Quit Expecting the Lord to Bring Into Your Life Those Who Have It All Together: Your Eyes & Expectations Are In the Wrong Place

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles which describes the days of the life of David king of Israel who was anointed by the prophet Samuel in the presence of his brethren. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the first verse of the twelfth chapter and continues through to the twenty-fourth verse of the fifteenth chapter. THE CAVE! ZIKLAG! HEBRON! THE GOD WHO BRINGS BROTHERS TO YOU! THE GOD WHO SURROUNDS YOU! THE GOD WHO BRINGS YOU WHAT YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED IT! THE GOD WHO KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED! THE GOD WHO WONT LET YOU RUN ALONE! THE GOD WHO WONT LET YOU FIGHT ALONE! Wen you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find something truly remarkable taking place within the life of David—namely, two powerful descriptions of the activity of the living God within his life at different seasons and at different times within his life. As you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will find two distinct time periods of David’s life being mentioned at this time—namely, that time when he had fled to the land of the Philistines to escape the murderous hand of Saul, and that time when he was in Hebron prior to his being anointed as king over the nation of Israel. It is actually truly remarkable to read and consider the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the truly remarkable sovereignty of God, and His absolutely providence and control during all seasons of our life. Permit me to pause for a moment right here and ask you a very pointed and powerful question—the question of whether or not you truly believe in the sovereignty of the living God within your life. Do you truly believe in the sovereignty of the living God over all your circumstances, over all your situations, and over each and every season of your life? If you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will quickly encounter and come to the place where you encounter two distinct seasons within David’s life—two seasons which took place at two very different times. We dare not and must not miss the truly remarkable significance of this reality, for to do so would be to miss out on that which the living God desires to do, and what the living God has already done within our lives. I AM IN CONTROL OF THE SEASONS OF YOUR LIFE! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but hear the voice of the Spirit not only emphatically declare that He is in control of the seasons of our lives, but I can also hear the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD declaring that he is in control of those individuals who enter into our lives during those seasons. The more you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, the more you will encounter the fact that not only was the living and eternal God sovereign over these two distinct seasons within the life of David, but the living God was also sovereign over those relationships which David experienced during those seasons.

RELATIONSHIPS AND SEASONS! As you come to these particular verses found within this passage of Scripture—not only will you come to the place where you will see two distinct seasons and times within the life of David, but you will also see a powerful testament to relationships within the life of David during these particular seasons within the life of this particular man. It’s actually quite interesting that in both of these seasons David was ultimately preparing to enter into that for which he had been specifically called and chosen by the living God. As you read these words carefully you will find that one season which is presented before us is when David was still running from the murderous hand of Saul, and still trying to escape for his life so as not to be overcome and overwhelmed by this king who had gone mad. The twelfth chapter begins and opens up with a powerful description of David when he had come unto the Philistine city of Ziklag, and how after David had two distinct opportunities to slay and raise up his hand against Saul the anointed of the LORD, he deliberately and intentionally chose to spare his life. If you read the book of Second Samuel you will find that David essentially had two distinct chances to lift and raise up his hand against Saul king of Israel—once in a cave when Saul came in to relieve himself and to cover his feet, and a second time when him and Abishai entered into the ranks of Saul and his men stealthily by night. In both of these instances and cases we find the same individual speaking unto David and almost tempting and inviting him to lift up his hand against Saul in order that he might slay him and once and for all put him to death. It’s truly intriguing to think about and consider the fact that in the natural and physical realm David had two distinct opportunities to advance himself to the throne in Israel, and to to murder Saul in order to get there. In all reality, David had two distinct opportunities to put an end to Saul, to put an end to his running and fleeing for his life, and to in all reality advance himself to the throne. The tremendous dangerous surrounding this, however, is that David would have sought to operate outside of the timing and outside of the divine plan and will of the living God. David could have very easily lifted and raised up his hand against Saul, yet it’s important to realize and recognize that at this point in time Saul was still the anointed of the LORD, and that he still sat upon the throne of Israel. Had David chosen to lift up his hand against Saul on either of these instances and either of these cases he would have stretched forth his hand against authority—and not only authority, but that authority which the living God had indeed and had in fact set up and established in the midst of the land.

The narrative which we find and read within the twelfth chapter is actually truly remarkable, for while we read the words and language that is found and contained within it, we must recognize that there were at least three distinct seasons within and during David’s life when the LORD not only exercised His sovereignty over those seasons, but also when the living God exercised His sovereignty over the relationships within David’s life. If there is one thing that is truly remarkable and intriguing about this reality, it’s that there were three different places, and three distinct seasons within David’s life when the living and eternal God intervened in both seasons and places in order that He might align others to David. It’s truly remarkable to think about the fact that during at least two of these seasons David was not only running from the murderous hand of Saul, but at least one of them involved David and those who were with him being outside of the land of Israel, outside of the land of promise, and outside of the inheritance of the living God. Before you can truly understand what is found and written within this particular chapter of the book of First Chronicles it is absolutely necessary that we recognize an earlier season within David’s life when the living God not only exercised His sovereignty over the seasons and times of David’s life, but also over those relationships the living God knew David would need to sustain him during those times. If there is one thing I can’t help but come to terms with when I think about and consider the life of David, it’s that regardless of what season David was in, and regardless of where David was during that particular season, the living God exercised His sovereignty over the life of David as an emphatic declaration that David would, could and should not attempt to walk through those times and seasons alone. If there is something we must understand and recognize when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, it’s that the life of David not only brings us face to face with the sovereignty of the living God over the times and seasons of David’s life, but the living God also exercised His sovereignty over David thinking and believing that he was meant and intended on walking through those seasons alone. Perhaps one of the most captivating and beautiful realities that surrounds each of these seasons within David’s life is that in each of these seasons the living God brought unto David those who would align themselves with him, and those whose hearts and souls would be knit together with him. In each of these seasons—regardless of where David was, and regardless of what situation and circumstance David was facing—the living and eternal God exercised His sovereignty within his life and intervened by bringing unto him those who would not only accompany him in his running, but also those who would stand with and stand by him in his fighting. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this truly astonishing reality, for what we find during these seasons of David’s life is an absolutely wonderful declaration of the living God that David was not meant, nor would David have to endure and experience these times and seasons alone. Regardless of what storms David faced during his life, the living and eternal God whom he worshipped with his whole heart, his soul and all his strength knew what he needed—and not only what he needed, but also who he needed.

THE LORD KNOWS WHO YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE! THE LORD KNOWS WHO YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU NEED THEM IN YOUR LIFE! I sit here this morning and I am brought face to face with the beautiful reality that as you read the words which are found in this chapter—as well as one I will present to you shortly—you will encounter the fact that the living God not only knows what we need during these seasons of our lives, but the living God also knows who we need within our lives during those times and seasons. Through the life of David we not only encounter and come face to face with seasons which were present within his life, but we also encounter and come face to face with the truly incredible reality that the living God alone had complete and full control over those who entered into David’s life. If there is one thing I find truly intriguing when reading concerning these seasons within the life of David, it’s that the sovereignty the living God exercised within David’s life and over the relationships which David would experience during these times would suggest that it was the LORD who established and brought those relationships unto David. It’s important that when we read these passages of Scripture we recognize one thing we don’t find, and one thing we won’t find is David sending out invitations for others to join and to come alongside him. Nowhere in this particular passage in the book of First Chronicles, and nowhere in a secondary passage in the book of First Samuel will you ever find David sending out messengers throughout the nation of Israel inviting others to come unto him and join him during this time. In all reality, I would dare say that David might very well have been content running from Saul alone, and perhaps he even felt that he did not need others to come alongside him. I can’t help but think within my heart and soul that when David ran from the murderous hand and threat of Saul king of Israel, he was not content—and not only content, but also resolved—to run alone. It’s worth noting that when David fled from the murderous hand of Saul king of Israel he never once invited others to run with him. Even Jonathan whom David loved as himself, and whose soul was knit together unto David’s would not be asked, nor invited to flee and run with David as he attempted to escape for his life. It’s important for us to recognize this particular reality, for even though David might have wanted to be alone during such seasons within his life, the living and eternal God knew exactly what he needed, and knew exactly who he needed within his life. One thing we don’t know during these times is whether or not David longed for fellowship and relationship as he was running from the murderous hand and threat of Saul. There seems to be no indication within Scripture that during this time David cried out before and unto the living God for His sovereign hand to bring others alongside him. What makes this truly unique is when you think about and consider the fact regardless of whether or not David entreated and sought the face of the LORD his God for relationships during these times and seasons, the living God still brought those unto him whom He knew would strengthen and support David.

DAVID HAD NO CONTROL OVER WHO ENTERED INTO HIS LIFE! DAVID HAD NO CONTROL OVER WHO THE LORD BROUGHT INTO HIS LIFE! It is actually absolutely wonderful and beautiful to read and consider these seasons within the life of David, for as surely as you read of the living and eternal God bringing unto David those who would run with him, and those who would fight with him, David would not exercise any of his own control or will over who would come unto him. The only thing we might consider at this time is whether or not David initially was suspicious and cautious concerning those who came unto him, for he perhaps wrestled and struggled with trust issues. Having been betrayed by one who was not only as a father to him, but also one who was a father in law to him, David might very well have struggled with internal trust issues, and perhaps didn’t trust man’s motives or intentions easily, or perhaps even right away. We don’t read of David engaging in a screening process when the LORD brought these individuals unto him, however, we have to think and consider that within the very depths of David’s heart and soul he wondered if those who were coming unto him were for him or against him. This is actually something that warrants a strong consideration on our parts, for more often than not when we have been betrayed, when we have been hurt and wounded, and when we have found ourselves isolated and alone, we tend to be more cautious and reserved in our relationships. Moreover, we tend to more cautious concerning the motives and intentions of those who enter into our lives, for more often than not we view them with suspicion, caution, and perhaps even a slight degree and measure of paranoia. We dare not think and/or believe that we are above this, for I know that I myself have been in this place before—that place where I have questioned the motives and intentions of those whom the LORD desired to bring into my life. There have been times within my life—even right now as I write these words—when I have had to wrestle with trust issues within my heart, as I wondered whether or not those who sought to come into my life were for me or against me. In fact, as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that when those of Judah and Benjamin came unto David in Hebron he pointedly asked them whether or not they would be for him, or whether they would be against him. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder whether or not in and at that moment when the living God first brought others unto him, David was not cautious and reserved about those who were coming unto him, and whether or not they could be trusted. This reality actually leads and brings us into the first season within David’s life—that first season when the living God not only exercised sovereignty over it, but also exercised His sovereignty over those who entered into David’s life, and those who came into his life. Consider if you will the words which are found in the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

“David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave 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. When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeon under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;) then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of your fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds; that all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in way, as at this day? Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Abimelech the son of Ahitbu. And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him visuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. Then the king sent to call Abimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. And Saul said, Hear now, the son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? Then Abimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house? Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? Be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Abimelech, thou and all thy father’s house. And the king said unto the foot ent that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. Ands Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and ducklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword” (1 Samuel 22:1-19).

If there is one thing I can’t help but notice during David’s time at the cave of Adullam, it’s that when he came to and entered the cave, he did so completely and utterly alone. When and as David came unto this cave he did not come with anyone else but himself. As David came to the cave of Adullam he did so completely and utterly alone, for there was none who had journeyed with David during that time. Up until that moment in David’s life he had fled from the murderous hand of Saul alone—although we do find David coming unto Samuel the prophet before this, and even coming unto Abimelech the priest of the LORD who had given him Goliath’s sword, and had provided for David’s need. Although David himself had come unto both a priest and a prophet during those early days he began fleeing and running for his life, he would eventually and ultimately come to the cave of Adullam. What I find to be so absolutely incredible about the cave of Adulllam is that when David came unto it—not only did he come to it alone, but he also had absolutely no clue what the LORD God had for him at that time. David had absolutely no clue who the LORD would bring unto him during those times, and yet what we find within this particular chapter is that when David’s brethren and all his father’s house heard that he had come to the cave, they down unto him. I actually find the thought of David’s brethren and all his father’s house coming unto him there at the cave to be truly captivating, for while we don’t know whether or not David wrestled and struggled with trust issues within his heart, we know that those who first came unto David were those members of his own family. I am absolutely and completely convinced that it was necessary for the Sovereign LORD to bring unto David his family first, for surrounded by his family David would be in more of a relaxed and eased state than if he was by himself. I can’t help but wonder if the living and eternal God didn’t choose to bring David’s brethren and his father’s house unto him first, for He knew that had those who would come unto him after the fact had done so earlier, he might not have been as open and receptive to their presence within his life. I firmly believe that the sovereign LORD brought David’s own family to him during those days and at that time—not only to first surround him with those of his own household whom he could trust, but also to help put David in a place where he would be open and willing to allow others to enter into his life. There is not a doubt in my mind that the living and eternal God deliberately and intentionally chose to bring David’s family unto him there at the cave of Adullam first in order that they might help soften David’s heart and help him open his heart and his soul to others who would come unto him. There is not a doubt in my mind that the living God brought unto David his family first, for it would be in the presence of his family that his heart would not only be made tender and soft, but would also be open to others who would come alongside him.

It’s worth noting that during this time while David was at the cave of Adullam there would be a total of four hundred men who would come alongside him during this time of his life. In fact, Scripture makes it perfectly clear that not only did the living God surround David with four-hundred men, but David also became a captain over them. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will find that after David’s brethren, and after all his father’s house came unto him there at the cave of Adullam, others began to follow suit and come unto him. Scripture reveals how every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented gathered themselves unto David at that time while he was at the cave. Please don’t miss the beauty and importance of what took place at the cave, for not only did the living God bring David’s family unto him first at the cave, and not only did the living God use David’s own family to help open David’s heart to relationship beyond themselves, but the living God brought unto David those who had their own struggles, their own conflicts, and their own battles they were facing. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality, for the sovereign LORD didn’t just bring four-hundred men to David, but the living God brought very specific men unto David—namely, those that were in distress, those that were in debt, and those that were discontented. I absolutely love that David had absolutely no control, nor did he have any authority over who the LORD brought unto him there at the cave and who the LORD would bring into his life, and how David would accept each and every one who had come unto him. How truly beautiful it is that the living God began to surround David with men who would align themselves with him, and who would allow their hearts and souls to be knit together with David. We sing the song “Surrounded (This Is How I Fight My Battles,” and in the song the declaration is made that it might look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you. The underlying text that immediately comes to my mind is the instance when the king of Syria sent a great host to surround Elisha and the servant who was with him, and how Elisha prayed that the eyes of his servant might be opened. Upon his eyes being opened he saw that although they were surrounded in the natural by physical forces and physical armies, they were surrounded by the horses and chariots of the host of heaven round about them in the mountains. Even with that being said, I would also dare that there are times within our lives when He deliberately and intentionally chooses to surround us with those who have come alongside us to help us in the different seasons and times within our lives. There are times within our lives when the living and eternal God chooses to surround us with flesh and blood and with those who are not only willing to walk with us, and not only run with us, but also those who are willing to fight alongside us in the midst of the battle.

I absolutely love reading the narrative of David at the cave of Adullam, for when you read the account of him at the cave you will find that not only did he not send out an invitation for all those who were willing to join him at the cave, but he also did not, would not and could not control those whom the living God brought before and unto him. If there is one thing I love when reading the words which are contained in this passage of Scripture, it’s that there is absolutely no record of David turning anyone away who had come unto him. We know from Scripture that all those who were distressed, all those who were in debt, and all those who were discontented came unto David, and yet I can’t help but wonder if in the process of David welcoming and embracing these individuals into his life he did not learn both their names, as well as their stories. I can’t help but imagine that with each individual the living God brought before and unto David during this time David learned their names, where they had come from, as well as their stories. I would imagine that these times for David weren’t merely about his expressing his own struggles and his own conflicts, but also about his hearing the conflicts and struggles of those who had come unto him. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that during this time it’s almost as the living God was emphatically declaring unto David that even though he was running for his life, and even though his life might have been difficult during this time, it wasn’t entirely, nor was it altogether about him. It’s worth noting and considering the fact that although the living God was bringing unto David those who would surround him, and those who would walk with him during these seasons in his life, the living God was also powerfully demonstrating before and unto David that it wasn’t merely about him during this time, and that he wasn’t the only one who was struggling during those days. It’s very easy during our times of struggle, during our times of suffering, and during our times of conflict to think and feel that we are alone. What’s more, is that it is incredibly easy during times of tremendous suffering and struggle to become selfish, self-centered and self-seeking, and to make everything about us. How many times have you experienced a tremendous period of suffering within your life, and in the midst and process of that suffering you have made things all about you and have had the unrealistic expectations that others should drop everything they’re doing, cleave unto you, cater to and minister to your needs, and to make it all about you? How many times have you walked through valleys in your life, and you have made everything about you and have fully expected others to focus all their time, all their effort, all their affection, all their energy on you and what you’re going through?

What is truly captivating when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that there at the cave there would be a total of four-hundred men who would come unto David and who would align themselves to him. Pause for a moment and think about that for a minute, for with four-hundred men came four-hundred names, four-hundred faces, perhaps four-hundred families, and most certainly four-hundred stories. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the reality that your life is part of something much bigger and much greater than yourself, and more than you could even think or imagine. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that during this time during the life of David he entered into the cave alone and with nothing more than the sword of Goliath, and yet as time progressed David would find himself surrounded—not only by his brethren, and not only by his father’s house, but also by a total of four-hundred men. We sing in the song “It may look like I’m surrounded but I’ms surrounded by you,” and yet with this astonishing reality comes the knowledge and understanding that it might look like I’m surrounded, and yet the LORD has surrounded us with brothers who are willing to stand with us, brothers who are willing to run with us, brothers who are willing to walk with us, and brothers who are willing to fight with us. When I read the words found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but encounter the truly remarkable and astonishing reality that not only was the living God surrounding David with men who would walk with and fight alongside him, but the living God was expanding David’s understanding to the fact that there were others during that time who were facing their own struggles, their own conflicts, their own suffering, their own battles, and their own emotions, thoughts and feelings. I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like there at the cave as David got to know those who had come unto him there in that place. I wonder how many stories were shared over meals and over camp fires as David not only learned the names of those who had come unto him, but also how David learned the stories behind those names, and the stories behind those faces. If there is one thing I can’t help but realize and recognize when considering this passage of Scripture, it’s that during this time at the cave the living God would bring unto David—not those who had it all together, nor even those whose lives were everything they dreamed, hoped and imagined it would be, but those who were in a place of distress, debt and discontentment. It’s important for us to come face to face with this reality, for more often than not during our times of conflict, during our times of struggle, and during our times of suffering we think the living God will or perhaps even should bring unto us those who have it all together, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case.

QUIT EXPECTING THE LORD TO BRING INTO YOUR LIFE THOSE WHO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER! During this time more than ever before I can’t help but come face to face with the astonishing reality that it would be incredibly wise and incredibly necessary for us to temper and curb our expectations surrounding who the LORD desires to bring into our lives. More often than not during our times of intense struggle, during our times of intense suffering we expect the LORD to bring into our lives and unto our place of struggle those who have it all together, and those who are able to minister to us. What is so absolutely incredible about those whom the living God brought unto David there at the cave was that the LORD didn’t bring unto David those whose lives were all together, nor did the LORD bring unto David those who seemed to have everything going for them. In all reality, I would dare say that it was the goodness, it was the grace, and it was the divine mercy of God that brought unto David those whom He did, for by bringing unto David those who didn’t have it all together, the LORD was bringing those who would be perfect candidates for those who would fight alongside David. What if I told you that there are times within our lives when we walk through periods of suffering, conflict and struggle, and instead of the LORD bringing into our lives and unto us those who are able to minister to us, He instead chooses to bring into our lives those who He invites us to walk with each other, and to walk with each other through our own struggles. Scripture is unclear what these four-hundred men were running from and what they were trying to escape, and yet we do know what David was running from. Regardless of what each of these four-hundred men were running from, we know that their own situation and circumstance helped facilitate their willingness to run with and to run alongside David during this time within his life. IN all reality, I would dare say that there is a great and tremendous need within our hearts and lives to temper and curb our expectations concerning who the living God desires to bring unto us, for the LORD might not want to bring prophets and priests into our lives—those who have the ability to speak the word of the living God into our situation and circumstance. There are times in the midst of our suffering when the living God doesn’t bring those who are willing to call upon the name of the LORD for and on our behalf, but those who are willing to walk with us through our own conflict and struggle, and those who we are to walk with them during their struggle and their conflict. In all reality, I would invite you to quit thinking and quit expecting the living God to bring into your life those who are able to minister to you, and those who might be able to pray for you during the seasons you experience. What if the living God doesn’t desire to bring into your life those who are able to pray for you, but are most certainly willing to pray with you? Oh, I would dare say there is something about those who are willing to pray with you rather than simply pray for you, and we ought to recognize and understand this in the very depths of our heart and soul.

THERE IS SOMETHING POWERFUL ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO PRAY WITH US OVER AND ABOVE THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO PRAY FOR US! Permit me to pause and ask you a question right now, and I invite you to not only be honest with yourself, but also with the living God. Would you rather have those who are willing to pray for you during your times of suffering, conflict and struggle, or would you rather those who are willing to pray with you during your times of struggle, conflict and suffering, as well as you praying with them during their seasons and periods of struggle, suffering and conflict? I am absolutely amazed at how selfish we can be during our moments, during our seasons, and during our times of suffering, and how we almost always have the expectation of others coming into our lives who are able to pray for us, and those who are willing to intercede for us. It is true that during this period of time David came unto Samuel the prophet, and even unto Abimelech the priest, however, David would not remain in the company of the prophet or the priest during this time of running. DAVID DIDN’T REMAIN WITH THE PRIEST! DAVID DIDN’T REMAIN WITH THE PROPHET! Pause for a moment and think about this reality, for instead of David remaining with the priest in Nob, David would find himself in a cave surrounded by four-hundred men who had chosen to align themselves with and to him. Instead of David remaining with Samuel the prophet, David would find himself in a cave surrounded by four-hundred men in a cave where he would become captain over them. I can’t help but see a truly astonishing and remarkable truth that is found and contained here—namely, that more often than not we look for comfort, we look for encouragement, we look for hope in the house of the prophet, and even in the place of the priest, and yet that which the living God desires to bring into and unto our lives is in a dark and cold cave away from the prophet’s house and away from the place of the priest. How absolutely remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that David did not—and I would even say could not—remain at the house of Samuel the prophet, nor even at Nob with the priests of the LORD, and such a reality must stand as a powerful example within our own hearts and lives. More often than not we think and expect ourselves to find what we need in the house of the prophet, and/or even in the house of the priest(s) of the LORD, and yet where we find what we truly need, and what will walk with us during our seasons of struggle, conflict, and anguish is brought unto us in a dark and cold cave. It’s worth noting that David himself went unto Samuel the prophet of the LORD, and it was David himself who went unto Abimelech the priest in Nob, and yet there was something even greater and even deeper the living God desired to do in the life of David—namely, bring him to a cave, and there at the cave bring him into a place where He could bring unto him those who would walk with him.

THE PRIESTS COULDN’T RUN WITH DAVID! THE PROPHET COULDN’T RUN WITH DAVID! NEITHER THE PRIEST NOR THE PROPHET COULD RUN WITH DAVID! It’s absolutely incredible to think about and consider this reality, for while it was true that neither Samuel the prophet, nor Abimelech the priest could run with David as he fled from the murderous hand of Saul king of Israel, the LORD would not allow him to remain alone. Oh how many times do we look for the priests of the LORD to run with us during our times of conflict and struggle, and yet it is not the desire, nor the delight of the LORD to cause priests to run with us during those times? How many times do we look for the prophets of the LORD to run with us during our times of conflict and struggle, and yet it is not the desire nor the delight of the LORD to cause prophets to run with us. Oh how many times do we look for the proper and the polished to run with us during our times of conflict and struggle, and yet the living God desires not to bring us the polished and the proper, but that which is improper, that which is unpolished, and that which we would not think could be of any use or value in our lives during the seasons we walk through? What I find absolutely captivating when reading the narrative of the life of David at the cave of Adullam is that the living God didn’t bring unto David those who had it all together, but those whose own lives were in a desperate place. THE COLLISION OF DESPERATE HEARTS! THE COLLISION OF DESPERATE LIVES! THE COLLISION OF DESPERATE SEASONS! It is absolutely breathtaking to think about and consider how during this time and during this season of David’s life the living and eternal God who he worshipped, followed and served would bring into his life those who perhaps could not offer him what the priest or the prophet could, but instead could offer him something far greater than what the priest and the prophet could ever offer him. I realize this might not make any sense to you, and that this might come as a complete and utter shock to you, and yet the truth of the matter is that more often than not we look to the priest and the prophet for that which we need during our seasons of conflict and struggle, and yet the LORD does not desire for us to look to the priest, nor the prophet. Please note that this is to say that there is anything wrong with the priest or the prophet, nor that there is anything wrong with turning to the priest and the prophet during our seasons of conflict and struggle. I am in no way suggesting that David did anything wrong when he went unto Samuel the prophet of the LORD, nor even when he went unto Abimelech the priest of the LORD. What I am suggesting and speaking of is the fact that David would and could not remain with either of these men—perhaps because he didn’t want to endanger their lives, or perhaps because he realized that he couldn’t remain with them. Despite the fact that he might have wanted to remain in the house of the priest and in the house of the prophet, he knew he could not remain in that place, and that he needed to move on from each of those places. Eventually this would lead and bring David to the cave of Adullam where the LORD his God would bring unto him three different types of people—those who were distressed, those who were discontented, and those who were in debt. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this reality, for it dramatically alters and transforms our perspective of what the LORD desires to do, and what the LORD truly and indeed does during our times and seasons of conflict and struggle.

The more you read and the more you study the life of David—this one who was anointed by Samuel the prophet, and who would eventually become king over Israel—the more you will find that the season of the cave would be the first of three distinct seasons within the life of David when the LORD would bring unto David those who would walk with him through his conflict, through his struggle, and through the sorrow and affliction he was experiencing. THE SEASON OF THE CAVE! If and as you read the words which are found in the opening verses of the twelfth chapter of the book of First Chronicles you will find a second season within the life of David—namely, the season of Ziklag. In order to understand the season of Ziklag, you must understand that David was still fleeing from the murderous hand of Saul, and how David thought within himself that Saul would surely overtake him. IN order to escape the threat and hand of Saul David fled to the land of the Philistines, and unto Achish the king of Gath. It would be there in the land of the Philistines where David would receive the city of Ziklag—a city that would belong unto the kings of Judah from that time forward. What’s so incredibly interesting about Ziklag is that essentially two things would happen at Ziklag, for Ziklag would essentially represent two distinct events within the life of David. On the one hand Ziklag would represent a false sense of security for David and his men as the Amalekites would invade the city, would burnt it with fire, and would steal away their wives and children as captives. On the one hand Ziklag would represent a time of distress for David and his men as not only were all their wives carried away captive by the Amalekites, but so also were their children carried away and taken captive by them. Upon coming back from the camp of the Philistines David and his men would witness and behold this scene and each and every one of them would weep bitterly until they could weep no more. What’s more, is that at one point David’s men thought to stone him because of what had happened to their wives and children. Scripture records how David not only called for the ephod, but also how David encouraged himself in the LORD. Not only would David encourage himself in the LORD, but David would also inquire of the LORD as to whether or not he should rise up and pursue the Amalekites to overtake them. The LORD would instruct David and his men to rise up and pursue the Amalekites, and emphatically declared unto him that they would recover everything that was stolen away and taken captive by them. Ultimately David and his men would pursue the Amalekites, would overtake them, and would not only smite them with the edge of the sword, but would also recover everything that was carried away and taken captive by them. The city of Ziklag would indeed represent a time of tremendous difficulty within the life of David, however, it would also represent a time of tremendous provision at the hand of the LORD, for the LORD would bring unto David more men and more brethren who would come alongside him and who would fight with him in battle. If you read the words which are found within the opening verses of the twelfth chapter you will find the following words which were written concerning David’s time at Ziklag:

“Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war. They were armed with Bowes, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite, and Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man of thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite, Elkanah, and JEsiah, and Azareel, and JOezer, and Jashobeam, the Korhites, and Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor. And of the Gaidtes there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains; Ezekiel the first, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third, Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth, Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh, Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth, Jeremiah the tenth, Machbanai the eleventh. These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west. And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David. And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look therein, and rebuke it. Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band” (1 Chronicles 12:1-18).

As you continue to read the words which are found concerning the life of David you will find that at the cave of Adullam the living and eternal God brought unto David those who were distressed, those who were in debt, and those who were discontented. What I find to be truly remarkable and truly intriguing is when you consider the fact that here at Ziklag those whom the LORD brought unto David weren’t those who were in the same situation, nor those who were perhaps in the same mindset, but rather the LORD brought unto David those that were armed with bows and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow. What’s more, is the LORD also brought unto David men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, and those which could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains. In all reality, when and as you read the twelfth chapter you will notice three distinct times during David’s life—in addition to the cave of Adullam—where the LORD would bring unto David those who would align themselves together with him, and those who would not only walk with him, but those who would also fight with him. Within the twelfth chapter we read of those whom the LORD brought unto David at Ziklag, we read of those whom the LORD brought unto David into the hold to the wilderness, but also unto David while he was at Hebron where he would reign as king over Judah for a period of seven years. It’s quite interesting that what we find and read in this chapter is undoubtedly different and distinctive from what we find and read in the twenty-second chapter of the book of First Samuel, for in the twenty-second chapter of the book of First Samuel we find the LORD bringing unto David those who were distressed, those who were in debt, and those who were discontented in order that they might walk with David, and in order that they might aid David during his time of fleeing from the murderous hand of Saul. What we find here, however, is the LORD not bringing those who were distressed, nor those who were discontented, but rather those who were skilled for battle. THE TRANSFORMATION OF RELATIONSHIPS! I find it absolutely remarkable to think about and consider the fact that while David was at the cave of Adullam the LORD brought unto him those who were distressed, and those who were in debt, and those who were discontented, however, there would come a point in time when the LORD would not bring the same individuals into David’s life, but would bring into the life of David those who would be able to fight alongside him. Scripture makes absolutely no mention of those who came unto David at the cave of Adullam and their ability to wage war and engage in battle, however, what we find and what we read in this particular chapter is how there would come a point when the LORD would begin to transition those who would come unto and those who would come alongside David. The LORD would begin bringing unto David those who would be able to fight alongside him, and those who would be able to fight with him. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about the fact that at the cave of Adullam the LORD brought those who would run with David, and yet there would come a point where the LORD would bring into the company and presence of David those who would fight with and fight alongside him.

We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for within the twelfth chapter of the book of First Chronicles we find the LORD transforming those whom he brought unto David, for the LORD would begin to surround David in an even greater degree and measure with those who knew how to fight, those who were able to go forth to battle, and those who knew how to handle weapons. It’s truly astonishing to think about and consider the fact that the living God would bring into David’s life those who like him were skilled in battle, and those who were fit and read for war. I can’t help but get the sense that this transition within David’s life was almost a means of preparing David for the next phase and the next stage within his life. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the LORD can and will bring certain people into our lives at certain times and seasons in order that he might prepare us for what He desires to bring us into. I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that those whom the LORD began to bring into David’s life were meant to prepare and get him ready for what the LORD was about to do within his life. Oh, is it possible that we can tell a great deal about where the LORD is taking us, and what the LORD is bringing us to by those He brings into our lives, and those whom He chooses to surround us with? Is it possible that who the LORD begins to bring in our path, and who the LORD begins to surround us with can indeed and can in fact prepare us for what He has in store for us as we continue moving forward in and with His divine purpose and will for our lives? It’s worth noting that in the first verse of the twelfth chapter the author of this book writes how those who came unto David were among the mighty men, and those who were “helpers of the war.” Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for it’s almost as if the living God was preparing David once more for battle. It was true that David had been running from the murderous hand of Saul for quite some time now, and yet the LORD would begin to bring into David’s life those who were ready, fit and able to go forth into battle and unto war as a powerful declaration unto David that he was about to fight once more. There was a period of time when David would run and flee for his life, but there would come a point in time when the living God would bring David to the place where he would have to get ready to fight once more. David and his men would go out on raids while they were living at Ziklag, and upon returning to Ziklag they would find themselves thrust into a great conflict with the Amalekites in order to overtake them and recover that which they had carried away captive from them. You almost get the sense that what is written and recorded in the twelfth chapter is preparation for war and preparation for battle, as the living and eternal God would prepare David to fight again—and not simply fight on his own terms and fight what he believed to be necessary battles, but to actively engage the enemies and adversaries of Israel, and of the LORD God of Israel. Those whom the living and eternal God would bring into David’s life would be those who would fight alongside David, and those who would help in battle and in war. The twelfth chapter essentially brings us face to face with three distinct times during David’s life when the LORD would bring unto him men of war, and brothers in arms—those who were ready and fit for battle, and those who were able to fight with and fight alongside David.

PREPARING FOR WAR! PREPARING FOR BATTLE! If there is one thing I find myself encountering and coming face to face with when reading this chapter, it’s that these three distinct seasons and times within the life of David were times when the LORD would continue to bring unto David men who would walk with and walk alongside him, but also men who were willing to fight with and fight alongside him. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to what is taking place here in the twelfth chapter, for contained within it is a powerful description of three distinct seasons during the life of David when the living God would bring unto David those who like him were skilled in battle. When the living God had at one point brought unto David those who were distressed, those who were in debt, and those who were discontented, that same God would now bring unto David those men and those brothers who were skilled in warfare and skilled in battle. WHEN GOD SURROUNDS YOU BY BROTHERS! WHEN GOD SURROUNDS YOU BY SOLDIERS! WHEN GOD SURROUNDS YOU WITH WEAPONS! It is absolutely incredible to read the words which are found within the twelfth chapter of the book of First Chronmicles and discover that there were three distinct seasons and times within the life of David—separate from and excluding his time at the Cave of Abdullah—when the LORD would bring brothers in arms and brothers in battle unto him. The author of the book of First Chronicles writes how those who came unto David at Ziklag while he kept himself close because of Saul as mighty men who were helpers of the war. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this reality, for there is something to be said about the LORD bringing into your life those who aren’t polished, and those who don’t have everything all together, and those who almost seem as though they are in a desperate place themselves, however, it’s something else altogether when the living and eternal God begins bringing men of war and men of battle into your life. Eventually there would come a point in time during David’s life when the LORD would bring into his life those who were ready and able to go forth into war, and those who would fight alongside him. There is something truly remarkable about those who are willing to fight alongside you, and I would dare say that you don’t truly know someone until you have been down in the trenches with them, and until you have fought alongside them. There at the cave of Adullam the living God brought unto David those who weren’t polished, those who didn’t have everything altogether, and even those who might not have seemed like that had anything to offer to David, but here in this chapter—at least three different times within his life leading up to his becoming king over Israel—the LORD would bring those who could help him in battle, and those who would fight alongside him.

As I sit here today, I have to think about and consider the words which are found within this chapter you will find the LORD bringing unto David mighty men of war while he was keeping himself close in Ziklag because of Saul, you will find the LORD bringing unto David mighty men of war while he was in the hold in the wilderness, you will find the LORD bringing unto David mighty men of war when he came with the Philistines again ask Saul to battle, although they helped them not, as well as those whom the LORD brought unto David mighty men of war while he was in Hebron as he reigned as king over Judah. What an absolutely incredible transition and transformation appeared to have taken place within the heart and life of David from the time he was at the cave of Adullam to the time he was in Hebron reigning as king over Judah. It’s interesting to note that when David began running and fleeing from Saul he would come unto Samuel the prophet of the LORD, although he would not remain and abide with Samuel indefinitely. Moreover, it’s interesting to note that David would even come unto Nob where Abimelech the priest was who provided him with the sword of Goliath—a sword and weapon which he had handled before as he used that same sword to cut off the head of the giant Goliath. Having left both the house of the prophet and the city of the priests, David would eventually come to a cave where the LORD would bring unto him those who didn’t have everything all together, and those who perhaps didn’t even seem like had anything to offer him. It would be there at the cave where we find David being surrounded by four-hundred men, and how he himself had become captain over them. If there is one thing we must learn, it’s that there are times within our lives when the LORD can and will bring unto us those who don’t have it all together, and those who appear as though they don’t have anything to offer in order that we might learn to walk together in conflict and struggle with them. Eventually, however, there would come a point in David’s life where the LORD would no longer bring unto him those who were distressed, those who were in debt, and those who were discontented, but rather those who were ready, able and fit for war. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the words which are found within the twelfth chapter of this book you will find that at Hebron we find the LORD not merely surrounding David with hundreds of men who were fit and able to go forth to war, but the LORD would surround David with thousands of men who would not only fight behind him, but who would also fight alongside him.

The way the twelfth chapter of the book of First Chronicles ends and concludes is truly powerful, for not only did the LORD bring unto David men fit for war, but the LORD would bring unto David men who would come alongside him who were ready armed to the war, and to turn the kingdom of Saul to him. The men whom we read about at the end of the twelfth chapter are men who were not only ready and armed for the war and battle, but who would come unto David in order to help establish him as king, and in order to establish the kingdom into his hand. It is absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that the LORD would not only bring unto David men who would help him with the war, but the living God would bring a great host of men who would come alongside him to help establish his reign as king over the nation of Israel, and to transfer the kingdom of Saul into his hands. The words and language we find in the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Chronicles is truly amazing when you truly recognize those whom the living God desires to bring into our hearts and lives in order that he might not only bring us into what He has called and prepared for us, but also what He desires to establish within our lives. When and as you read the words which are found in the latter half of the twelfth chapter you will quickly encounter and come face to face with those whom the LORD brings into your life and into your path in order that you might not only step and enter into that which the living God has called you, but also in order that He might establish in your hand and in your life what you were called and created to do. As I bring this writing to a close I invite you to consider the words which are written and recorded in the second half of this particular chapter beginning to read with and from the twenty-third verse of the chapter:

“And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD. The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed for the war. Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of VALOUR for the war, seven thousand and one hundred. Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred. And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred; and Zadok, a young man mighty of VALOUR, and of his father’s house twenty and two captains. And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul. And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand eight hundred, mighty men of VALOUR, famous throughout the house of their fathers. And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king. And of the children of Isaachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart. And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand. And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred. And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand. And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenties, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, and hundred and twenty thousand. All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest of Israel were of one heart to make David king. And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them. Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel” (1 Chronicles 12:23-40).

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