Monday, August 15, 2011

1 Samuel 27 & 28 - David Among the Philistines & Saul's Lowest Point

LINK: 1 Samuel 27 & 28

BACKGROUND

1 Samuel 27

Although Saul had given up the pursuit, David did not know this. It is not as though Saul were trustworthy. So, David went to his old enemies, the Philistines, to the same place he had to fake being insane in order to avoid being slain (1 Samuel 26)! We do not know if this was the same Ashish from 1 Samuel 26 or a different king of the same name, but this one welcomed him. No doubt he had heard of the tensions between David and Saul and entered into a covenant with David. The kind of covenant was one between a sovereign lord and a vassal. The vassal (David) pledged loyalty to the sovereign (Ashish) in exchange for a fiefdom (inherited land). This fiefdom was Ziklag that the kings of Judah continued to hold throughout ancient biblical times.

So, David attacked and destroyed the Geshurites, Girzites and Amalakites, but he lied to Aschich and told him he was destroying his own people in Judah and others in Jerahmeel and the Kenites. David lied, and we can only assume that he did it because he wanted to ingratiate himself to Ashish and make him think he was against his own people. It was not right to lie.

1 Samuel 28

Ashish assumed David would follow him into battle against Saul and Israel. In the meantime, Saul had given up pursuing David into enemy territory, but the enemy was pursuing him, and "terror filled his heart" (28:5). The Lord did not answer his inquiries by way of dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul was utterly alone and consulted the witch of Endor. God had forbidden this (Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Exodus 22:18), and Saul had expelled them at one time (28:3); but he was desperate. Instead of a spirit, God brought back Samuel to give him a message he already knew: the LORD had torn the kingdom out of Saul's hands and had given it to David because he had not carried out God's wrath against the Amalekites (15:7-26). In addition, the army would be handed over to the Philistines, and Saul would die in the battle along with his sons. This filled him with terror.

REFLECTION

Saul's life is a real-life tragedy. Tragedy is:
A drama dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a noble person whose character is flawed by a single weakness, as pride, envy, etc., which causes him to break a divine law or moral precept, and which leads inevitably to his downfall or destruction. (The Random House College Dictionary).
Doesn't that sum it it for Saul?

When we are plagued by weakness like impulsiveness, pride, envy, etc., we need to use that as an opportunity to lean on the LORD to help us and guide us. Saul did not do that. When he finally did inquire of the Lord, it was too late. God had abandoned him.

Thankfully, because of Jesus, this is the reality for followers of Him: 
We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

APPLICATION

"Little" weaknesses can develop into huge strongholds in our life. That is why I believe in "preventative praying" by first examining my heart on a regular basis, looking at these areas:


  • Idolatry
  • Unbelief
  • Pride
  • Deception
  • Insecurity of feeling unloved
  • Feelings of rejection
  • Addiction
  • Guilt
  • Despair
  • Unforgiveness
You might like to draw near to the Lord and examine your heart in these areas too. The book Praying God's Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore is a great help in doing this.

PRAYER

We praise You for Your presence today. You are with us 24/7/365 despite our faithlessness sometimes. Help us to turn to You in every area of our lives. Help us to not make poor decisions that would create a tragic destiny for ourselves and hurt others around us. We lean into You and want to rely on You for guidance and help in our weaknesses. We do this because of our great High Priest, Jesus, and it is in His name we pray. Amen.
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