November 18, 2021
Prayer: Then David said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.” 1 Samuel 23:10-12 ESV
Observation: Three times in this chapter, David inquires of the Lord’s direction. On the first occasion, David prays to the Lord, asking if he should attack the Philistines and save his countrymen of Keilah. The Lord responded to his prayer with the command to arise and go to Keilah, for victory is assured (verses 1-4). Then, when Saul learned of David and his men’s present position in the fortified city of Keilah, he presumed that the Lord had given David into his hands. Unlike David, Saul was acting on his own accord without seeking the Lord’s will. David, however, discerned from Yahweh that the people of Keilah would surrender him to Saul. So David and his men fled to strongholds in the wilderness where Saul continued to seek his life but would fail each time (verses 13-29).
This pattern would continue through the remaining storyline of David and Saul’s conflict. David would make no assumptions on God based on his earlier anointing as Israel’s next king. Instead, he prayerfully inquired of the Lord’s direction and waited patiently for the day of his coronation. In contrast, Saul would continue to lean on his understanding and stray farther from God until his tragic life’s end in an ill-advised battle against the Philistines.
Takeaway: It would have been reasonable to assume that the people of Keilah would have been loyal to David based on gratitude and David’s track record of victories. But David, a man after God’s own heart, made no such assumptions. Instead, he sought the Lord’s direction in prayer. Resultantly, time and again, the Lord would guide David away from the obsessive king’s attempts to kill him. The same principle applies to all followers of Christ. While reason has its place concerning decision-making, if we fail to avail prayer, we may self-inflict much heartache and angst. In the words of Solomon (David’s son), “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9).
Prayer: Father God, through the guidance of your Holy Spirit, would you please provoke each of us to pray and discern your will before taking action? And as you advise us to seek the “counsel of many,” please help us as a community to unite in prayer before we act on our plans so that you might establish our steps. Amen.