This text we are about to look at describes Yeshua's final trip into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. This story appears in all four Gospels and is traditionally called the "Triumphal Entry. " Triumphal means: "a celebration of a great victory or achievement." So I think this story would more accurately be called the "Tragic Entry," because the people did not know who Yeshua was, they wanted a warrior Messiah, and when they realized that wasn't what Yeshua was, their shouts went from "Hosanna!" to "Crucify Him!" in just a couple of days. As Yeshua enters the city He weeps over Jerusalem because they did not recognize their Messiah and would therefore be judged by Him in AD 70. So this entry into Jerusalem is not triumphal, but tragic.
This story appears in all four Gospels. Lazarus' account is shorter than those of the Synoptic Gospels. Many things are left out that are found in the other accounts. Each of the writers has his own purpose and that accounts for the differences often that exist between them. Lazarus' account seems very much motivated by theological purposes.
Matthew and Mark placed Christ's entry into Jerusalem before Mary's anointing of Yeshua in Simon's house. However, Lazarus' order is probably the chronological one, in view of his time references, plus the fact that Matthew and Mark frequently altered the chronological sequence for thematic purposes.
Let's review the context here. Lazarus has been resurrected to life by Yeshua after he had been in the grave four days. Then because the Jewish leadership want to kill Him Yeshua and His disciples leave and go to the region near the wilderness. Chapter 12 tells us that six days before Passover Yeshua returns to Bethany. There was a supper made for Him there in the home of a leper that He had healed by the name of Simon. Simon's family, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, plus all the disciples who were traveling with Him were at this supper. They were there to celebrate the Lord who had raised Lazarus from the dead. During this supper Mary in an extravagant expression of her love for her Savior, brakes an alabaster jar of pure nard valued at a years wages and poured it all over Yeshua. In the most lavish act of worship that Mary could imagine, she took this valuable treasure and expended all of it upon Christ.
As we come to our text for today we see a shift in the ministry of Yeshua. Up to this point Yeshua has mostly kept veiled His identity as Messiah. Scholars call this the Messianic secret. And by that they refer to the fact that the Lord cautioned His disciples, as strange as that seems, not to tell that He was the Messiah after He performed some mighty work. We see instances of that, for example, when a demon proclaimed Him to be the Holy One of God, He told him to be quiet (Mark 1:24-25). When He healed people, Yeshua commanded them not to tell anyone (Mark 1:44; 7:36). Even when He raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, He gave strict orders that no one should know about it (Mark 5:43)! When Peter made his great confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," the Lord warned them not to say anything about it. On the Mount of Transfiguration after Yeshua glowed in their presence, He later told them, Don't tell anybody about it.
This seems strange. You would think that since He came to present Himself as a Messianic King that when He performed a miracle that demonstrated that He had come from God, and was more than human that He would say, "Now go out and tell everybody about this," but He didn't, He said keep quiet about it. The reason for that I think is because their concept of the Messianic King was wrong. They thought of a king as simply a great political figure who would bring them deliverance from the Romans, and their kingdom would thus become a kingdom as it was in the days of David or Solomon.
In our text for this morning things change, here Yeshua presents Himself as the Messianic King. From our study of the Fourth Gospel to this point, you probably remember the expression that we've seen more than once, "My hour has not yet come." We see this in:
And Yeshua said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." John 2:4 ESV
We see it again in:
So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. John 7:30 ESV
And then again in:
These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. John 8:20 ESV
Well things change here because now his hour had come. And this is the last week of His ministry so He clearly demonstrates that He is the promised Messianic King.
And Yeshua answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. John 12:23 ESV
From the resurrection of Lazarus on Yeshua deliberately provoked the Jewish leaders. They wanted to kill Him, but not at the Passover, lest there be a riot among the people (Matt. 26:3-5). But for Scripture to be fulfilled, Yeshua needed to die as the Passover lamb for His people on Passover the 14th of Nisan. And that is exactly what happened.
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Yeshua was coming to Jerusalem. John 12:12 ESV
"The next day"—I believe that this is the 10th of Nisan. Now last week I said that the dinner for Yeshua was taking place on the 8th of Nisan. But after a little more research, I believe the dinner took place on the 9th and "the next day" is now the 10th of Nisan.
This "large crowd" had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. This would no doubt include many pilgrims from Galilee, where Yeshua had His greatest following. They hear that Yeshua is coming to the Feast so they head out to meet Him.
Josephus describes one Passover, just before the Jewish War (ad 66-70), when 2,700,000 people took part, not counting the defiled and the foreigners who were present in the city [Bel. vi. 422-425]. Jeremias says that the estimates of the size of the Passover crowd range from 180,000 on the low end to 3 million on the upper end (Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Yeshua, 77-84). Even if his numbers are inflated, the crowds were undoubtedly immense especially when the normal Jerusalem population was 25,000.
To understand how jam-packed Jerusalem would have been during this Passover period, we could compare it to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. If you have ever been there you can get a little idea of what it was like. People were everywhere!
The pilgrims from Jerusalem, having heard of this remarkable miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus and having heard that He who performed it is nearby, go out from the city to meet Him. Let's go see this Rabbi who raised the dead.
We need to understand that Passover celebrated a time of deliverance, so the atmosphere was white-hot with expectation. It would be hard for us to grasp the mood of many at that moment in history. Messianic expectations were running high in Israel as people longed for deliverance from Roman rule. So in the midst of the expectancy, in the midst of the excitement, Yeshua was a likely candidate. Everyone was talking about this new teacher from Galilee who had been performing some incredible miracles. Could He be the rescuer that God had promised their nation? Could this be the time when the revolt would begin and the Roman forces be evicted?
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" John 12:13 ESV
"So they took branches of palm trees"—this is the only Gospel to mention the palm branches. This is where the Church gets the idea of Palm Sunday.
Palm branches were used each time the Hallel Psalms [113-118] were sung. These psalms were traditionally sung during the Feasts of Tabernacles, Chanukah (Hanukkah), and Passover. The waving of date "palm" fronds (i.e., "branches") had become a common practice at national celebrations in Israel such as the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40). Palm branches were waved when a previous Jewish fighter, Simon the Maccabee, had driven out occupying Syrian forces. In other words, palm fronds had become a symbol of nationalistic hope:
On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred and seventy-first year, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments, and with hymns and songs, because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. 1 Maccabees 13:51 RSVA
Intertestamental literature connected the waving of palm branches with the coming of the Messiah. Palm branches appear on the coins that the Jewish nationalists produced during the war with the Romans in A.D. 66-70. So in our text in John the people's use of palm fronds probably signaled the popular belief that Israel's Messiah had appeared.
"Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"—in times like this I miss the NASB (In case you didn't notice I have been using the ESV).
took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel." John 12:13 NASB
The NASB puts quotes from the Tanakh in all caps. They messed up a little here because Hosanna should also be in all caps. This is a quotation from Psalms 118:25-26. You may remember that Psalm 118 is a passage that was sung on the Feast of Tabernacles and is considered to be a Messianic Psalm. The Jews understood this Psalm to refer to the coming Messiah who would rescue His people. So this crowd that we see in our text is identifying Yeshua as the conquering hero they had been looking for over the years. And just so we don't miss the point, they added, "Even the King of Israel!",which is not in the text of Psalm 118, but a clear indication that they regarded the one "who comes in the name of the Lord" as the king who would deliver his people.
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. Psalms 118:25-26 ESV
Do you see the word Hosanna in these verses? "Save us, we pray" are from the Hebrew yasha, which means: "save us" and the word ana, which means: "we pray. " Unlike its use in many choruses in today's churches, "Hosanna" is not an expression of praise, but of prayer, supplication, pleading, and almost desperation. "Hosanna" is the transliteration of a Hebrew phrase yasha ana, which literally means: "save us now."
So, as Yeshua was riding along the road, the crowds were shouting, "Save us! Save us now!" Save them from what? Well, from Roman oppression. Now, Yeshua, indeed, had salvation to offer, but a far different kind of salvation than the Jews expected. His salvation would run much deeper than that.
How do we know that these verses in Psalm 118 are talking about Yeshua? Like any quotation from the Tanakh the entire context must be borne in mind if the full force of the words are to be recognized.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Psalms 118:22 ESV
Who is this talking about? Yeshua. How do we know? Peter tells us:
This Yeshua is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. Acts 4:11 ESV
So Peter tells us that Yeshua is the stone. Then he adds to the original text, "By you" referring to Israel's religious leaders. Who should have known a good stone when they saw one? The builders! They look at this Galilean Rabbi, and they think that He is merely in the way. A stone to be rejected and cast aside. What they cannot realize is that this stone is to become the foundation stone for God's covenant people.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. Psalms 118:26 ESV
"In the name of the Lord"—means in the character of, in the person of Yahweh. Yeshua comes as a representation of the divine name—as "I am" or Yahweh. This is exactly what Yeshua has been claiming. He was the sent One! He represented Yahweh:
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 6:38 ESV
In chapter 6 alone He says it eight times, "I have come down from heaven."
Look at the next verse in the Psalm:
The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! Psalms 118:27 ESV
This is what Yeshua declared Himself to be at the Feast of Tabernacles, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Psalms 118:28 ESV
It is not likely that Lazarus failed to appreciate the meaning of the crowd meeting Yeshua with the words of a prayer that the Tanakh addressed to Yahweh.
So Yeshua is headed to Jerusalem and thousands of people come yelling, "Save us now, blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahweh." The disciples must have been stunned by this welcome. They are very aware of the opposition to Yeshua, and of the dangers which face them in Jerusalem (John 11:7-8). They didn't want to go there when Lazarus died because they feared for their lives. What a shock it must be to see what appears to be the entire city of Jerusalem welcoming Yeshua with open arms.
And Yeshua found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" John 12:14-15 ESV
The Synoptic writers gave more detail than John about Yeshua securing the young donkey.
saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." Matthew 21:2-3 ESV
Mark adds, "You will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat." The word translated "colt" is Greek polos, which means: "the young of any animal"- from an elephant to a locust. Here it is referring to the "colt" or "foal" of a donkey. Mark does not mention that it was a donkey.
Donkeyology: The donkey was domesticated in Mesopotamia by the Third Millennium B.C. and was used as a beast of burden from the patriarchal period. It was renowned for its strength and was the animal normally ridden by nonmilitary personnel (Numbers 22:21; Judges 10:4; 1 Samuel 25:20). The Scripture indicates that riding a donkey is not at all beneath the dignity of Israel's noblemen and kings (2 Samuel 18:9; 19:26). David indicates his choice of Solomon to be king by decreeing that the young man should ride on the king's own mule:
And the king said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. 1 Kings 1:33 ESV
Yeshua's entry into Jerusalem was a reenactment of King Solomon's triumphant ride into the city of Jerusalem (1 Kings 1:28-40) and ironically illustrated His role as both the promised Davidic King and the sacrificial Lamb.
Why did Yeshua want the colt of a donkey? This is not a case where Yeshua suddenly got tired and said that He was too tired to walk the rest of the way, so they would have to go get Him a donkey to ride on. Throughout the ministry of Yeshua, He always walked. To my knowledge, this is the first time Yeshua is said to have ridden an animal. The purpose for riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was to fulfill prophecy, and thereby, to proclaim His identity as Messiah. "And Yeshua found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written"—Matthew puts it this way:
This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, Matthew 21:4 ESV
So what's happening here is very intentional; it's very calculated. Yeshua is riding the foal of a donkey to fulfil the prophecy of:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 ESV
Zechariah is one of the three post-exile prophets (he wrote after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the return 70 years later of the people from the Babylonian captivity in the late 6th century BC).
Our text in John says, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"—the opening words, "Fear not," are not found in the Hebrew nor in any version of Zechariah 9:9, and replace 'Rejoice greatly.' It is thought that they are drawn from Isaiah 40:9, where they are addressed to the one who brings good tidings to Zion. It is not uncommon for New Testament quotations from the Tanakh to derive from two or more passages.
"Daughter of Zion" is used as a synonym for Jerusalem and its people. The people had returned from exile to Jerusalem, but their heads were hanging low because all that had taken place. The prophet sets their minds on God's promise of deliverance. It would not come with the might of Nebuchadnezzar or Alexander the Great, but in gentleness and humility. Think about the conquering kings of history. Who among them were gentle and so humble as to ride on a donkey's colt in solemn procession? Christ's Kingdom is not of this world with all of its pride and vainglory.
The Rabbis had a real problem with this verse. They saw the single advent of the Messiah as an advent of triumph and victory. How would it be that the King would enter Jerusalem in such a lowly manner. Eventually, the Rabbis reconciled this by stating in the Babylonian Talmud: "If Israel was worthy, the Messiah would come on the clouds of heaven, if they were not worthy, lowly and riding upon an ass." How is that for prophetic? They certainly were not worthy, but forty years later Messiah did come on the clouds of judgment to destroy Jerusalem.
Is the King only coming for the "daughter of Zion," Israel? Listen to the next verse in Zechariah:
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:10 ESV
The Old Covenant context makes it clear that this King came with a different focus than the 43 kings of Israel and Judah. They came to rule over particular geographical realms that were limited by the spoils of war. Christ came to bring peace to the Gentiles, and His dominion is from sea to sea. The next section of chapter 12 (verses 20-26) deals with the coming of the Gentiles!
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Zechariah 9:11 ESV
Here the blood of the covenant suggests the blood of the new covenant. And the prisoners are set free from a waterless pit—just as Yeshua offers the "living water" of the Spirit which flows freely from Himself (7:38-39).
From comparing the Gospels we learn that two chosen disciples entered a small settlement not far from Bethany. As they entered they would see a colt of a donkey tethered outside a home. They must bring that colt back to Bethany to Yeshua. This is a fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy about Judah. On his death bed Jacob, who God renamed Israel, prophecies for his fourth son Judah:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. Genesis 49:10-11 ESV
The Jews saw this passage fulfilled in David of Bethlehem, the first King of Israel from the tribe of Judah. This prophecy was only imperfectly fulfilled in David, but perfectly fulfilled in Yeshua who is Shiloh. The Hebrew here is Shiyloh, this obscure word is variously interpreted to mean: "the sent," "the seed," the "peaceable or prosperous one" all referring to the Messiah. The ESV here has "tribute." "Shiloh" means: "He whose right it is," and a title anciently understood to speak of the Messiah. Yeshua is fulfilling prophecy that all of Israel should have known.
Yeshua's entry into Jerusalem at Passover time was His statement that He was coming to Jerusalem as a King. The whole idea of it being on a donkey no one else has ever ridden is the idea of His exalted position, His sovereignty. He's going to enter the city declaring Himself to be King.
Lazarus doesn't tell us this, but Matthew tells us that he entered the city:
And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" Matthew 21:10 ESV
Matthew tells us "the whole city was stirred up." He uses a word that we derive from seismic; the city shook with the excitement of a possible Messiah in their midst!
How many days before the Passover did this take place? Based on John 12:1 and John 12:12, this happened five days before the Passover. What did the people do five days before the first ever Passover? This is the day, according to the Law, that the lambs for the Passover sacrifice must be chosen. Exodus 12:3, 5, 6. It was no coincidence, but Divine Providence that Yeshua rode into Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan. Yeshua, identified as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by John the Baptizer in John 1:29, is now coming into the holy city of Jerusalem on the very day the perfect victims are chosen for the Passover sacrifice!
Yeshua was the chosen male sacrificial victim, visible for all to judge His perfection. He was the victim personally selected by the High Priest to die for the sake of the people. Do you remember earlier where Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, said, "one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish."
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Yeshua was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. John 12:16 ESV
This is another note by Lazarus to inform us that these events were only fully understood after Christ's resurrection. We saw this earlier in:
When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Yeshua had spoken. John 2:22 ESV
Here, the crucial turning point in their understanding took place "when He was raised from the dead"; but in out text, it is "when Yeshua was glorified." But this amounts to virtually the same thing.
The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. John 12:17 ESV
This is the second crowd. In verse 12 we have the "large crowd" that was coming out of Jerusalem to see Yeshua, and here we have a crowd that was there when He raised Lazarus. The crowd evidently surrounded Yeshua, since Matthew and Mark wrote that there were many people in front of Yeshua and many behind Him (Matt. 21:9; Mark 11:9).
"Continued to bear witness—their still talking about the resurrection of Lazarus.
The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. John 12:18 ESV
This tells us that it was the news of Lazarus' resurrection that caused the crowd of verse 12 to come out to meet him.
So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him." John 12:19 ESV
The Pharisees determination to excommunicate anyone who acknowledged Yeshua as the Messiah ( 9:23), and their orders that anyone knowing Yeshua's whereabouts should report Him so they could arrest Him (11:57) have failed at this point to intimidate the crowds.
The paragraph ends with another example of Lazrus' irony. By "the world," the Pharisees mean everyone, i.e. everyone in the Jerusalem area, including the pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean basin and beyond. This is hyperbole. But "the world"(kosmos) commonly refers in the Fourth Gospel to people everywhere without racial distinction but who are without God. The term "world" here should be understood in the light of its context and that has some specific reference to our understanding of John 3:16.
In John 3 Yeshua is speaking to Nicodemus, a Jew. The Jews believed that God loved only them. Nicodemus had the idea that when the Messiah would come He would come and give the Kingdom to the Jews and He would submit the Gentiles to judgment. That was their doctrine. Their doctrine was that the Jews would be saved, anybody connected with Abraham would be saved. But Gentiles would be judged.
What John 3:16 is saying in context is that God's love is international in its scope, He loves Gentiles as well as Jews. When Lazarus says, "For God so loved the world," he is saying that His love is enough to embrace, not simply Israel, but also Gentiles.
In our text, ironically, immediately after they mention "the whole world," Greeks approach Yeshua (verses 20-21).
I want to add here what Luke has to say about Yeshua's coming into Jerusalem. It is a sorrowful cry, or the King's lamentation, over Jerusalem.
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:41-44 ESV
Amazing words, fulfilled to the letter forty years later when the Roman legions under Titus invaded Jerusalem and destroyed it. Titus appeared with 80,000 men and laid siege to the city. After several initial assaults and the Jews' refusal to surrender, Titus built a wall around the city, determined to starve them out. The Romans captured almost all of those seeking to smuggle food in. Titus ordered all who were captured outside the city to be crucified. About five hundred were crucified every day. Every tree in the area was cut down for wood, including those on the Mount of Olives.
Famine hit hard. People were dying in the streets. Dead bodies were everywhere. When the people no longer had the strength to bury their dead, they threw them over the wall. Finally, the city fell. And in August of A.D. 70, the city and the Temple were destroyed. The Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us that 97,000 people were taken captive, and that 1,100,000 people were killed during the entire siege. You see, there were multitudes who had been trapped during the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem.
This was the horrible end, the tragic end, of Jerusalem. This is what Yeshua foresaw as the judgment of God for a people who were blind. Yeshua said it came because they "did not recognize the time of [their] visitation." They had missed their "day." They had not received Yeshua for who He was. Their hearts were hardened, and Yeshua's heart was broken.
I want, if I can, to show you something very practical to our every day live from this text. I talked to you earlier about what is called the Messianic secret. Let me ask you this, Does Yeshua's earlier attitude of secrecy teach us something about sovereignty and responsibility? Yeshua knew He was going to the cross; it was God's will, and it couldn't be stopped. And yet Yeshua uses human means to keep His secret until the proper time.
We know that God is sovereign over everything that happens. Nothing happens outside the sovereign will of God. He controls plants, animals, men, weather, nations, and nature. God controls everything that happens.
Because we are so prone to twist or misuse the truth we find in Scripture, I think we need to discuss the danger of misusing the Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God. It is the tendency of some individuals to see the Doctrine of Sovereignty as fatalism.
The fatalist would say, "God is going to do what He wants to do so I'm not going to concern myself about it." If there was a storm coming, they would make no preparations; they wouldn't run to the store or make sure they had batteries or water.
On the other hand, the person who rightly understands God's sovereignty would make all the preparations that wisdom dictates, while the whole time trusting in God and praying for wisdom and protection.
God's sovereignty does not negate our responsibility to act wisely. Acting wisely, in this context, means that we use all legitimate, biblical means at our disposal to avoid harm to ourselves or others, and to bring about what we believe to be the right course of events.
David gives us a good illustration of acting wisely as he fled from Saul. Saul was determined to kill David. So David did every thing he could to avoid Saul. David acted wisely. David knew that he was to be king some day. He had already been anointed to succeed Saul. And David knew that the Sovereign God would carry out His purpose:
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalms 57:2 ESV
David knew that God would fulfill His purpose for him. Yet David didn't just sit down and say, "Saul can't hurt me because God had ordained that I be king, and I can't be king if I'm dead." David fled from Saul and took every precaution so that Saul could not kill him. David didn't presume upon the sovereignty of God, but acted wisely in dependence upon God to bless his efforts. He ran from Saul, and he prayed to God.
Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks. Ecclesiastes 10:18 ESV
The house is not said to decay because of God's sovereign plan, but because of man's laziness. If a student fails an exam because he did not study, he can't blame it on God's sovereign will, but on his own lack of diligence. God is sovereign over every thing that happens in life, but we are still responsible. Don't ever use God's sovereignty as an excuse for your failure to use wisdom.
Putting all four Gospel accounts together we get this picture. Yeshua leaves Bethany, headed to Jerusalem. Before entering Jerusalem, He sends two of His disciples ahead of Him to procure a donkey and its colt (Matthew 21:1-6; Mark 11:1-6; Luke 19:29-34). This is to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, although the disciples do not understand this at the time (John 12:16). As Yeshua approaches Jerusalem, He rides the colt. A crowd follows Yeshua from Bethany and a crowd comes from Jerusalem to greet Yeshua, and both crowds accompany Him into the city, spreading their cloaks and cut branches on the road before Him. The crowds call out expressions of desperation, "Save us now" and calling Yeshua the "King of Israel." The commotion of this celebration reaches the ears of those in the city of Jerusalem, and many of these citizens of Jerusalem join in with the rest in welcoming Yeshua. Some of the Pharisees become indignant, insisting that Yeshua instruct the people to cease such praise, but Yeshua refuses, indicating that if the people were to remain quiet the stones would cry out (Luke 19:39-40). As Yeshua looks upon the city of Jerusalem, He weeps, knowing that their reception of Him is superficial and momentary, and that the day of Israel's destruction is imminent (Luke 19:41-44). This entry into Jerusalem is not triumphal but tragic because the initial reception was based on a false view of who Yeshua was, He came to save them from their sins, not from Rome. As Yeshua approaches the city He cries knowing they will reject Him and thus be judged by Him. This entry is tragic for Jerusalem.