What does it say?
Ahimelech the priest feeds and arms David with Goliath’s sword as he flees from Saul (1Sam 21). Going on his way, David comes to the Philistine city of Gath where he feigns madness to prevent being recognized. From there David goes to the cave Adullam where his family and about 400 men join him (1Sam 22). Hearing that Ahimelech helped David escape, Saul orders all the priests at Nob killed. Only Abiathar the son of Ahimelech escapes and makes his way to David.
The band of men that has gathered around David takes shape as a military unit (1Sam 23). As Saul pursues, David and his men stay on the move, never able to keep from looking back over their shoulder. Saul’s hunt for David is relentless, but David is always a step ahead. On word that David was in the wilderness of Engedi, Saul chases him there and goes into a cave to relieve himself, not realizing that David and some of his men were hiding there as well (1Sam 24). Saul is completely at David’s mercy, but David spares him.
What does it mean?
Reading through these chapters describing Saul’s maniacal pursuit of David gives us great insight into David’s heart. He has already been anointed king by Samuel years earlier, yet Saul is desperate to hold on to power. David is patiently waiting for God to place him on the throne in due time. Even when he has the chance to kill Saul, he resists the temptation.
We see here Saul’s desperation, David’s faith and patience, and God’s sovereign provision and protection. Each of us must decide if we will continue through life trying to make things happen, or if we will learn to have patience and wait upon God. Hebrews 11:13 describes the faith of those biblical characters that patiently wait their entire lives believing that God will one day, one way or another do what he has promised to do.
How will I respond?
Am I clutching something that has the potential to destroy me and others as well? What could possibly be so important as to generate evil desires in my heart? What is the promise that I’m still waiting for God to fulfill? Do I really believe that he will do as he has said? Can I base my faith in God’s word? Then, I will right now give thanks to God for being faithful to his promises and I will rest in that assurance. I will also be aware that God often fulfills his promises in ways and times that I do not expect.