1 Samuel 23-24
This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the LORD placed you at my mercy back there in the cave, and some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm him – he is the LORD’s anointed one. – 1 Samuel 24:10 NLT
David was learning. As he went through the difficult days surrounding his flight from Saul, David was getting an up-close and personal lesson from God on His faithfulness. He was learning to talk to God and seek His counsel, because he really had no one else to turn to. He no longer had Samuel to bounce ideas off of or to seek God's input. So he was learning to take his problems, which were many, directly to God. Which is probably why his Psalms reflect such a personal relationship with God. It is in the wilderness that he learned to share with and listen to God. David sought God's counsel when he heard that the Philistines were plundering Keilah, and God told him to go and that He would give them into David's hand. When David heard that Saul and his men were coming to Keilah, David asked God if the people of the city would turn him over to Saul in order to preserve their city, and God told him they would. David was able to escape unharmed.
David was under a lot of stress. He was being pursued each and every day by a madman whose sole mission in life was to eliminate him at all costs. But God was taking care of David. He was proving to David that He was watching over him. God even used Saul's son, Jonathan, as a source of encouragement to David, assuring him that he would one day be king over Israel. "'Don’t be afraid,' Jonathan reassured him. 'My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father is well aware'" (1 Samuel 23:17 NLT). Yet in spite of all the assurances and words of encouragement, David still had to spend his days running and hiding, moving from one cave to another, trying to stay one step ahead of Saul. He was sold out on more than one occasion by the residents of the areas in which he was hiding, forcing him to move on again. Saul even appointed 3,000 trained soldiers with the task of hunting down David and his men. They scoured the wilderness in search of David. And on one such occasion, Saul actually found him. But he didn't know it. Saul stopped to relieve himself in a cave, not knowing that David and his men were hiding inside. David's men strongly encouraged David to kill Saul, insinuating that this had to be God's will because Saul had walked into the one cave in which they were hiding. But David, exhibiting the character of heart that God seemed to recognize in him, refused to life his hand against Saul. It appears that David was willing to let God take care of Saul. He was not going to step in and play god. David even grieved over having cut off a piece of the hem of Saul's robe. "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD" (1 Samuel 24:6 NLT). As far as David was concerned, Saul was still the king, and until God removed him from his throne, David was going to let God decide what to do with him. Can you imagine how hard that was for David to do? In one second he could have eliminated all his problems. He could have taken matters into his own hands and removed the biggest obstacle and threat to his life. But he chose to trust God instead. He told Saul, "May the LORD judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!" (1 Samuel 24:15 NLT). David was learning to trust God. He was learning to leave his future in God's hands and not his own. Which is a lesson we could all stand to learn. God had plans for David, and whether he enjoyed it or not, the situation in which he found himself was part of those plans. God was teaching David through the circumstances of life, molding him into the kind of man He wanted him to be.
Father, You are always teaching me. I don't always recognize it, but I know You are using every situation in my life to make me more like Your Son. Help me to be a willing and ready student. I want to learn to trust You more and more with my life and my future. Amen