BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54

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Summary 1 Samuel 23:

Despite the men’s fears, David, after inquiring of the Lord and gaining God’s assurance that he would deliver the Philistines into his hands, goes to Keilah and saves it. Saul interprets this as God handing David over to him, so Saul goes to Keilah to besiege David. David asks God if he will be surrendered to Saul and God answers that he would be handed over by the people.

David and 600 men flee Keilah and are on the move in the Desert of Ziph. God protects David from Saul who is looking for David. David rendezvous with Jonathan at Horesh who encourages David in his plight. This will be the last time they see each other.

The Ziphites, a tribe near Horesh, offers to capture David for Saul. Saul tells them to track David and then he’ll go with them to find David. David continues to run and as Saul is closing in, God sends the Philistines to distract Saul who must abandon the search for David and go and fight instead.

Summary Psalm 54:

Simultaneously, David prays for God to save him, for God to vindicate him and destroy his enemies, and he sings God’s praises and expresses his faith in God to do all that he asks.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54:

9) Part Personal Question. My answer: David always consulted God first. I’m not very good at asking God first. I usually make the decision and then ask God to bless it. This is definitely my prayer this week!

10) Personal Question. My answer: God provides and protects. He sends Jonathan to encourage, probably when David needed it most. I loved how God keeps Saul at bay and the best part is how he sends the Philistines to attack Israel to protect David! God uses Israel’s enemies in ways to save Israel! How cool is that! God also warns and counsels. He is so good if we would only just listen! We also see an example of how people interpret God’s actions wrongly as Saul thinks God is giving David to him when God is really saving Keilah. This is a warning to us both to be wary of people who say “God told me to” and for ourselves when we tell ourselves “God told me to”. Did He REALLY???

11) Personal Question. My answer. Similar to #10 we just answered. I loved how God keeps Saul at bay and the best part is how he sends the Philistines to attack Israel to protect David! God uses Israel’s enemies in ways to save Israel! How cool is that! God encourages David through Jonathan, and, knowing Jonathan will die, allows David to see him one more time. This is a blessing to both men! David always stays one step ahead of Saul thanks to God.

God’s hand touches all we do, all we say, all that happens to us and around us. I need to have faith more in Him, and let Him handle things His way, not mine.

12) Part personal Question. My answer: God is faithful; God is his help; God sustains him; God destroys his enemies; God has delivered David from all his troubles. All of these are comforting. God is the giver of life and is responsible for all my blessings. He is faithful. He sustains me in all aspects: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. He delivers me from my troubles and takes care of my enemies. God is good!

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54:

God is in control. Period. He works his magic behind the scenes to care for us, to protect us, to encourage us, to rid us of our troubles and our enemies, and to sustain us — all because He loves us. Undeserved love. If we would have faith like David, I think our lives would be much more content, calm, and peaceful as we trusted God in all that we do.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 4: 1 Samuel 23 and Psalm 54:

Commentary 1 Samuel 23:

The Israelites brought this plea for help to David and not to King Saul because Saul was not fulfilling his role as king over Israel. It was Saul’s job to protect Keliah and it was Saul’s job to fight the Philistines, but Saul wasn’t doing his job, so the Lord called David to do it.

David consulted God first (did not pawn off the job on Saul, saying this isn’t my job).

Saving Keilah was not in David’s best interest:

  • David had 400 men who were not trained and bad credit reports (1 Samuel 22:2).
  • David had enough trouble with Saul and he didn’t need to add trouble from the Philistines – one enemy is usually enough.
  • Saving Keilah would expose David to Saul. This was a dangerous course of action.

Why did David save Keilah?

  1. God commanded him to do so
  2. The Israelites needed him

God confirms His word (He does this frequently for us and for those in the Bible) AND adds a promise — something He does for us as well.

The results of obedience

  • David obeyed; God blessed

Saul assumed because David was his enemy that David is God’s enemy. The opposite is true. God’s enemies are ours.

David seeks God again, this time through the priest using the Urim and Thummim. Notice how the questions are presented in a “Yes or No” format, because that is how the Urim and Thummim were used.

David could have stayed and fought, and maybe there was something in him that wanted to. But David knew it was not the Lord’s will, and maybe a lot of innocent people would get hurt. So, David, who was a great warrior, humbled himself and escaped. David was not the kind of man to sneak away from a battle, but he didn’t let his pride get the best of him in this matter.

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The Desert of Ziph

Ziph was a town below the southern tip of the Dead Sea with a dramatically varied landscape. It was not a comfortable or easy place to be — it was a desert. God guided and protected David, but it wasn’t comfortable or easy. This was an essential time for God’s work in David’s life. He became a man after God’s heart in the shepherd’s field, but he became a king in the wilderness.

Many of us walk through our own deserts, and God is there, at work in our lives, too.

Saul was a determined enemy, unrelenting in his pursuit of David. Saul was so obsessed with killing David that he didn’t give attention to the work God called him to do.

Man can intend, attempt, and work all kinds of evil but God is still in charge.

Led by God, Jonathan encouraged David. Jonathan’s encouragement was a mix of divine promises and an expression of hope, desire, and love.

Saul was so spiritually warped that he said the betrayers of an innocent man were blessed. He believed it was David who was crafty when it was God protecting David the entire time.

Commentary Psalm 54:

There were actually two times the Ziphites betrayed David to King Saul: 1) in 1 Samuel 23 and 2) in 1 Samuel 26. David escaped both times, but the circumstances of this Psalm seem to best fit the circumstances of 1 Samuel 23, when David learned of the Ziphite betrayal but before God delivered (1 Samuel 23:26-29).

This is one of the few Psalms with a specific musical direction: with stringed instruments. It is also called A Contemplation. The Hebrew word for Contemplation (maskil) might be better understood as instruction.

David’s Feelings

David relied on both the name and the strength of God. God’s name speaks of the nature and character of God; strength (or might) of His great power. David’s rescue would be his vindication. His enemies would have greater evidence that David was in the right and they were in the wrong when God saved him.

Shortly after both times the Ziphites betrayed David, David had the opportunity to kill King Saul. Both times he spared Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24 and 26), and both times Saul admitted he was wrong.

It was common for David and others in their prayers to merely ask for God to hear or give ear to their cry. It was assumed that if God heard, He would act.

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Who were the Ziphites?

  • The Ziphites were Israelis; they were even of the same tribe as David (Judah). Yet their betrayal of David was so contrary to both David and God’s cause that David could rightly refer to them as strangers who sought David’s life. Who do you know today who does this same thing?
  • The Ziphites rejected God as well as David.

David’s troubles did not lead him to question the goodness of God, but, instead, to appeal to it.

God’s truth (or faithfulness) was under attack as well.

Destroy does mean death–dealing blow.

Should you pray for your enemies to be destroyed?

  • Some are uncomfortable with prayers that ask for the doom of enemies. It’s true that Jesus told us to pray in a more generous way for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). Yet there is nothing wrong with the basic principle of wanting to see good triumph and for God to do His work against those who do evil — to render the judgment and consequences that comes with evil and disobeying God.

Should you destroy your enemies?

  • David refused to take vengeance in his own hands. Immediately after the second betrayal of the Ziphites (1 Samuel 26:1) David had the opportunity to kill King Saul in his sleep, and he refused. David waited on God to do it.

What’s a freewill offering?

  • A freewill offering is one that is given to God without a specific reference to a previously made vow. There was no requirement to do so.

Note David praised God during his troubles and before his prayer was answered. So should we. How often do you thank God ahead of time?

God’s past faithfulness became the ground for future faith. David knew what it was like to defeat his enemies (Goliath is an example); he trusted that he would know it again.

Is Psalm 54 a Messianic Psalm?

We definitely see David as Jesus here:

  • Jesus was the anointed King yet to come into the fullness of His kingdom.
  • Jesus came to rescue and lead God’s people, and when He did, some among God’s people betrayed Him.
  • Some of these lines from the Psalm could have been spoken by Jesus to His Father.
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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34

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Summary 1 Samuel 21:

David, now on the run, goes to Nob to the priest Ahimelech, asking for bread. He lies to obtain it since all the priestsImage result for 1 samuel 21 had was consecrated bread, which is bread reserved for the priests. But David is desperate. He is given the sword he killed Goliath with by the priest as well. One of Saul’s servants saw David at the priest’s place (which would later cost the priest his life).

David, desperate, flees to Achish, king of Gaul, who has heard of David. David pretends to be insane in order to stay.

Summary Psalm 34:

Written when David was with Achish and pretending to be insane, David is praising God for delivering him from evil, saving him from troubles, blessing him, and keeping him from want. David advises us to do good, seek peace, and don’t tell lies. He hears our cries and delivers us. He slays the wicked. He protects us and heals us.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

3) David is desperate, so he lies to the priest. God is always present, and Jesus as well.

4) The fact that they knew who he was. Word might get out to Saul where he was hiding. David pretended to be insane in order to stay. Psalm 56 tells us that the Philistines captured David and have no intentions of letting go the man who killed Goliath.

5a) David is grateful to God for taking care of him and providing all that he needs. He knows God will punish those who pursue him and do evil.

b) Personal Question. My answer: David is very positive and confident in God as he is on the run. He knows God is taking care of him and in His time, all will be as it is supposed to be. This is encouraging to stay upbeat and know God is in control and to let Him be in control.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

Unimpressed with the questions. I just felt they were cursory to say the least.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

Commentary 1 Samuel 21:

David flees to the right place — a priest. The priest, however, is confused on why such a prominent person would be alone. David lies about his situation, which he will regret later (1 Samuel 22:22).

Many of us would have lied in the same circumstances; but that does not excuse it.

What is holy bread?

The tabernacle of the Lord had a table that held twelve loaves of bread, symbolizing God’s continual fellowship with Israel.

  • Literally, consecrated bread means showbread or “bread of faces.” It is bread associated with and to be eaten Image result for 1 samuel 21before the face of God. F.B. Meyer calls the showbread“presence-bread.” To eat the showbread was to eat God’s bread in God’s house as a friend and a guest of the Lord, enjoying His hospitality. In that culture eating together formed a bond of friendship that was permanent and sacred.
  • The bread was always to be fresh. David receives the leftovers.
  • One must be clean to eat the holy bread.
  • It was to be eaten by the priests: And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place (Leviticus 24:9).

Why did the priest give the bread to David?

  • The priest understood human need was greater than customs, as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 12:1-8

POWERFUL LESSON FOR US:

We cannot add to God’s word. God never said the bread was “only” for priests. Human traditions are never more important than God’s word itself, but we must never elevate our extension or application of God’s Word to the same level as God’s word itself.

Doeg the Edomite: The word translated chief means mighty but can also be used to mean violent or obstinate. Doeg will show himself to be a violent and obstinate man. We shall meet him again.

David continues in his lies to get his sword. It appears David is now trusting in weapons over faith in God, as shown by his continued lies. To us, God’s word should be our “give it to me” cry.

Why did David flee to Gath?

David’s next move is confounding. David is now among the Philistines. He must be discouraged or deceived to think he could find peaceful refuge among these enemies of Israel.

  • It didn’t make sense for the man who carried Goliath’s sword to go to Goliath’s hometown (1 Samuel 17:4). It didn’t make sense for the man who was sustained by the sacred bread of God to find refuge among the pagans. It didn’t make sense for the man after God’s own heart to lie.

The Philistines of Gath recognized David as the king of the land of Israel. These ungodly men understood David’s destiny better than King Saul. Here, we see the price of fame (1 Samuel 18:6-7).

David is captured by the Philistines as Psalm 56 tells us.David thought he could find anonymity or sympathy among the ungodly Philistines in Gath and disappear, but he was wrong. Psalm 56 describes David’s journey from fear to praising as a prisoner in Gath.

Psalm 56 shows that David turned back to the Lord here. Hence, the slide that had started since he left Jonathan to now stops. Saul never turned back on his path.

Why did David act like a madman?

Basically, David humiliated himself before the Philistines. The saliva on the beard was a sign of madness because men in that culture would consider this something only a man out of his right mind would allow.

David’s plan worked. Achish decided that this wasn’t David after all, or if it was he was such a pathetic specimen that he may as well let him go.

Was David walking in the Spirit or in the flesh when he pretended madness?

Some commentators believe that David was in the flesh and trusting in himself. But the change of Psalm 56 happened before David’s escape, and it made sense that the Lord would guide David into a path of escape that would humble him. When David tried to protect himself with lies and tried to find refuge among the ungodly, he really was acting crazy. Trusting in God was the only sane thing to do.

Commentary Psalm 34:

Psalm 34 is David’s declaration of joy when he escaped from Gath with his life. The title of Psalm 34 reads, A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed. Abimelech was probably a title given to rulers among the Philistines; the ruler’s proper name was Achish (1 Samuel 21:20).

A fugitive from Saul, David went to the Philistine city of Gath but found no refuge there and narrowly escaped (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1). Following that, David went to Adullam Cave where many desperate men joined him. This joyful and wise Psalm seems to have been written from that cave, and sung in the presence of those men.

The structure of this Psalm is acrostic, or nearly so. Each verse begins with another letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for the letter waw. The purpose in this Psalm mainly seems to be as a device used to encourage learning and memorization.

Psalm 34 begins beautifully (Psalm 34:1-4) as David is full of gratitude to God who got him out of a mess he himself created.

Take away from 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

  • God’s amazing goodness is shown when He delivers us when we don’t really deserve it.

David was hiding in his heart from God. Paul, in his great passage on boasting, may have remembered this saying and this episode, and so recalled his own ignominious escape from another foreign king (2 Corinthians 11:30-33.

Glorify is magnify in Hebrew. David knew there was something magnetic about the true praise of God. When one genuinely praises God, he or she wants to draw others into the practice of praise.

Magnify means to make Him larger in one’s perception. Magnification does not actually make an object bigger, and we can’t make God bigger. But to magnify something or someone is to perceive it as bigger, and we must do that regarding God.

Keys to praying:

  1. David sought the Lord
  2. The Lord heard David
  3. The Lord delivered David

Commentators are divided as to if David sinned when he feigned madness among the Philistines or if he was obedient and guided by God.

“The more we can think upon our Lord, and the less upon ourselves, the better. Looking to him, as he is seated upon the right hand of the throne of God, will keep our heads, and especially our hearts, steady when going through the deep waters of affliction.” (Smith, cited in Spurgeon)

The idea is that they draw something from God’s own glory and radiance. Later, the Apostle Paul would explain much the same thought: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18) This radiance is some evidence that one has truly looked to Him.

Radiant is a word found again in Isaiah 60:5, where it describes a mother’s face lighting up at the sight of her children, long given up for lost.” (Kidner)

What is a cry to the Lord?

  • A cry is short and not sweet.
  • A cry is brief and bitter.
  • A cry is the language of pain.
  • A cry is a natural sound.
  • A cry has much meaning and no music.

David is at a low point. A rag-tag group of desperate losers gathered to him at Adullam. David was still filled with praise and trust, even knowing that God had an angelic camp of protection all around him.

Image result for guardian angelDo guardian angels exist?

Many times in the Old Testament, the angel of the LORD is an actual material appearance of Yahweh Himself (as in Judges 13 and some other places). We don’t know if David meant that is an angelic being sent by God, or God Himself present with the believer. Both are true.

“The fugitive, in his rude shelter in the cave of Adullam, thinks of Jacob, who, in his hour of defenceless need, was heartened by the vision of the angel encampment surrounding his own little band.” (Maclaren)

David challenged the reader (or singer) of this Psalm to experience God’s goodness for himself or herself. It could only come through a personal encounter, in some ways similar to a taste or to see.

Taste and sight are physical senses, ways in which we interact with the material world. In some ways, faith is how we interact with the spiritual world. In this sense to taste and to see are trusting God, loving Him, seeking Him, looking unto Him.

“Both Hebrews 6:5 and 1 Peter 2:3 use this verse to describe the first venture into faith, and to urge that the tasting should be more than a casual sampling.” (Kidner)

Spurgeon: “There are some things, especially in the depths of the religious life, which can only be understood by being experienced, and which even then are incapable of being adequately embodied in words.”

David thought to fear the LORD was much like trusting Him and experiencing His goodness. This fear is the proper reverence and respect that man has for Deity. If you really experience God’s goodness, if you really experience the blessedness of trusting Him, you will also have an appropriate fear of the Lord.

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“The word ‘lions’ may be a metaphor for those who are strong, oppressive, and evil.” (VanGemeren)

“Were there lions prowling around the camp at Adullam, and did the psalmist take their growls as typical of all vain attempts to satisfy the soul?” (Maclaren)

Hiding in Caves

Many who were in distress, in debt, or in discontent gathered at Adullam cave (1 Samuel 22:1-2) with David. Here, David teaches them and offers advice.

  • Fear the Lord by doing right and obeying
  • Don’t speak evil
  • Don’t lie or deceit
  • Do good
  • Pursue peace with man and God
  • God listens
  • God rewards and punishes

Spurgeon on this passage:  “To teach men how to live and how to die is the aim of all useful religious instruction. The rewards of virtue are the baits with which the young are to be drawn to morality.”

Meyer on this passage:  “A bird with a broken wing, an animal with a broken leg, a woman with a broken heart, a man with a broken purpose in life – these seem to drop out of the main current of life into shadow. They go apart to suffer and droop. Life goes on without them. But God draws near.”

According to the Gospel of John, David spoke not only of his own experience, but also prophetically of the Messiah to come, Jesus Christ. John explained that the Roman soldiers that supervised the crucifixion of Jesus came to His body on the cross, expecting to hasten and guarantee His death in the traditional way – breaking the legs of the crucified victim. When they looked carefully, they learned that Jesus was already dead, and they pierced His side to confirm it. John wrote, these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John 19:36).

The evil-doers own evil destroy himself or the evil-doer will be in misery.

There is no condemnation

Many centuries later the Apostle Paul would write, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Even under the Old Covenant, David knew something of this freedom from condemnation.

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