May 13, 2001

                                   I Samuel 21-24




                                         Ch. 21


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,



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)


                                    Ch. 22


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

won soul.


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.


Psalm 52:5,7


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.





                                    Ch. 23


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

was inevitable.


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?”