A cheer echoed from behind the walls of Keilah as the last of the Philistines ran over the horizon. David looked around. A few Philistine bodies awaited burial. Some cattle and goats roamed about.
David pointed at some men standing near the animals. “Surround those critters and head them back to the city.”
One man waved. “What ever you say, sir.”
The city gate opened as David led some men to town.
A gray haired man led the townsfolk out of the gateway. “Thank you, David. I wasn’t sure you’d come to our aid when I sent my grandson to tell you of the invasion. I knew those scoundrels would run from the giant slayer.”
David shook his head. “I wasn’t the one who killed Goliath. That was the LORD’s doing. I was just His instrument. Where do you want your cattle? We rounded all of them up we could find.”
The man smiled as he surveyed the herd. “Those were Philistine animals. Our wheat was being fed to them to fatten them up according to their leader. You can do whatever you want with them. As far as I’m concerned they now belong to you.”
David raised his eyebrows as he turned to survey the herd. He pointed to two bulls wandering away. “Catch those strays and skin them out. It’s time for a celebration.”
The cheer from everybody startled the remainder of the herd.
David turned back to the man. “We need some digging tools to bury some Philistines.”
The man folded his arms across his chest. “Let the birds have them. They’ve been hounding us for years.”
David looked into the man’s eyes. “You wouldn’t want them treating God’s children that way. Would you?”
The man stroked his beard. “I guess you’re right. We’ll get your men something to work with.”
Eliab breathed deeply as the smoke from the roasting fire wafted around. “There’s nothing like the sweet smell of victory over Philistine’s to fill a man before a good meal. Wouldn’t you agree, little brother?”
David shook his head. “We won this battle, but you can bet they’ll be back before too long.”
The two men watched a young man running into the city. He bent over in front of David trying to catch his breath.
David squatted down and placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Is it the Philistines? Where are they now?”
The man shook his head as he stood. “No. It’s King Saul. He thinks you’re trapped in these city walls. He’s calling everybody to battle just to kill you.”
David looked around until he found the priest. “Abiathar, do you have the ephod?”
Abiathar turned away from the group he was talking to. “Yes, of course.”
David stared at him. “Bring it here, quickly.”
David looked from one gem to the next when the ephod was in front of him. “Lord God I need You now. I’ve heard Saul is coming for me. Will the men of Keilah side with him or me? Is King Saul coming? God of Israel speak to me now.”
The voice was clear. “He is coming.”
Sweat trickled down David’s face. “Will the men of Keilah turn us over to him?”
David climbed on the edge of the well. “I need all my men to follow me, now. It’s time to leave.”
A voice came from the crowd. “But, we haven’t eaten.”
David’s stomach rumbled when the smell of roasting beef entered his nostrils. “I know. But, the LORD’s anointed is building an army to trap us while we’re here. We need to put as much distance between this town and us as we can before it’s too late.”
I like David’s response that’s found in 1 Samuel 23:5-13. After the victory over the Philistines a feast would be called for. The people of Keilah would likely want to help these men who just helped them.
The fresh win could have filled them with pride. Who would be able to stand against the battalion that just beat the enemy?
We read that David’s knee-jerk reaction upon hearing that Saul is gunning for him is to turn to God for assistance.
He didn’t hold a committee meeting to discuss options. They didn’t vote on whether to stay and fight. He didn’t even consult the nice folks of Keilah to see if they’d help them.
No, the man after God’s own heart quickly turned to God. The source of truth and strength was all he needed for answers.
[Tweet “God wants to be your first source of hope, not your last one.”]
I know what you’re thinking. ‘Well yeah, if I had an ephod to get an immediate response from God I’d use it all the time, too.’
Would you really?
What did you do the last time you heard devastating news? Did you search the internet for possible answers to change your prognosis?
Who did you call when your world began to crumble? Was it your BFF, or your mom?
I’m not saying those options aren’t viable. Not at all. Wisdom would dictate searching for solutions and gaining insight from others close to you. But, if those are your first instincts your relationship with God may be out of order.
God longs for you to call Him Father for a reason. God wants to be your first source of hope, not your last one.
Your tests are designed to display your priorities and to correct your responses if necessary.
When I unexpectedly lost my job of five years I thought was secure my first thought was, ‘okay, Lord, what lessons are you teaching me now, and what course correction do I need to make?’
My relationship with God has been built around many such tests and time devoted in the Bible to learn of His provision and sovereignty.
Nothing is going to happen to me without passing through His hand. He has to approve it before it can happen. Nothing is left to chance.
The same holds true in your life.
God knows what He’s up to. Trust him.
I’ll see you later. Wade