I Samuel 23 Part 2–A Mountain Between Us

David was learning to fully rely on God.  He was seeking God in every step. He was seeing how little trust could be put into men and how very precarious life was.  In the midst of that, however, God continued to protect, prepare and provide for David and his 600 men.  On this day, David was hiding in the desert and among the forests.  Saul had no shortage of sycophants that were glad to turn David over to Saul.  Jonathan, however, was still a loyal friend to David and he made a covenant to support David as King and remain loyal. 
 
Saul was closing in, however, and on this day, He had tracked David so close that they were on opposite sides of a mountain.  Saul had done a great job of tracking David down and now as he closed in nothing could stop him…well almost nothing! Just as he had David cornered, the Philistines attacked the Land. Saul had to leave and respond to the attack. What a coincidence, God even used the enemies of Israel to save His anointed king.
 
We never know what God’s plan will include for our lives.  In great and in difficult times, God is always in control of His plan for our lives.  There are days when we simply feel trapped and see no way to continue.  In those moments, God reminds us that He loves us and will not forsake us.  He promised in Romans 8, “All things work together for Good for those that love God and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  We, like David, must fully rely upon God. He will deliver us in ways we would never expect–but should always know are from Him.  Our enemies may be clever, but God is greater! 
 
God Bless You

So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

14 David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.

15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that[a] Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18 The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.

19 The Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 20 Now, Your Majesty, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for giving him into your hands.”

21 Saul replied, “The Lord bless you for your concern for me. 22 Go and get more information. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty.23 Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information. Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track him down among all the clans of Judah.”

24 So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. 25 Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David.

26 Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” 28 Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth.[b] 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.[c]

I Samuel 23 Part 1–There’s Always Time to be Great

David was literally living moment to moment.  He lost his family, his position and was being hunted as a traitor to the king.  In the midst of that, the people in Keilah were under attack from the Philistines. Keilah was a city in Judah and part of Israel. Saul clearly did not have time to attend to it–he was busy looking to kill David. So, David went to the city and defeated and destroyed the Philistine army and saved the people.  Sadly, as he sought the Lord, the Lord warned him that the people he had just saved would turn him over to Saul in an instant! Certainly, they had an interesting way of saying thanks!
 
So, David raced off again to remain alive and fight another day. Saul found out where David was, but did not go there because he was informed David had already left.  David hid in the forests, the desert and wherever he could find safety. The most interesting thing was, however, that no matter the danger David stayed true to his call as king of Israel, and, he continued to seek the Lord in all his decisions.
 
We are also God’s chosen.  He has adopted us as His own. If we are willing to hold true to that call, God will do amazing things in and through our lives.  He never promised it would be easy, in fact, the opposite is true.  God does promise, however, He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He promises to make our paths straight–if we trust and follow Him. God brings meaning and purpose–especially when things seem difficult. We must cling to that truth in the days we feel abandoned and alone.  If we will, in the midst of those difficult days, God will give us opportunities to be great and use us in the lives of those who would otherwise be abandoned–like the folks from Keilah!
 
God Bless You 

 When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”

Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah. (Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.)

Saul Pursues David

Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.

When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” 10 David said, “Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Lord, God of Israel, tell your servant.”

And the Lord said, “He will.”

12 Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?”

And the Lord said, “They will.”

13 So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

I Samuel 22 part 1–David on the Run

With nothing in hand and nowhere to go, David headed into the land of Israel’s enemies. 1st David escaped to the King of Gath–(Goliath the Giant from Gath).  He hid out in Gath for a period, knowing Saul would not hunt him there.  Next, he headed to Moab–the place where Saul first made his name by wiping out several people.  David tried his best to go where he would not be attacked and where spies would not chase back to Saul and get him captured.  One can imagine the humbling experience that David faced standing before the leaders of lands he helped to defeat.
 
The good news was that as he was on the run, he was beginning to gather a group of men to command. It was a ragtag crew, but they would be what he needed as he faced the days ahead.  One can be sure as David started this phase of the journey, it looked nothing like what he would have ever hoped or dreamed.
 
In our journey, so many of the choices we make and directions we are pulled seem nothing like we expected in our youth.  It drives us crazy, it tests our faith and it slowly refines us into the people God calls us to be.  There is no easy way to become your best. It requires discipline, it requires training and it requires adversity, spiritual warfare and a long term (eternal) vision of life.  David would never have signed up for the anointing as king if he had known what God was going to take him through to be the greatest king Israel ever knew. He did, however, face each day, each trial and each disappointment fully relying upon God. Like David, we must look beyond what is and reach for what God has planned. We must remain grateful, humble and faithful no matter how difficult the journey becomes.  Help me, Lord to remain faithful in trials, grateful in blessings and humble in submission to Your lead!   
 
God Bless You

That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:

“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”

12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”…

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.

But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

I Samuel 21 Part 1–The Sword of Goliath

Now, David was on the run. He had no idea on the day he killed Goliath that it would start a series of events that would make him public enemy number 1 to the king.  He literally left with nothing but the clothes on his back.  So, as he faced God’s priest, he had to take whatever God could provide.  So what did God provide–consecrated bread and the sword of the Goliath.  David would never forget that day.  He had already grown in faith and was a man after God’s heart. 
 
David was entering a time where he would always have many more questions than answers and many more trials than blessings.  In the midst of that, however, he would grow to love God more deeply and understand God more completely than any King that came before or after. 
 
 It is in the trials, struggles, and mysteries of life that we are prepared for the mission. Make no mistake, all people love the blessings and times of joy–God loves those times as well; but, it is the perilous times that burn into our conscious mind the true nature of God’s preparation, protection, and provision. Holding Goliath’s sword reminded David of the power of God that carried him past a hopeless battle. As David ate the consecrated bread, he knew he was anointed by God and would simply have to trust God to provide.  Like David, we have to cling to the truth –God orders our steps and in the midst of the difficult times, it is God’s job to protect us and provide for our needs. Help me, Lord to remember your protection and provision in my life!
 
God Bless You

David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”

David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.”

But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.”

David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever[b] I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.”

The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah,is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”

David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.

I Samuel 20 final–It is Time to Move On

 Jonathan, of course, was shocked and heartbroken as his dad launched a spear at him.  Funny thing was that what broke his heart was his recognition that he had lost two dear friends–his dad and David.  Jonathan did as he promised. He warned David and helped him to make his escape. In doing that, however, the reality of his circumstance became real. Saul had abandoned God. He had become obsessed with holding on to the kingdom in his power and by simple force of will. Jonathan now saw that Saul would do anything and or kill anyone that came between Saul and his kingdom.
 
Jonathan still loved God but was trapped in a mess.  He would have to be strong and honorable, but inside, he knew his dad had taken away any opportunity for a lasting kingdom.  Jonathan must have been an amazing man and his sparing David a sign of true love for God and his friend. For David, it was time to move on and trust God to prepare, provide and protect him from the wrath of Saul. It is a part of the journey that all would gladly avoid.
 
In our lives, we often are given insight when it is time to move on. It is painful, scary and usually not our plan.  If we do believe that God is God and will keep His promises, then making those transitions is a no-brainer.  We have to fully rely upon God to lead and make the path straight. Sadly, it is not about the pain and disappointments in life–it is simply about running the race to win and to become like him. That is what David did, and that is what, I am pretty sure Jonathan did as well.
 
God Bless You

29 He said, ‘Let me go because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master.39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”

41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.

42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is a witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.[b]

I Samuel 20 Part 2–Jonathan and David’s Covenant

David knew king Saul’s intentions.  He escaped death several times already. Jonathan was, however, David’s best friend and so David wanted to give him a chance to make things right.  Jonathan and David knew that they would care for each other and their families no matter how the situation turned out; so David and Jonathan made a covenant that day that would last the rest of both of their lives. A covenant to care for each other’s families if the other could not.
 
They made a plan to check Saul’s true intention and Jonathan promised to warn David should he find that Saul was out to kill David.  Jonathan was stuck in the middle of two folks he loved but knew he had to honor God 1st and foremost.  So Jonathan went back to make sure and David stayed hidden. While David knew the outcome in advance, he wanted for His friend to be right.
 
In the most difficult of times, it is those that we love that get us through.  They may not be able to make the tough circumstance go away, but they will be there to support us and pray.  We can never underestimate the power of a friend and we must always be that friend to those we have in our lives. Jonathan and David were friends for life and for generations to come. God, help me to be that kind of friend to others.
 
God Bless You

Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”

I Samuel 20 Part 1–Great Friends

In the midst of Saul’s mission to kill his son-in-law, David, Jonathan, Saul’s son and heir to his throne, still was David’s best friend. Jonathan had no idea of his father’s hatred of David.  David had been loyal to the kingdom and to his father.  So when David approached Jonathan to ask the reason for Saul’s wrath, Jonathan was truly surprised and skeptical.  Saul and Jonathan were close. They shared everything. Saul was preparing the kingdom for Jonathan and would never make a move like that without letting Jonathan know…would he?
 
Saul knew Jonathan and David were dear friends. Saul did not want to tell his son of the plan. Saul knew what he was doing was wrong, and he knew Jonathan would side with David rather than with Saul–and Saul did not want to face that. What Saul did not know was that God established the covenant between Jonathan and David. No matter what Saul had in mind, God would not allow Jonathan to be a part of it.  The consequence of Saul’s rejection of God would not harm the covenant between these great friends.
 
God kindly puts great friends in our lives.  We pour our hearts and lives into those friends. Those are the folks that see us at our best and worst but love us just the same.  It is those friends we look to and draw upon when we are seeking honest feedback, heartfelt prayer, and continued life support. It is those friends to whom we are available 24/7-365. We would never question their need, we would never give up on them.  I thank my dear friends for their years of loyalty. I would be long dead if not for you. I hope that I have been a Jonathan in your lives; as you certainly been so in mine.  Friendship is a precious treasure. David knew it and so do we.  Let us never take for granted those friends God has supplied.
 
God Bless You

Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”

“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”

But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem,his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”

“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”

10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”