Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 23:9(NIV)
When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.”
1 Samuel 23:9 (MSG)
But David got wind of Saul’s strategy to destroy him and said to Abiathar the priest, “Get the Ephod.”
“When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” -AMPLIFIED
Once again we find Saul seeking to find, capture and kill David. He was obsessed with this task. Remember, David had gone to Keilah to protect them from the Philistines and to save them. Meanwhile Saul was consumed with hunting David down and not even paying attention to the needs of those in his kingdom. (Who is actually acting like a king?)
Somehow Saul hears that David has gone to Keilah. His first thought is, “Now I have got him!” He was so sure of himself too. “Good! God has handed him to me on a platter! He’s in a walled city with locked gates, trapped!” 1 Samuel 23:7 (MSG) we are told that he gathered his troops and set out to Keilah to lay siege to David and his men. He had great confidence in his ability to destroy David despite his continued failure to capture him.
Nonetheless, David was taking no chances. Notice what the very first thing David did when he heard that Saul was on his way. He called Abiathar to come and bring the ephod. David has learned his lesson. Before we do anything else we will seek God’s direction.
David got down to business; he prayed. “Then David prayed to God: “God of Israel, I’ve just heard that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the city because of me. Will the city fathers of Keilah turn me over to him? Will Saul come down and do what I’ve heard? O God, God of Israel, tell me!” God replied, “He’s coming down.” “And will the head men of Keilah turn me and my men over to Saul?” And God said, “They’ll turn you over.” -1 Samuel 23:10-12 (MSG)
So, what does David do? He gathered his men and he left Keilah. Now mind you, he did not leave because he was afraid of Saul, but because he was concerned for the people of Keilah. Notice the very first words that David spoke to God, “O Lord, the God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul intends to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.” (AMP) After what Saul had done in Nob David had no doubts to what Saul would do to anyone who gave shelter to him. He was taking no chances. David gathered his growing band of men, now 600, and left Keilah.
When Saul heard that David had left Keilah he thankfully gave up the idea of going there; so the people were safe. David’s large band of men now spent a whole lot of time playing hide-and-seek with Saul and his men. David’s men found various places to hide in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. They found caves and various other strongholds shield themselves from being found by Saul’s men.
Saul continued his obsessive, fanatical search for David. Let’s take a moment to compare the various translations; in order for us to get a clear picture of what was happening.
* “Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him.” -(AMP)
* “Saul was out looking for him day after day, but God never turned David over to him.” -(MSG)
* “Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.” -(NIV)
* “Every day, Saul sent out spies to find him and kill him, but the True God did not allow Saul to capture or kill David.” -(VOICE)
* “Saul was always trying to find him, but God did not turn David over to him.” -(GNT)
Funny (strange) thing is that Saul could not get it through his head that God was not going to allow him to harm David; who was God’s choice for the next king of Israel. Every time Saul tried to capture David, God protected him and foiled Saul’s evil plan.
David realized that God was his protector; his Elohim Shomri. Elohim means God and Shomri means Protector. During his time of hiding from Saul David penned the words of Psalm 31.
“You are my shelter, O Eternal One—my soul’s sanctuary!
Shield me from shame;
rescue me by Your righteousness.
Hear me, Lord! Turn Your ear in my direction.
Come quick! Save me!
Be my rock, my shelter,
my fortress of salvation!
You are my rock and my fortress—my soul’s sanctuary!
Therefore, for the sake of Your reputation, be my leader, my guide, my navigator, my commander.
Save me from the snare that has been secretly set out for me,
for You are my protection.
I entrust my spirit into Your hands.
You have redeemed me, O Eternal, God of faithfulness and truth.
I despise the people who pay respect to breathless idols,
and I trust only in You, Eternal One.
I will gladly rejoice because of Your gracious love
because You recognized the sadness of my affliction.
You felt deep compassion when You saw the pains of my soul.
You did not hand me over to the enemy,
but instead, You liberated me
and made me secure in a good and spacious land.
Show me Your grace, Eternal One, for I am in a tight spot.
My eyes are aching with grief;
my body and soul are withering with miseries.
My life is devoured by sorrow,
and my years are haunted with mourning.
My sin has sapped me of all my strength;
my body withers under the weight of this suffering.
To all my enemies I am an object of scorn.
My neighbors especially are ashamed of me.
My friends are afraid to be seen with me.
When I walk down the street, people go out of their way to avoid me.
I am as good as dead to them. Forgotten!
Like a shattered clay pot, I am easily discarded and gladly replaced.
For I hear their whispered plans;
terror is everywhere!
They conspire together,
planning, plotting, scheming to take my life.
But I pour my trust into You, Eternal One.
I’m glad to say, “You are my God!”
I give the moments of my life over to You, Eternal One.
Rescue me from those who hate me and who hound me with their threats.
Look toward me, and let Your face shine down upon Your servant.
Because of Your gracious love, save me!
Spare me shame, O Eternal One,
for I turn and call to You.
Instead, let those who hate me be shamed;
let death’s silence claim them.
Seal their lying lips forever,
for with pride and contempt boiling in their hearts,
they speak boldly against the righteous and persecute those who poured their trust into You.
Your overflowing goodness
You have kept for those who live in awe of You,
And You share Your goodness with those who make You their sanctuary.
You hide them, You shelter them in Your presence,
safe from the conspiracies of sinful men.
You keep them in Your tent,
safe from the slander of accusing tongues.
Bless the Eternal!
For He has revealed His gracious love to me
when I was trapped like a city under siege.
I began to panic so I yelled out,
“I’m cut off. You no longer see me!”
But You heard my cry for help that day
when I called out to You.
Love the Eternal, all of you, His faithful people!
He protects those who are true to Him,
but He pays back the proud in kind.
Be strong, and live courageously,
all of you who set your hope in the Eternal!” -Psalm 31 (VOICE)
God is our Protector; He is our Elohim Shomri!
Lord, thank you that I do not need fear anything in this life; for you are my Protector. Whatever comes my way I know that you are with me and nothing can touch me unless you allow it to do so. Thank you for your constant companionship and your love. You are my shelter and safety at all times and I will rest in the fact that you, Oh God, are my Protector and Defender.