Free Resource- A story about self-control: David vs. Saul

The following is a couple of Bible stories re-told in vernacular language. In case you are about to send me a letter telling me how I am going to hell for changing the Bible, please don’t. Many stories can be read straight out of the Bible and I often do just that. In this case the stories are coalesced to cover a theme of SELF CONTROL.

So consider this a free resource to use as a primer with your children, youth group, grandchildren or any other situation where you would like to discuss self-control. The story ends with a cliff hanger in hopes that the group will read the Bible for themselves or set you up for the next story time!

TIP #1- I always incorporate the clear gospel message of Jesus Christ and leave you to seek the Spirit on how to do that here.

TIP # 2- Prepare some discussion questions appropriate to the group to whom you are speaking.

TIP # 3- Read this several times (out loud) before presenting this to your group. Be dramatic in your reading! A good friend once told me that it is a sin to make the Bible boring!


A little over 1,000 years before Jesus came to earth, God gave Israel their first king. His name was Saul. He was tall, handsome, strong and skilled in battle. The people loved Saul. But as Saul became powerful he began to disobey the commands of the Lord. He became more concerned with pleasing the people.  So God sent a prophet to tell Saul that “The Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” (1 Sam 15:26)

The Lord then sent the same prophet to anoint a young shepherd boy named David to be the next king.  So Saul was in a very odd situation. He was still the legal king but he knew that he did not have the Lord’s blessing any longer. Saul knew that David now had the blessings of the Lord.

PAUSE- What would you do if you were Saul?

Soon David came to fight for Saul in his Army and became a hero when he saved Israel by killing the giant, Goliath. After that David fought many battles and became even more successful than Saul ever was and the people loved David. Saul was proud to have a strong warrior in his army. David eventually became best friends with Saul’s son. David was welcomed in to the King’s family and served in the palace.

As time went on, David became more and more victorious in battle. One day, David was returning from battle and all the people were singing and celebrating. The women were dancing in the streets and Saul heard them singing this song “Saul killed his thousands and David killed his ten thousands!” So, Saul began to pout. He realized the people were saying that David was 10 time more successful than he ever was. The people loved David 10 times more than they loved him. Saul became very jealous of David. Quietly his anger began to grow.

Eventually Saul became so angry that he tried to kill David many times. Saul tried to run him through with a spear three different times and each time David escaped. Saul sent David into impossible battles, but David always won the battle…which made him even more famous! In spite of the attempts on his life David continued to serve Saul loyally.

Soon the jealousy made Saul lose his mind. The tension between Saul and David become so high that David had to flee for his life. He escaped into the wilderness to hide from Saul. Saul was so crazy about wanting to kill David at this point that instead of running his kingdom he gathered an army of 3,000 highly trained soldiers and went to hunt David down. David had done nothing but obey Saul as his King and serve him well. He did not understand why Saul was trying to kill him. A few hundred men who were unhappy with Saul went to join David in the wilderness.

Saul and his highly trained army were marching through the wilderness trying to find David. The land was very hot and rocky. They came across a cave and Saul and his tired men went in to rest and get some shade. While they were in there, Saul went to the back of the cave to use the bathroom.

What Saul did not know is that David and his men were hiding in the back of this very cave. They silently watched as Saul half undressed himself and squatted down to do his thing. Under the cover of the noise of Saul’s army, David’s men whispered “David, now is your chance. The Lord has delivered your enemy into your hand! Do to him as you see fit.” (1 Samuel 24:4)

PAUSE- What would you do if you were David?

Well, David thought about this. Then he quietly crawled to where Saul had left his clothes and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Then he snuck back to his hiding place.  David’s men were ready to attack Saul. But David told them that he would not allow them to attack the King of Israel.  And Saul got up, got dressed, left the cave and went on his way unharmed.

David let Saul and his men march away a short distance. Then David ran out of the cave and yelled “Saul!”

Saul spun around and saw David. David bowed down to honor Saul as the King. Then he shouted to Saul “Why are you hunting me, my King? Why are you trying to kill me? What have I done to you? Look at your robe. Is there not a corner of it cut off? See what I have here in my hand! If I wanted to kill you I would have done so in the cave!”

Saul cried out “You are more righteous than I am! You had the chance to kill me, but you did not! You will make a great king!” And Saul took his men and marched home.


David stayed out in the wilderness with his small group of men. Every now and then David’s band of men was sighted and one tribe came to Saul and told him where David was hiding. Saul was still not in his right mind and full of jealousy. So, he gathered up his Special Operations Army of 3,000 soldiers and went hunting David again. (1 Samuel 26:2)

David’s men heard that Saul was looking for them again. So, David sent out spies who reported to David that yes, Saul was camped on a hill near the road. David waited until nighttime and he and a few of his men snuck up on the King’s sleeping army. From across the road David could see that Saul was asleep next to his Army Commander with the whole army of 3,000 deadly soldiers sleeping around them.

David turned and asked his men “Who will go with me down into the camp to Saul?”

The men all knew that going on this mission was a death wish.

One man named Abishai whispered “I will go down with you.”

So David and Abishai very slowly and very quietly snuck their way down the hill and across the road. Trying to control their breathing, they silently tiptoed their way between the sleeping soldiers until they were standing at the head of Saul and his Commander. There stuck in the dirt next to Saul ‘s sleeping head was his battle spear…

And if you want to know what happens you can read 1 Samuel Ch 26!