We left David (in last’s week text) on the run. While he has done nothing wrong, he is a fugitive in his homeland. Saul is actively pursing David; he is on the hunt for David’s life. Along the way, Saul kills an entire village of priests (along with their wives and children). He will stop at nothing to make sure David is dead.
When David learns of the slaughter at Nob, he feels responsible. Afraid for his life, he lied to Ahimelech the priest in order to get provisions. David declared at the news.
(1 Samuel 22:22 NIV) I am responsible for the death of your father’s whole family.
This is a pivotal point in David’s life. Following this tragedy, David is careful to consult God in every instance. He is sure that going it alone does not work. In chapter 23, David considers rescuing Keilah from the hand of the enemy. David is careful to seek God.
(1 Samuel 23:2 NIV) he inquired of the LORD . . .
Just a few verses later, David’s men are not sure if they should take this route.
(1 Samuel 23:4 NIV) Once again David inquired of the LORD . . .
David is successful in battle. Yet Saul hears that David is in the town and plans to attack him. Once again, David seeks God.
(1 Samuel 23:9 NIV) When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.”
David’s posture is one of total reliance on God. At every juncture, he seeks God. The mishap at Nob prompted David to carefully discern God’s movement in every situation. This sets the stage for the familiar story that follows.
You probably remember this story from Sunday school or even your personal Bible study. David is hiding out in the desert of En Gedi. It just so happens (not really, God is certainly in the middle of all this), that Saul wanders into David’s cave to relieve himself. David has the perfect opportunity to end Saul’s life. Saul stands defenseless. David’s men are quietly celebrating David’s fortune. They urge David to step up and finish him off. David refuses to take the easy way out. He responds,
(1 Samuel 24:6 NIV) “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”
Most of us could justify the killing as self defense. Yet David is unwilling to do what God has not led him to do. He refuses to get ahead of God. He recognizes Saul’s authority as God-given, God-ordained. He will not be the one to take matters into his own hands.
Join us on Sunday as we explore this story together.