to kill or not to kill…

Pietro Antonio Magatti

Our focus this week 1 Sam 23 with supplemental Psalms 31 and 1 Sam 24 with supplemental Psalm 63

Chapter 23

In 1 sam 32 we see David as a leader of a group of ragtag people from the wilderness doing what he knows how to do at this point. He is praying for direction from the Lord and leading his people. There is a battle happening and he sees injustice from the Philistines and asks if and his army should step in and help the city of Keilah. Notice that David seeks the Lord but then 

Doubles back to God again on behalf of his people. David is probably secure on the fact that he is supposed to go to fight, but his people are not so sure. So David goes back again to ask the Lord…God says, “yep, go”. And this confidence gives all of them strength and courage to go to battle boldly. 

David and his underground army went in and saved the city. Up to now David is undefeated in battle. After he wins the battle at Keilah, his army grows by about 200 men, probably with some of the men of Keilah. 

In vs 6 we are told Abithar brings the ephod (priestly linen) with him. Stop. You need to remember that Abithar is the son of Ahimelech, the priest at Nod, who escaped as Saul was killing everyone at Nod. Saul killed them all because he was mad that they helped David, even though they didn’t really know they were doing something wrong. (You should go back and read that if you haven’t yet.)  So, as I was saying, Abithar brings the ephod which seems strange, but we see David use it in vs. 9! David hears that Saul is plotting against him…AGAIN! So he robes up like a proper priest and inquires of the Lord. The Lord informs him that sure enough, Saul is coming, and sure enough The people who he just saved are going to surrender him. Here in Psalm 31 we get to see a little of David’s heart. 

Praise be to the Lord,
    for he showed me the wonders of his love
    when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
    “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
    when I called to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord.

David and his men scatter to find places to stay in the wilderness…and Saul is seeking him everyday. As a king, this is a ton of time to focus on something which isn’t actually a threat – also this is not what God has called Saul to do with his power. 

How many times in my life have I been fighting against Gods will in order to get done, what I want to get done?  

David is COVERED in God’s favor and Saul is willingly putting himself on the opposite side of God. We are reminded of the family dynamic here as Jonathan is running to the side of David, which puts him opposite the side of his father, Saul. This is an amazing testimony to friendship. David is probably weary, but being with his friend is such encouragement to him. He doesn’t feel alone anymore.  Here we see a bit of how David is feeling in Psalm 31 .

I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
    but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,[b]
    and my bones grow weak.
Because of all my enemies,
    I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
    those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
    I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
    “Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
    and plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”

It seems David was feeling lonely and like he had no one. He was DONE. He was tired and he felt beat down…enter Jonathan to encourage him and remind him of God’s Promises. 

Who are the people in your life who encourage and strengthen you? Who are the people who you consider to be your right hand man? 

As the chapter goes on we see that the people in the wilderness are, the Ziphites, are willing to sell out David in order to receive a blessing from the king and we see that THE PEOPLE know that the desire of the King’s heart is to capture David. It is insane that this is how the kings legacy has preceded him! 

This chapter ends with Saul going after David!!  Only a battle with philistines interrupted Saul’s pursuit of David.

Chapter 24

This is one of the more famous stories from David’s life pre-kingship. In fact, I am willing to bet that unless this story was so amazing and had so much to teach us we may never know that David spent time running from Saul cause we would never have read this part of the bible! Ha.

At this point people are feeding Saul info on David’s whereabouts so as soon as the battle with the philistines petered out, Saul was back on the hunt. But this time with 3000 men! Remember, David has 600. 

David and his men are in a cave that Saul uses as a bathroom.  David’s men (rightfully so) tell him to kill the king. I mean, wouldn’t you too? The king is vicious and relentless in trying to take David out! 

David gets just close enough that he cuts Saul’s robe. The scriptures tell us that his heart struck him. HE FELT THINGS ABOUT THIS!! 

What seems good to him? David is so in tune with the Holy spirit that immediately he knows what the Lord desires of him and his behavior. David does not want to kill the King or if he does, he would rather honor the Lord’s desires. He let Saul walk away with his life.

Have you ever felt this way? Where you start to act in a way, but as soon as you begin you realise that the Lord has something else for you…like what you are doing is wrong.

David actually follows Saul out of the cave and makes Saul, presumably in earshot of his 3000 soldiers. He asks him, “Why are you listening to the words of men who are telling you that I seek to do you harm?”  David is putting his cards on the table. He is full in on what the Lord has for him. But as he tells Saul, “I wont kill you, and may the Lord avenge me against you, but MY hand is not against you. You can stop hunting me now!! Let the Lord be our judge.”

David is using wisdom and exerting a ton of patience and self control. And it seems as though  Saul feels something too. Conviction.

King Saul declares in this moment that David will be a king…and a good one, a better one than himself. He asks Daivd to not destroy his name. 

And Saul left. 

Is this a story of forgiveness? Or is this a story of faithfulness? David has a reason to be mad and to kill Saul. With David’s free will, he chose to pay such close attention to the way that he was being spoken to by the Holy spirit. David responded to the leading of the HOLY when his life was on the line. 

Knowing this story, meditate on this Psalm.

Psalm 63
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

 I hope these Psalms are more powerful to you know than before. I hope you are seeing how important it is to seek first the Lord. He will make our paths straight. Sometimes following the Lord seems to make no sense, but God will honor your faithfulness. 

Hope to see you next Tuesday, 

-Sarah

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