Call to Worship November 14 2021

Expository Thoughts on 1 Samuel 29

The anointed King of Israel lived in the land of Israel’s arch enemy, Goliath’s people, the Philistines. David voluntarily resided there – not by kidnapping or under protest. He deceptively raided pagan tribes from his base at Ziklag (27:6-12). Furthermore, he was Achish’s side-kick and bodyguard (28:1-2). Seemingly, he was ready to defend Achish even against the Israelites, his own people (29:2). David’s predicament proceeded from his hasty anxiousness, which resulted in his departure from Judah to Philistia (27:1-2). How would he escape this quandary? 

The possibility of leading his Israelite warriors against their own people was a difficult probability. David willfully placed himself in this position, but God’s permittance of David’s nervous decision making only went so far. God used David’s poor judgement as a reminder of His complete, yet serene, sovereignty.[1] While David is between two fires, God is never hemmed in or in emotional flux. It’s hard to be out flanked when you perfectly planned all things and know all things. Once again God revealed that He has the heart of the king in His hand.

As the Philistines’ lords saw the Hebrews marching along with Achish’s men, they were understandably disturbed. Achish may have been fooled by David’s complicated charade, but they were not deceived. They immediately spoke with impudence and rebuke toward Achish. In a sense, they questioned his skills of perception. “Yes, we know this is Saul’s enemy, but David is a known Philistine killer.” The victory songs, after Goliath’s fall and the Philistines’ defeat, were still imprinted on the forefront of their minds. Achish received the message and delivered the news to David. David’s Philistine paramilitary career, although promising, was abruptly ended. The next morning was a hike to Ziklag instead of a march to battle.[2]     

God mercifully erased all the difficulties of the situation. David would not defile his anointing by God. He would neither injure his reputation with His people nor with Achish.[3] In essence, he came out smelling like a rose in the middle of a fertilizer plant. The mercy of God prevailed over the myopic mercenary mentality of David. He had taken matters into his own hands and God saved him from his small-minded, reactionary plan. 

We are no different from David; our fears and anxiousness have caused many a bad decision. May we remember that God has all means at His disposal to provide mercy to His people. May we never presume upon God’s mercy, but seek for biblical wisdom. However, may we never forget God’s mercy is prevailing in our lives more often than we may see in the moment of a decision or temptation to succumb (1 Cor. 10:13).[4] God is merciful in His care of His people. May we never forget the greatest revelation of His mercy was the grace shown through the sending of His Son to this earth.  From the race of Adam every human has contributed his sinful ideas and actions to the troubles of this earth, but the second Adam, Jesus Christ, brought the ministry of reconciliation to a world of rebellion. Peace with God is not possible by our shortsighted plans, but is only possible through His eternal plan of redemption. Grace only comes through faith alone in Christ alone. Soli Deo Gloria!

[1] Dale Ralph Davis, I Samuel: Looking on the Heart, (Christian Focus Pub., 2014.), pg. 303-305.

[2] John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, vol. 2, (Baptist Standard Bearer, Paris, AR., 2006.), pg. 556. Gill also explains the reason he was probably sent back to Ziklag and not to Judah. They did not want a scenario where David could reunite with Saul and give away any military information in hope of some type of truce between Saul and David. This further reveals God’s plan worked out regarding the judgement of Saul. He was soon to be killed in battle. David survived in Ziklag to be raised to the throne.

[3] Matthew Poole, Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 1, (Hendrickson Publishers), pg. 582.

[4] Gordon Keddie, Dawn of a Kingdom: The Message of I Samuel, Welwyn Commentary Series, (England, Evangelical Press, 1988.), pg. 257.