Three chapters in a nutshell, 1 Samuel 27-29: After the last encounter with Saul, David decides to go into enemy territory and escape to the land of the Philistines. Sure enough, once Saul got word of this, he gave up searching for David. The king of the Philistines at the time, Achish, liked David and gave him a place to stay in a town called Ziklag. David attacked/raided three different tribes, but when Achish asked where he went, he’d pretend the attacks were on the Israelites. Well, Achish liked David so much that he asked him to join his army. David agreed, to try and show loyalty once again, so he could live there. When it was time for yet another battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, scripture tells us that “when Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him…”(28:5) Despite going against God, Saul sure does recognize his existence and power a lot. I love that when he got scared, he called out to the Lord. Well as expected because we learned earlier that God was no longer with Saul, God didn’t answer. Saul still wanted to hear from God so he sent his attendants to look for a medium (this is someone who could speak to dead spirits) Our application said that when mediums were consulted they actually heard form Satan and demons as the source of their information that “God does not reveal his will to [mediums].” Saul asked this woman they found to call on the spirit of Samuel. When she called on him scripture says “she cried out at the top of her voice” (v.12) and the application tells us it’s because she knew that this wasn’t a spirit from Satan, but actually a spirit from God. (It also warns us that God is against this practice and anything that consults the dead.) God does allow Samuel to speak to Saul, but his message was one Saul already knew, he and his sons were going to be put to death by the Philistines. After this all went down, the Philistines were gathering their army together and David and his men were in the back, but the Philistine commanders told Achish that they didn’t want David to fight because they were afraid he would turn his back on them and fight for the Israelites. David tried to stay, but Achish ended up sending him back out of this battle. “God used the commanders’ suspicion to keep him from having to fight against Saul and his fellow Israelites.” (Application) I love how once again we see God protecting David from taking God’s will into his own hands.
Today’s verse is from the king of the Philistines, Achish, “…Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.” like we talked about above, in the king telling David, who he really liked and wanted to fight in the battle, to return back without fighting, seemed like a jab to David. But, it was actually a blessing from the Lord. It didn’t put David in a position to have to fight against the future people that he would be king over. And He didn’t have to choose in that moment what to do, fight his people and live in Ziklag, potentially killing king Saul or turn on the Philistines and who knows what would have happen. Having Achish tell this to David ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Let’s look back at a hard season, a difficult decision, a tough time or even an unanswered prayer in your life. Did God’s his no or an unexpected answer end up being a blessing in disguise for you? Write about it. Journal out how you were feeling in the hard, but thank God for the beauty that came out of it.
Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us in this story that you are always there protecting us, that with you we are safe. I know we can’t see the bigger picture like you do, so things we see as difficult or not being heard by you, end up being a blessing. Help us in the times of doubting your plan to remember that you know every single detail, that you have gone before us. You can make something beautiful out of anything, just like you did for David. Help us to cling to this story, to this truth, that you are always fighting for us and moving in ways we may not understand but we can trust that it will ultimately turn out for good. In your safe and faithful name we pray, AMEN!