Fight or Flight: We Stand With You

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Samuel, which describes the days of Samuel the prophet of Israel, Saul the king of Israel, and David who would become the next king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage would be found in chapters twenty through twenty-three of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find David—this shepherd boy who was anointed to be the next king of Israel—fleeing for his life from the murderous threats and desires of Saul king of Israel. As I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the narrative of David king of Israel, I can’t help but think and consider the fact that when he was anointed by the prophet Samuel in the midst of all his brethren, and before his father, he never anticipated, nor did he expect to find himself running from and fleeing for his life. I am sure that when David felt the oil running down over his head he neither thought, nor imagined that he would become the next king of the nation and kingdom of Israel—and certainly not having to spend more than a decade as a fugitive and vagabond in the midst of the territory and inheritance of the people of the LORD. If you study the narrative of the life of David you will find that he was one who was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel, and from the time he was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel throughout the rest of his day, the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him. It’s worth understanding and considering the fact that David would be anointed as king of the nation and kingdom of Israel, and even that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him, and yet both the anointing and the presence of the Spirit within and upon his life would prepare him for the most intense training and preparation of his life. Up to this point David simply tended, cared for, looked after and shepherded his father’s flock, but that would all change once the prophet of the living God showed up in the midst of the town of Bethlehem. Once Samuel showed up on that fateful and decisive day everything within the life of David would dramatically change, for I would dare say that it was after he was anointed by the prophet Samuel, and as the Spirit of the LORD began coming upon him, he found himself confronting both a lion and a bear that would come against the flock which he was responsible for. There is not a doubt in my mind that it wasn’t until after the Spirit of the LORD began coming upon David that he found himself encountering and experiencing both the lion and the bear, and it was in the strength and might of the Spirit of the living God that he was able to rise up against both foes and enemies and strike them down dead.

If you turn and direct your attention back to the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Judges you will encounter a judge by the name of Samson who was consecrated unto the LORD from his mother’s womb. This man would be consecrated as holy unto the LORD and would neither drink strong drink, nor allow any razor to come upon his head. At one point during his life the Spirit of the LORD would begin moving him at different times and at different seasons, however, the Spirit would not yet come upon him. It wouldn’t be until Samson would journey down to Timnath in the territory of the Philistines that he would encounter a young lion that would roar against him. Scripture doesn’t record, nor does it describe whether or not this lion actually charged at or made an advance toward and against Samson, but what we do know and do understand is that the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon Samson, and as a direct result of the presence of the Spirit Samson would rend the young lion to pieces as one would a kid. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this, for when we study the life and narrative of David who would be the next king of Israel we find the Spirit of the LORD coming upon him after he had been anointed as the next and future king of Israel. It would be after David was anointed as the next king of Israel that the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him, and I firmly believe that it would be during those moments when the Spirit of the LORD would come upon David that he would begin to experience those things that would prepare him for the road and path to the throne. If Samson was able to rise up against the young lion and rend him to pieces in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit after He had come upon him, then I am completely and thoroughly convinced that the same holds true of David king of Israel. When David stood before Saul king of Israel there at the battle between the children of Israel and the Philistines, and when he spoke of how he had experienced both a lion and a bear that had risen up against the flock, he spoke how he slaughtered and killed both the lion and the bear. This is truly astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for there is not a doubt in my mind that it was only in the strength of the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit came upon him that he was able to rise up against the lion and the bear.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely tremendous reality that when the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD first came upon Samson the judge in Israel, He came upon him and enabled him to rend a young lion to pieces. I am convinced this is truly significant when you think about and consider it, for when you study and consider the narrative of David who would become the next king of Israel you will find the Spirit of the LORD coming upon David from the time he was anointed by Samuel the prophet of the LORD. I would dare say that no sooner would the anointing oil cease flowing down upon David’s head that the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him in such a mighty and powerful way. What’s more, is that when David began speaking unto Saul concerning those times when a lion and a bear rose up against both he and the flock which he was responsible for caring and tending after, he was speaking of a time when the Spirit of the LORD began coming upon him. There is not a doubt in my mind that David would have been able to rise up and strike both the lion and the bear without and apart from the Spirit of the LORD coming upon him. In fact, I would dare say that David’s first two tests as he prepared to become the next king of Israel would be this lion and this bear—both of which would threaten the flock of his father. This training would be absolutely necessary when you think about and consider it, for it would be this training that would prepare him for that time when a different foe and a different adversary would rise up against a different flock—the flock of Israel, which belonged to God his Father. It would be these foes and these adversaries that would rise up against the flock of Israel which David would have to rise up against, and which David would have to engage in conflict and battle. It would be these foes, these enemies and these adversaries that would rise up against in the strength and power and might of the LORD his God—just as he did against the lion and the bear. I firmly believe with all my heart that the lion and the bear which David faced and experienced in the field when he watched and cared for his father’s flock were mere training grounds and mere stepping stones to prepare him for that which he would face, experience and endure when he would rule and reign as king over the nation of Israel. I can’t help but see a strong and powerful similarity between David and Samson, as both would enter the ranks of lion killers, and both would do so in the strength and power of the Spirit of the LORD. What’s more, is that it would be their struggle and conflict with lions that would prepare them for the conflict they would enter into and experience with the Philistines. How absolutely remarkable and wonderful it is to consider the fact that the best scourges against the Philistines would be those who first learned how to strike down and smite lions in the unseen and private realm.

LION KILLERS MAKE THE BEST GIANT KILLERS! LION KILLERS MAKE THE BEST SCOURGES OF THE ENEMY! The more you think about and the more you consider the training and preparation of David king of Israel, the more you will come to the conclusion that there is a strong similarity between both he himself and Samson who was one of the final judges of the nation and people of Israel. Samson would be chosen, ordained and appointed by the living God to begin to deliver the people of God out of the hand of the Philistines, and the very first time the Spirit of the LORD would come upon Samson, it would be to enable him rise up against a young lion that would roar against him. What’s more, is that when the Spirit of the LORD came upon Samson that first time against the lion it would be the first of many times when the Spirit of the LORD would come upon Samson in order that he might be endowed with supernatural strength that would enable him to actively engage the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle. I find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the tremendous fact that both David and Samson would experience the Spirit of the LORD coming upon them, and both would strike down a lion in the power, the strength and the might of the Spirit of the LORD. What’s more, is that the strength the Spirit of the LORD would give them to strike down the lion which rose up against them in the private and personal realm would be the same strength they would need and use when facing and confronting the Philistines who would provoke and afflict the people of God. It would be Samson who would begin the process of delivering the children of Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and he would be a scourge in their side in and according to the strength and might of the Holy Spirit of the living God, and it would be David who would finish and complete the process of delivering the children of Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. It would be David who would strike down and smite a lion in the personal and private realm in the strength, the power and might of the Holy Spirit, and it would be that same strength and that same Spirit that would enable David to face his next challenge, which wouldn’t be a lion in the field, but a giant in the valley. THE PATH FROM THE LION IN THE FIELD TO A GIANT IN THE VALLEY! In all reality, there is one thing that connects the field to the valley, and one thing that connects the lion to the giant, and that would be the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within and upon the life of David who was anointed as the next king over Israel. It would be the person, the presence and the power of the Spirit that would enable Samson to rend to pieces the lion, and it would be that same presence and power that would enable Samson to scourge the Philistines and afflict them in great measures.

I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that even though David was anointed as the next king of the nation and kingdom of Israel, he would find himself being thrust into an intensive time of preparation and training to make him ready for the throne. How absolutely astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that David would be anointed as king over Israel, the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him, and he would win great victories on behalf of the people of God, and yet he still wouldn’t immediately sit on the throne of Israel. There would be a period of thirteen years where David would not only enter into an intensive time of preparation and training, but also when he would be forced to flee and run for his life. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the lives of men of God who found themselves fleeing at one point or another in their life. You will recall that Moses fled from Pharaoh after it was discovered that he had slaughtered and murdered an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. You will recall how Elijah the prophet of the living God fled from the murderous threats of Jezebel, and would make his way into the wilderness and unto the mountain of God in the midst thereof. What’s more, is that you will find David himself fleeing for his life, and fleeing and running for more than a decade. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that David was anointed as king over Israel, and the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him from the time of his anointing onward, and yet he would spend more than a decade fleeing and running for his life that he might escape from the murderous threats of Saul king of Israel who sought to slay him and put him to death. We dare not and must not miss this absolutely incredible reality, for although David was indeed and was in fact anointed by the prophet Samuel, and although he was hand-picked and specifically chosen by the living God to rule and reign as the next king of Israel, he would have to spend more than ten years fleeing for his life from the murderous threats and intentions of Saul king of Israel. It’s truly astonishing to think about and consider the fact that David could be anointed by the prophet Samuel as the next king of Israel, and he could experience the Spirit of the LORD coming upon him, and yet even with the presence of God on his life and the anointing oil upon him, he would not yet be qualified to sit upon the throne over the kingdom of Israel. Even though David was anointed by the prophet Samuel, and even though the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would be upon him, David would spend more than ten years running for his life in forests, in wildernesses, in caves, in strongholds, and the like. There would be a period of ten years where David would be thrust from his wife, thrust from his brethren, thrust from his parents, thrust from Jonathan who was like a brother unto him, and the life which he had known.

ANOINTED TO FACE A LION! ANOINTED TO FACE A BEAR! ANOINTED TO FACE A GIANT! ANOINTED TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY! ANOINTED TO ENGAGE THE ADVERSARY! ANOINTED TO DODGE SPEARS! ANOINTED TO ENDURE THE ANGER AND RAGE OF A MAD KING! ANOINTED TO FLEE! ANOINTED TO RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! While these phrases might not seem like they even remotely line up with the reality surrounding the life of David king of Israel, it’s necessary and imperative that we understand that while it was true that David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of the nation and people of Israel, he was anointed for more than simply sitting upon the throne that would eventually be upon the throne in the city of Jerusalem. There is this underlying and pervasive tendency to think about and consider how our being anointed deals specifically and solely with our stepping into that which the LORD our God has for us, and more often than not we fail to recognize and understand the reality that our being anointed of the LORD isn’t solely for the purpose of stepping into that for which we were and have been called to do, but also to endure that preparation which is required before we are released to step into what the living God has for us. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for to do so is to miss out on the fact that David was indeed anointed of the prophet Samuel to rule and reign as the next king of the nation of Israel, however, that anointing would not immediately place him on the throne in Israel. We find that David was anointed as king over the nation of Israel instead and in place of Saul, however, what we find immediately following the anointing is the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon him from that day forward. I continue to believe and continue to hold fast to the fact that it was the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit that enabled David to face both the lion and the bear when they rose up against the flock, and attempted to snatch away one of the lambs of his father. There is not a doubt in my mind that when David faced and when David encountered the lion after it had snatched one of his father’s sheep in its mouth, it took place after Samuel had anointed him to be the next king of Israel, and after the Spirit of the LORD began coming upon him. The narrative of Samson—one of the judges in Israel—is one that describes how the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him when a young lion roared against him, and how Samson rent and tore apart the lion as one would a young kid. If Samson needed and required the strength, the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit to rend this lion to pieces when it roared against him, then it would naturally hold true concerning David that when he rose up against the lion which turned against him, he would need the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to strike it down. What’s more, is that when David describes his killing of the lion that rose up against him, he describes how he grabbed the lion by the beard and proceeded to kill it with his bare hands.

How absolutely unique and telling it is to think about and consider the fact that David was anointed as the next king of Israel, and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David with great power and might, and yet the first two tests he would face would be a lion and a bear that would threaten the flock which he was responsible to look after, care for and watch over. It would be his encounters with both the lion and the bear that would position David and give him the courage, the boldness, the confidence and the faith to be able to go out against the Philistine giant Goliath from the city of Gath. What’s more, is that I am convinced that the same Spirit that enabled David to strike down both the lion and the bear was the same Spirit that enabled David to strike Goliath with nothing more than a sling and a stone. With no military training, and without a sword, spear or shield, David was able to fell this Philistine giant with nothing more than a sling and a stone, and was able to bring the giant crashing to the earth. What’s more, is that David would take the sword belonging to the giant, and would use that same sword to strike off the giant’s head. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they immediately began retreating from their place on the opposite mountain as the children of Israel marched after them, pursued them, and overtook and struck them down at the gate of Ekron. On this particular day David the shepherd boy from the town of Bethlehem would strike down and slaughter a giant, and would bring about a great salvation and great victory in the ranks of the children of Israel. It would be David’s willingness to face the giant that would open the doors for the children of Israel to engage their enemy and adversary—a reality that proves and demonstrates that sometimes within our lives it is our willingness to stare down and face the giants which are before us that sparks faith, courage, trust and confidence in the hearts of the people of God. There are times within our lives when our willingness to stand before the giant and engage them in battle does something within the hearts and spirits of those who were once paralyzed and gripped with fear. There are times within our lives when our willingness to confront the giant(s) within our lives that causes men and women around us who have been seized, gripped and paralyzed with fear to rise up in pursuit of their enemies and adversaries, and to smite them even at the very gates of their territory. WHEN THE GIANT FALLS IN THE VALLEY, THE PEOPLE OF GOD PURSUE THE ENEMY TO THE GATES OF HIS TERRITORY. It was David’s willingness to stand before the giant and face him in the valley that would enable the people of God to rise up against their enemy, and rise up against their adversary in order that they might strike them down as far as the gate of their territory. Oh how truly wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that David would confront Goliath in the valley of Elah, would fell the giant to the earth with a sling and a stone, and would strike off the giant’s head with his own sword.

When and as you consider the narrative of David king of Israel it’s worth noting and considering that while it was true that the LORD would bring about a great victory among the children of Israel as a result of David’s willingness to stand before this giant, his victory over this giant would set in motion a period during his life when he would find himself with a bullseye and target on his back. David who would become captain in the army of Israel, and would ultimately become son in law to the king would find himself being hated and hunted by the man who sat upon the throne. Oh, what do you do and how do you respond when you find yourself being hunted and hated by one who is in authority and power—power and authority that was given unto him by the living God. It’s true that David was anointed to be the next king of Israel, however, the LORD had not yet given David the throne, the authority, nor the kingdom. Instead, that which David received was a decade long dance with the madness of a king who would seek to strike him down and put him to death. David would strike down both the lion and the bear, and David would fell the giant to the ground and strike off his head with his own sword, and yet almost immediately after being used by the living God to bring about a great salvation and victory in the midst of the land of Israel, David would find himself being marked and hated by Saul king of Israel. It’s worth noting and pointing out that not only did Saul find offense with the women of Israel ascribing to David tens of thousands in battle, but he also took offense to David being loved by his daughter, and even successful in battle. Undoubtedly Saul saw what great measure of success David was having, and that the hand of the LORD was upon him while an evil spirit from God was permitted to torture him, and as a direct result of this experience, Saul would seek to put David to death. On at least two occasions David would be playing his harp in the company and presence of Saul when the evil spirit would come upon him, and Saul would take the spear and javelin that was by him and hurl it at David. Oh imagine what it must have been like for David to play the harp one minute, and in the next minute he would have to dodge and duck out of the way to avoid being pinned to the wall with the spear. What’s more, is that not only would David find himself being targeted by Saul with his spear and javelin, but so also would Jonathan Saul’s own son be targeted with and by the spear and javelin of Saul his father. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for David’s being anointed as the next king of Israel, and David’s experience with the power, the presence and the person of the Holy Spirit would position him to spend more than a decade on the run from the murderous threats of Saul king of Israel. David knew that he would be the next king of Israel, and yet David would spend more than ten years running for his life—not only in the land of Judah, but also within the territory of the Philistines.

We wouldn’t think that being anointed by and chosen of the living God would position us to be in a place where we would run and flee from the presence of one who would seek to strike us down, however, the narrative of David would be such where he would not only have to dodge spears and javelins that would be thrown at him, but he would also find himself ultimately having to flee from the house of his father, flee from the town of his birth and nativity, and flee from his wife and his place in the service of Saul. If you begin reading with and from the tenth verse of the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find the following words which were written concerning David the shepherd boy from Bethlehem who would be anointed to rule and reign as the next king of Israel: “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the veil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, and as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them” (1 Samuel 18:10-16). Within these verses we find Saul seeking to strike and pin David to the wall of the place where he sat, and how David avoided out of his presence twice. Moreover, we find within this passage of Scripture the fact that Saul would remove David from his presence, and would set him as captain over a thousand. As if it weren’t enough for Saul that he would eye David with suspicion and caution, we also find Saul being afraid of David because he recognized that the LORD was with him, while the LORD was no longer with him. If and as you continue reading within this chapter you will find that Saul’s anger and rage toward David continued even more and that he sought to give unto him his daughter Michal who loved David as his wife in order that she might become a snare unto him. Moreover, we find that Saul even desired that the hand of the Philistines would be against David. Moreover, you will find that Saul would not ask a dowry of David to marry his daughter, but would instead require of him one hundred Philistine foreskins. What we must recognize concerning this assignment and task is that Saul sent David on this assignment and mission thinking, hoping and expecting David to be struck down and killed in battle, and yet not only did David come back with one hundred Philistine foreskins, but he would come back with twice that number. It was at this point when Saul not only saw how much his daughter Michal loved David, but also how much the LORD was with him in everything he did.

I find it absolutely incredible that even though David was anointed to serve as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel—it’s almost as if that anointing didn’t set him on a short path to the throne in Israel, but rather, it fast tracked him to a road marked with trouble, difficulties, struggles, conflict, affliction, and even opposition. Although David was anointed as the king of Israel—that anointing would almost seem to position him for conflict, for struggle and for spending more than a decade fleeing and running for his life from the murderous hand of Saul the king of Israel. David as anointed by the prophet Samuel, and he was chosen by the living God from among the sheep folds, and yet both the anointing and the presence of the Holy Spirit would position him to face the lion and the bear, to face the Philistine giant from Gath, to engage in conflict and warfare against the Philistines, and ultimately to learn how to dodge spears. Who would have thought that the anointing of God would have positioned you to learn how to dodge spears and javelins. Pause for a moment and think about that fact, for although David was anointed by the prophet Samuel, and although David would experience the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within his life—both would position him to learn how to dodge spears and javelins which were hurled at him. David would find himself in the company of a king gone mad, and on two separate occasions Saul sought to pin him to the wall by hurling a spear and javelin at him. It’s worth noting and so Diering that there are times within our lives when the anointing of the living God, as well as the person and presence of the Holy Spirit positions us in a place where we find ourselves not necessarily needing strength to slay a lion or a bear, nor confront a giant on the battlefield, but to dodge spears and javelins which are being hurled at us. There are times within our lives when the person and presence of the Holy Spirit is with us to help us dodge those things which are hurled at and against us. What’s more, is that I would even dare say there is something even greater that is needed from the person and presence of the Holy Spirit in this instances when spears and javelins are thrown at us—namely, not fleeing, running from and dodging the spears, but making the decision not to pick up the spear, or wrest it out of the wall and throw it back at the one who threw it in the first place. It’s absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that instead of picking up the spear and hurling it back at Saul, he chose to avoid getting hit by the spear, and flee from the presence of Saul. Even with that being said, it’s worth noting and understand that there are times within our lives when although the physical spears might be dodged by us—the unseen and invisible spears end up hitting their target and their mark. What I am referring to are those spears which strike our heart and our soul when we realize that there is someone—perhaps even multiple individuals—who are seeking to throw spears at us in the first place.

DODGING PHYSICAL SPEARS WHILE GETTING HIT BY UNSEEN SPEARS! The more I think about and consider the narrative of David, the more I can’t help but think about the fact that while it might be true that David not only dodged the physical spears and javelins that were hurled at and against him, and although he fled from those spears which Saul hurled at him, there were unseen spears that would hit their mark. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand, it’s that although we might very well dodge and avoid being struck by physical and actual spears and javelins, the unseen and invisible spears that accompany them are true to their mark and strike with tremendous force and might. The physical spears might very well have missed David, however, when David fled, he fled with the knowledge that Saul—this man who was his own father-in-law, and this man who brought him into his palace—had anger, malice and hatred in his heart toward David. Moreover, David had to dodge the spears and flee from the presence of Saul knowing full well that Saul intended on killing him. If David wasn’t quick or fast enough to avoid the spears which were thrown at and against him, he might very well have found himself in a place where he was either seriously injured, or even dead. Imagine what it was like for David to flee from the palace and house of Saul knowing that Saul had just hurled a spear at him. What’s more, is imagine what it was like after the second spear was hurled at David—a second spear which David was able to dodge and avoid. Even though David was able to dodge those spears which were thrown at him in the physical and natural realm, there were unseen spears which would pierce his heart and his soul. This isn’t to say that those spears had truly accomplished their intended purpose in inciting David to bitterness and offense with Saul, but rather that David had to wrestle alone with God on the run, and wrestle with Him concerning the knowledge that Saul had indeed tried to destroy and put him to death. I am absolutely convinced there were countless nights when David was on the run and he had to wrestle with God concerning Saul who had not only sought to hurl one spear at him, but two spears. The Psalms give us a tremendous glimpse into this particular period of David’s life when he was not only on the run from the murderous hand and threats of Saul, but also when he had to wrestle with the living God concerning those spears which had pierced his heart and his soul. More often than not it isn’t the physical and natural spears which are seen with the physical eyes that do the most damage, but the unseen spears which are hurled at our hearts and souls, and more often than not hit their mark. David was able to avoid and dodge the physical spears that were hurled at him in the natural realm, however, there were those unseen spears that were true to their mark, and which struck his heart and soul. The underlying question we must ask is not necessarily whether or not we will dodge the spears which are hurled at us and choose not to pick them up and hurl them back, but what we will do with those spears which are unseen and strike their mark within our hearts and souls.

The more I read and the more I consider the words which are written within these chapters the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the fact that while it is true David was chosen by the LORD and anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king in Israel, it seems that both the anointing of the prophet Samuel, and the presence of the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD upon the life of David positioned him—not so much to engage the lion and the bear, nor even the Philistine giant Goliath from the city of Gath, but for more than a decade of running and fleeing for his life. What would originally begin as David being brought into the house of the king to play the harp for him to help bring peace to his troubled heart and soul when the evil spirit from God tormented him would eventually turn into two occasions when Saul would hurl a spear and javelin at David in order to strike him down. What was meant to be a time of peace would be transformed into a time of conflict, strife, animosity, and the like because of an evil king who would seek to smite David. It’s quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that Saul didn’t merely try to strike David with a spear once, but he actually attempted it twice—both times while David was in his presence playing the harp in order to bring peace and rest to his troubled and tormented heart, soul and mind. It would be a direct result of these two instances and occurrences that would thrust David from the presence of the king and from the place of esteem and honor in the sight of the king to a place of running and fleeing for his life. This young shepherd boy who had slain the Philistine giant from Gath, this young shepherd boy who had gone out before Israel and Judah in battle against the Philistines would now become public enemy number one in the midst of the kingdom as Saul would allow his jealousy, his intimidation, and his fear of David to drive him into a place where he would seek to kill him. It’s interesting and worth noting that what would begin with spears being thrown at David while playing the harp would eventually morph and be transformed into something far more sinister and far more severe within the life of David. Because of these two times when Saul sought to strike David down by hurling spears at him, David would eventually rise up from the midst of the palace of Saul and the place in his presence, and would flee for his life. Pause for a moment and think about this absolutely extraordinary reality, as David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel, he had been chosen by the living God, and the presence, power and person of the Holy Spirit was upon his life, and yet it almost seems as though these distinct realities thrust David into a life of running, a life of hiding, a life of fleeing, and a life of escaping for his life.

LIFE ON THE RUN! CALLED, BUT RUNNING! ANOINTED, BUT FLEEING! CHOSEN, BUT RUNNING! The more you read and the more you study the life of David the king of Israel the more you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that he was one who was called, chosen and anointed by the living God to stand before him as the next king of Israel, and yet despite that anointing, despite that calling upon his life, he would spend more than a decade running—running from the murderous hand and threats of Saul. What’s more, is that what would begin in the palace of Saul would eventually be transformed into more than a decade of running and hiding in the wilderness of Judah, in forests, in caves, in strongholds, and the like, as David would seek to evade capture and save his own life. It almost doesn’t seem to make sense that David would be anointed by the living God to be the next king of Israel, and yet in the midst of his being called, chosen and anointed, he would spend a decade plus running and fleeing for his life. What’s even more interesting and intriguing is that there are psalms which were written, recorded and found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms that describe what was going through the heart, the soul and the mind of David during this time, as David undoubtedly was thrust into a place of complete and utter trust and confidence in the living God whom he worshipped, whom he loved, and whom he faithfully served. If you read the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will encounter strong and powerful words which were written to describe just what went through the heart, the mind and soul of David during this time as more often than not he felt surrounded by his enemies. What’s more, is that there were times when David felt completely and utterly alone and isolated, and when David found himself without anyone around but the living God whom he had grown to love, worship, follow and serve. Even with that being said, however, it’s worth noting that during this time of being on the run—not only did the LORD provide David with a brother in Jonathan the son of Saul, but eventually, when David came to the cave of Abdullam, the LORD would bring unto him six hundred men who were distressed, discouraged and distressed. Not only this, but the LORD would also bring unto David his father and mother, as well as his brethren. Despite the fact that David was on the run and oftentimes felt alone, there would come a period of time when the LORD would surround David with six hundred men who would gladly and happily give their lives for his.

If you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twenty-second chapter of this Old Testament book you will encounter the awesome and incredible reality that when David found himself all alone in a cave as he was hiding out form Saul king of Israel, there would be those who would be brought unto him—those who were distressed, those who were discouraged, and those who were in debt. Essentially, that which the living God had done for David was surround him with a band of brothers who would not only abide with him in the place of flight, but who would also abide with him in the place of fight. Oh there is something to be said about those who are not only willing to stand and abide with you in the place of flight, but those who are also willing to stand with you in the place of fight. It’s one thing to stand beside you when everything is going well in your life, but it is another thing to stand beside you when everything seems to be awry and amiss before and all around you. What I so absolutely love about the twenty-second chapter of this Old Testament book of First Samuel is that the living God not only surrounded David with men for flight, but the living God also surrounded with men for the fight. It is something truly astounding and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that David would find himself—not only being surrounded by six hundred men, but would also become captain and leader over them for the duration of his time fleeing from Saul, as well as during those years he would rule and reign as king over Israel. I have to admit that there is something truly powerful about those who are not only willing to stand with you during days and times of flight, but also during days and times of fight. FIGHT OR FLIGHT, WE STAND WITH YOU! IN FIGHTING WE STAND WITH YOU, IN FLEEING WE STAND WITH YOU! WHETHER ON THE RUN OR ON THE BATTLEFIELD, WE STAND WITH YOU! Oh how absolutely astonishing and incredible it is to think about and consider the awesome reality that when David came and entered into this cave he entered it alone, however, when and as he would leave the cave he would leave surrounded by four hundred men. Consider if you will the words which are found in this chapter beginning with the first and opening verse of the chapter:

“David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me. And he brought them before the king of Moab; and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold. And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth” (1 Samuel 22:1-5).

Please don’t miss the awesome and incredible significance of what is written and found within these verses, for when David left the land of the Philistines—specifically the city of Gath—he came and dwelt in the cave of Adullam. I have to admit that I absolutely love the words which are found within the first five verses of this chapter, for while it is true David came to the cave of Adullam alone and by himself, news would reach his brethren and his father’s house that he was at the cave. As a result of the news reaching his father’s house and his brethren, all of them would come unto him and abide with him there in the cave. What’s more, is that the LORD didn’t see fit to bring unto David just his brethren and his father’s house, but also all those who were in distress, all those that were in debt, and all those that were discontented. IN other words, the LORD didn’t surround David with all those who seemed and appeared to have it all together, but rather with those who would be fiercely loyal and committed unto David. I feel the need to pause here and emphatically declare that there is something to be said about loyalty, for loyalty and commitment is something that no amount of money here on the earth can buy. Perhaps one of the greatest possessions we can have in this earth is the loyalty and commitment of those who are willing to stand with us, and those who are willing to stick with us regardless of the circumstances. WhatI so absolutely love about this passage of Scripture is that not only did the living God surround David with men who were willing to run with him, but also men who were willing to fight with him. Can I be bold right here and declare that there is something to be said about those who are not only willing to fight with you, but also those who are willing to run with you. When each and every one of those four hundred men came unto David, and when each of them aligned themselves to David, they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. They knew that they were signing up for a life on the run, and a life rolling with the the most wanted man in all of Israel. ALIGNING YOURSELF WITH PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE! SIDING WITH THE MOST WANTED MAN IN ALL OF ISRAEL! There is not a doubt in my mind that each and every one of these four hundred men knew exactly what they were doing and exactly what they were getting themselves into when they came unto David- What’s more, is that at any point in time one or more of them could have left that cave and returned to their place within the land of Israel. At any point in time one or more of those who had come unto David there at the cave could have returned unto their place in the midst of the land of Israel, and unto the place of inheritance. None of the four hundred men which came unto David were under any obligation to remain and abide with David—certainly not in the cave, certainly not on the run, and certainly not in battle. David didn’t hold a sword, or a spear to any of their heads and demand loyalty and commitment.

LOYALTY CANNOT BE DEMANDED! LOYALTY CANNOT BE COERCED! LOYALTY CANNOT BE MANIPULATED! One of the most astonishing and remarkable realities concerning David and those four hundred men who had come unto him there at the cave of Adullam is that each and every one of those men would remain loyal and committed to him. This is absolutely remarkable—particularly and especially when you think about and consider the fact that David neither demanded, nor insisted that any of them remain loyal and committed to him. David did not send letters to all Israel and Judah inviting those who were interested to come unto him there at the cave. David didn’t send invitations into the land of Israel and Judah inviting those who were in trouble to come unto him, and yet the living God knew that David would need brothers who would be not only be loyal and committed to him, but also those who would be willing to run with him, and those who would be willing to fight with him. Perhaps the most astonishing and intriguing reality surrounding David at the cave of Adullam is that the LORD didn’t merely bring unto David those who would abide with him there in the cave and then return unto their homes and their places of residence in the land of Judah, but rather, the LORD brought unto David those who would abide in the cave with David, leave the cave with David, and remain with David for the remainder of both his life and their lives. When the LORD brought these men unto David, he brought unto him those who were willing to lay their lives down and commit themselves to David. We know for a fact that his brethren knew that he would become the next king of Israel because Samuel anointed him in their presence with the anointing oil. We aren’t clear, nor are we certain whether or not the others who came unto David during this time knew or were aware of whether or not he would become the next king of Israel, but we can be sure that they came unto David because they had great respect for him. Earlier on in the narrative of David you will find that all Israel and Judah loved David because he went in and out before them. I would dare say that when these men came unto David there at the cave of Adullam, they came unto him out of sheer and utter respect for him, for they had watched how he had behaved himself wisely, and more wisely than others during that time period.

Pause for a moment and think about and consider the tremendous reality that all those who came to David did so out of respect and love for him, for it was David who went out before them against their enemies, and it was David who engaged their enemies and adversaries during the days and time he was commander over a thousand in the army of Israel. When these men came unto David there at the cave, they came unto him out of love, and they would remain with him out of loyalty. Oh that we would recognize and understand the tremendous importance and value of love and loyalty, and how these are perhaps two of the greatest necessities in any relationships we have within our lives. It’s one thing for us to be surrounded by others, but it’s another thing to be surrounded by others who will not only love us, but who will also remain loyal and fiercely loyal unto us. The men whom the LORD brought unto David there at the cave of Adullam would not only love David, but they would also be fiercely loyal unto him. This is a powerful combination—particularly and especially when you consider the fact that most of them would come unto David with their own baggage and drama so to speak. Scripture records and reveals how those who came unto David were either distressed, or in debt, or discontented, and when you combine that type of baggage with love and loyalty you have a wonderful and powerful combination for those who would stand with and stand beside David. Those men would come unto David there at the cave of Adullam, and they would also leave the cave with David—not only to run with him, but also to fight with him. I can’t help but be reminded of the three hundred men who stood with Gideon to engage the MIdianites, as well as the non-biblical narrative of those three hundred men and soldiers who stood with Leonidas king of Sparta, and who dared fight alongside him as he resisted the Persian Empire and Xerxes. Two biblical examples and one non-biblical example, and yet they all point to the same reality of those who are willing to risk their lives together on the battlefield. The four hundred men who came unto David there at the cave of Adullam would commit themselves to running and hiding with David, as well as to stand side by side with David and fight with him against the enemies and adversaries of the LORD. Oh it’s worth noting that even when David was running from Saul he was still fighting, and was still fighting against the enemies and adversaries of the LORD. Within this period of time during the life of David—not only do we find him running and fleeing for his life, but we also find times when he would engage the enemy and adversary of Israel. Even though David would be fleeing from the murderous hand of Saul king of Israel, he would still find himself fighting against enemies and adversaries during that time. IN all reality, we must recognize and understand that this time period during David’s life was not merely a time of flight, but it was also a time of fight, for David would still find himself engaged in battles and conflict against the enemies and adversaries of the LORD.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I can’t help but come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that the different battles, the different conflicts, the different struggles David and his men encountered and faced during this time were absolutely necessary, for while running and fleeing taught them to run together, fighting against the enemies and adversaries of Israel would teach them how to fight side by side with each other. I am convinced that these battles and conflicts were absolutely necessary for David and his men, for the battles, the conflicts and the struggles they would face would be the training ground for David and his men to eventually fight as part of the army of Israel later on when David would sit upon the throne in the city of Jerusalem. It would be during this time when David and his men would not only learn how to run with each other, but they would also learn how to fight with each other. I find myself this morning thinking about and considering the fact that I honestly don’t have any such individuals in my life right now—those who would not only run with me, but also those who would fight with me. I remember a time when I had those brothers who I knew of a certainty would have run with me, and those who would have fought with me, and those relationships have long since dissipated and dissolved. At this present point within my life I can honestly say that I can count on one hand (and still have fingers left over) the number of people who would run with me, and who would fight with me. This narrative and reality not only brings me face to face with the reality that it might very well be necessary for me to align myself with others to run with them and to fight with them, but also for others to align themselves with me, and both run and fight with me. I am reminded of the show Band of Brothers, and, I am finding myself desperately desiring my own band of brothers, and those who would be willing to not only stand with me, and not only run with me, but also fight with me. Moreover, I am finding myself wondering who among and who around me I can stand with, who I can run with, and who I can fight with in order that we might be able to stand together as a unified people before the living God, and in the face and presence of our enemies and adversaries.

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