1 SAMUEL 25:1 – 27:12 and LUKE 18:1–43
1 Sam 25
Samuel, the great appointed leader of God dies and is buried at his house in Ramah. It is understandable how that all of Israel had gathered together to lament his passing. He was a judge, priest and prophet. He also oversaw a successful chain of Bible schools. Who could replace such a man? His ministry helped to pave the way for the formation of the true king and priest. If we examine him closely we can see him as a type of the man-child company seen in Revelation 12. Remember the prayer of Hannah while she was barren (1 Sam 1:11)? The church today is in need of a “Samuel” type character to emerge to help prepare the latter day kings and priests. When examining Samuel we cannot help but appreciate the greatness of his mother Hannah. There are many Hannah’s today who are interceding and praying to birth the modern day Samuel’s, the man-child’s who will help make a difference.
In verses 2-13 David makes an appeal to Nabal, a man from Carmel who had very great possessions. David and his men did no harm to his sheep shearers when they were in their area. David appealed to Nabal to help provide some favour to him and his men. Nabal chided David’s men and refused to help in any way. His response was in a mocking and deriding tone. The men of David did not retaliate but rather returned and gave their report. David took about 400 men with him to avenge this humiliation. It is at this point where we are introduced to Abigail. She comes into the picture due to the testimony of one of Nabal’s men who informs in what David was planning to do. This man also gave testimony as to how David gave protection to Nabal’s men when they were together. His testimony backs up the kindness that David and his men extended to Nabal’s men. He also gives indication as to the kind of man Nabal was, being a son of Belial (vs 17).
In verses 18-31 we see the beautiful appeal that Abigail makes to David. She has the ability to see the big picture. First, she acknowledges the character of her husband in being a man of Belial. She then makes it clear that she had no knowledge of David’s men making an appeal to her husband. She also presents a blessing to David and his men while asking for forgiveness on her husband’s behalf. Abigail then speaks prophetically in stating that God will surely build him (David) a sure house and that the enemies against David will not prevail (vs 28). Her words assuage him from taking vengeance against Nabal for his churlish behaviour.
Abigail, as Jonathan had done recently, confirms that David will surely one day reign upon the throne. This encounter was one that seemed to work against David but God used it to bring the beautiful character of Abigail to the forefront. It enabled David to take encouragement that he would one day be king. It also enables us to see the power and beauty of a godly woman. She is an example of “true wisdom”; a quality that makes a difference in a difficult situation. Samuel has now passed on and is no longer available to help guide David. Abigail’s approach to David on behalf of her evil husband’s actions saves the day. Abigail possesses some of the qualities as seen in the Lord in being able to take responsibility for the actions of her husband. David makes clear that it was her actions that keep him from destroying Nabal and his men, which could have included Abigail. David received the gifts that she brought and sent her away in peace.
In verses 36-39 we see Nabal stricken after a drunken binge. He dies 10 days later. David did not need to recompense judgement upon Nabal; God took care of it Himself. Once again an old charismatic song comes to mind when pondering this account.
Victory shall be mine, victory shall be mine, if I hold my peace, let the Lord fight my battles, victory victory shall be mine.
Abigail soon becomes David’s wife. Personally, I feel it was the qualities she exhibited that moved David to take her as his bride. Yes, she was rich but the richness of character were her greatest assets. David also took another wife by the name of Ahinoam and was also married to Michal, daughter of Saul. These multiple marriages were allowed in those days but it was not advocated; for kings it was forbidden as seen in Deut 17:17-19. Still, one can fully understand why David would be attracted to Abigail taking note of her actions regarding Nabal. She was a woman of great wisdom.
1 Sam 26
The Ziphites, who clearly show their allegiance towards Saul, inform of David’s location. The Lord enables David to be alerted that Saul is once again coming after him. The temporary truce that was seen in chapter 24 has been quickly forgotten. It was during this period where Samuel dies and David had the experience with Nabal and Abigail. David learned a vital lesson in his encounter with Nabal. The intervention of Abigail kept David from going to war against Nabal and his men. Many of the men of Nabal were not with their master; they recognized and testified to the benevolence of David. This encounter also allowed David to see that the Lord is able to take up the battle. He saw how Nabal was stricken and died soon after his meeting with Abigail.
The Lord allowed a deep sleep to come upon Saul and his men which gave David opportunity to avenge the wrongs committed against him. Notice the words of David to Abishai who was ready to thrust through the sword upon Saul.
1Sa 26:9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless?
1Sa 26:10 David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.
David knew that God could deal with Saul just as he dealt with Nabal. Secondly, he still saw Saul as God’s anointed over Israel and over his life. David is entering into a higher realm of relationship in God. The ability to cite Saul as God’s anointed says much about David. God has intervened in many different ways in this unique journey that he has been on. He did not want a quick exit from this training process which is something we oftentimes do. How many times have we put a premature “spear” to an adversary or situation thinking that this is God’s deliverance? This is why it is so important to ask of the Lord for counsel at these critical junctures. The Spirit of Counsel is one of the 7 Spirits of the Lord (Isa 11:2-3). David has another opportunity to be set free from Saul and to assume his role upon the throne. He recognized that Saul was still on the throne and that God was well able to judge if He felt to do so.
David cries out to Abner and the men of Saul from a hill that was in the distance. He makes clear to Abner that he failed in his duty in protecting the king. As David was speaking to Abner, Saul heard his voice. David makes his plea to Saul as to why he again is pursuing him. He also shows the spear and water that was taken from Saul to demonstrate his ability to have been able to take his life. He makes clear that it has been God that delivered Saul into his hand. This is the 2nd occasion where this has taken place.
David was expressing a respect for the office of the king in the way he looked at Saul. The man occupying the office was not being upright nonetheless David saw the office as precious and to be revered. It was the same office that he would one day occupy. Many people constantly vie for positions of influence and they will do anything it takes to assume that position. It is the way of the world. David was able to see beyond the character that Saul was exhibiting and to see the office of the king as being esteemed. He recognized that it was God who was able to raise up a king or replace him. It is God’s business and we are not to interfere outside His prescribed boundaries.
The lessons for ruling effectively as a future king are on full display in this journey that David has been on. These are lessons we need to embrace as well. There is no fast track to true rulership. The enemy will seek to provoke and move people who have a high calling in premature ways. There will be times when it seems like it may be right to plant the “spear” into our respective Saul’s seeing that it is God’s time for vindication. It is vitally important for us to approach such times as David did. God oftentimes allows for such situations to come into our lives because he may well be doing a greater work of preparation. How often we short-circuit the purposes of God. This is the purpose for good doctrine. It helps presents the bigger picture and to give clearer perspective. We do well to always be willing to seek the Lord for His will in any given situation, especially when an important decision needs to be made. Ask the Lord the end of the matter. He is faithful to lead and faithful to uphold in our respective journeys through life. God’s thoughts and ways are higher and greater than man’s. We know this verse so well but seldom appropriate it when it comes to our own life.
1 Sam 27
David is about to enter a deep part of his trial. He is getting closer to the time of when he will assume his reign as king but the events he will now experience seemingly take him farther away from this promise. This is when God’s Word and promise can get tested. There can be the rejoicing in the receiving of a prophetic word concerning a promise or something that God is looking to do in one’s life. The outworking of that promise can have delays and obstructions, putting into jeopardy as to whether God actually spoke those things.
To date, David has conducted himself wisely at every juncture. He has seen how God has delivered Saul into his hands on a number of occasions. There is now a certain resignation coming over David that prompts him to go into the land of the Philistines so as to not to be plagued by Saul any longer. This is like his horror of great darkness. He feels that he will one day fall and be slain by Saul. There is deep discouragement showing itself in David. He took 600 men with him into Gath, including his two newest wives; Ahinoam and Abigail. Saul, upon hearing this news seeks for David no longer, believing he would not be threatened by his being in Gath.
David assumes a very low posture before King Achish asking for some remote place that he might settle. Achish gives David Ziklag which becomes a city of significance a bit later. He dwelt amongst the Philistines for 16 months; going to battle against the Geshurites, Gezrites and Amalekites who were one time inhabitants of that land. David was looking to impress King Achish by making inroads for the Philistines against some of their enemies. The judgement was swift and complete against these nations. Though David was in deep despair it does appear that God is orchestrating many of these events as an instrument of judgement upon a people who were defying God, including those of Israel. David proved himself before Achish resulting in the king trusting and believing in David. His actions would surely position David as an enemy of his own people thus cementing the bond between these two men.
Once again we have to acknowledge the sovereignty of God at work. The time is drawing near when Israel would have a king that the Lord will delight in, a king whom the Lord has chosen, a king who has a heart after His own. He works in a way that makes it look like David has turned on Israel. David, in his discouragement with all that has taken place with Saul, makes an unthinkable decision. He appears to be defecting to the enemy camp. God worked mysteriously during this period in judging groups of people that were uncircumcised, people who could prove to be future troublemakers against God. There was a time when God worked mysteriously in the life of Abraham. A covenant was established while Abraham was in a deep sleep. It was a time where Abraham could do absolutely nothing yet God was accomplishing something of greater significance. David made the decision to go to the Philistines but it was God’s working behind the scene that was accomplishing something far greater than anything David could imagine.
The relationship that David has with the Philistines will be short lived but it will have accomplished God’s purposes. How true the scripture which says that His ways are past finding out (Rom 11:33). We must not make assumptions in how God works but rather incline our ear to hear and to be willing to be led by Him as He speaks. In reading these last several chapters do you really get the sense that David is going to one day be king? If we apply today’s criterion we would miss it.
Think about what has taken place in this chapter. David in his discouragement has sought refuge in the land of the Philistines, Israel’s lifelong enemy. He wages war in some of the territory of his brethren so as to further secure the interests of the Philistines. His work is so impressive that King Achish comes into a place of trust with David. Keep in mind, David is exercising some qualities of ruling by clearing the land of enemies against the king. These lessons will serve a purpose later on when David assumes the throne. David has his band of men around him; he has Abiathar who has faithfully served alongside to help and encourage him. He no longer has the services of Samuel and his wise counsel and support seeing that he has passed on. The qualifying for ruling is going to become even more intense.
There are some keys in this chapter that helps us understand what the Lord is looking for. The first account speaks of a widow who importunes a godless judge in being avenged of an adversary. The Lord cites this widow for her persistency and comments that this type of person will be heard by God. The key verse is the latter portion of verse 8. “…Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” What is it that God is looking for? It is faith! I have often tried to illustrate this verse in seeing Faith, being like the food that God hungers for. God delights and moves in an atmosphere where faith is in evidence. It draws His attention. We see this when the woman who had the issue of blood touched Jesus (Mat 9:20). She touched Him by Faith. We saw this when the Centurion appealed to Jesus for his son (Luke 7:9). The Lord moves through the medium of Faith. If there is a lack of faith or unbelief it limits what God can do (Math 13:58). Why? The scripture says that without Faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is what God hungers for. Jesus, when He was in Bethany about a week before His death sought to satisfy His hunger with the fruit from a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14). When He saw that there was no fruit He cursed the tree. He later commented on this event to His disciples by speaking on the need in having Faith in God. (Please see commentary from Mark 11:12-26) Faith is a fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23. The question then arises as to how one can obtain Faith. The answer resides in well-known verses but are they really understood?
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If we want to live in an arena of faith we then must be immersed in the Word of God. The Bible is the primary means in how God speaks to His people. God can quicken His Word and make it alive. Faith can then be activated as we confess that Word, thus aligning our confession with what God is saying. Paul makes this clear in Rom 10:8 where he says the Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth. What Word; the Word of Faith. In these last days we will see the presence of God drawn to churches and people who put a high premium on the Word of God. Faith will begin to arise as the Living Word comes alive; drawing the presence of God.
There will be modern day versions of the woman with the issue of blood who will cause the Lord to stop and ask “Who touched me?” There will be many seeking the Lord in these last days but will all be touching Him by faith? The disciples were amazed that Jesus would ask such a question since many were laying hold of Him, touching Him as he passed by. This woman touched Him by faith. This is the tenacity and desperation that Jesus was seeking after. It is no different today. The teaching of the Word of God must not take a back seat to programs and church related events. These things have their place but they should never be a substitute. Faith comes by hearing The Word of God. Is there the fruit of faith in our life that the Lord can delight in? Like the fig tree in Mark 11, the Lord is hungering after fruit. What will He find as He peels away the veneer of our person and our churches?
In verses 35-43 there is a blind man who was a beggar who seized the opportunity to cry out for Jesus as He passed by. The blind beggar, when he came to know that it was Jesus of Nazareth cried out all the louder for Jesus to have mercy upon him (vs 38-39). Many were offended at his beseeching of the Lord but he did get the Lord’s attention and was brought before Him. Jesus asked what he wanted and he responded by asking for his sight. The Lord healed him and stated that it was due to his Faith where he was both healed and saved. (vs 42)
Do we see the similarities between the two accounts highlighted in this chapter above? The widow woman persisted before the godless judge. In her persistency she was able to move the judge to act on her behalf. Jesus cited her persistency and linked it to how faith can be ascertained. It may not happen right away; there may need to be a continual seeking and knocking required before Faith is realized. The Lord said that He would be found of those who seek after Him with all their hearts (Luke 11:9, Math 7:7, Jer 29:13). The blind beggar captured the attention of the Lord when he heard that Jesus was passing by. It was his opportunity to lay hold of Jesus and he did so by his cries of desperation. It was his moment and his season. Jesus is drawn to a place and people where faith is alive. He delights to move in such an atmosphere because it honors Him; it delights Him in seeing a people who are tapping into this precious fruit and commodity. Faith originated from God, not man and it is only obtained in the hearing of the Word of God. It is the season for the fruit of faith to manifest.