Presentation on theme: "LIFE OF DAVID GOD BEGINS TO USE DAVID TO DELIVER AND UNITE ISRAEL I SAMUEL 23/PSALM 54."— Presentation transcript:
LIFE OF DAVID GOD BEGINS TO USE DAVID TO DELIVER AND UNITE ISRAEL I SAMUEL 23/PSALM 54
In Chapters 23 and 24 we begin to see how God begins a new phase in David’s life. -God took every crutch away from David. -David bottoms out in the cave of Adullam. -God uses the Adullam experience to draw David to greater faith in Him. David is not self-reliant. -God sends the “mighty men” to the cave to join David. -David begins to mold the “mighty men” into a fighting force. -Now, David leads the “mighty men” out.
A key word in chapters 23 and 24 is “hand”. It appears 20 times, 9 in chapter 23, and 11 in chapter 24. Chapter 23—context is the effective or ineffective use of power. “Hand” is a metaphor for power. Chapter 24-the stress is more on the restraint of power than on its use. Now that David is no longer self-reliant, God gives him opportunities to learn further what it means to be a good ruler and how a good ruler uses power. Cf. Machiavelli. David also learns to rely on God’s sovereignty in all situations.
I. The rescue of Keilah (23: 1-6) A. Back to dealing with the Philistines after spending time on Saul-David-Jonathon. 1. Keilah also appears in OT in Joshua 15:44 where we are told it is part of Judah, and in Nehemiah 3:17-18 where it is identified as the center of an administrative district of Judah after the Babylonian exile. 2. Western foothills of Judah, on the western slope miles SW of Jerusalem, 3 miles SE of Adullam
B. “They” inform David that the Philistines are attacking Keilah and seizing the food from the harvest (“looting the threshing floors”). These sites would have served not only for the actual threshing of grain, but also for storage. -David inquires of God repeatedly if he should attack the Philistines. Reminds us of Judges 20:23. -”Inquiring of the Lord”= a priest, probably Abiathar, (v. 6) would have mediated using the Urim and Thummim. See also Joshua 7: use of Urim and Thummim to identify Aachen; I Samuel 14 to identify Jonathon.
The Bible first mentions the Urim and the Thummim in Exodus 28 in connection with the design of the tabernacle. -The Hebrew words urim can be translated fire or light, and the word thummim can be translated completeness or perfected. -Later Greek translations of the Old Testament chose to use the words "revelation" and "truth" to translate Urim and Thummim, in keeping with their purpose rather than their appearance.
Traditional depictions of these objects see them as black and white stones, through there is nothing in Scripture to suggest such an appearance. Scripture never describes the origins nor the substance of these objects, but we know they had the power to reveal God's will in response to a question. Not simply “yes” or “no” answers: Judges 1:1-2 (“who shall go first”); Judges 20:18 (“who shall go first”); I Samuel 10:22; II Samuel 2:22; II Samuel 5:23 (circle around them [the Philistines]). What is the significance? Emphasis on God’s sovereignty in all things, no matter how small.
In a free will / chaos / randomness universe, casting lots, and therefore, using Urim and Thummim, would be foolishness. The very practice (as sanctified in the Bible) clearly points to a universe ruled by God’s almighty power, by law and order as it were. The intended meaning and historical usage of the Urim and Thummim (lots) is a testimony to putting all things in God’s hands, and accepting his verdict; in other words, true faith. Abel Zechariah: and-thummim-in-the-predestinarian-perspective/
In I Samuel 28:5 we will see that when Saul “inquired of God”, he received not answer. Why? The Holy Spirit had been taken from him (I Samuel 16). The parallel passage, 1 Chron. 10:14, states that Saul did not inquire of the Lord, and died because he inquired of the medium at Endor. -His attitude, or motive in asking was of such a nature that according to the Divine interpretation it was as though he had not inquired at all. Conversely, “there is more of this activity on the part of David recorded in Scripture than for any other individual leader of any other period of Israel's history”. (Part of an unpublished paper entitled "Revelation through Urim and Thummim" by Trevor Craigen which was presented to the Post Graduate Seminar, Grace Theological Seminary (1978))
Very important—the priest requests guidance for the political leader, who could not approach God directly but had to come via the God-ordained religious structure of the nation. Craigen. s/02-exodus/text/articles/craigen-urim.htm Again-the emphasis on separation of political rule and priestly rule. (SCB) Will/are these two roles ever to be united? If so, by whom? Does this help us understand why it was so important to separate the two functions in the theocracy of Israel? (SCB)
B. David “inquires of God” twice (vv. 2,4), the second time necessitated by the fear of his men to attack the Philistines. Don’t get us wrong David, we feel bad for those people in Keilah. But hey, we are afraid even here in the Forest of Hereth, what is going to happen if we go down into the open in the foothills and coastal plain where the Philistines are dominant? Don’t forget, they are a trained army armed to the teeth.
1. God’s response to the second inquiry uses an emphatic “I” guaranteeing victory. 2. Reassured, David’s men follow him into battle and join him in soundly defeating the Philistines. (v. 5). -all verbs in v. 5 are singular, i.e. “so David saved the inhabitants of Keilah”. This either emphasizes the lack of faith on the part of David’s men, or is the common attribution of success to a leader, with the understanding that he did not succeed on his own.
Problem—David’s rescue of Keilah brings him up into the light so that Saul knows where he is again. Saul-who should have been protecting/rescuing Keilah himself as king-then fulfills the old proverb “no good deed goes unpunished”. II. Saul pursues David (vv. 7-29) A. Here we see another contrast between Saul and David. David “inquires of the Lord”, while Saul relies totally on his intelligence reports, which bring him frustration and failure. 1. Word play: The Hebrew word for “inquire”- sa’al looks and sounds like “Saul”.
2. Saul’s pursuit will drive David from Keilah to the Desert of Ziph (vv ) to the Desert of Maon (vv. 24b-28) and into the strongholds of En Gedi (v. 29)
B. David escapes from Keilah (vv. 7-13) 1. Saul’s intelligence system informs him that David is in Keilah, and either sincerely or from a false sense of piety, Saul belies that God had delivered David to him. 2. The idea of “shut himself” or “imprisoned himself” implies that Keilah may have had only one exit gate. -”gates and bars”= literally “two doors and a bar”
3. Saul calls up his troops in order to attack Keilah (v. 8), but David gets word of Saul’s plan (literally “thinking/planning evil” or “plot harm”). -Sort of ironic, one would think that Saul would be grateful that the Philistines-his primary enemy-had been defeated. -David asks Abiathar to bring the urim and thummim in the linen ephod to inquire of God. (v. 9)
4. David opens and closes his inquiry with the words “O Lord, the God of Israel”- acknowledging God’s sovereignty. David then asks two questions. -will the men of Keilah surrender me to Saul? -is Saul going to attach Keilah on my account? (v. 11) 5. God answers only the second question first— ”He will come down” (v. 12), so David asks the first question again, and the answer is also positive. Both answers are one word only- terse.
6. The fact that the people of Keilah would be willing to turn their deliverer over to Saul speaks to their fear of retribution for harboring fugitives, which in turn speaks to the nature of Saul’s rule. He is a Proverbs 28:15 sort of ruler. 7. David now has 600 men with him, but he feels they are still no match for Saul’s army, which numbers in excess of 3,000 (24:2). -they frequently change their location (“went wherever they could go”-v. 14-can also be read “kept moving”).
C. Saul pursues David (vv a) 1. Saul now actively begins chasing David. Previously he was content to wait for reports and attempt to attack David. Now he is tracking David’s movements hoping to catch him. -vv demonstrate that Saul has become so single-minded in his pursuit of David that he will jeopardize the well-being of the rest of his kingdom. -Saul at this point is possessed with one thought----catch and destroy David, his enemy.
2. The activity in these verses is centered on Ziph, to the in the hill country west of the Dead Sea. It was allocated to Judah in the conquest (Joshua 15:48). -the site of the ancient town of Ziph is about 12 miles SE of Keilah. -the Desert of Ziph was located to the east of Ziph.
3. During David’s movements, he comes to Horesh, further to the SE, and Jonathon comes to encourage him. (vv ) -Jonathon’s encouragement is vigorous “You (emphatic) will be king”. “I (emphatic) will be second (next) to you”. The words here convey not only the idea of “second-in-command” or “next in rank”, but also “double” or “copy”. I will be like your double or copy. That’s how close we are”! (Jonathon’s view of the future—interesting).
4. The two then enter into a covenant—could be a renewal of their previous covenant, but probably better understood as a fresh, new covenant. -The first covenant was initiated by Jonathon, no reason to think that this one was not also. (SCB). But—they enter it as equals in Jonathon’s eyes. Jonathon then returns to Gibeah, sure in his belief that David will be king, and may never have seen David again. It is interesting to note Jonathon’s attitude—willing to be second-in- command. Trusting David that his family will not be wiped out in typical ancient Middle East fashion.
5. While Jonathon is encouraging David, some of the leading citizens of Ziph are treating him treacherously. (vv ). -Psalm 54 describes them as “strangers”, i.e. estranged from God and the covenant community or non-Israelites. They are “ruthless”-they insist on their own rights and desires w/o a sense of empathy or mercy. They have no regard for God. (Ps. 54:3).
-The Ziphites go to Saul, not vice versa. They travel to Gibeah. -They provide very specific information. (“... on the hill of Hachilah which is south of Jeshimon”) Listen, Saul old buddy, old pal, we can take you right to him. -Obviously, Saul’s reputation precedes him. Everyone-even these people in southern Judah- knows he runs his kingdom on a patronage basis.
6. Saul thanks the Ziphites using his stock phrase “the Lord bless you” (v. 21). This is the same phrase he used when greeting Samuel in I Samuel 15:13 when he failed to wipe out the Amalekites as divinely ordered. -not an indication of piety. His gratitude for his concern also hearkens back to his false piety on that occasion. (I Samuel 15:15). -Saul then sends the Ziphites back to pinpoint every possible hiding place where the “cunning” (same word used for the serpent in Genesis 3:1)) David might be. Saul is leaving nothing to chance. Dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s”.
D. Hot chase through the desert of Maon (vv ) 1. The Desert of Maon is south of the Dead Sea in the desert flatlands of what is known as the Arabah. It is named for the town of Maon which had been allotted to Judah in the conquest (Joshua 15:48). It is about 5 miles south of Ziph, and the Desert of Maon would have been south of that site.
2. This passage is worthy of the tension and excitement of an action movie. -Saul informed-probably by the Ziphites-that David is on “the rock”. -Saul and his men pursue David. -David and his men escaping on one side of the mountain, Saul on the other. Does Saul see his quarry? Can they hear them? David’s men scurrying down one side, slipping and sliding? (vv )
3. The tension keeps rising—it appears all is lost for David—at least from a human standpoint. Then, we see the tension break. -A message arrives for Saul advising that the Philistines have invaded and are raiding Israel. -Saul is forced to break off the chase of David to deal with the outside threat. (vv ). TALK ABOUT DENOUEMENT!
4. The rock where all this action takes place was called “Sela Hammahlekoth” which probably meant “Smooth/Slippery Rock” and came to mean “The Rock of Parting” of “Rock of Divisions”. (v. 28). 5. David and his band move further south and east to En Gedi, an oasis with springs which provided water for vineyards. “En”=“Ein”= “spring” “gedi”= “kids” So, this is the “Spring of the Goats”, no doubt named for the many rock-goats (ibex) in the surrounding crags, caves and cliffs. The many caves would also have provided shelter for David and his men. (“strongholds of En Gedi”, v. 29).
En-Gedi must have been a place of refreshment and relaxation after the tension and anxiety of running for their lives in the Desert of Maon and the Desert of Ziph.
TAKEAWAYS 1. There is a major emphasis on the sovereignty of God in I Samuel 23. -David relies on God’s sovereignty when consulting the urim and thummim. He “inquires” of God more than any other ruler on record in scripture. (Craigen) -God’s sovereignty triumphs-as it must-over the machinations of the Ziphites by providing a distraction (the Philistines) to rescue David from the tentacles of Saul. David, the Ziphites, and certainly not Saul could have foreseen that development, but God was controlling events outside of the David/Saul sphere to impact the people in it.
-Jonathon encourages David by referencing God’s sovereignty. “Do not fear...the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this”. (v. 17). 2. The interior view in Psalm 54 also emphasizes God’s sovereignty. -In v. 1 David prays to God for vindication and salvation. Only God can deliver him from the troubles he outlines in v. 3. -David reveals why he relies on God’s sovereignty-God has revealed his “name” and his “might” in the past. (v. 1). The Lord-and only the Lord can sustain. (v. 4). Why? Because the Lord-and only the Lord-is in control of all things.
-David trusts in divine justice to vindicate him. (Ps. 54:5). God is faithful in his relationship to his people; therefore David remains calm, trusting that God will protect him. 3. How does David respond to God’s sovereignty? In praise and worship. (Ps. 54:6-7) -The offering here is a communal offering presented before the Lord, but enjoyed in the fellowship of family and friends. The present tragedy provides a future that may be shared with others in the company of God. God’s name will be exalted, because through his name he brings deliverance and will continue to bring deliverance. (VanGemeren, p. 391)
4. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is not something that is scary, but reassuring to the believer who should respond to God’s sovereignty in reliance and praise. -We should not be thought of as ”dour” Presbyterians with a somber/scary/unintelligible doctrine of sovereignty, but why are we characterized that way by the world? -Does contemplating God’s sovereignty lead us to praise—individually and corporately-like it did David?