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Weekly Prompts for Thinking Through Scripture Covering 1 Samuel 22- 25:13

Refresher: After ascertaining with Jonathan’s help that Saul is after his life, David goes on the run. His first stop was at the tabernacle in Nob, where he gathered a few provisions (including Goliath’s sword) from the priest who naturally assumes David’s still in the king’s employ. Next, he goes to Israel’s archenemy, Achish of Gath, perhaps in the hopes that Achish would welcome any enemy of Saul. But the courtiers of Achish don’t buy that David means well, and after a brief ruse of insanity to buy him some time, David leaves Gath and heads east to live in a cave near Adullam

Day One

Read 1 Samuel 22: 1-10

o V. 2 – David holds an appeal to the outcasts of Israel. Those on the margins of society perceive a kindred spirit in another down and outer and allow themselves to be led by him. David’s Son and Lord also had(s) a pull with these types.

o VV. 3,4 – Now this is admirable, isn’t it? While David is on the run, he has the presence of mind and good heart to remember his parents’ well-being. A good example for us: don’t forget your family while pursuing your own plans.

o V.5 – Perhaps you’ve spotted the bit of unusual advice: ‘go back to Judah,’ that is, closer to Saul. You would head toward the maw of the lion only because the Lord directs you. (Most of the time He won’t send you into trouble.)

o VV. 7ff – While David is harried and on the run, we see Saul – reposed, exalted, armed, supported by workers. All in all, he makes an impressive spectacle. But what’s behind that daunting image: a man haunted by visions of disloyalty and conspiracy, immersed in self-pity, reason running away from him. David’s son later wrote this proverb: ‘There is one who pretends to be rich, yet has nothing.’ Be careful in who you admire: you might not have the full picture.

Day Two

Read 1 Samuel 22: 11-22

o Recall from the first part of chapter 21 that Ahimelech didn’t know that David was on the run from Saul. Actually, David had told him that he was out on the king’s business. It’s all unfair. The Bible prepares you for scenes and scenarios that are (temporarily) unfair.

o VV. 13,14 – Again Saul is imagining there’s a cabal determined to set David into his (Saul’s) place. (Brothers and sisters, pray that you and your leaders won’t lose touch with reality.) We’ve already seen that. But Ahimelech’s response, coming as it is from a place of innocence, is interesting: ‘Isn’t David the most loyal servant you’ve got?!’ Lesson being: go away from God, and we can get so screwed up that we no longer perceive what we have going for us. In the murkiness of backsliding, our best friends can appear as enemies.

o V.18 – Don’t name your kid “Doeg.” Not only we’ll he be made fun of, but his namesake was a really bad dude.

o V. 19 – Some time ago Saul spared some choice beef and the leader of a city of Amalek, Israel’s ancient enemies. Today he spares none in a city of Israel’s priests. His thinking is backwards. Don’t drift through life, otherwise you’ll drift away from God, and that won’t be pretty. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Day Three

Read 1 Samuel 23: 1-14

o VV. 1, 2 – Are we to admire David? I would answer that a) since Jesus is called ‘David’s Son’ we should default to admiring David. I would answer further that b) there is really much to admire in David, so go ahead and admire him. (Though of course we can’t admire everything about David’s biography.) Here’s something to admire: David is on the run for his life, yet retains a patriotic concern for his countrymen. He hasn’t been crowned, but already has the heart of a king. How uncommon this is unselfishness! What Paul said 1000 years later can be universally observed: “For all seek their own interests.” May the Spirit of Christ take us away from what comes naturally: being self-absorbed.

o V. 2 – Why not take the time to consult the Lord before coming to a decision?

o V. 3 – David’s men are too afraid to comply with his decision. Here his response to their agitation is NOT to persuade them of the efficacy of the action, nor to assure them that they’ll be safe. Rather, he returns to the Lord for confirmation FROM HIM that this is indeed the right course. Leading by consensus is often good, but not always. Waiting for people to not be afraid might be a long wait.

o V.12 – A fascinating passage. An aspect of the all-knowingness of God is that He knows every possible outcome of every decision, even those not made. He knows the way that you take and the way that you chose not to take. God knows. Trust him. When he does give you specific direction in the form of a command, remember that good and full data are behind that order!

Day Four

Read 1 Samuel 23: 15-29

o V. 16 – Here’s a phrase to use in prayer when you’re preparing to meet a brother who is harried or discouraged or otherwise in a difficult stretch: “God, grant to me to strengthen his hand in God.” Meaning, ‘let me encourage him/ let energy and strength enter him through my pointing him to the truth and promises of God.’

o VV.17, 18 – In this patriarchal culture, for a son to assert that his father will fail AND that he (the father) actually knows in his heart that he will fail is groundbreaking and traumatic. Again, in David’s life we feel the adumbrations of David’s Son: “I have come to set a man against his father…”

o V. 19 – Throughout Saul’s pursuit, several times we see people “telling on” David. Think about it: Saul only imagines there’s a conspiracy against himself; David actually does have many backstabbing opponents. And they do damage. Yes, the tattletales and turncoats and backstabbers do cause trouble, yet as v. 14 says, “God did not give [David] into [Saul’s] hand.” Don’t let the thought of others whispering about you get you down.

o V. 28 – That place was called “the Rock of Escape.” Do you have any such on your pathway?

Day Five

Read 1 Samuel 24: 1-7

A short passage, more time for you to polish your shoes. However, the unpolished and shoeless are also more than welcome to gather at SBC. EVERYONE’S WELCOME!

o VV. 1,2 – Saul’s domestic and foreign policy has shrunk to a) put out fires and b) kill David. Bitterness wrings the life out of you and makes you small. Brothers and sisters, put away malice and all such.

o V. 3 – The Scriptures are quite incarnational!

o V. 4 – I’m not sure that the Lord ever said to David what his men claim. (Someone can let me know if it’s true.) But this is an instance of something we observe at the first temptation AND in the account of David’s Son being tempted: a rendition of “did not God say…?” Twisting and mis-applying the words of God is an old trick, played to cover over the lure toward selfish ambition with a thin religiosity. What’s the solution? Don’t handle passages of Scripture as soundbites or “gotcha” phrases but intelligently and within context.

Day Six

Read 1 Samuel 24: 8-22

o V. 8 – Is David being sardonic here? I don’t think so, even though his sincerity is incredible.

o VV. 9ff – What do you think? Is David taking the high road here? Would it have been preferable for him to let Saul live and never breath a word of his magnanimousness to him?

o V. 12 – Now this sentence lays it all out there. ‘God will judge. You’ve done me wrong and I pray that God hurts you. But He won’t hurt you through my hands.’ Brothers and sisters – here we have a valid train of thought: It’s legitimate to want vengeance on your adversary; also legitimate to leave that desired vengeance to God.

o VV. 14 – Do you understand what David is saying here? Basically, ‘why are you wasting your time with me? I’m a nobody; I’m a less than nobody.’ There’s a certain virtue in this perspective and verbiage, agreed? But then also notice that David’s Son never espoused this kind of thinking regarding himself. He couldn’t have and been honest.

o V. 20 – Saul isn’t wholly gone yet. At times he can still recognize goodness when he sees it. Here he is even given the grace to admit to David’s superior virtue. In fact, David’s mercy has somehow confirmed to him (23:17) that his stalking of David will come up empty, and that David is destined to take his throne. Wow – mercy can be a good conveyer of some heavy truth.

Day Seven

Read 1 Samuel 25: 1-13

o This chapter is unfailingly fascinating, no matter what the reader’s religious point of view.

o V. 1 – An argument against Samuel being the author of his eponymous canonical book(s). Also, note (again) how great men of the Bible are dispatched so quickly; their death isn’t given much attention. Not because God doesn’t care for them. Rather, because the real honor is bestowed on the other side (2 Peter 1: 11).

o V. 2 etc. – the “Carmel” here is not the mountain but a town

o V. 3 – A Calebite is a descendant of Caleb, the great man of the wilderness wandering and entrance into the land. Only the inheritors (with Christ) of the Heavenly Father are guaranteed to turn out!

o VV. 5ff – David’s ever-growing band is scratching and scraping in the wilderness, probably living on our version of beans and rice. He sends the 10-man delegation to Nabal asking him to contribute something special to their feast (v.8). David is obviously always looking ahead (v.7), brokering for future favors, probably interested in building a network of partners (as the ESV study Bible suggests). But beyond his assumed motivations of forming future partnerships, in approaching Nabal he also is after something simpler: something special to eat for a special time. Surely in all this we can spot things to admire and emulate.

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