Thoughts for the Week

Posts tagged ‘David’

David’s Last Chance (Part 6 of 6)

(1 Samuel 24:1-22)

The dusty, hot air coated Saul’s parched throat. He coughed and reached for his wine-skin. “When will we reach En-gedi?” he asked his armor-bearer. “This weather is unbearable.”

“Soon, sir.”

“I hope so. David had better be there. Knowing he’s still out there plotting…sets my teeth on edge.”

“You should have no problem now. I heard he only has six hundred men, while you bring three thousand elect troops.” The warriors bustled behind the king, wanting to find David to get home and out of the sun.

“Yes, I know.” Saul sulked. “It’s a five-to-one match. But I can’t relax until that traitor is dead at the other end of my spear.” He clenched the weathered spear, its handle rubbed smooth from all the times Saul ran his nervous fingers over it. “But for now, I think we all need a break.”

The troops collapsed under the trees and rocky crags in cool, shady spots. Saul handed his spear to his armor bearer and headed for a nearby cave. He knew he drank too much water from his wine-skin.

As he slipped inside the cave, some specific individuals further inside spotted him. David and his men just happened to be hiding inside that very cave! His men whispered excitedly to David, “Look! Now’s your chance! He’s alone and unarmed! You can end this hunt and finally go home!”

David slipped stealthily down the cool, dark passageway toward his enemy with a sharp dagger in hand. Saul rested against a tall rock and was enjoying a moment of cool stillness. You monster, David thought. You took the lives of innocent families and now seek mine relentlessly. Why God had you anointed for king I’ll never know.

The men waiting down the tunnel waited for the blood-curdling cry from Saul…but there was only silence. Eventually David came slinking back, an unbloodied knife in one hand, and a scrap of cloth in the other.

“Did you kill him?” they asked in hushed tones.

David’s eyes grew sad in the semi-darkness. “I couldn’t do it. He is a murderer and hunted me like a dog for months…but he is still God’s anointed king. I cannot take his life.”

* * *

Saul descended the rocky slope to his troops and his ears prickled when he heard his name called. “My lord, the king!”
That voice! The voice he had trained himself to hear and strike down. From the man he detested and wanted dead. He whirled around. That man…was bowing down.

David lay on his stomach just outside the cave, and he shouted to Saul. “Why do you keep pursuing me? You think I’m trying to harm you? Look!” He rose slightly and all of Saul’s troops were watching him now. A lone archer near the back raised his bow toward David’s chest, an arrow notched to his ear.

David held the scrap high. “This is from your robe! I cut it myself in the cave when you weren’t looking. If I wanted to kill you, I would have done it then.”

Saul snatched his robe’s edge and held it up. Just as David said, a small section had been cut away. Saul’s face twisted and he was silent. David spoke.

“My king, you have done some awful things, and God will judge you, but I won’t.”

Then Saul, the mighty king of Israel, began to weep. The archer lowered his weapon.

“David, I am so sorry,” the king mourned. “You are a far better person than I am. I know you will be king after me.”

In the end, Saul left David, and he no longer had to run. After God rescued him, he penned words that have encouraged people for thousands of years.

“I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”

(Psalm 18:1-2, NIV)

The End

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

No Escape (Part 5 of 6)

(1 Samuel 23:7-29)

David found himself quickly gaining more men. Rescuing the city made him the hero of Keliah. He lowered himself to the dusty ground near the city gate and glanced to azure sky. Lord, you’ve been faithful. I— David’s thoughts were cut off when a scout ran to him, his face beaded with sweat, and his eyes wide.

“Saul knows you’re here! He’s bringing his entire army to destroy the city to get to you!”

David’s heart began to race. Keliah had a wall and could keep out most attackers, but with the recent invasion, this city was in poor defensive shape. David jumped to his feet. “Where is Abiathar?” The people of Keliah who heard the news were milling around anxiously.

The young priest was quickly located. “Abiathar,” David said, “Saul is coming here to kill us. Please seek God’s guidance! And quickly!” David secluded himself and poured out his heart. “Lord, will Saul actually come here? God, what should I do? Please tell me!”

The Lord answered. If Saul comes here, the people will hand you and your men over to him. David’s heart ceased racing and froze instead. “They will betray me? After we rescued them?” His men were quickly assembled and they fled Keliah before Saul arrived.

* * *

Once they had gone a considerable distance, they stopped for camp. Hundreds of little campfires lit the cold wilderness of Horesh. David gazed into the fire; an ember sputtered from the flames and flickered out.

Suddenly, a hand grasped his shoulder. “David?”

David looked, but couldn’t believe his eyes, “Jonathan!” His best friend had tracked David down to encourage him. He sat himself across from the fire, the orange light painting his regal features. “My father will never find you, David. God will keep protecting you. I know you’re meant to be king. Don’t give up.”

* * *

The next morning, the two men parted, both feeling encouraged. David and his men went south near Maon, and Jonathan went back home to Jerusalem. David heard Saul was still seeking him and went deeper into the wilderness of Maon.

But one fateful morning, Saul drew too close for David and his men to escape.

The troop of 600 carefully made their way through the gritty, sun-scorched wasteland of Maon. The few bare trees were stripped of any leaves, and no sound could be heard except for the lonely, dry wind.

David called for a much-needed break, and they sat. One of his men, the one with the graying beard sat next to him. “You wouldn’t happen to have any extra water, would you?”

“Sure, you can have mine,” David offered.

“Thank you. Mine began leaking yesterday, and this weather can drain a man of life—”

But David wasn’t listening; he was fixed on the cloud of dust rising from the horizon. He looked closer, and saw his worst nightmare. “Saul’s army!” he cried.

All his men were thrown into a panic. The enemy had seen them now, and the army charged. David and his men made a break for a small mountain in an attempt to hide in the crevices and caves.

David waited until his men were on the other side of the mountain. He looked back and was startled by how close the enemy was. He heard their thunderous marching and their blood-thirsty cries.He looked into the mass of men and his eye fell on Saul. The man had been hounding him for what seemed like months. They saw each other for the first time since this chaos began. The cold victory that burned in Saul’s eyes made David’s knees give way.

He let his body sink to the ground as he slipped behind a boulder. Oh God, he prayed while tensing his body against the rock. There’s nowhere to run. He’s going to kill all of us.

Saul and his men began closing around the mountain like a noose.

Just as David heard Saul’s men clamoring up the other side, he heard another noise. A horn? Suddenly the war cries and marching stopped. David mustered enough courage to peer over the boulder. Saul’s leaving? He stood. David later learned that the Philistines had raided Israel and scouts had come to call Saul away to fight.

As David’s men watched, they cheered and praised God. David saw Saul turn and look toward him. Hatred radiated from his glare and he turned away with his army.

David only slid to his knees—glad to be alive. But he knew Saul would be back.

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

Keliah’s Rescue (Part 4 of 6)

(1 Samuel 22:20-23, 23:1-6)

The soft night sky twinkled with stars and the wind had slowed to a warm, gentle breeze. David and his troop camped in the forests of Hereth that night. He sat against a wiry acacia tree and let his muscles relax.

It feels as though things are finally calming down, he thought as he began to doze off. But a shout from his men brought him back to the present . A young man stumbled into camp, demanding to see David. He had blood spattered on his clothing, a colorful ephod in his hands, and his eyes were wide—darting this way and that.

“Who are you?” David’s men demanded.

“I am Abiathar, son of Ahimelech. I’m from Nob, I need to see David immediately!”

David recognized the town and name. He stepped forward. When he saw the blood on Abiathar’s clothing, he felt uneasiness settle upon him. “Abiathar. You are welcome here. What happened?”

Until now, Abiathar would not let himself break. But tears in the young man’s eyes flowed freely over his anger-stricken face. “It was Saul! He killed my father, he killed all the priests! My whole family.” He slumped to his knees, holding the ephod close to his chest. “I am the only one who escaped.”

David felt his chest tighten. He kneeled down, placed a hand on Abiathar’s shoulder and tightly clenched his other hand. “Why did Saul do this?” But he already knew the answer.

“Doeg, that cursed Edomite, saw you in the temple and told the king. Saul brought the priests to him and said we had aided you in your mission to destroy him. But it was a lie! He destroyed my family over a lie!”

The gut in David’s stomach went from tight to nauseous. Oh, Ahimelech. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have hidden the truth from you. You were all innocent, and I could have warned you. He spoke. “I knew there would be trouble when I saw Doeg that day.” He took Abiathar’s shoulders and looked into his tearful eyes. “I am so sorry. I have caused the death of your entire family. Please forgive me. Stay with us. I will protect you with my life. Because the same person wants both of us killed.”

* * *

A few days later, David heard a town nearby, Keilah, was being robbed by the Philistines. He stopped and sought advice from the one friend who had been with him since his flight started.

“Lord, should I go and attack them?”

The answer came clearly: Yes, go and save Keilah.

He told his men the plan, and they were not thrilled. A man with tired eyes and a graying beard said, “Listen, we’re scared as it is in our own country. Do you think it’s wise to take on the entire Philistine army?” Others agreed.
“God has told me to go. But if you are afraid, I can ask him again,” David replied.

So he secluded himself and sought the Lord. Listening intently, he heard the same answer. Go down to Keliah. I will give the Philistine army to you. He shared the Lord’s words with his men and they prepared for battle.

It was just as God said. They drove away the hostile army, reclaimed the things that had been stolen, and rescued the people of Keliah. One of the rescued men held his wife close. “Thank you, David. This town will forever be in your debt.”

After they had driven the Philistines away, the man who had doubted approached David. He fidgeted with his sword and looked into David’s eyes. “Please forgive me for not believing you. I was wrong to question what your god said.”

David smiled. “Don’t worry. Everyone doubts at some point. But it’s not wrong to ask again to clarify. If anything, I think God is pleased when we double-check his words.”

It was another victory for David, but little did he know the people of Keliah were about to betray him.

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

Blood is Shed (Part 3 of 6)

(1 Samuel 22:6-19)

While David ran from the king, many men without direction began following him.

Unfortunately, Saul heard of this new development as well. The king sat under a tree with spear in hand. He gripped the worn handle. The king longed to drive the blade into David’s heart. He shouted to his officers.

“Have you heard? That treacherous dog, David, is gathering men against me! Also, no one told me he met with my son before he fled. Jonathan, my own son! I’m sure he was encouraging this traitor to end my life!”

His officers shuffled nervously. The king was getting into one of his moods.

Behind a few of his soldiers, a shaggy man listened, then stepped forward. It was Doeg. “My lord,” he began. “I saw the son of Jesse up at Nob. He was speaking to the priest, Ahimelech. He gave the fugitive food and a weapon.”

Saul’s face grew flushed and his jaw clenched in anger. “Has everyone in Israel betrayed me?” He called all the priests of Nob to come and they arrived quickly. Eighty-five priests stood in the sweltering sun before Saul. He still sat under the tree. His voice boomed in the silence.

“Listen to me, Ahimelech!”

The priest’s forehead grew moist with sweat. “What is it, my king?”

“Why have you conspired against me? Why have you helped my enemy, David? He was with you! Remember? You gave him food and a weapon! You also encouraged him to kill me!”

The line of priests looked to each other fearfully. Ahimelech tried to hide his shock and fury. His skin grew hot and felt prickly under the desert heat. “My king! I did give the son of Jesse food and a weapon, but I never told him to betray you!”

Saul merely curled a lip in disgust. “I don’t believe you.”

The priest’s anger burned like the hot sun. “Listen, there isn’t anyone in your household as faithful as your son-in-law, David. He is the captain of your bodyguard! Why pursue him unjustly?”

The king heard enough. He leapt to his feet, grabbed his spear, and charged at Ahimelech. The priests pulled back and a few looked away. Ahimelech looked straight into the crazed eyes of king and knew he was not going to win this argument. He slowly dropped to his knees and murmured.

“My lord, please do not accuse us. I had no idea what David was doing.”

His knees stung in the gritty dirt, and Ahimelech slowly looked up, praying to see mercy in the king’s eyes.

There was none.

Saul hissed. “You will die, Ahimelech. You and your family!” He caught the defenseless man by the throat and called to his men. “Kill them all! They have betrayed me!”

The priests cried out and grouped together. Ahimelech choked a cry for mercy. The officers refused to hurt them. Saul pushed Ahimelech to his back and cursed. “Have all of my men betrayed me?” He looked to Doeg and growled. “You do it. Finish them.”

The Edomite turned on the prone man. The priest recognized him. “You…you were at the temple.” Doeg ignored him and drove his blade into Ahimelech’s chest.

Doeg killed the eighty-five priests. The sand was stained red with their blood.

If that wasn’t enough, he then went to the town of Nob and slaughtered all the families of the priests. Every wife. Every son. Every daughter. Every infant. They were all killed.

Except one. A son of Ahimelech escaped and started looking for David.

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

Captured (Part 2 of 6)

(1 Samuel 21:10-15)

With his newly acquired sword, David made his way south over the sandy terrain and away from Saul. But one day, he woke to find he was surrounded by guards from Gath. They recognized him as an Israelite, took his sword, shackled him, and brought him to their king, Achish. But when they arrived, the king was busy, so the guards had David wait.

He had kept his mouth shut. Now he sat outside the king’s courtyard and hoped he could explain that he was on the run. He picked up the guards’ hushed conversation. The man with the beaky nose who held David’s sword hissed to his comrade, “Grenith, I knew he was trouble when we found him. I’m certain it’s him.”

The other guard ran his rough knuckles through his coarse, black beard. “Alkor, listen, he’s been traveling for days. We’ll have our lord decide whether or not he is David, son of Jesse.”

“It must be him. He carries the sword of our champion.”

David took in a sharp breath. He clenched his fists. Goliath’s sword! How could I be so foolish? He was from Gath. He glanced to the massive sword. Something tells me they won’t forgive me when I come wearing the weapon of their fallen hero. I’ve got to get out of here.

He noticed the guards had turned their backs on him. He slowly planted his hands in the gritty soil to jump to his feet and run. I’ll find a way to get these restraints off once I’ve escaped. But in that moment, more guards arrived and filed him into the next room. It was time to meet the king of Gath.

The throne room reeked of musky incense. The king sat and eyed the tattered, dirty warrior. He sighed. “Alkor, what is this man doing here? I have no need for vagabonds.”

The guard removed David’s shackles and shoved him to his knees. While bowing, the guard brought the sword up. “He is no vagabond, my lord. Here is the sword of Goliath, our champion. He was killed none other by David, son of Jesse!”

The king’s brow lowered. “You don’t mean to say….”

Alkor straightened. “Yes, is it not him, the one Samuel anointed king of Israel? Isn’t he the one they sing about? ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’ Those ‘tens of thousands’ were our people!”

Achish rose. His ornamental necklace and bracelets rattled. The sound filled the tense air. He made his way toward David. The king’s face grew red as the gemstones around his neck. “Is it true? Are you David, son of Jesse? Hated enemy of Gath?”

David opened his mouth. I sure hope this works.

“Rah tee mah soo keet ta.”

“What?”

“Rah tee maaaah, see baba.” David proceeded to run around the courtyard, babbling incoherently, scratching marks on the doors, and drooling like a dog. The king was appalled. “Alkor! He’s insane! Why did you bring him here? We already have enough madmen in this place! Get rid of him!”

Alkor was as horrified as the king. He and the guards ushered David out of the king’s dwelling place and rudely shoved him outside the city limits.

Once they were gone, David smiled and ran east. I may have lost my sword, but at least I escaped with my life!

Later he rested and penned the words, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.”

(Psalm 34:19, NIV)

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

David, the Fugitive (Part 1 of 6)

(1 Samuel 21:1-9)

David raised his eyes to the meet the town of Nob which was bathed in starlight. He was a fugitive, on the run from Saul, the king with a wild temper. His best friend, Jonathan, had tried reasoning with Saul, his father,  but was almost killed for it.

David felt hot tears rise as he recalled what was probably his last encounter with Jonathan. They had met outside in a field, and both knew David would never be safe in the courts again. Jonathan and David wept and said their goodbyes. The dark, lonely flight to Nob filled David’s heart with dread. I don’t know if I’ll even last the night. Saul’s probably hunting me already.

He stopped to see a priest named Ahimelech. He entered the small temple. Torches cast flickering shadows on the rough interior walls. Ahimelech looked up from his desk and saw the young warrior standing in the doorway, disheveled and weaponless. David knew his appearance was going to raise suspicion.

“Good evening.” Ahimelech made his way toward the fugitive. “Why are you alone?” The ex-shepherd knew he couldn’t tell the truth. He wasn’t sure who to trust right now.

“The king sent me on a secret mission. Please don’t tell anyone I’m here.” The priest nodded and ushered David further into the temple.

“I’m famished. Do you have anything to eat?” David asked.

Ahimelech gave him the consecrated bread. David took it and sat off in a shadowy corner to eat. The bread filled David’s stomach, but not his heart. Great, now I’ve lied to a priest and am eating the holy bread. I sure don’t feel holy right now. Lord…what am I supposed to do?

David felt the back of his neck prickle and noticed a man across the courtyard watching him. David knew the man. He was Doeg, servant to Saul. David pulled his cloak a little closer and turned his back on Doeg. I hope he doesn’t recognize me. David thought.

He figured he could spend the night in Nob and be on his way in the morning. But he needed a weapon.

After supper, he asked Ahimelech, “Listen, do you have any weapons here I could use? I left in such a haste, I forgot mine.” The priest directed him to a small closet to the side.

“Anything we have in there you can use, feel free to take a look.”

David pulled on the heavy door and a dry, musty smell greeted him. He found broken arrows, some bent pieces of armor, and a few rough daggers. He sighed. There was nothing here. But then his eye fell on something. There was a large sword wrapped in cloth behind an ephod. He tugged on the pommel and hoisted the sword into the light. He carried it to the priest.

“Ahimelech, what is this?”

“Ah, funny you picked that sword. Why, don’t you remember it? The man it belonged to declared he would destroy you with it, and you destroyed him with it. But from what I heard, you took him down with a sling first.”

David’s jaw dropped and the sword felt a little heavier in his arms. “Goliath,” he breathed.

“Yes, the champion from Gath,” Ahimelech mused.

“This sword…there is none like it. And now I have it.” In that moment, David recalled how the Lord had helped him defeat the towering giant. He was suddenly filled with hope. Now, there was another giant coming who wanted to destroy him. But David knew if God had helped him before, he could certainly protect his servant again.

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

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