First I was delayed in getting this chapter out because of Davy starting school; then, almost simultaneously, our internet started to have major problems, so hopefully this will post now and all will be well. Rather than post all of the missed weeks, I am just going to pick up from here so we continue to do basically a chapter per week. Sorry for the gap, but if any of you have gotten behind this gives you a chance to catch up at least. Stay tuned for updates on Davy’s school as I get my routine in place for blogging again.
After his meeting with Saul, yelling across the hilltops and getting Saul’s word that he isn’t planning on killing David since David had such mercy on Saul, David flees the caves. The chapter begins with David saying “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.” So, he goes to live among the Philistines. The king of Gath, Achish, even gives him Ziklag which remains a city owned by the kings of Judah. David and his six hundred men go out and make raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites as their new habit in the land. They kill every person so no one can report to the Philistines what David is doing. When asked about his activities he says he is killing Negeb. Achish trusts David, and so thinks that David truly has made himself a stench to his people and is on the Philistines’ side now.
David; Saul; the Philistines; David’s 600 men; Achish, the son of Moach, the king of Gath; David’s wives Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel; the kings of Judah; the Geshurites; the Girzites; the Amalekites; and the Negeb.
Verse 1 “Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”
Verse 1 Cross References
1 Samuel 22:5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
Exodus 14:12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
Numbers 14:3 “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Isaiah 30:15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
Lamentations 3:26-27 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Is is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
The crux of this chapter as well as of his life, and the other examples in the cross references goes back to the lawyer who asks Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus says, “Do this, and you will live.” (This story is in Luke 10.) But how often throughout the Bible and our own lives do we say in our hearts, “God is never going to come through on his promise. I probably just heard Him wrong from the beginning”?
God promised David the throne. Yet, our chapter today begins with David falling into the belief that Saul is going to kill him. It is good to wait, says Lamentations. Waiting is so hard to do, even with a cell phone to text. So, David decides to bide his time by going on his own personal raiding parties.
In my life I have a habit of self-sabotage which seems to me like David’s subconscious plan here. At the last minute before a stressful event I might start to nitpick little things or come up with a thousand legitimate reasons that I can’t be ready or I will get physically ill. David doing these raids is sure to backfire. He is sure to miss someone who runs to the king of the Philistines. Someone is sure to find out. But I think that David is feeling hopeless and trying to tip God’s hand.
I think there is a little bit of him that thinks, getting caught for this would be so much better than just being slaughtered in my sleep in a dirty rotten cave. I get to live with my wives here in Ziklag, we are comfortable. I still get to kill evil people all the time. Life is going my way, and darn it, if it doesn’t I will be in control of everything going South, too.
Boy do I feel that way a lot of the time. Sometimes I feel like I have been waiting so long that I forget what I am waiting for. I spend so much time thinking about how things should be better, I forget to focus on the promises God has made. My eyes stray from the goal to my comfort.
Love the Lord with all your heart—not saying in your heart, “God will never come through on His word.”
All your soul—my very being is tied up in God, I cannot worship comfort or money or possessions or anything else that I am tempted to believe would make my life better than God is making my life right now.
All your strength—I need my body to be fit for duty. I need to give God my best energy, my alertness, my abilities, and to strengthen my body for Him, for the actions He has called me to take.
All your mind—it takes discipline to meditate on His word day and night. So discipline your mind! Take the time to focus. Not just 5 minutes, but try 5 years of focusing on God, then another 5 years, then another and another and another, until you are face to face with God for eternity, then keep focusing your mind on Him.
Jesus in the Old Testament
*Even men and women of great faith can falter. David’s regular practice in the books of Samuel is to turn to God for guidance (23:2, 4; 30:8; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19, 23), to trust him, and to obey him. But in this episode, we hear nothing of David seeking God’s guidance through prayer or any other means.*
*The biblical writers are not in the business of sugar-coating even their more laudable human characters. David was a sinner, as will become much more painfully evident in 2 Samuel 11 and following. But David was also a man in honest relationship with God and capable of genuine repentance. Only the Greater Son of David, Jesus, was without sin (Heb. 4:15). God’s desire for his people is that we lean not on our own understanding but, rather, get to know and trust him with all our hearts (Prov. 3:5-6). But even when we fail, the good news is that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).*
Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 John 2:1-3 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.
To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE