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1 Samuel 29:1-31:13

Even when we have made alliances with the “enemy” for what we think is self-preservation; even when our actions cause pain and grief to others as well as ourselves—the city of Ziklag being taken, burned to the ground and everything that was in it carried off, God stills fights our “other” enemies and restores everything that has been stolen. Interestingly enough the town/city of Ziklag was not a town that should have been possessed by the Philistines, that city was part of Judah’s inheritance that had been taken from them during the time of the Judges. (See Joshua 15:21-31 for Judah’s inheritance) Therefore, God will restore all things lost by previous generations.

There is something here that I always considered just part of the narrative, the finding of the Egyptian in the desert as David and his men chased after the Amalekites. Now I see that it points to Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan. They army, like the Samaritan, was on a mission. In the King James Translations the use of the words, “by chance” describes how the priest and the Levite happened upon the man left half-dead; however, the Samaritan was on a “journey.” When we are on a journey, we will meet up with the people we are called to minister to; however, when we are traveling “by chance” we will pass folk by. Meeting up with those people and ministering to them will send us down the correct road that leads to complete restoration.

Some of the men of David’s army showed mercy to this Egyptian they found in the desert. They brought him back to David, they fed him and gave him something to drink, and they restored him. That act of kindness led them to the men they were seeking. Usually armies, especially back then, were ruthless in their pursuit. If you happened to be in there way while they were on the move, their feet, horses and chariots would crush you. What happened to the Egyptian is a clear “type” of Christ’s mercy, or the Mercy of God.

The second thing I observed, and am rethinking in a different way is Saul’s suicide. I had come to think that Saul was a coward and didn’t want to suffer the pain of a lingering death, but now I’m wondering if what he did was a continuation of his rebellion to the Word of God. Samuel had told him, the night before:

Since you did not obey the LORD and did not carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this thing to you today. The LORD will hand you and Israel over to the Philistines! Tomorrow both you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand the army of Israel over to the Philistines!" (1 Samuel 28:18-19 NET.)

My thinking is this: Did Saul fall on his sword thinking that in so doing he would place his dying, and how he died, in his own hands and defy the words spoken by the prophet Samuel. Hmmm.

With reference to proverb of the day, andy stanley has a very useful book called The Principle of the Path. Bottom line is that direction, not intention, determines destination. This is evident in the tragic life of Saul who may have wanted to be on a direction to be a noble king but the direction he was on, not his good intention, led him to his destination, a sad, tragic destiny of poor choices, jealousy, anger and resentment.

Mike, I have a whole different take on 1 Samuel 29. Let’s look at the background up to this point. Saul was searching out David and his men wherever they went. They could not put down permanent roots because Saul was determined to kill David and when he did he would have killed his men also. The Israelites and the Philistines were enemies and constantly at war with each other. However, it was the Philistines that gave David and his band of 600 men shelter. Achish, king of Gath, not only gave them shelter, he even gave them their own land in Ziklag so that they could raise their families and flocks in peace. I’m of the opinion that David would have fought with King Achish and the Philistines against the Israelites that had been trying to kill him out of gratitude to Achish for all that he had done for David and his men.

However, God knew that David and his men were needed back in Ziklag immediately because in Chapter 30 we learn the Amalekites had raided Ziklag in their absence and burned the town and taken captive the women and all who were in it both young and old. If David had not returned immediately the women would have been defiled and the children disbursed among the Amalekites as slaves. As it was, Achish made him return home and with God’s blessings he and his men rescued not only the women and children, all who were young and old, but also the plunder the Amalekites had stolen from David and his men. In addition, they also took for themselves property that belonged originally to the Amalekites.

I am of the opinion that this is another case where God sometimes closes one door in our life and opens another door in its place. I feel that as Christians we will all face a door that shuts in our lives and experience a door opened in its place, which will lead us in a different direction. I think this was God’s way of using David where he was most needed at that time and using us where we are most needed today. Praise the Lord for being the doorkeeper of all that believe in Him!

God Bless!

God can use the unbeliever to help the godly, as had happened with David and his men... David has shown his loyal character once again - like he has to Saul, even though he would have David killed, and to Jonathan, his friend. David has been in the midst of constantly conflicting loyalties, yet has broken truce with none! He is the king-to-be (even though he is truly the king God wants) on the run!

Achish speaks respectfully of and to David and of the LORD, so obviously David has conducted himself well and was a good witness for the LORD. Certainly Achish does not want rebellion or trouble with his nobles and is making a wise move here - no matter what happens, David can't cause trouble nor can the nobles bring any complaint against Achish. It is a brilliant maneuver!

I wonder if God isn't using this exact moment to extricate David from that situation and free him for the kingship just ahead. Achish was used of God, but we are not to be dependent upon the unbeliever. This is yet another example of how God works His purposes in human affairs!

David shows he can be trusted by all.. rescues his people... Saul will soon be dead... the stage is set for David to soon rule. The road to this point has been rocky and David has had to use his wits all along. His integrity & character have given him favor in the eyes of Achish, David's followers and most importantly, in the sight of God!

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