Wednesday, October 28, 2020

2020.10.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 21:10–22:5

Read 1 Samuel 21:10–22:5

Questions from the Scripture text: From whom did David flee in 1 Samuel 21:10? To whom? Of what do Achish’s servants remind him in 1 Samuel 21:11? Who heard them (1 Samuel 21:12)? How did he respond? What did he start doing (1 Samuel 21:13)? What does Achish say in 1 Samuel 21:14? What three things does he ask in 1 Samuel 21:14-15? Then where did David go in 1 Samuel 22:1? Who heard about it? What did they do? What three kinds of people does 1 Samuel 22:2 say also gathered to David? What did David become toward them? How many of them were there? To where does David go in 1 Samuel 22:3? To whom? What did David ask the king of Moab to do for whom? Until when? What did David do in 1 Samuel 22:4? How long did they stay with the king? Who spoke to David in 1 Samuel 22:5? What did he tell him not to do? Where did he tell him to go? Where did he go?

From an earthly perspective, this seems to be a passage about how hotly Saul’s enmity pursues David, but from a biblical perspective it is really a passage about how hotly the Lord’s covenant love pursues David (cf. Psalm 23:6).

We can see how much David feels the pressure from Saul. 

He shows up in Goliath’s hometown (1 Samuel 21:10, cf. 1 Samuel 17:4), carrying the sword that could not be mistaken for any other (1 Samuel 21:9). The situation quickly escalates, because even the Philistines remember the recent hit song in 1 Samuel 21:11 (cf. 1 Samuel 18:6–8), but with much less fondness than the ladies of Israel. Not only is David “very much afraid” (1 Samuel 21:12), but by the time he is working on his award for best actor in Gath, 1 Samuel 21:13 tells us that he is “in their hands” (implying that he has been arrested/detained).

So, how does David get out of there? A little graffiti on the doors and spit in the beard (verse 13), and Achish is wondering why they’re straining the budget by bringing another social services case into state custody (1 Samuel 21:14-15).

We might be tempted to see it as some combination of desperate tactics and regal gullibility. But David himself attributes it to Yahweh hearing his cries in compassion (cf. Psalm 34, superscript) and exercising divine power to protect him (cf. Psalm 56). His response is not to write a manual for hostages but to lead the worship of God’s people.

Next stop is the cave of Adullam. It doesn’t seem to be very secret. His brothers and all his father’s house hear of it (1 Samuel 22:1). But they are also joined by about four hundred of every sort of societal outcast (1 Samuel 22:2). So, again, this is not exactly a smashing success for David the tactician. Rather, it is the strong God of Psalm 142 (cf. superscript) who is helping the servant whose persecutors are too strong for him.

But caves aren’t great for David’s parents, who are already advanced in age (1 Samuel 22:3, cf. 1 Samuel 17:12), so David seeks out other arrangements. It is not as odd as we might think that David takes his parents, Jesse and Mrs. Jesse, to Moab for help. Other kingdoms (Israel and Philistia) have proved rather dangerous, and Jesse grew up upon the knees of grandma Ruth—a Moabitess. 

In hindsight, we can see the marvelous wisdom and love of God in the providence of the famine in the days of Elimelech, and in providing this Moabitess ancestress, so that an elderly couple has a place of refuge in hard times (1 Samuel 22:4).

Finally, the prophet Gad comes out of nowhere (1 Samuel 22:5). It is actually a pretty frequent occurrence in Scripture for a prophet to come out of nowhere. But that’s kind of the point. They don’t come out of nowhere. They come from God, Whose Word is one of His great provisions to His people. Several times now, David’s expectations have not been realized. So, it is a mercy that God sends His prophet to encourage His servant that He is still with him, and to give him guidance that he can be sure of.

On the whole, each of these four episodes contributes to one overall theme: God’s covenant love is hotly pursuing His servant. Ultimately, this is true of all who are found in great David’s greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are His, then His covenant love is hotly pursuing you!

In what difficult situations are you finding yourself? How can you know that God’s covenant love is hotly pursuing you in them? How does this affect how you think of those situations or act in them?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd”

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