painting by Benjamin West
1 Samuel 27 and 28 with Psalm 141
The last we saw of David, in ch. 25-26 we saw David spare Saul’s life YET AGAIN! David seems to have learned a lesson of the heart at this point. He honors saul, but has 0% trust in him.
The encounters of Saul and David are by definition, insane. David has had enough “cat and mouse” and decided that it is best for him to just flee. He goes to the philistines territory to live. Do you see that in order for him to feel safe he has to live behind enemy territory? He Knows that Saul won’t hunt him there. Verse 4 tells us that when Saul heard that he was there, he no longer sought him.
David is given actual land in the philistine territory, called Ziklag, and he resides here with his people for 16 months. What is his livelihood, you may ask?! serving Achish…A LEADER OF THE PHILISTINES! What is happening!
David spends months raiding towns and bringing back the spoil. David would literally wipe out the entire town. Here is the catch. David is raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites and bringing the spoils back to make Achish very wealthy and powerful. Now, in 1 Sam. 15:3 we read that the Amalekites were a city that stood in opposition to the Israelites and the Lord had commanded them to be wiped out. Saul had not finished the Job (ultimately this was the straw that got him un-anointed) but David does. In this line up of who David is raiding we see that he is raiding people with old feuds against the Israelites…but what does he tell Achich? He tells him he is raiding Israelite towns. Yes, he is lying. And what does this do, it builds up trusts between Achish and David. Achich not only trusts David, but loves to have him on his side. Achish believes that because of the things David has been doing (because he believes David when he says he is raiding Israelites) he is not going to be welcomed by Israel ever again so he will have to remain under the leadership of Achish.
We have no notes on what the Lord may have thought about David’s lifestyle in this time. But it seems so out of the ordinary for him to spend his time raiding, wiping out entire cities, lying, and serving enemies of israel.
How do we live faithful lives when our situations seem to be out of our control, and so other than holy?
David seems to never stop seeking righteousness.
Psalm 141 gives us an idea of David’s heart during this time. He never stops advocating for righteousness in his life. His cries to the Lord offer us insight.
Psalm 141 – A psalm of David.
1 I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. 2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. 5 Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. 6 Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken. 7 They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.” 8 But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord, in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death. 9 Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
vs. 4 may shows up that he was desiring to live in this world, but not be consumed with it. Have you ever heard the saying, “Be in the world, but not of it”? I believe that this is a taste of what this looks like.
He was forced into a situation that was less than ideal for a man who was to become king. His heart, though, remained steadfast in seeking the Lord as his desires were set on righteousness.
Ch 28 begins in the troops getting ready battle. The Philistines vs Israel. Achish (on the Philistine side) is leading David…”you do know that you are fighting on our side, right?” and David says, “YEP, you have seen me, you know I’m here and you know what I can do.” and Achish makes him his bodyguard for life!
We learn that Samuel is dead, which leaves no one there to speak wisdom or direction or council into Saul’s life. He sees the army of the philistines and he is terrified. He seeks the Lord on his own and hears CRICKETS (that means nothing)…this is when he takes matters into his own hands – which seems to always have been Saul’s downfall. Here we find Saul seeking out methods which he knows to be evil, because he is the one who removed them from the land!!
Saul disguises himself and takes men to see a medium who summons up Samuel for them. She is betrayed and she is upset! Saul just wants to know what she sees. Samuel does appear to Saul, he tells him what he already knows; “The Lord has turned from you and has carried out what he spoke to you through me.The kingdom isn’t yours, its Davids…and because you didn’t obey the Lord will give Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines..TOMORROW!! You and your sons. ”
Samuel says something to Saul that should stun us, ”If you aren’t or haven’t been willing to listen to God, why would you work so hard to hear from me.”
Who are we seeking for advice and why!? Do we look for people or do we seek the Lord? And if we are looking to people to lead us, do we take time to know who/what they are seeking?
Saul was done and he knew it. This was the end. All of his people encouraged him to eat and he finally did. Being strengthened just enough to go to battle knowing that he was going to die.
How can reflect on this and make changes in our lives?
Saul goes to great lengths to get what he wants, even though the desired outcome would never be anything better.
This seems like the first time that Saul actually listens to what God says. He goes to face the philistines in the battle.
What are we willing to do when we are desperate?