Sunday, April 2, 2023

David lives among the Philistines

David and his 600 men having been running here and there, constantly pursued by King Saul and the troops of Israel. He’s managed to evade Saul for a long time now, because God is with him.

Several times he’s encountered Saul personally now, and spared his life. But David starts to feel like the walls are closing in. He can’t evade Saul forever. So he makes a tough decision.

In verses 1-4 of chapter 27: “But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”

2 So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal. 4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.”

First point today, sometimes it’s ok to get out of town for a while. Moving to a new place isn’t always going to solve your problems though. In fact a lot of the time it doesn’t. Because no matter where you go, there you are. The problem is still there, you’re the problem in your situation 9 times out of 10. So even if you move, same issue.

But for David the problem really is Saul, so, he moves his men into the land of the philistines for a while. He’s been pursued endlessly by Saul. So he leaves the region for a while.

It’s a reasonable thing to do. Sometimes we just need to step away from a messed up situation for a while, let things cool down, and then step back in at a later time. It’s a wise thing to do, in the right timing.

Now, if you’re always on the move, with no stability, well, that’s not wise. That can be a problem that you need to address and work on, a sense of constant movement. Always the issue is balance in these principles. Avoid the severe extremes. 

Notice the heart of David, he seems to always instinctively know the right thing to do. As you learn to follow God, learn to pray, learn to study the Bible, you’ll begin to develop a new mindset. And you’ll naturally do God’s will, more and more over time.

That’s the challenge: To develop a heart and mind like Jesus Christ, so that when we find ourselves in difficult situations, we instinctively do the right thing, without even hardly thinking about it.

So David takes his men, and their families to King Achish. And he meets with the king.

In verses 5-6 we see what happens next:

5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”

6 So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7 David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.”

David doesn’t want to stay in the capital city, he wants a small town where he can do his own thing. This is wise for many reasons if you ask me, you don’t want Achish to gain too much control over you and your men. You don’t want to get yourself too involved in the politics of the Philistines. You want to stay independent and free.

Do you see how every decision David is making is strategic? In your life, the decisions you make are also building a strategy. The decisions you make, how you use your money, how you budget your money, where you choose to live, where you work, the people you spend time with, all these things are either building toward something. Some of us I’m sure feel stuck where we are now. But, make a plan. Apply strategy to your situation. What goals do I need to set to get the desired outcome? How can you budget better? How can you break free from negative patterns? How can you use your gifts for God’s kingdom?

David sets up camp in Ziklag, and he apparently lived there for about a year and 4 months. That’s a fairly long time. But he’s waiting, he’s letting things cool down in Israel. Maybe he’s hoping if he drops off the radar for a while King Saul will stop trying to chase him down.

So he waits. But while he’s in philistine territory, he is busy doing battle against nearby enemies.

It says in verses 8-12:

8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) 9 Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”

David is continuing to fight the enemies of Israel even while he is in Philistine territory. And it says even the town David stayed in became part of Israel later.

Point number 3, even when you’re out of your element, even when you’re on the run, keep being a faithful Christian.

Even when things take a turn for the worst, be a faithful. Even if you’re in the hospital, witness to the nurses. Even if you’re on vacation, keep being faithful to God. Even if you’re at a new job, be a faithful Christian at work. Even if you lose everything, end up homeless, be a Christian on the streets then. Don’t let any circumstance change your mission.

Even if the USA were utterly destroyed by Russia and China in a sneak attack, a nuclear assault that turned the nation into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, still be a faithful Christian in that wasteland. Witness to the irradiated hordes!

David continues being a faithful warrior of Israel. For that year and 4 months, the battles continue. He raids Israel's enemies, and he has total victory. He leaves none alive. Wow. David is ruthless against his enemies, but completely devoted to God. He is a great leader. 

All of this points us to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, David was a great leader, Jesus would be the perfect leader. David is an example for us of godly character. But, Jesus Christ becomes more than an example for us, he becomes our savior, he bleeds and dies to pay our debt of sin. It’s more than an example, he becomes everything to us. So we should believe in Him in response and put our faith in Jesus Christ. He is our King, our perfect leader. David is an example, Jesus is the savior. But he is also our friend, our brother, and our God.

1. Get out for a while into things cool down

2. Be strategic – make a plan

3. Be consistent – even when life changes happen

4. David is an example, Jesus is the Savior