Will the Day Ever Come When I Can Stop Running?

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the Old Testament book of First Samuel, which describes the narrative of Samuel the prophet of the LORD, Saul the king of Israel, and David who would become the next king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-seven through thirty-one of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will come to the final chapters of the Old Testament book of First Samuel—and not only the final chapters of this Old Testament book, but also the final days and moments of the life of Saul king of Israel. Upon approaching and coming to these chapters you will find David son of Jesse having spared Saul’s life—not once, but twice—and upon the second time he spared the life of his lord the king, David had actually taken his spear and cruse of water while he was asleep at night. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that not only did David come upon Saul by night, but it was also true that when David came upon Saul he did so while he was sleeping. It is absolutely and utterly fascinating to think about and consider the fact that David came unto Saul when he was most vulnerable, and when he was absolutely and utterly helpless and defenseless. When David came upon Saul there was absolutely nothing he would or could have done to stop David from striking him dead with his own spear, for the LORD had put both he and his men in a deep sleep. As David came upon Saul by night with Abishai, they came upon a completely and utterly helpless and defenseless man who wasn’t even aware of their presence in the midst of the camp. When David and Abishai came unto Saul and his men there in the midst of the camp Saul and all his men were fast asleep as the LORD had caused a deep sleep to come over and come upon them. It would be during the night that David would stand above Saul and would see the spear of Saul stuck in the ground by his bolster—perhaps by his waist for easy access should he need to arise from his slumber and use it. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that David stood over Saul as he was fast asleep and wasn’t even aware of his presence, and he had full and unrestricted access to Saul’s spear. It would have been very easy for David to lay hold of the spear of Saul, grasp it in his hand and plunge it straight into the heart of this man who was once likened unto a father to him. It would have been altogether too easy for David to lay hold of that spear, and to take it and rather than hurl it at Saul, he could have simply used it to strike Saul to the ground as Cisera did to the king during the days of Deborah judge of Israel, and as was done during the days of Moses when the Hebrew man and his Moabite mistress were struck threw with a spear inside his tent.

When we come to these final chapters of the Old Testament book of First Samuel—not only do we find the final days of Saul’s life, but we also find the final days and moments of the lives of his three sons as well. This is actually quite tragic when you think about and consider it, for Jonathan was included among those sons of Saul which were slain in battle. Samuel the prophet spoke unto Saul and declared unto him that the LORD would deliver the children of Israel into the hands of the Philistines, and that both he and his sons would be slain in battle, and it would come to pass exactly as Samuel had declared it unto Saul. What’s so incredibly intriguing about this, however, is when you think about and consider the fact that it would be during this time when the children of Israel would be given into the hands of the Philistines that David himself wasn’t even in the land of the children of Israel. During this time you will not find David anywhere in the land of Israel, nor even in the land of Judah, for at this time David thought and perceived that he would die by the hand of Saul. After having had the opportunity to kill and strike Saul dead—not once, but twice—David had reached a point and place within his heart when he thought and perceived in his heart that he would die by the hand of Saul. If you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twenty-seventh chapter you will find the following words which were spoken by David the son of Jesse after he had just confronted Saul a second time upon sparing his life: “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand” (1 Samuel 27:1). Upon coming to the opening verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of this Old Testament book you will find David speaking and communing with his heart concerning his fate, and actually believing that Saul would somehow be able to strike him down and finally slay him. It’s quite remarkable to think about and consider the fact that David actually reached a point within his running and hiding that he thought and believed that Saul would actually be able to strike him dead and bring him to an end.

As I sit here this morning and consider the words which are written and recorded within the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of First Samuel—not only am I struck with the fact that David spoke within his heart that Saul might actually succeed in taking his life, but in response to David’s concern (perhaps even his fear), he decided to remove himself from the land of the children of Israel and escape into the land of the Philistines. There are two unique and interesting truths which are found and contained within this particular passage—the first being the fact that David began thinking and believing that Saul would actually have the upper hand over and upon him, and could actually strike him dead. Within this passage of Scripture we find David thinking and speaking within his heart and unto himself that he would one day perish by and at the hand of Saul, and it’s necessary that we think about and understand this, for despite the fact that David had two opportunities to strike and kill Saul, he chose not to. David had two distinct opportunities to strike down Saul and put him to death—once in a cave, and another time in the midst of his camp by night—and yet on both occasions David deliberately and intentionally chose to spare Saul and not to strike him down. David deliberately chose to spare the life of Saul, and I am most fascinated by the second time when David could have struck down Saul, for David actually stood by Saul with his own spear struck in the ground beside him. There was David and one of his men standing over a defenseless and helpless Saul as he lie sleeping during the night, and David had unhindered and unrestricted access to the spear of Saul. What do you do when you are not only standing over that one who has wronged you, but you also have unrestricted and unhindered access to that which they have used to strike you down on two occasions? What do you do, and how do you respond when you have full and unrestricted access to that one who has sought to do you so much damage and so much harm? What do you do when you are actually standing before and over your enemy and you clearly have the opportunity to inflict upon them the same degree and measure they sought to inflict upon you? What’s more, is what do you do when they are completely and utterly helpless before you, and it would be incredibly easy for you to do unto them that which they sought to do to you? Would you take that chance and opportunity and view it as an opportunity to finally be rid of them, or would you choose to let the opportunity fade with the night and choose to do them no harm? IT’s worth noting that it wasn’t David who had the thought to strike down Saul as he lie there sleeping that night, but it was Abishai who essentially asked for permission to strike him down with one fell swoop and blow from his own spear.

In chapters twenty-four and twenty-six we find David being presented with two distinct opportunities to strike down his enemy and that one who sought to inflict damage and harm unto and upon him. In the twenty-fourth chapter of this Old Testament book we find Saul entering into the cave where David and his men were, and his men declaring unto him that the day of which the LORD had spoken unto him about had finally come—the day when he would be avenged and rid of his enemy. It’s worth noting that David approached Saul stealthily and secretly, and instead of striking Saul down, he merely cut off a corner and portion of his robe. Instead of taking this opportunity to once and for all smite Saul and bring an end to his life, David chose to allow Saul to live. This is truly remarkable when you think about and consider it, for David had the opportunity to kill Saul, and in our natural and carnal minds we would even think and consider the fact that he even had reason and motive to do so. Perhaps the single greatest truth that surrounds this opportunity to kill Saul—and not just this opportunity, but also the second opportunity David would have to kill him—is that even though in our natural and carnal minds we might think and perceive that David had every right to strike down Saul and kill him, he actually didn’t. Despite the fact that we might think and believe that David had every reason and every motive to strike down Saul—the truth of the matter is that David knew and believed within his heart that despite what Saul had done to him, and despite what Saul was even at that moment trying to do to him, he really didn’t have any reason or motive to strike down Saul. Pause for a moment and think about that statement, for despite the fact that Saul hurled two spears at David, and despite the fact that Saul relentlessly pursued and hunted down David like a dog, David never once believed for a moment that he had proper motive and reason to strike down Saul, and to put his life to an end. David had two chances and two opportunities to strike down Saul and to bring his life to an end, and yet on both occasions David could not bring himself to actually carry it out and go through with it. This is quite telling, for if you and are being honest with ourselves, we might very well admit that we undoubtedly and certainly believe that David had motive and reason to strike down Saul, and that he had every chance and opportunity to do so. There would be some of us who might even think as David’s men did that when Saul was in the cave on that fateful day—completely and utterly exposed—it was the LORD who had delivered Saul into his hands. The truth of the matter is that I can’t help but wonder if the LORD allowed Saul to enter into that cave knowing that David and his men were there as a test to see how David would respond to Saul. What’s more, is that I would even dare say that the LORD allowed Saul to enter into that cave where David and his men were in order to test David and see whether or not he would heed the words of his men and strike down Saul.

I sit here this morning, and I can’t help but think about the two different chances and two different opportunities David had to strike down and kill Saul, and yet on both occasions—instead of using the opportunity to kill Saul, he used it instead to humble himself before the one who sought to do him harm and to profess his innocence before both he and the LORD his God. It’s quite interesting and intriguing to think about the fact that David could have very easily seized one of these two opportunities to strike down Saul and once and for all relieve himself of this relentless and tiring game of chase and flee. David could have chosen one of these two opportunities to deliver himself out of the hand of Saul, and he could have taken matters into his own hands by striking down Saul. Whether in the cave or in the camp David had both the chance and opportunity to bring an end to his enemy, and yet the truth of the matter is that chance and opportunity don’t mean, nor do they signify reason and motive. David had two chances and two opportunities to strike down and kill Saul—once in the camp, and once in the cave—and yet despite having two distinct and two different opportunities, David never felt, nor did he believe for one moment that he ever had motive or reason to do so. There would be those among us who would read these words and who would think about the fact that David not only had the chance and opportunity to strike down Saul, but David also had motive and reason to do so. After all, this man Saul not only hurled two spears at him with every intention of striking him down, but he also sought to have him slain by and at the hands of the Philistines. Moreover, when neither the spears, nor the hand of the enemies could bring David to an end, Saul decided to take matters into his own hands and pursue David to bring him to an end himself. For a period of more than a decade Saul would pursue David within and throughout the land of Judah, which would included wildernesses, forests, strongholds, caves, and the like. For more than a decade Saul would pursue David with reckless abandon and showed absolutely no signs of slowing down the hunt or pursuit. In our natural and carnal minds we would think and consider the fact that David had every right to slaughter Saul and once and for all put him to death, and yet the truth of the matter is that there was never a point in time when David thought or felt that he was justified in putting Saul to death. Even though he knew that he was anointed by the prophet Samuel, and even though he knew he had been chosen by the living God to serve and rule as the next king of Israel, he would not take any shortcut to bring that reality to fruition. David would not engage himself in bloodshed to lay hold of and seize the throne—a reality which we must carefully consider and understand when seeking to understand the life of David son of Jesse.

WHEN YOU SEIZE THE SPEAR, YOU SEIZE THE THRONE! The more I consider the narrative of David the son of Jesse the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that the spear of Saul and the throne upon which he sat were intrinsically linked and connected. There is not a doubt in my mind that had David laid hold of and seized the spear of Saul—not only to grasp it in his hand, but also to use it to slay Saul, he would have undoubtedly seized the throne of Israel by force and in and of his own strength. David could have very easily have picked up that first spear which was hurled at him, and he could have very easily have hurled it back at Saul to strike him down and kill him. Had David laid hold of the spear and hurled it at Saul and struck him down with it, he could have had a fast track to the throne in Israel, however, the fast track and short cut is never and has never been the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God. A similar reality was manifested in the wilderness when the Son of David was tempted of the devil, and the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The devil declared unto the Son of David that authority in the midst of and over these kingdoms had been g oven unto him, and he could give it to whomever he desired and willed. He would be willing to give the kingdoms and thrones of the world to the eternal Son of David if He would but only fall down and worship him. David could have picked up and laid hold of the spear of Saul that night when he and Abishai went down into the midst of the camp, and he could have thrust Saul through with the spear. By striking Saul down and putting him to death, David could have very easily have seized and laid hold of the throne which he knew he would and was destined to sit on. David could have seized the spear, and used it to strike down Saul who was the current and existing king of Israel, and yet by doing do, he would have laid hold of more than just the spear itself, and more than just all the emotions, thoughts and feelings that were directly and intrinsically linked to the spear, but he would have also laid hold of the throne of Saul—a throne that was to be altogether different from the throne which the living God would have given unto David. The LORD would raise up David to sit upon the throne in Israel, yet the throne which David would sit on would not be a throne after the order of Saul’s throne, but a throne which the living God Himself would establish—one of righteousness, equity, judgment, peace, holiness, humility, faithfulness and obedience before and unto the living God. Oh that we would recognize and understand that the spear of Saul and the throne of Saul were intrinsically linked and connected, and that had David ever laid hold of the spear of Saul and used it against Saul—he might very well have laid hold of and laid claim to the throne, however, he would have laid hold and laid claim to a throne that was altogether different from the throne which the LORD sought to establish for him.

THE SPEAR AND THE THRONE! When David and Abishai went down into the midst of the camp of Saul by night, and when David saw Saul’s spear stuck in the ground by his bolster, David could have very easily have laid hold of that spear and thrust it through Saul’s heart, head, or abdomen. David could have made quick work of Saul, or he could have allowed Abishai to lay hold of the spear and strike down Saul. It’s interesting and worth noting that not only did David not lay hold of the spear himself to strike down Saul, but he also would not allow Abishai to lay hold of the spear and use it to strike down this king of Israel. David knew he could have very easily laid hold of the spear that was by Saul’s side, and he could have used it to strike down Saul, however, he knew two things—the first is that laying hold of the spear would have been to lay hold of a different type of throne than what was destined for him, and Saul was still the anointed of God. David knew and understood that despite the fact that Saul was pursuing him and hunting him down, he was still the LORD’s anointed, and was still the king of Israel. So long as Saul was alive he would remain the anointed of the LORD, and he would be that one who would rule and reign over the throne of Israel. David deliberately and intentionally chose—not once, but twice—not to strike down and kill Saul the king of Israel, for so long as he took a breath on this earth he was indeed and was in fact the anointed of the LORD. This is important for us to recognize and understand, for David could have very easily have picked up the spear of Saul and used it to strike him down and kill him, but doing so is an absolutely and incredibly dangerous action—just as much as picking up the spear which was thrown at you and hurling it back. If there is one thing I absolutely love about David, it’s that not only did he flee from the spear which was thrown at him twice rather than picking it up and throwing it back at Saul, but when he actually had access to the spear right next to and over top Saul, he deliberately and intentionally chose not to lay hold of that spear and strike Saul with it. Even when David was confronted with the spear of Saul—perhaps the very spear which was hurled at him earlier on—he could have laid hold of it and used it to strike Saul, however, he chose not to strike Saul, nor even to allow Abishai to do it. How absolutely wonderful it is that not only would David not stretch forth his hand against the anointed of the LORD, but he also was unwilling to allow another to stretch forth their hand against the anointed of the LORD. It’s one thing not to stretch forth your hand against that which is anointed by the LORD, but it’s something else entirely different to prevent someone else from stretching forth their hand against the anointed of the LORD.

As I sit here today, I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely wonderful and incredible reality that when you come to the twenty-seventh chapter of this Old Testament book you will find David speaking within his heart—after having two distinct opportunities to strike Saul and put him to death—concerning Saul bringing his life to an end. After David and Saul parted ways after this final interaction between the two of them, they would never see each other again. It’s actually quite interesting to think about the fact that after this final interaction between David and Saul the two of them would never see each other again, as in the final chapter of this book you will find the Philistines killing all three of Saul’s sons, and Saul being wounded by an archer. After realizing and recognizing that he had been wounded by an archer, Saul commanded his armor bearer to strike him down and strike him through with the sword. Scripture reveals how the armor bearer refused to strike down Saul king of Israel, and that as a direct result of this, Saul fell upon his own sword and died. When his armor bearer saw that Saul had fallen upon his own sword and had perished, he too fell on his own sword and perished there on the battlefield. The book of First Samuel would end and conclude with the children of Israel suffering defeat at the hands of the Philistines—and not only suffering defeat at the hands of the Philistines, but also Saul and his three sons dead on the battlefield. It’s worth noting that the book of First Samuel ends almost the same way as it begins, for in the opening chapters of the book we find the children of Israel suffering—not one, but two distinct defeats at the hands of the Philistines. As a result of the second defeat at the hands of the Philistines, Hophni and Phineas were killed, and the Ark of the Covenant of God was taken. In the final chapter of this book we do not find the priests of the LORD being killed, and we do not find the Ark of the Covenant being captured by the enemy and adversary of Israel, but we do find the people of God once more being defeated by their enemies as they would fall into their hands. While it wouldn’t be two priests of the LORD that would be struck down and killed in the battle, it would be Saul king of Israel who would fall upon his own sword, and his three sons being killed as a direct result of the battle. What an incredibly tragic thought it is to think about and consider the fact that not only does the book of First Samuel end with the people of God being defeated by their enemies and adversaries, but it also ends and concludes with the king of Israel and his three sons also being dead as a direct result of the battle. The Ark of the Covenant would still remain and abide with the people of God, however, the people would be defeated, and the king as his three sons would be dead.

If there is one thing I find to be absolutely astounding about the language that is contained in the twenty-seventh chapter of this Old Testament book of First Samuel, it’s that David spoke within his heart concerning Saul the king of Israel, and thought that he would bring his life to an end. David spoke within himself and communed with his heart and perceived that Saul would not only one day find him, but would also strike him down and put him to death. One of the greatest truths we have come to know is that hindsight is always 20/20. We always have the clearest picture of our past when we are staring at it from the present, or from some time in the future. What’s more, is that as we read the words which are found within the final chapters of this book we have the luxury and benefit of knowing how the story ends. We know that when David and Saul parted ways after this second encounter, neither one of them would see each other again. The distinct reality concerning this, however, is that David had absolutely no idea that Saul would never see him again, and that Saul would never hunt him down or pursue him again. Despite the fact that David thought and believed within his heart that Saul would find him and put him to death, he had absolutely no idea that neither he would see Saul again, nor Saul would see him again. When David and Saul parted ways on this particular day, I would venture to say that neither one of them knew that they would never see each other again. What’s more, is that there was absolutely no way David would and could have known that the next time Saul would go out to fight and engage the Philistines in battle and conflict it would be his last time, for the ultimate outcome would be that he would perish in the midst of battle. David had absolutely no clue, nor did he have any idea that when both he and Saul parted ways that day that Saul would be wounded in battle by a Philistine archer, and that rather than being captured by the Philistines, or rather than tortured and then executed by the Philistines, he would take his own life. I have to admit that it’s quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that David had absolutely no way of knowing that when he and Saul parted ways after confronting him with his own spear that he would never see Saul again. There was absolutely no way that David would and could have known that Saul would have been struck in battle by a Philistine archer, and that as a result of his being wounded, he would fall upon his own sword and perish. When the twenty-seventh chapter of this book begins and opens, it does so with David thinking and believing that he himself would perish, as he would have absolutely no idea that it would actually be Saul that would perish. Here David was thinking and believing that he would perish at the hand of Saul, and yet what we actually find is Saul perishing by his own hand after being struck by an arrow from a Philistine archer.

The twenty-seventh chapter is quite unique and powerful when you think about and consider it, for within this chapter—not only do we find David fearing for his life, but we also find as a direct result of David fearing for his life his going down into the territory of the Philistines. After spending a number of years on the run from Saul king of Israel and dodging his pursuits almost as quickly as he dodged his spears, David would finally reach the place where he would essentially no longer run, and would choose to settle in the territory of the Philistines. What is worth noting and understanding is that even though David might not have been moving from forest to stronghold, from wilderness to forest, and running from Saul in the natural sense, he was still running. What we must recognize and understand is that even David’s abiding in the territory of the Philistines was running and fleeing from the murderous hand and threat of Saul. While on the surface it might look as though David had finally stopped running and had finally reached a place where he no longer had to run—remaining and abiding in the camp and territory of the Philistines was still running. It might have looked like David had finally reached the point and place where he might have experienced rest and peace within his life, we must remember and understand that he was still in the land and territory of the Philistines. The Philistines we know and understand were a people who were continually oppressive toward the children of Israel, and continued to provoke and afflict them. It’s quite astounding to think about and consider the great lengths and measures we can and are willing to take when we are seized and gripped with fear within our hearts. David found himself in an incredibly vulnerable place as he was overcome and overwhelmed with fear concerning Saul and his being able to overtake and put him to death, and as a direct result of this fear, David found himself journeying into the territory of the enemy and abiding among them . David had spent so much time running from the murderous hand and threat of Saul king of Israel that he was finally ready to enter into the place where he would find rest for himself and rest for his man. Scripture is unclear on this point, but I can’t help but wonder if both David and his men had grown tired and weary of running and hiding, and if they were finally ready to settle down and stop running. Is and was it possible that David and his men had reached the point and place where they were finally looking for some sense of normalcy in their lives, and experiencing life together with their wives and children?

The more I read and consider the words which are written and recorded within these chapters, the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the fact that David had reached the point and place within his time running where he undoubtedly became fearful within himself—fearful that Saul who had spent so much time hunting him down would finally come upon him and strike him down. It’s absolutely fascinating to think about and consider the fact that David had spent so much time on the run, and had even found himself confronting Saul on two different occasions, and now we find him experiencing fear within his heart and soul—perhaps for the very first time. There seems to be no indication anywhere in Scripture that David was fearful prior to this moment, however, at this particular juncture it is absolutely undeniable that David had found himself in a place where fear had not only seized, but also captivated his heart. David experienced a very real fear within his heart that Saul would somehow find him, and upon finding him, would come upon him. David had absolutely no idea that Saul would never see him again, nor that Saul wouldn’t have the chance to pursue him again, nor even that Saul would perish in one final battle with and against the Philistines. David had absolutely no clue when looking at his present situation that Saul would find himself once more entrenched in a battle with the Philistines, and that it would be the Philistines who would play a part and role in his perishing. It would be an arrow from a Philistine archer that would strike Saul and wound him so much that he would actually choose to fall upon his sword. Rather than being captured by the Philistines, and rather than being brutally executed by the Philistines, Saul instead chose to fall on his own sword and take his life. Not only this, but Saul would even take his armor bearer to the grave with him, as his armor bearer would fall on his sword as well. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand this, for David reached the point in his time running when fear would finally lay hold of him, and when fear would finally seize and grip his heart. David had finally reached the point where he actually believed the Saul would be able to find and overtake him, and would be able to strike him down and put him to death. It’s actually quite astonishing to think about the fact that after spending so much time successfully evading Saul—albeit undoubtedly looking over his shoulders, and possibly even sleeping with one eye open (if that’s even possible)—David would finally reach the point where fear would lay hold of his heart, and he would actually be concerned with whether or not Saul would be able to consume and come upon him. David had spent a decade plus running and hiding from Saul, and yet when we come to the twenty-seventh chapter of this Old Testament book we find David being overcome and overwhelmed with fear.

IT’S AMAZING WHAT FEAR CAN DRIVE YOU TO DO! IT’S AMAZING WHAT PATH FEAR CAN SET YOU ON! IT’S AMAZING TO CONSIDER WHAT JOURNEY FEAR RATHER THAN FAITH CAN SET YOU ON IN THIS LIFE! Upon beginning to read with and from the opening verses of this chapter we find David being overcome and overwhelmed with fear before Saul king of Israel, and that Saul would somehow be able to find and overtake him, and as a direct result of this fear David and his men would go down into the territory of the Philistines. Instead of remaining and abiding in the land and territory of the children of Israel, David would take his two wives, those six hundred men who were with him, and would go into the land and territory of the Philistines. Pause for a moment and think about the tremendous reality that the fear which was present within David’s heart was so real and so pervasive that it actually drove him to enter into the territory of the enemy and to abide there with his wives, the six hundred men that were with him, and their wives and children. If there is one thing we must recognize and learn when reading the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of this Old Testament book, it’s just how deadly and dangerous fear can truly be within our lives, as fear can drive us into places we never thought imaginable. When fear is allowed to seize and lay hold of our hearts it can lead us into places that we would otherwise have never even thought or anticipated being in. For David, fear would cause him to leave the territory of his birth, and the land of inheritance, promise and blessing, and enter into the territory of the enemy. For David—when fear was allowed to seize and grip his heart, he would venture into territory that he otherwise would not have thought to enter. It’s one thing to hide in forests, in caves, in strongholds, in wildernesses, and the like within the inheritance of the people of God, but it’s something else entirely to flee from the place of inheritance, to flee from the place of promise and blessing, and enter into the territory of the enemy. David’s heart was so incredibly fearful that he actually allowed himself to leave the land of Judah and enter into the territory of the Philistines to abide with them. What’s more, is that he would even go and stand before the king of Gath—Achish—and entreat him for a place to dwell in the midst of their territory. This would be in addition to an earlier time when David entered into the territory of the Philistines and upon being recognized, feigned and portrayed himself as being mad before finally and ultimately departing from the land and returning unto Judah.

As you continue reading the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will find the tremendous path that fear set David on, for having spent the better part of a decade plus running, fleeing and hiding from Saul wondering if and/or when he would somehow come upon him, David finally found himself in a place where fear would lay hold of his heart and drive him into a place where he had been before, but where he had actually come out of. If there is one thing that’s important to recognize and understand when reading the narrative of David’s life—particularly and especially concerning this time period during his life—you will notice that this wasn’t the first time he had found himself in the territory of the Philistines. If you read earlier on in the narrative of David’s life you will find that he indeed came into the territory of the Philistines previously, and how upon being in the territory of the Philistines he feigned himself as mad when he realized that they knew who he was. When David entered into the territory of the Philistines the very first time, he did so perhaps incognito, and yet it was discovered who he truly was when he entered in among them. Eventually and ultimately David would exit the territory of the Philistines and would return unto the land of Judah. Now here we are a certain period of time later—how much later we actually don’t know—and we find David being driven once more into the land and territory of the Philistines. It’s worth noting and considering the fact that when David found himself in the land and territory of the Philistines this time, it was out of and from a place of extreme fear, as David spoke within and unto himself how he would one day perish from the hand of Saul. What’s more is that David would actually make the statement within and unto himself that there was nothing better for him than to speedily escape into the land of the Philistines, for within the land of the Philistines there was absolutely no chance that Saul would seek after and pursue him. Upon reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that it was told Saul that David had fled unto the city of Gath, and upon hearing that David had entered into the land of Gath, Saul gave up his pursuit of David and once and for all would leave him alone and leave him be. I still continue to find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that when David found himself in this place of fear within his heart and soul, he had absolutely no clue or idea that the last time he had seen Saul after confronting him with his spear and water cruse that he would never see the face of Saul again. Hindsight is always 20/20, and looking back over his life I am sure David realized that second encounter with Saul would have been the last time he would see Saul, but at this particular moment during his life he had absolutely no reason to think or even believe that Saul would not overtake him and cause him to perish from within the land. David certainly feared for his life, and feared that Saul would finally overtake him within the land of Judah, and in order to escape and flee from the murderous hand of Saul, David would flee and enter into the territory of the enemies of Israel.

If you read the twenty-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find that David arose and passed over into the territory of the Philistines with six hundred men which were with him, and came unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath. Moreover, David dwelt with Achish at Gath—both he and his men, every man with their household, and even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. Once in the land of Gath David spoke unto Achish the king of Gath and declared unto him that if he had found grace in his eyes, would he give him and his men a place in the country, in order that he might dwell therein. David did not believe that he should dwell in the royal city with the king, and would therefore dwell outside the city with his men. It’s important to note where David and his men would live and dwell in the midst of the land of the Philistines, for the city which was given unto them to live and dwell in would come in to play just three chapters later in this Old Testament book. Upon hearing the request of David, Achish was pleased to give David and his men the city of Ziklag—Ziklag which would be a city that would belong unto the kings of Judah unto the present day when this narrative and account was written. In the seventh verse of this chapter we learn and discover that the total amount of time David spent in the county of the Philistines was a full year and four months, thus sixteen months altogether. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that for more than a year David and his men would be outside the place of the inheritance, promise and blessing, and would actually live and dwell behind enemy lines. Earlier on in this Old Testament book we find and discover the Ark of the Covenant being behind enemy lines, and wreaking havoc and terror among the Philistines. For a period of seven months the Ark of the Covenant would be behind enemy lines, and would abide in the cities of Gath, Ashdod and Ekron, and it would during that time the LORD would strike the men of those cities with tumors. What’s more, is that the time the Ark of the Covenant would be found present within and in the midst of the land and territory of the Philistines would begin and would be marked with their god Dagon being found on his face before the Ark of the Covenant—not once, but twice. The second time the Philistine god Dagon would be on its face before the Ark of the Covenant his head and the palms of his hands would be cut off and would be upon the threshold of the entrance to the temple. Now here we are several years later and it’s not the Ark of the Covenant that’s behind enemy lines, for it was now safely back in the land and territory of the children of Israel. Instead of the Ark of the Covenant being found present in the midst of the land of the Philistines, we find David and his men living and dwelling in the city of Ziklag.

The second half of the twenty-seventh chapter describes how during the time David and his men lived and dwelt in the cities and towns of Ziklag, they would go up and invade the Geshuites, and the Gentiles, and the Amalekites, for those nations were of the old and ancient inhabitants of the land. From as far as the land of Egypt David would smite ancient enemies which had dwelt and remained in the land, and smote the land while leaving neither man nor woman alive. Moreover, David and his men would take away the sheep, and the oxen, and the assess, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned and would present themselves before Achish. When Achish would ask David where he and his men had journeyed and traveled during those days, he would respond by declaring how they had moved against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. What’s more, is that when David and his men would set out on these journeys and battles they would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring tidings unto Gath, for David would not allow them to speak of that which he and his men had truly done within and in the midst of the land. The actions which we find David engaging in would be his manner of behavior throughout all the days he and his men dwelt in the city of Ziklag and in the territory of the Philistines. The twenty-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel would conclude with David and his men living and dwelling in the land and territory of the Philistines, and how Saul and his men would never set out to pursue David again. IN the twenty-eighth chapter of this Old Testament book we find Samuel the prophet dying and how all Israel lamented and mourned over him. What’s worth noting and considering is that at the same time Samuel the prophet died and was buried in Ramah, the Philistines would come up against the children of Israel and would set themselves in array against them. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that at the same time the prophet of God died, the enemies and adversaries of the children of Israel—this longstanding and ancient foe—would come up against them as they had done so many times previously. When the Philistines came up against the children of Israel this time, however, the prophet Samuel was no longer present in the midst of the land of Israel. Not only this, but Saul would set out to inquire of the LORD concerning how he should proceed against the Philistines—an inquiry that would be met with silence from the LORD, as the LORD would not answer, nor would he respond to him.

With and upon the death of Samuel the prophet in the midst of the land of Israel, Saul would take drastic measures in order to get some type of guidance and some type of direction, so he would come unto a witch in En-dor—one whom he would have conjure up one whom he would reveal unto her. When asked whom it was she should conjure up, Saul responded by declaring unto her that he wanted her to conjure up Samuel the prophet in Israel. When Samuel arose and emerged from his place in the earth, the witch was terrified at the sight of Samuel, for she realized that the man who was before her was Saul king of Israel. After assuring her that no harm would come upon or befall her, Saul asked her what she saw—to which this witch responded by declaring that she saw gods emerge from the earth, and one who bore a mantel upon his form. Upon realizing that it was Samuel whom she saw, Saul would begin speaking unto Samuel the prophet who was now before him. When speaking unto Samuel the prophet of the LORD, Saul declared unto him that the Philistines had set themselves in array against the children of Israel, and that as if this weren’t bad enough, the LORD would not answer him—either by prophet, nor by Urim and Thummim, nor by any other means. Samuel would listen to the words of Saul, however, Samuel would rebuke Saul, for Saul was a man with a rebellious heart toward the LORD. Samuel proceeded to remind Saul how her had transgressed against the commandment of the LORD, and how he had sinned against the LORD in the matter of the Amalekites, for when Saul was given the command to utterly and completely destroy them, he spared Agag the king of the Amalekites, as well as the best of the flock, the best of the herd, the best of the cattle, and all that was pleasant and good in the sight of both himself and those who were with him. Moreover, Samuel would go on to declare unto Saul that the children of Israel would go out into battle against the Philistines, and that the children of Israel would be given over into the hands of the Philistines. In addition to the children of Israel being given over unto the hands of the Philistines, both Saul and his sons would perish in the midst of the battle, and they would be where Samuel was the next day. Upon hearing the words which Samuel spoke unto him, Saul’s strength failed within him, and he would have fainted had both this witch and his servants which were with him encouraged him to take and eat something, so as to provide him with strength. It’s worth noting and considering the fact that Samuel not only declared that the children of Israel would once more be delivered into the hands of the Philistines as they had been defeated at the very outset of this book, but also that Saul and his three sons would perish in the midst of the battle. In the opening chapters of this Old Testament book we find the children of Israel being defeated at the hands of the Philistines, and how Eli’s two sons were killed in battle, and how the Ark of the Covenant had been taken. Now here we are at the end of the book, and we find the children of Israel once more being defeated by and at the hand of the Philistines, and how Saul’s three sons would perish in the midst of the battle, and how Saul himself would die by his own sword as he would fall upon it.

When you come to the twenty-ninth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find the Philistines gathering together all their armies to Aphek in order that they might engage the children of Israel in battle. The Philistines would march against the children of Israel by hundreds and by thousands with David and his men passing on at the rear with Achish. It’s actually worth noting that when David and his men were with the Philistines at this particular point in time—it almost appears as though David and his men would have engaged in battle and conflict against the children of Israel. You almost get the sense that David and the men who were with him would have fought together with the Philistines against the children of Israel were it not for the princes of the Philistines questioning Achish as to why David and his men were there in the battle with them. The princes of the Philistines did not trust David and his men being with them in the midst of the battle, and feared that David and his men would not only turn on them, but would also align themselves with the people of Israel once more and would help them in utterly and completely defeating them. Achish would ultimately be persuaded and convinced by his princes concerning David and his men and would instruct David and his men to return unto Ziklag, for he and his men would not go forth with them into battle against the children of Israel. It’s quite remarkable to think about and consider the fact that when David heard the words of Achish king of Gath, he was discouraged by his words, for he had faithfully been with and served him during his time living and dwelling in the midst of the Philistines. Achish acknowledged unto David that he had surely been faithful and upright, and all his endeavors while living and dwelling in the midst of the land of the Philistines had been good in his sight, and that he had not found evil in him from the time he came unto him unto that present day. Achish did not and would not doubt the integrity of David, and would not doubt or deny that David behaved himself wisely when he lived and dwelt among the Philistines, yet when it came to fighting alongside the Philistines in battle against the children of Israel which were his own people, David and his men would not be permitted to go out with them into the battle. Instead, David and his men would return unto the city and town of Ziklag which had been given unto them. This would actuality prove to be an interesting turn of events, for even though David and his men would not go forth into battle with the Philistines, they would return to Ziklag and find themselves having to confront an enemy and adversary anyway. David and his men would not engage the children of Israel in battle and conflict on this day, however, when they returned unto the city of Ziklag, they would find it burned with fire, and all the women and children being taken and captured by the Amalekites. This is actually quite remarkable when you think about it—not only from the sense that the Amalekites should have already been destroyed from the earth, but also that David and his men had previously fought and engaged the Amalekites in battle and conflict.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I can’t help but consider the narrative that is found in the thirtieth chapter of this Old Testament book, for when David and his men would return from the battle ranks with Achish king of Gath and all the Philistines, they would return to the city of Ziklag being burnt with fire and all the women and children being captured and carried away. Initially David’s men sought to stone him because of this unfortunate series of events. With all their wives and children having been captured and carried away by this ancient enemy and foe which had been present in the earth since the time the children of Israel emerged out of Egypt, the men who were with David spoke of stoning him because of the capture of their wives and children. How incredibly powerful it is that David not only encouraged himself in the LORD, but also asked for the ephod to be brought unto him, and inquired of the LORD whether or not he and his men should go forth and smite the Amalekites to recover that which had been captured and seized from them. The LORD would indeed respond to David, and would not only instruct him to go out against the Amalekites, but also declared unto him that he would surely recover everything that was captured and taken from him. Please don’t miss the absolutely incredible importance of this particular passage of Scripture, for David and his men would come back to fire in the city and captured wives and children, and yet the LORD would instruct them to rise up and march against the Amalekites, for they would be delivered into the hands of David and his men. When the LORD spoke unto David he declared unto him that he would not only overtake them, but he would without fail recover everything that was taken from them. Oh there is an old song that carries the language “I went to enemy’s camp, and I took back what he stole from me,” and I can’t help but be reminded of this particular song when thinking about the words and language in this chapter, for not only would David and his men march out against the Amalekites, but they would overtake them and recover everything that was taken from them. In the New Testament Jesus declared of the thief that he comes to steal, to kill and destroy, and within this narrative we are given a powerful picture of a thief which not only destroyed, but also stole and quite possibly might have killed those whom they had captured. David and his men, however, would pursue the Amalekites, and would come upon them suddenly, and with great force, and would completely overtake them and recover everything the adversary had taken and stolen from them. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that this wouldn’t be the first time David would recover that which was captured by an adversary, for when speaking unto Saul king of Israel David would declare how when a lion came against the flock and snatched one of the sheep, David rose up against the lion and snatched the lamb from the mouth and paw of the lion. Moreover, David would rise up and strike the lion and kill it on that particular day.

The words and language we find in the thirtieth chapter are truly and absolutely remarkable and astonishing, for although David and his men would return to their home being burned with fire, and although they would return to their wives and children being taken and captured by the enemy, the LORD would assure them they would pursue and overtake them, and would recover everything that had been taken and stolen from them. The question I can’t help but ask you as I bring this writing to a close is what has the enemy taken and stolen from you. If you are truly willing to be honest with yourself, and with the LORD your God—what has the enemy taken and stolen from you? Has the enemy taken and stolen your peace? Has the enemy taken and stolen your joy? Has the enemy taken and stolen your faith? Has the enemy taken and stolen your trust and confidence? Perhaps the enemy has taken and stolen one of your children, or perhaps even your marriage. If you look over and upon your life on this day, and you are willing to be truly honest with yourself—what has the enemy taken and stolen from you that needs to be recovered and brought back? What I so love about this narrative is that the enemy and adversary would not return and restore that which was stolen and captured, but David and his men would need to pursue the enemy and engage them in battle in order that they might recover everything that had been stolen. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand this, for the same rule and principle applies to us within our own hearts and lives, as the enemy has never and will never restore and return anything he has taken and stolen from us. If you are waiting for, hoping for and expecting the enemy to somehow return that which he has taken, stolen and robbed from you, you will be waiting until the day and time of Christ’s return. Upon bringing this writing to a close I would encourage you who have found the enemy and adversary having stolen and captured something within your life to encourage yourself in the LORD, to seek the LORD, and to rise up and pursue the enemy in order that you might recover everything that has been stolen and robbed from you. You were not meant to allow the enemy to have the upper hand in your life, and the enemy was never destined to have permission to steal, to kill and to destroy within your life. Oh that you would this day rise up against and pursue your enemy in order that you might completely and utterly overtake the enemy and recover everything that has been taken and stolen from you. What’s more, is that the LORD didn’t merely declare unto David that he would recover some of what had been captured and taken, but that he and his men would recover all and everything that had been taken. Oh that we would recognize these words and that we ourselves would rise up in the strength and might of the living God and would rise up and pursue the enemy, and would recover and take back everything that has been stolen from us.

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