April 13, 2015

 I Samuel 22-24 - So David got away and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all.

Then David went to Mizpah in Moab. He petitioned the king of Moab, “Grant asylum to my father and mother until I find out what God has planned for me.” David left his parents in the care of the king of Moab. They stayed there all through the time David was hiding out.  The prophet Gad told David, “Don’t go back to the cave. Go to Judah.” David did what he told him. He went to the forest of Hereth.

Saul got word of the whereabouts of David and his men. He was sitting under the big oak on the hill at Gibeah at the time, spear in hand, holding court surrounded by his officials... Here you are, conspiring against me, whispering behind my back—not one of you is man enough to tell me that my own son is making deals with the son of Jesse, not one of you who cares enough to tell me that my son has taken the side of this, this . . . outlaw!”  Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, spoke up: “I saw the son of Jesse meet with Ahimelech son of Ahitub, in Nob. I saw Ahimelech pray with him for God’s guidance, give him food, and arm him with the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

Saul sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub, along with the whole family of priests at Nob. They all came to the king.
Saul said,... “Why have you ganged up against me with the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword, even praying with him for God’s guidance, setting him up as an outlaw, out to get me?”  Ahimelech answered the king, “There’s not an official in your administration as true to you as David, your own son-in-law and captain of your bodyguard. None more honorable either. Do you think that was the first time I prayed with him for God’s guidance? Hardly! But don’t accuse me of any wrongdoing, me or my family. I have no idea what you’re trying to get at with this ‘outlaw’ talk.”

The king said, “Death, Ahimelech! You’re going to die—you and everyone in your family!” The king ordered his henchmen, “Surround and kill the priests of God! They’re hand in glove with David. They knew he was running away from me and didn’t tell me.” But the king’s men wouldn’t do it. They refused to lay a hand on the priests of God.  Then the king told Doeg, “You do it—massacre the priests!” Doeg the Edomite led the attack and slaughtered the priests, the eighty-five men who wore the sacred robes. He then carried the massacre into Nob, the city of priests, killing man and woman, child and baby, ox, donkey, and sheep—the works.

Only one son of Ahimelech: Abiathar. He got away and joined up with David. Abiathar reported to David that Saul had murdered the priests of God. David said to Abiathar, “I knew it—that day I saw Doeg the Edomite there, I knew he’d tell Saul. I’m to blame for the death of everyone in your father’s family. Stay here with me. Don’t be afraid. The one out to kill you is out to kill me, too. Stick with me. I’ll protect you.”

It was reported to David that the Philistines were raiding Keilah and looting the grain. David went in prayer to God: “Should I go after these Philistines and teach them a lesson?”  God said, “Go. Attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”
But David’s men said, “We live in fear of our lives right here in Judah. How can you think of going to Keilah in the thick of the Philistines?” So David went back to God in prayer. God said, “Get going. Head for Keilah. I’m placing the Philistines in your hands.”...

Saul learned that David had gone to Keilah and thought immediately, “Good! God has handed him to me on a platter! He’s in a walled city with locked gates, trapped!” Saul mustered his troops for battle and set out for Keilah to lay siege to David and his men.  But David got wind of Saul’s strategy to destroy him and said to Abiathar the priest, “Get the Ephod.” Then David prayed to God:...So David and his men got out of there. There were about six hundred of them. They left Keilah and kept moving, going here, there, wherever—always on the move.

David continued to live in desert hideouts and the backcountry wilderness hills of Ziph. Saul was out looking for him day after day, but God never turned David over to him... 

Jonathan, Saul’s son, visited David at Horesh and encouraged him in God. He said, “Don’t despair. My father, Saul, can’t lay a hand on you. You will be Israel’s king and I’ll be right at your side to help. And my father knows it.” Then the two of them made a covenant before God....

Meanwhile, David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the desert south of Jeshimon. Saul and his men arrived and began their search... Saul was on one side of the mountain, David and his men on the other. David was in full retreat, running, with Saul and his men closing in, about to get him. Just then a messenger came to Saul and said, “Hurry! Come back! The Philistines have just attacked the country!”  So Saul called off his pursuit of David and went back to deal with the Philistines. That’s how that place got the name Narrow Escape... 

When Saul came back after dealing with the Philistines, he was told, “David is now in the wilderness of En Gedi.” Saul took three companies—the best he could find in all Israel—and set out in search of David and his men in the region of Wild Goat Rocks. He came to some sheep pens along the road. There was a cave there and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were huddled far back in the same cave. David’s men whispered to him, “Can you believe it? This is the day God was talking about when he said, ‘I’ll put your enemy in your hands. You can do whatever you want with him.’” Quiet as a cat, David crept up and cut off a piece of Saul’s royal robe.

Immediately, David felt guilty. He said to his men, “God forbid that I should have done this to my master, God’s anointed, that I should so much as raise a finger against him. He’s God’s anointed!” David held his men in check with these words and wouldn’t let them pounce on Saul. Saul got up, left the cave, and went on down the road.
                     
Then David stood at the mouth of the cave and called to Saul, “My master! My king!” Saul looked back. David fell to his knees and bowed in reverence. He called out, “Why do you listen to those who say ‘David is out to get you’? This very day with your very own eyes you have seen that just now in the cave God put you in my hands. My men wanted me to kill you, but I wouldn’t do it. I told them that I won’t lift a finger against my master—he’s God’s anointed. Oh, my father, look at this, look at this piece that I cut from your robe. I could have cut you—killed you!—but I didn’t. Look at the evidence! I’m not against you. I’m no rebel. I haven’t sinned against you, and yet you’re hunting me down to kill me. Let’s decide which of us is in the right. God may avenge me, but it is in his hands, not mine. An old proverb says, ‘Evil deeds come from evil people.’ So be assured that my hand won’t touch you...

When David had finished saying all this, Saul said, “Can this be the voice of my son David?” and he wept in loud sobs. “You’re the one in the right, not me,” he continued. “You’ve heaped good on me; I’ve dumped evil on you. And now you’ve done it again—treated me generously. ... May God give you a bonus of blessings for what you’ve done for me today! I know now beyond doubt that you will rule as king. The kingdom of Israel is already in your grasp! Now promise me under God that you will not kill off my family or wipe my name off the books.”  David promised Saul. Then Saul went home and David and his men went up to their wilderness refuge.

I Corinthians 3 - But for right now, friends, I am completely frustrated by your spiritual dealings with each other and with God.  You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ....

As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?....

Aren’t you being totally infantile over whose side you are on?  Both sides are servants---servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master.  We each carried out our servant assignments.  I planted the seed.  Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.  It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of the process but God, who makes things grow...

What makes it worth doing these servant tasks is the God we are serving.  You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.

Or to put it another way, you are God’s house.  Using the gift God gave me as an architect, I designed blueprints, Apollos is putting up the walls.  Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation!  Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid, Jesus Christ.  Take particular care in picking out your building materials.  Eventually there is going to be an inspection....If your work passes inspection, fine, but if it doesn’t your part of the building will be torn out and started over.  But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive-- but just barely.  

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you?...Don’t fool yourself.  Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times.  Be God’s fool--that’s the path to true wisdom.  What the world calls smart, God calls stupid...I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else.  Everything is already yours as a gift....all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.