You don’t need to rush it! You don’t need to force it! God’s timing is perfect! God’s ways are higher the our ways! His ways are better than our ways! Don’t allow peer pressure to get you doing something you could later regret!
Today’s readings start with 1 Samuel 24…
David Spares Saul’s Life
1When Saul came back from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David was in the wilderness near Engedi. 2Saul took three thousand of the best soldiers in Israel and went looking for David and his men east of Wild Goat Rocks. 3He came to a cave close to some sheep pens by the road and went in to relieve himself. It happened to be the very cave in which David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. 4They said to him, “This is your chance! The Lord has told you that he would put your enemy in your power and you could do to him whatever you wanted to.” David crept over and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe without Saul’s knowing it. 5But then David’s conscience began to hurt, 6and he said to his men, “May the Lord keep me from doing any harm to my master, whom the Lord chose as king! I must not harm him in the least, because he is the king chosen by the Lord!” 7So David convinced his men that they should not attack Saul.
Saul got up, left the cave, and started away. 8Then David went out after him and called to him, “Your Majesty!” Saul turned around, and David bowed down to the ground in respect 9and said, “Why do you listen to people who say that I am trying to harm you? 10You can see for yourself that just now in the cave the Lord put you in my power. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I felt sorry for you and said that I would not harm you in the least, because you are the one whom the Lord chose to be king. 11Look, my father, look at the piece of your robe I am holding! I could have killed you, but instead I only cut this off. This should convince you that I have no thought of rebelling against you or of harming you. You are hunting me down to kill me, even though I have not done you any wrong. 12May the Lord judge which one of us is wrong! May he punish you for your action against me, for I will not harm you in the least. 13You know the old saying, ‘Evil is done only by evil people.’ And so I will not harm you. 14Look at what the king of Israel is trying to kill! Look at what he is chasing! A dead dog, a flea! 15The Lord will judge, and he will decide which one of us is wrong. May he look into the matter, defend me, and save me from you.”
16When David had finished speaking, Saul said, “Is that really you, David my son?” And he started crying. 17Then he said to David, “You are right, and I am wrong. You have been so good to me, while I have done such wrong to you! 18Today you have shown how good you are to me, because you did not kill me, even though the Lord put me in your power. 19How often does someone catch an enemy and then let him get away unharmed? The Lord bless you for what you have done to me today! 20Now I am sure that you will be king of Israel and that the kingdom will continue under your rule. 21But promise me in the Lord‘s name that you will spare my descendants, so that my name and my family’s name will not be completely forgotten.” 22David promised that he would.
Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went back to their hiding place.
David could have killed Saul! The peer pressure was telling him just that. But David was a man after God’s own heart! He wanted to do it God’s way! He wasn’t going to rush into it for he knew that God’s plan was perfect just like His timing! David knew that God’s plan for him was good that he would have a hope and a future. So he let Saul go! Even the small cutting of the robe was enough to make David feel bad.
As we continue into 1 Samuel 25, the reality that we don’t need to take things into our own hands and that the battle truly does belong to the Lord is revealed. He can even protect us from our own plans so that the guilt won’t lay on our heads.
The Death of Samuel
1Samuel died, and all the Israelites came together and mourned for him. Then they buried him at his home in Ramah.
David and Abigail
After this, David went to the wilderness of Paran. 2-3There was a man of the clan of Caleb named Nabal, who was from the town of Maon, and who owned land near the town of Carmel. He was a very rich man, the owner of three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. His wife Abigail was beautiful and intelligent, but he was a mean, bad-tempered man.
Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel, 4and David, who was in the wilderness, heard about it, 5so he sent ten young men with orders to go to Carmel, find Nabal, and give him his greetings. 6He instructed them to say to Nabal: “David sends you greetings, my friend, with his best wishes for you, your family, and all that is yours. 7He heard that you were shearing your sheep, and he wants you to know that your shepherds have been with us and we did not harm them. Nothing that belonged to them was stolen all the time they were at Carmel. 8Just ask them, and they will tell you. We have come on a feast day, and David asks you to receive us kindly. Please give what you can to us your servants and to your dear friend David.”
9David’s men delivered this message to Nabal in David’s name. Then they waited there, 10and Nabal finally answered, “David? Who is he? I’ve never heard of him! The country is full of runaway slaves nowadays! 11I’m not going to take my bread and water, and the animals I have butchered for my sheepshearers, and give them to people who come from I don’t know where!”
12David’s men went back to him and told him what Nabal had said. 13“Buckle on your swords!” he ordered, and they all did. David also buckled on his sword and left with about four hundred of his men, leaving two hundred behind with the supplies.
14One of Nabal’s servants said to Nabal’s wife Abigail, “Have you heard? David sent some messengers from the wilderness with greetings for our master, but he insulted them. 15Yet they were very good to us; they never bothered us, and all the time we were with them in the fields, nothing that belonged to us was stolen. 16They protected us day and night the whole time we were with them looking after our flocks. 17Please think this over and decide what to do. This could be disastrous for our master and all his family. He is so mean that he won’t listen to anybody!”
18Abigail quickly gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two leather bags full of wine, five roasted sheep, two bushels of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred cakes of dried figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19Then she said to the servants, “You go on ahead and I will follow you.” But she said nothing to her husband.
20She was riding her donkey around a bend on a hillside when suddenly she met David and his men coming toward her. 21David had been thinking, “Why did I ever protect that fellow’s property out here in the wilderness? Not a thing that belonged to him was stolen, and this is how he pays me back for the help I gave him! 22May God strike me dead if I don’t kill every last one of those men before morning!”
23When Abigail saw David, she quickly dismounted and threw herself on the ground 24at David’s feet, and said to him, “Please, sir, listen to me! Let me take the blame. 25Please, don’t pay any attention to Nabal, that good-for-nothing! He is exactly what his name means—a fool I wasn’t there when your servants arrived, sir. 26It is the Lord who has kept you from taking revenge and killing your enemies. And now I swear to you by the living Lord that your enemies and all who want to harm you will be punished like Nabal. 27Please, sir, accept this present I have brought you, and give it to your men. 28Please forgive me, sir, for any wrong I have done. The Lord will make you king, and your descendants also, because you are fighting his battles; and you will not do anything evil as long as you live. 29If anyone should attack you and try to kill you, the Lord your God will keep you safe, as someone guards a precious treasure. As for your enemies, however, he will throw them away, as someone hurls stones with a sling. 30And when the Lord has done all the good things he has promised you and has made you king of Israel, 31then you will not have to feel regret or remorse, sir, for having killed without cause or for having taken your own revenge. And when the Lord has blessed you, sir, please do not forget me.”
32David said to her, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me! 33Thank God for your good sense and for what you have done today in keeping me from the crime of murder and from taking my own revenge. 34The Lord has kept me from harming you. But I swear by the living God of Israel that if you had not hurried to meet me, all of Nabal’s men would have been dead by morning!” 35Then David accepted what she had brought him and said to her, “Go back home and don’t worry. I will do what you want.”
36Abigail went back to Nabal, who was at home having a feast fit for a king. He was drunk and in a good mood, so she did not tell him anything until the next morning. 37Then, after he had sobered up, she told him everything. He suffered a stroke and was completely paralyzed. 38Some ten days later the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
39When David heard that Nabal had died, he said, “Praise the Lord! He has taken revenge on Nabal for insulting me and has kept me his servant from doing wrong. The Lord has punished Nabal for his evil.”
Then David sent a proposal of marriage to Abigail. 40His servants went to her at Carmel and said to her, “David sent us to take you to him to be his wife.”
41Abigail bowed down to the ground and said, “I am his servant, ready to wash the feet of his servants.” 42She rose quickly and mounted her donkey. Accompanied by her five maids, she went with David’s servants and became his wife.
43David had married Ahinoam from Jezreel, and now Abigail also became his wife. 44 Meanwhile, Saul had given his daughter Michal, who had been David’s wife, to Palti son of Laish, who was from the town of Gallim.
God’s ways are higher than our ways and better than our ways! His plans are perfect! We have all be created on purpose with a purpose! We all will face choices as we have been given freewill. We need to choose wisely!
Ever had a situation where it seemed like the other person was just pushing it and pushing it and trying to get you to act? Don’t respond out of anger or frustration. Remember God’s timing is perfect! Don’t rush it allow God’s plans to come to fruition. Let’s take hold of James 1 (My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.) before we act to quickly or harshly. God’s plans are that we lack nothing! In 1 Samuel 26 we see how it happens to David again and again he resists…
David Spares Saul’s Life Again
1Some men from Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah and told him that David was hiding on Mount Hachilah at the edge of the Judean wilderness. 2Saul went at once with three thousand of the best soldiers in Israel to the wilderness of Ziph to look for David, 3and camped by the road on Mount Hachilah. David was still in the wilderness, and when he learned that Saul had come to look for him, 4he sent spies and found out that Saul was indeed there. 5He went at once and located the exact place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, slept. Saul slept inside the camp, and his men camped around him.
6Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai the brother of Joab (their mother was Zeruiah), “Which of you two will go to Saul’s camp with me?”
“I will,” Abishai answered.
7So that night David and Abishai entered Saul’s camp and found Saul sleeping in the center of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the troops were sleeping around him. 8Abishai said to David, “God has put your enemy in your power tonight. Now let me plunge his own spear through him and pin him to the ground with just one blow—I won’t have to strike twice!”
9But David said, “You must not harm him! The Lord will certainly punish whoever harms his chosen king. 10By the living Lord,” David continued, “I know that the Lord himself will kill Saul, either when his time comes to die a natural death or when he dies in battle. 11The Lord forbid that I should try to harm the one whom the Lord has made king! Let’s take his spear and his water jar, and go.” 12So David took the spear and the water jar from right beside Saul’s head, and he and Abishai left. No one saw it or knew what had happened or even woke up—they were all sound asleep, because the Lord had sent a heavy sleep on them all.
13Then David crossed over to the other side of the valley to the top of the hill, a safe distance away, 14and shouted to Saul’s troops and to Abner, “Abner! Can you hear me?”
“Who is that shouting and waking up the king?” Abner asked.
15David answered, “Abner, aren’t you the greatest man in Israel? So why aren’t you protecting your master, the king? Just now someone entered the camp to kill your master. 16You failed in your duty, Abner! I swear by the living Lord that all of you deserve to die, because you have not protected your master, whom the Lord made king. Look! Where is the king’s spear? Where is the water jar that was right by his head?”
17Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “David, is that you, my son?”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” David answered. 18And he added, “Why, sir, are you still pursuing me, your servant? What have I done? What crime have I committed? 19Your Majesty, listen to what I have to say. If it is the Lord who has turned you against me, an offering to him will make him change his mind; but if some people have done it, may the Lord‘s curse fall on them. For they have driven me out from the Lord‘s land to a country where I can only worship foreign gods. 20Don’t let me be killed on foreign soil, away from the Lord. Why should the king of Israel come to kill a flea like me? Why should he hunt me down like a wild bird?”
21Saul answered, “I have done wrong. Come back, David, my son! I will never harm you again, because you have spared my life tonight. I have been a fool! I have done a terrible thing!”
22David replied, “Here is your spear, Your Majesty. Let one of your men come over and get it. 23The Lord rewards those who are faithful and righteous. Today he put you in my power, but I did not harm you, whom the Lord made king. 24Just as I have spared your life today, may the Lord do the same to me and free me from all troubles!”
25Saul said to David, “God bless you, my son! You will succeed in everything you do!”
So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.
They may try to force your hand, but remember the battle belongs to the Lord! Remember what God wants from you! Remember what God is preparing for you! Remember God’s plan is that you have a hope and a future! Remember God’s desire is that you are complete and lacking nothing!
Is there somewhere you can get away to avoid the taunting and the attacks? Is there a way to avoid the distractions and the tricks? Maybe you can find a place where you can be away from it all? Maybe a place where they will forget about you and leave you alone. We see how David takes this approach in 1 Samuel 27…
David among the Philistines
1David said to himself, “One of these days Saul will kill me. The best thing for me to do is to escape to Philistia. Then Saul will give up looking for me in Israel, and I will be safe.” 2So David and his six hundred men went over at once to Achish son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3David and his men settled there in Gath with their families. David had his two wives with him, Ahinoam from Jezreel, and Abigail, Nabal’s widow, from Carmel. 4When Saul heard that David had fled to Gath, he gave up trying to find him.
5David said to Achish, “If you are my friend, let me have a small town to live in. There is no need, sir, for me to live with you in the capital city.” 6So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, and for this reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7David lived in Philistia for sixteen months.
8During that time David and his men would attack the people of Geshur, Girzi, and Amalek, who had been living in the region a very long time. He would raid their land as far as Shur, all the way down to Egypt, 9killing all the men and women and taking the sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and even the clothes. Then he would come back to Achish, 10who would ask him, “Where did you go on a raid this time?” and David would tell him that he had gone to the southern part of Judah or to the territory of the clan of Jerahmeel or to the territory where the Kenites lived. 11David would kill everyone, men and women, so that no one could go back to Gath and report what he and his men had really done. This is what David did the whole time he lived in Philistia. 12But Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He is hated so much by his own people the Israelites that he will have to serve me all his life.”
In whom will you trust? Where will you go for wisdom? Who will you seek? Will you seek the truth? Will you turn to God? Or will you plan on trickery? Put your trust in God! Will you wait upon the Lord or try to take things into your own hands? How far away will you walk from God? Will you show patience? Will you trust in God’s perfect timing? We see in 1 Samuel 28 how Saul responds…
1Some time later the Philistines gathered their troops to fight Israel, and Achish said to David, “Of course you understand that you and your men are to fight on my side.”
2“Of course,” David answered. “I am your servant, and you will see for yourself what I can do.”
Achish said, “Good! I will make you my permanent bodyguard.”
Saul Consults a Medium
3Now Samuel had died, and all the Israelites had mourned for him and had buried him in his hometown of Ramah. Saul had forced all the fortunetellers and mediums to leave Israel.
4The Philistine troops assembled and camped near the town of Shunem; Saul gathered the Israelites and camped at Mount Gilboa. 5When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was terrified, 6and so he asked the Lord what to do. But the Lord did not answer him at all, either by dreams or by the use of Urim and Thummim or by prophets. 7Then Saul ordered his officials, “Find me a woman who is a medium, and I will go and consult her.”
“There is one in Endor,” they answered.
8So Saul disguised himself; he put on different clothes, and after dark he went with two of his men to see the woman. “Consult the spirits for me and tell me what is going to happen,” he said to her. “Call up the spirit of the man I name.”
9The woman answered, “Surely you know what King Saul has done, how he forced the fortunetellers and mediums to leave Israel. Why, then, are you trying to trap me and get me killed?”
10Then Saul made a sacred vow. “By the living Lord I promise that you will not be punished for doing this,” he told her.
11“Whom shall I call up for you?” the woman asked.
“Samuel,” he answered.
12When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed and said to Saul, “Why have you tricked me? You are King Saul!”
13“Don’t be afraid!” the king said to her. “What do you see?”
“I see a spirit coming up from the earth,” she answered.
14“What does it look like?” he asked.
“It’s an old man coming up,” she answered. “He is wearing a cloak.”
Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed to the ground in respect.
15Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me? Why did you make me come back?”
Saul answered, “I am in great trouble! The Philistines are at war with me, and God has abandoned me. He doesn’t answer me any more, either by prophets or by dreams. And so I have called you, for you to tell me what I must do.”
16Samuel said, “Why do you call me when the Lord has abandoned you and become your enemy? 17The Lord has done to you what he told you through me: he has taken the kingdom away from you and given it to David instead. 18You disobeyed the Lord‘s command and did not completely destroy the Amalekites and all they had. That is why the Lord is doing this to you now. 19He will give you and Israel over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will join me, and the Lord will also give the army of Israel over to the Philistines.”
20At once Saul fell down and lay stretched out on the ground, terrified by what Samuel had said. He was weak, because he had not eaten anything all day and all night. 21The woman went over to him and saw that he was terrified, so she said to him, “Please, sir, I risked my life by doing what you asked. 22Now please do what I ask. Let me fix you some food. You must eat so that you will be strong enough to travel.”
23Saul refused and said he would not eat anything. But his officers also urged him to eat. He finally gave in, got up from the ground, and sat on the bed. 24The woman quickly killed a calf which she had been fattening. Then she took some flour, prepared it, and baked some bread without yeast. 25She set the food before Saul and his officers, and they ate it. And they left that same night.
God’s timing is perfect. His plans are better than our plans. Don’t stray or walk away from God, but draw closer to Him! Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to make you go out on your own, but rather, stick with God!
God’s ways are higher than our ways and so much better. Even when it looks like rejection, it is a setup for a comeback! So don’t stay down! Don’t be stuck! Get up! This is the day that the Lord has made! Let’s rejoice and be glad in it! It may look like a setback, but it could be a setup for a comeback!
As we draw towards the conclusion of 1 Samuel with chapters 29 and 30 we see what happens to David! Rejection! Defeat! Victory! In 31 we read about the precition Saul had received coming true!
David Is Rejected by the Philistines
1The Philistines brought all their troops together at Aphek, while the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel Valley. 2The five Philistine kings marched out with their units of a hundred and of a thousand men; David and his men marched in the rear with King Achish. 3The Philistine commanders saw them and asked, “What are these Hebrews doing here?”Achish answered, “This is David, an official of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me for quite some time now. He has done nothing I can find fault with since the day he came over to me.” 4But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said to him, “Send that fellow back to the town you gave him. Don’t let him go into battle with us; he might turn against us during the fighting. What better way is there for him to win back his master’s favor than by the death of our men? 5After all, this is David, the one about whom the women sang, as they danced, ‘Saul has killed thousands, but David has killed tens of thousands.’” 6Achish called David and said to him, “I swear by the living God of Israel that you have been loyal to me; and I would be pleased to have you go with me and fight in this battle. I have not found any fault in you from the day you came over to me. But the other kings don’t approve of you. 7So go back home in peace, and don’t do anything that would displease them.” 8David answered, “What have I done wrong, sir? If, as you say, you haven’t found any fault in me since the day I started serving you, why shouldn’t I go with you, my master and king, and fight your enemies?” 9“I agree,” Achish replied. “I consider you as loyal as an angel of God. But the other kings have said that you can’t go with us into battle. 10So then, David, tomorrow morning all of you who left Saul and came over to me will have to get up early and leave as soon as it’s light.” 11So David and his men started out early the following morning to go back to Philistia, and the Philistines went on to Jezreel. — from 1 Samuel 29
The War against the Amalekites
1Two days later David and his men arrived back at Ziklag. The Amalekites had raided southern Judah and attacked Ziklag. They had burned down the town 2and captured all the women; they had not killed anyone, but had taken everyone with them when they left. 3When David and his men arrived, they found that the town had been burned down and that their wives, sons, and daughters had been carried away. 4David and his men started crying and did not stop until they were completely exhausted. 5Even David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken away. 6David was now in great trouble, because his men were all very bitter about losing their children, and they were threatening to stone him; but the Lord his God gave him courage. 7David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod,” and Abiathar brought it to him. 8David asked the Lord, “Shall I go after those raiders? And will I catch them?”He answered, “Go after them; you will catch them and rescue the captives.” 9So David and his six hundred men started out, and when they arrived at Besor Brook, some of them stayed there. 10David continued on his way with four hundred men; the other two hundred men were too tired to cross the brook and so stayed behind. 11The men with David found a young Egyptian out in the country and brought him to David. They gave him some food and water, 12some dried figs, and two bunches of raisins. After he had eaten, his strength returned; he had not had anything to eat or drink for three full days. 13David asked him, “Who is your master, and where are you from?”“I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” he answered. “My master left me behind three days ago because I got sick. 14We had raided the territory of the Cherethites in the southern part of Judah and the territory of the clan of Caleb, and we burned down Ziklag.” 15“Will you lead me to those raiders?” David asked him.He answered, “I will if you promise me in God’s name that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master.” 16And he led David to them.The raiders were scattered all over the place, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the enormous amount of loot they had captured from Philistia and Judah. 17At dawn the next day David attacked them and fought until evening. Except for four hundred young men who mounted camels and got away, none of them escaped. 18David rescued everyone and everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives; 19nothing at all was missing. David got back all his men’s sons and daughters, and all the loot the Amalekites had taken. 20He also recovered all the flocks and herds; his men drove all the livestock in front of them and said, “This belongs to David!” 21Then David went back to the two hundred men who had been too weak to go with him and had stayed behind at Besor Brook. They came forward to meet David and his men, and David went up to them and greeted them warmly. 22But some mean and worthless men who had gone with David said, “They didn’t go with us, and so we won’t give them any of the loot. They can take their wives and children and go away.” 23But David answered, “My brothers, you can’t do this with what the Lord has given us! He kept us safe and gave us victory over the raiders. 24No one can agree with what you say! All must share alike: whoever stays behind with the supplies gets the same share as the one who goes into battle.” 25David made this a rule, and it has been followed in Israel ever since. 26When David returned to Ziklag, he sent part of the loot to his friends, the leaders of Judah, with the message, “Here is a present for you from the loot we took from the Lord’s enemies.” 27He sent it to the people in Bethel, to the people in Ramah in the southern part of Judah, and to the people in the towns of Jattir, 28Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29and Racal; to the clan of Jerahmeel, to the Kenites, 30and to the people in the towns of Hormah, Borashan, Athach, 31and Hebron. He sent it to all the places where he and his men had roamed.
–from 1 Samuel 30
The Death of Saul and His Sons
(1 Chronicles 10.1-12)
1The Philistines fought a battle against the Israelites on Mount Gilboa. Many Israelites were killed there, and the rest of them, including King Saul and his sons, fled. 2But the Philistines caught up with them and killed three of Saul’s sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3The fighting was heavy around Saul, and he himself was hit by enemy arrows and badly wounded. 4He said to the young man carrying his weapons, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that these godless Philistines won’t gloat over me and kill me.” But the young man was too terrified to do it. So Saul took his own sword and threw himself on it. 5The young man saw that Saul was dead, so he too threw himself on his own sword and died with Saul. 6And that is how Saul, his three sons, and the young man died; all of Saul’s men died that day. 7When the Israelites on the other side of Jezreel Valley and east of the Jordan River heard that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had been killed, they abandoned their towns and fled. Then the Philistines came and occupied the towns. 8The day after the battle the Philistines went to plunder the corpses, and they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa. 9They cut off Saul’s head, stripped off his armor, and sent messengers with them throughout Philistia to tell the good news to their idols and to their people. 10Then they put his weapons in the temple of the goddess Astarte, and they nailed his body to the wall of the city of Beth Shan. 11When the people of Jabesh in Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12the bravest men started out and marched all night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall, brought them back to Jabesh, and burned them there. 13Then they took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in town, and fasted for seven days. — 1 Samuel 31