Hey friends, I took a week off to celebrate Canada! I hope your summer is a great season to draw away from the busy schedules and draw near to God. We will enjoy another week off in the last week of August. Our summer reading schedule is at the bottom of this post. Thanks for joining me in this amazing journey through the Bible!
Love Came Down with Good Counsel
This Week’s Reading: 1 Samuel 15 – 23
Now they told Beloved (David), the Outsiders (Philistines) are fighting against the Citadel of Praise (Keilah) and they are robbing the harvest!
Beloved asked the Existing One (Yahweh) , “ Shall I go wipe out these invaders?” The Eternal God of the universe answered, “Get going and wipe ‘em out and fully deliver the citadel of Judah.”
Yet Beloved’s men answered, “Look, Beloved, we are terrified right here in this wilderness of Praise, how then can we move forward against the enemy troops at a fortress of Praise, which is right near the enemy lines?
So Beloved sought out the Eternal God of Israel once again. The Eternal Lord responded to Beloved, “Clearly rise up and descend to the Citadel for I, God of all, will deliver those Invaders into your power.”
In the world of fairy tales, the story of Keilah would end here, with David obeying God, Keilah being saved and everyone celebrating their happy ending.
David did indeed go down and rescue Keilah from the greedy ravaging Philistines. David slaughtered them, assumed control of their livestock and delivered Keilah just as God had decreed.
For a moment, it looked like David’s wilderness days were over. No more cave dwelling. No dodging the spears or the armies of Israel. Life in the fortress of Keilah was sweet, secure, a welcome break from hard days camped out in the wilderness of Judah.
Then Saul, King of Israel, dread enemy of David, heard that David was residing at Keilah and called out all of Israel to take down the city. He had already done this before, wiping off the residents of Nob from the face of the earth and savaging slaying 85 innocent priests after hearing that David had sought bread from their hands.
David, upon hearing of Saul’s plans, once again headed straight to God for advice.
“I’ve just verified that Saul is determined to attack and destroy Keilah because I’m here. Will Keilah surrender me? Is that true? Please tell me, your worshipping servant, Eternal God of Israel, is Saul really coming as I have heard, God?”
“Saul will come down.”
“Will these people of Keilah deliver me and my men over to Saul’s containment?”
“They will surrender you over and ensure that you are imprisoned.”
With this counsel, David and his men forcefully left the city and running as fast and far as they could flee, escaped Saul’s capture. To the wilderness David and his men returned, while Saul continued his manhunt for David.
If “greatness” is defined as fulfilling God’s destiny and design for your life for His Kingdom, then for most, the road to greatness is a tough one, truly epitomized in David’s journey. When preachers speak of David’s mighty exploits, many gloss over the long years in the caves and deserts which David spent with a group of men defined only by their distress, debt and discontent. What fabulous company when you are pursuing greatness and instead you are thrust you into the wilderness, hunted and homeless!
Few of us in North America are hunted and homeless as we love and obey God and let Him work out His destiny for our lives, though today, more than ever, persecuted Christians are paying for this pursuit across the globe with their lives.
Galatians 6:8-10 states: And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
I wonder, as Paul penned that phrase, if he was reflecting on his own pursuit of Christ or if he was considering David grief when he laid his life on the line for Keilah and then fled for his own life at their hands as the city cowed before their enraged king.
In our instant North American culture, David’s ascent to greatness, by our standards, would have been painfully slow indeed. Anointed by Samuel as a young boy, David played as a harpist in Saul’s court, slew the giant Goliath on the borders of Philistia, fought in countless battles, married the young princess Michael, and then ran for his life as Saul hunted David in the deserts and forests of Israel, intent only on murder.
If David was a teenager when he fought Goliath (the Scriptures say he was a youth), and he assumed the throne of Judah at thirty (2 Samuel 5:4), David experienced at least a decade on Saul’s Most Wanted list. Once king, David still had to face bloody battles as he warred with his mighty men to establish peace for Israel. Rest had little relevance for David, anointed king of Israel.
Still, David stayed the course and established the kingdom of Israel reigns even today.
What kept David from quitting the pursuit in the wilderness? Why didn’t he retaliate against those cowards in Keilah? Why didn’t he assassinate Saul when he had the chance in that cave? What kept him seeking God’s counsel, especially when disappointments and loss dodged his every step?
David answers our questions in poems like Psalm 4:
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
David sustained his heart in the pursuit of his destiny by knowing his God.
David testifies in Psalm 4 that God had eased David’s distress, had mercy on him and continually heard David’s prayer. Despite the unabated trials that he faced, David knew he was not alone.
God, the great loving, merciful, amazing, powerful God of the universe was right at David’s side, and as he considered this, gladness, not distress was David’s response.
Let’s Pray: O Lord, we confess we weary sometimes under unexpected losses encountered even as we do good You alone make us dwell in safety. You alone bring strength to our hearts. Invade our hearts with the illumination of Your presence, for Your light brings peace, great peace. In due season, we will reap all the rewards of trusting You. In the meantime, Lord, we lift up our faces before You and simply thank You for Your great love. We come to You, Jesus and seek Your rest, that place and space which breaks through the temporal and reminds us each of the eternal truth that You are our wonderful, loving God and Friend. Holy Spirit, help us to run this race and run hard, full of love and joy and peace and righteousness, as together we release the Kingdom wherever You lead us. God of Love and Counsel, we can’t thank You enough that You are right here, to empower and teach and comfort us on this journey. Today, we offer ourselves and simply put our trust in You as David did. We place our hope in You alone, O Lord, our glory and the lifter of our head. Amen.
- David had quite the journey to kingship. What part do you most identify with from David’s life and why? What does his life teach you about perseverance?
- Have you experienced loss even as you are pursuing God? Did it knock you off track? How did you recover?
- What does David do to keep steady in God? What do you do?
- Why was God’s counsel to important in David’s wilderness times? Can you go to God for counsel like David did? Why or why not?
- Serving God doesn’t guarantee an easy life but it does guarantee a fulfilling life. What have you gained from your pursuit of God? What did David? Is generational impact important to you? Why or why not?
Next Week’s Reading: 1 Samuel 24 – 2 Samuel 4
Here is our Summer Schedule. Thanks for joining us as we pursue this journey through the Bible together!
1 Samuel 24 – 2 Samuel 4 July 3-10
2 Samuel 4 -14 July 11 – 17 2015
2 Samuel 15-25 July 18 – 24 2015
2 Samuel 25- 1 Kings 5 July 25 – 31 2015
1 Kings 6 – 16 August 1 -7 2015
1 Kings 16 -22 August 8-14 2015
1 Kings 23 – 2 Kings 6 August 15- 21 2015
2 Kings 7 – 17 August 22 – September 4 2015