Monday, February 26, 2024

THE LORD DIRECTS DAVID'S PATH - 1 SAMUEL 23

 


David Saves A City

23:1-5


While David and his men were hiding out in the forest of Hereth in Judah, word came that the Philistines had attacked the city of Keilah, robbing the threshing floors. They must have waited for the harvest, then rushed in to steal the grain and feed their cattle. 







David had sympathy for them. But, before acting, he asked if the Lord if he should attack the Philistines. He asked twice because his men had doubts. The Lord told him to attack. He did and he defeated the Philistines. He took their livestock. With all of those men to feed, the livestock probably were a great benefit. 


David Flees the City

23:6-14


When Saul heard that David was in Keilah, he mustered the army to go after David. Oddly, he concluded that God had given David into his hand because David is enclosed behind the city walls. (7)


However, since God has rejected Saul and withdrawn his spirit from him, while anointing David, that could hardly be the case. Saul is deluded. 


Apparently both sides had spies. David hears that Saul was coming to Keilah, willing to destroy it because David was there. So, David sought God’s direction. That is a good thing.


David told Abiathar the priest to bring the ephod so they could inquire of the Lord what to do. (9) The ephod is sort of an apron. Attached to the front is a cloth piece called the breastplate of judgment. It has little pockets for 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. It also has a pocket for the Urim and Thummin. They were used to answer inquiries of the Lord. The Lord instructed Joshua to ask the high priest questions for the Lord which are answered by the Urim and Thummin. (Exodus 28:28) 


So David asked if Saul would come down to Keilah to attack David. The Lord said he would. David then asked if the men of Keilah would surrender David to Saul. The Lord said they would. 


So, David took him men and left the city. He now had 600 men. They hid in various places in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul called off the expedition to catch David at Keilah. 


Jonathan Encourages David

23:15-18


Jonathan went to see David at Horesh. That is evidently a grove of trees in the wilderness of Ziph. He encouraged David not to fear, knowing David would be king and Jonathan would support him. He also said Saul actually knew this. So, they made a covenant and Jonathan went home.


The Ziphites Betray David

23:19-24





While David and his men were hiding out in the wilderness of Ziph, the people of the area went to Saul in Gibeah and told Saul where he was. They did this even though they were of the same tribe as David (Judah). They invited Saul to come down there and they would surrender David to him. (20)


Saul was encouraged. He blessed them in the name of the Lord. But, he asked them to make and make sure exactly where David was and tell him before he came there. So, they went to accomplish that.


David Escapes Again

23:24-29







So, Saul took his men and went to find David. David had move a few miles further south to the wilderness of Maon. Saul found out and went after him there. David was on a mountain, believed to be Mount Kholed. 








Saul split his force into two groups and charged up either side of the mountain to trap David and his men. As they closed in on David, a messenger came to tell Saul the Philistines were attacking. So, Saul abandoned the pursuit and went to fight the Philistines. The Lord saved David again.





After Saul left, David took his men to Engedi and stayed there. Engedi is east of Ziph on the shore of the Dead Sea. It is a large oasis. 





David wrote Psalm 54 when betrayed by the people of Ziph. He asked God to save him from his enemies. He trusted God to be his helper and to uphold his life. And he promised to make a freewill offering to thank the Lord for deliverance. A free will offering is one that is completely voluntary and not one of the required sacrifices. 


Takeaways


David was trusting the Lord to take care of him: he sought the Lord’s guidance.


The Lord took care of David. Sometimes by telling him what to do, sometimes by diverting Saul from the pursuit. 


David expressed his gratitude to the Lord, both by writing a psalm and by making an offering. 


Thursday, February 22, 2024

DAVID BECOMES A WARLORD: 1 SAMUEL 22

 


David Becomes A Warlord

22:1-2


After his failed venture to join the Philistines, David returned to Israel. He stayed in a cave in the area of Adullam. 




























Adullam was an old Canaanite city. Joshua conquered it. (Joshua 12:15) He allotted it to the tribe of Judah, David’s tribe. (Joshua 15:35) 


David wrote Psalm 57 concerning this time. He asked for God’s mercy as he took refuge in him. He believed that God would fulfill his purposes for him. But he also wrote of those who sought to trap him and hurt him. His soul had become bowed down under the circumstances, but his heart remained steadfast in God. 


Psalm 142 is also written about his time at the cave. David again asked for mercy and told God his troubles. He had no refuge but God and he prayed for deliverance.  


David’s family heard he was at Adullam and went to him. They were likely in danger from Saul in Bethlehem. After they came, others came also. They were all troubled people: in distress, in debt, or bitter in soul. David accumulated an army of about 400 men. He was their leader.


David Cares For His Parents

22:3-5


David’s parents were elderly by this time. To keep them safe, he took them to Mizpeh in Moab. Since the king of Moab was there, it was likely a fortified city. Since David’s grandmother, Ruth, was from Moab, David may have received some favor from the king. David’s mother and father stayed there all the time David was in the “stronghold”. 


The stronghold is not identified for us, although the original audience probably understood the reference. Some think it refers to Masada, the high mesa that later became the place of Israel’s last stand against the Romans. 


However, God sent a prophet to David telling him not to remain in the stronghold, but to return to Judah. So David took his men and went to Judea and hid in the forest of Hereth. We do not know where this is, but it put David at greater risk. 


It is not always God’s will to keep us in the safest place. 


Saul Rants At His Servants 

22:6-8


Saul was holding court in Gibeah, still holding his spear in his hand. He complained to his servants that they conspired against him to make David king. He claimed their motives were to gain possessions and positions of authority from David. 


He accused his son of stirring up David against him and none of them told him. It had to be a scary moment, wondering if Saul would kill them.


Doeg Speaks Up

22:9-10


In response to Saul’s rant, Doeg spoke up to say he saw David in Nob with Ahimelech the priest. He added that Ahimelech gave David provisions and the sword of Goliath. 


“Provisions” is a bit of a stretch, since only five loaves of bread were involved. 


Saul then summoned Ahimelech, his family, and all the priests at Nob. They all appeared before the king. 


Saul accused Ahimelech of conspiring with David against him. Notice that he said David was lying in wait for him. That was not true. Since Saul did sent men to lie in wait for David at his house, he may have thought David would do the same for him. 


Ahimelech did not cower before the king. Rather, he defended David as Saul’s most faithful servant, not to mention son-in-law and captain over his bodyguard (a trusted position). 


Ahimelech went on to say David had consulted him many times before while he was in Saul’s service. He added that he knew nothing about any conspiracy and told the king not to impute anything to him that was not true. Ahimelech was the high priest, the most important religious figure in Israel. He probably thought that would exempt him from any retaliation by the king. And it should have.


But Saul did not give Ahimelech’s position any consideration. He decreed death to him and his family. There was a momentary problem as the servants would not strike the priests. But Doeg agreed to do it. He was not an Israelite. He was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau. 


Doeg and his men killed all of the priests who had come to Saul, 85 men. Then we he went to Nob and killed everyone and everything there.


When God told Saul to destroy all of the Amalekites, he disobeyed and kept the king and the livestock. But now, as a matter of personal vengeance, he devoted a town of his people, a town of priests, to destruction at the hands an Edomite.


Abiathar Escapes

22:20-23


Abiathar, one of Ahimelech’s sons, escaped the carnage. He came to David and told him what happened. David blamed himself for setting this into motion and he kept Abiathar with him and protected him from then on.  


Takeaways


David has turned a corner spiritually: he is trusting God to protect him and guide him.


Saul has continued his spiritual decline. 


God is preparing David in the wilderness for his role as king.


He prepared Israel in the wilderness for life in Canaan.


He prepared Jesus in the wilderness for his ministry.


God may prepare us for future life and ministry in a wilderness, but one where he still leads                                                    and protects.