sizable dowry to the king for his daughter’s hand in marriage, but David’s parents had no such resources. After trying to kill David twice, King Saul knew the third time would be the charm. He set David up, not to fail, but to be killed. The king devised a plan in which he would waive the dowry and present his baby girl in marriage if David could present him with 100 Philistine foreskins.

What was David to do? Face the Philistines and against all odds attempt to marry the woman of his dreams? Or was he left to leave his love in an attempt to save his life? The end of this chapter says David got up, grabbed his troops, killed not 100 but 200 men, and presented the king with his request. It sounds crazy. It was crazy. But notice what the Bible says in the next verse. Saul knew that the Lord was with David. In the face of adversity, when forced to choose between logic and love, David understood that the favor of God was on him. The wedding went forth because David took the challenge. 

Thought Questions

  • What challenges are you hesitant to pursue because they seem impossible? How can you garner the energy to pursue your goals at all costs? Is it worth it?
  • David’s marriage to Michal does not go so well (2 Samuel 6:16-23). Is it possible that initially, she only loved him because he was popular? How do you tell the difference between love and lust?

Life Lessons

  • The best things in life rarely come easily. It is meant to be that way. The harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it.
  • Passion has its place. It provides the energy to go extra-lengths to pursue a worthwhile goal just like when David went and acquired double the foreskins needed to win Michal. However, passion uncontrolled and untamed is dangerous - it requires self-awareness and healthy boundaries.

Further Study

Read 1 John 2:16. The classic song lyrics state that there is “a thin line between love and hate.” The later part of David and Michal’s marriage suggests that their initial connection may have been a farce. The Bible is clear that lust is not of God. Discuss with your spouse ways to be selfless, content, and control unwarranted passion.