David surveyed the crowd spread across the meadow before him. “I have a city-sized group here. What do You expect me to do with all these people, LORD?”
He spun around when the sound of footsteps broke his thoughts.
A man ran to him breathing hard. “Philistines…Keilah…threshing floors…”
David grabbed his shoulders and tried to make eye contact. “What is it? Take your time. Catch your breath.”
The man took a few more deep breaths. “It’s wheat harvest in Keilah. The Philistines are attacking and taking all the grain. We’re overpowered. We need help now or the whole town will be gone.”
David turned to another man who joined them. “Go get Abiathar. Tell him to bring the ephod.”
David was on his knees with his eyes closed when he heard men coming near. He stood as Abiathar approached. He stared at the ephod. “Shall I attack the Philistines to save Keilah?”
The voice was clear. “Go. Save Keilah.”
David was glad the whole assembly had gathered around to see what the commotion was about. He stood as tall as he could.
“I need all the men of fighting age, twenty and up, to get anything that can be used as a weapon…a knife, or anything sharp, even a good rock will do the job. The nearby town of Keilah is being attacked by the Philistines. There’s no time for Saul’s men to get here. We must stand up for the LORD’s people in Keilah. Your brothers and their families are depending on you. God is with us. Are you with me?”
Nobody moved. Abiathar cleared his throat. “David, we’re all on the run here. We don’t feel safe here as a group. How do you expect us to stand a chance against the Philistines?”
David looked from the priest to the faces in the crowd. All of them looked pale. He concentrated on the ephod Abiathar wore. “LORD, shall we defend the people of Keilah from the Philistines? Will you give us victory?”
“Arise. Go to Keilah. I will hand the Philistines over to you.”
David stood and turned slowly. “Your brothers in Keilah are depending on you for help. The LORD is with us. I have His assurance on that.”
Silence and blank stares.
“Who do you think brought Goliath down in battle?”
David pointed at the man who spoke up. “WRONG! I was merely an instrument of the LORD. He was waiting for somebody who wanted to be used by Him. A pebble in a sling shouldn’t be able to take down a man of that stature. Those were God’s tool, too. I didn’t even have the ephod to call on the LORD then. Now I do and He says he’ll hand these worthless uncircumcised heathens over to us so they meet their eternal destinies. Don’t look at your adversary when God is on your side. Nothing can match our God’s strength. I don’t care what you face in life. When God is for you who can stand against you?”
David paused and looked at the crowd.
A voice came from the back. “I have a knife.”
Another voice from off to his left. “There’s a pile of stones near the trees.”
The crowd quickly dispersed.
Abiathar stepped forward. “I’m going with you,too.”
David placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled. “You won’t fight though. You’ll be safe with us.”
The battle for Keilah isn’t one of the more popular stories associated with David, but it was a turning point for him and his followers.
The people who came to David in the wilderness were the outcasts, the outlaws and the downtrodden. They were running for their lives when they came for his leadership. They were afraid of their own king. How could they ever imagine standing a chance against the mighty Philistines?
David, on the other hand, had a passion. The Holy Spirit was indwelling him to be all God wanted him to be. His mission was to spread his passion to his followers.
The people of Keilah were in desperate need of saving. The Philistines were taking their source of food as they were harvesting it. A messenger was sent to David because he was close to them. King Saul couldn’t get there in time. They’d be wiped out.
When David’s men hesitated he turned to God a second time for assurance of victory. After God’s reassurance David knew they couldn’t lose. All he had to do was convince his men of this.
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As Christians you and I are in David’s sandals here. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us to be all God wants us to be. How much control we give Him is up to us. Sadly, too many people want to keep too much control of their own lives.
There are people near us in desperate straits. The enemy is taking their very life from them. He disguises it as pleasure and happiness. But, all along he’s laying a trap for them.
We have the source of truth in our grasp. Getting the word out is our mission and, hopefully, our passion.
Individually we can make an impact on a few. But, when we come together we can influence a greater group of people than we ever thought possible.
As David drew on his past experience for faith in God so can we.
Remember the times God changed you to overcome something you thought you’d always do. Share that experience with someone else struggling with that.
Share how a particular Bible verse spoke to you as you contemplated it. By sharing that flame another candle will light the way for a lost soul.
Invite somebody to your small group Bible study or to church. Everybody needs leadership. When they discover the source of your hope they’ll want to give their life to Jesus too.
Share your passion for God in big ways and in little ways. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.
Spread the message with your heart.
I’ll see you later. Wade