May 13, 2001
I Samuel 21-24
This chapter sets David before us in a very humiliating
The determined hatred of Saul seems to have thrown him
off his balance and not until he got back to the hills of
Judah in the cave of Adullam that he regained his serenity.
A lot of pressure! We see David breaking down in ch. 20:41
He is at his wit’s end. He is in desperate straits, physically
exhausted and his mind less steady.
v. 11 - Seeking asylum with the Philistines
v. 13 - “changed his behavior”
In those days madmen were looked upon as possessed
by the Deity and therefore not to be interfered with.
Probably were annoyances - Achish says he has enough
madmen already in his army.
It is possible that amidst the pressure of life we do not
keep near enough to God - RUNNING ON EMPTY,
LOW FUEL, DANGEROUSLY LOW RESOURCES!
It is possible to think & scheme too much, not leaving
to God, that which in our desperate need, always belongs
to Him. 1966-1971 Period of help! Also late in my career!
We do not know what all David was facing but out of
these bitter experiences he arose a more devout, humble
and trustful man.
His testimony - Psalm 34:6-9, 17 - (See heading)
A very sad story - A very real story of perils of life.
v. 2 - We find Saul’s government breaking down &
alienating minds of all religious people - bad government
leads to lawlessness.
Apparently Saul is unaware that his duty is to uphold
the righteous administration of the law.
Murray State University - Graduation - All across
this country that scene has been played out numerous
Outstanding man & woman of MSU - the contrast.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom -
nought have we received except through him.
Self centeredness and preferring our own agenda
to that of God - Saul & David playing out all over.
v. 3 - David goes to Moab - his grandmother
a Moabitess. Wandering from one
natural fortress to another.
v. 5 - God’s Providence - Gad the Seer
v. 6 - Saul with spear in hand & servants standing
vs. 7-8 - “ye Benjamites” - favored his own tribe
at expense of the rest?
Playing favorites - to the victor goes the spoils.
Pity party - “none of you is sorry for me”
His regular soldiers would not lift their hands -
Doeg’s advantage seeking, playing to Saul’s
excited state, blaming the priests, arousing
Saul’s worst passions (evil advisers)
Ahimelech was innocent - his testimony only
embittered the king and all who prefer their
own agenda to that of God’s revealed will.
The conduct of Saul is increasingly devoid of
reason & this gradual failure of intelligence
has its root in moral decay.
He slew 85 persons of the priests and next
annihilated the city of Nob, families of the
priests, men, women, children & babes, even their
oxen, asses & sheep. Contrast this with how in
pretended mercy he spared Agag and the best of
the Amalekite spoil under the guise of religion.
No wonder that two or three years later Saul found
himself without an army & fell into that deep
melancholy which drove him in his desire to seek
human sympathy to consult the Witch of Endor.
David, with characteristic tenderness of conscience
accuses himself of being the cause of all this bloodshed.
The only safe course for individuals, churches or nations
is to bow at once before God and His mercy.
The man who harbors his secret sins in his impenitent
spirit and seeks to cover it up or brave it out damns his
Doeg, the Edomite was a man of low spiritual tastes,
and an alien to Israel. By education, taste and habit,
he has no sympathy with the lofty Messianic aims of
a David or Samuel.
He was a panderer to the powerful - the readiness
with which he could shed the blood of God’s priests
fully merits the severe language of Psalm 52.
Saul yearns for the Doegs of life, and Doegs are ever
ready to blend interests with the Sauls.
Proverbs 11:21a - “though hand join in hand the
wicked shall not be unpunished”
Psalm 17:13 - “the wicked, which is thy sword”
fulfilling ch. 2:31-36, 3:11-14
“Touch not mine anointed” - Ps. 105:15, I Chron 16:22
The designs of the wicked defeat themselves, some
oversight, some weakness, some so-called accident
gives occasion for the ultimate frustration of their purpose.
v. 1 - “robbing the threshing floors” - you work, I reap
v. 2 - David’s unwillingness to take a step without being
sure of the will of God.
David was assured by the anointing & by Samuel’s
sanction & encouragement that a great future was
awaiting him and like many since had to bear all the
pains & sorrows of an outcast.
The agony of feeling expressed in the Psalms can be
understood when we remember the conflicts wrought by
a holy work, persecution and a sense of innocence.
Some call it unreasonable fanaticism in homage to a
wisdom that never errs, the goodness that ever blesses.
The attainment of this well developed religion is within
reach of all - you, me, my wife, our children, their spouses
and our grandchildren.
Consult the “lively oracles” which are to us the voice of
God on great moral & religious matters. Acts 7:38
vs. 14-15 - Saul sought David every day!
GOD’S CARE & PROVIDENCE
v. 16 - “strengthened his hand in God”
Jonathan - understood that Jehovah had transferred
the kingdom from his father Saul to David & that this
Jonathan’s unbroken love for David revived David’s
courage & helped him to be content to bear his hardships.
Had he not been killed on Mt. Gilboa, Jonathan, unlike
Ishbotheth would have relinquished all claims to the
crown. No doubt it bothered David that the only way
to the crown was to dispossess his true & unselfish friend.
A beautiful feature of David’s life is he never hesitated to follow God’s will however humiliating to himself or how apparently adverse to the attainment of objects dearest to his heart.
This obedience is so fully expressed in many of the Psalms.
To exchange the comforts of Keilah for a rough & unsettled life in the wilderness of Ziph was a trial to the faith already strained.
His obedience was speedily followed by an event of special interest and is an example of one of the most suggestive instances in Scripture of the Providential alleviation of sorrows incident to the
path of duty.
A riddle which the unspiritual mind can never solve but becomes simple & beautiful to those who enter into the spirit of our Savior’s mission on earth, that the sorrows of life often deepen when God is putting honor on His servants by preparing them for a more pure fellowhip with Himself.
David fleeing Keilah with one mindset, the subsequent appearance of Jonathan where he could least expect him showed another line of thought - God never really impoverishes those who trust and serve Him!
It is contrary to the laws of a spiritual life for a true servant of God to be worse off today than he was yesterday!
The mediatation on God’s past faithfulness, the conviction that He was working out a high and Divine purpose and David’s pouring out his heart in prayer were supplemented by the presence and love of his dearest earthly friend.
Abraham sorrowed for kindred in a distant land but he had God for his Shield and his Exceeding Great Reward.
Jonathan’s subordination - There is to be “a glorious Church” not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing - Eph. 5:27
The product of manifold influences and agencies which God is pleased to employ - like the first Temple was not just the product of more prominent toilers but of the totality of the workers from the highest to the lowest.
New Courthous & complex - Tate is splattered on top of the crane but there are many involved.
Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Paul, Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody - Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, James Dobson - the great results achieved by some whose names are prominent are closely allied to influences exerted by others of unknown fame.
Their spiritual usefulness traceable to influence of prayers offered by the obscure.
Great stress in the Bible on prayers of ordinary Christians.
Jonathan could not bless Israel by a virtuous reign, it was denied him to be king in Zion representing the Messiah, but he could strengthen the heart of him who was destined to that honor.
What elevation of spiritual life would occur if we like Jonathan put our prayers and sympathies into the work of those who are called to bear the strain of high and perilous service.
I am not worthy but I have had a man in the last two weeks tell me he prays for me every day.
Example of Ms. Freeman’s praying for Bro. Duncan.
v. 2 - “shall I go & smite these Philistines?”
v. 4 - “I will deliver”
v. 11 - “will the men of Keilah deliver me to Saul’s hand?”
“will Saul come down?”