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Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 23.1-14

1 Samuel 23.1-14
Then they told David, saying, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are plundering the threshing floors.” So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and deliver Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the ranks of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the Lord once more. And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” So David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines; and he led away their livestock and struck them with a great slaughter. Thus David delivered the inhabitants of Keilah. Now it came about, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. When it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars.” So Saul summoned all the people for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. Now David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the pursuit. David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.

In today’s passage, Saul continues to seek David’s life.  Meanwhile, the town of Keilah has been attacked by the Philistines.  Perhaps because Saul is too busy pursuing his personal vendetta against David, people come to David in the desert looking for help.  David already has enough trouble on his own with Saul, he would be crazy to take on the Philistines. 

But David asks God whether he should attack the Philistines at Keilah and God says yes.  David shares the command with his leaders, and they say “are you sure that’s what God said?” out of fear.  For Keilah was a town protected by walls and gates and David just had a small army of a few hundred men.  David asked God again and this time God said definitively “I will give the Philistines into your hand.”  And God enabled David to defeat the Philistines and rescue Keilah.

Saul learns that David is in Keilah and sees it as an opportunity to kill David.  So David again sought God and asked whether the people of Keilah will deliver David and his army to Saul.  Perhaps because of Saul’s destruction of Nob (chapter 22), God indicated that they would turn him over out of fear for Saul, so God gave David another escape.

Saul was king of Israel but he forfeited his leadership because he didn’t seek after God.  David was a young man with nothing, but God exalted him amongst the people of Israel because he was humble.  While David was being hunted he didn’t focus on Saul, he trusted in God’s protection.

Proverbs 29:25 tells us: “the fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be saved.”  Let us seek his direction in matters big and small and today trust in His protection. 

Weekly Memory Verse: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5.17