1 Samuel 28-30

 The Beginning of the End(s)

 After David’s last encounter with King Saul he talked himself into seeking refuge with the enemy, the Philistines, and finds refuge in the home town of Goliath. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 Paul tells us, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  NASB

It is clear that God does not want His people with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world controlled by the devil, yet this is exactly what David is doing.

 While in Gath, David and his men are given the town of Ziklag and from there David attempts to do the Lord’s work by attacking the holdouts of the people Israel was to dispossess, but in order not to be found out, David has to compromise his walk with the Lord by using deception. He is trying to use the devil’s tools to accomplish God’s work. That may work in the short run but God’s patience will run out and there will be consequences ahead.

 To David, this seems to be working but the Philistines decide to attack Israel and gather their armies together. David and his men are drafted to serve Achish king of Gath and have to leave Ziklag to join the invasion forces.

 While away from Ziklag the Amalekites, whom David has been raiding, seize the opportunity to invade Zikla. When they invade they take all the women and children and everything of value that David was forced to leave behind.

 The Amalekites are like the devil and his demons. Saul was to kill all of the Amalekites back in Chapter 15 but he spared the king and the best of the sheep and plunder disobeying God which resulted in God rejecting him as king. God anoints David as king but Saul has been trying to kill David so the kingdom would remain in his hands. One of Saul’s tactics was to send David into battle with the Philistines in hope that they would kill David. So it would seem that Saul is the enemy, the Philistines are also the enemy, and the Amalekites are the enemy, but the real enemy is the devil and his battle ground is the world that he has great influence over. So that raises the question, why would we even consider being bound to the things of this world? The simple answer is that we do not see the devil as the enemy. We see certain people or situations as the enemy. A second reason is the devil always uses false promises or deception appealing to our flesh to trap us. It is no accident that our English word scandal comes from the Greek word translated in the New Testament as fall or offend, and means the trigger on the trap where the bait is put.

 The Devil doesn’t have absolute rule over the world and its ways as we learned in the book of Job. God has placed limits on what the devil can do and how far he can go, and we see God intervene in the mess David made. First, we read that the other Philistine kings reject the idea of David going into battle with them. They think Achish has been deceived and they would be right. The Devil doesn’t care who does his work of deception but God does.

Secondly, the Amalekites have not harmed any of the people they took from Ziklag. Though we don’t read it we can clearly see that God is working behind the scene. Thirdly, when David and his men reach Ziklag and find out what has happened they want to stone David. This is a good thing because it drives David back to God when he realizes he has come to the end of himself.

The end result is that David repents and seeks the Lord. The Amalekites are overtaken by David and his men. Their families are recovered along with great plunder, and David starts to exhibit leadership qualities that he is going to need in the future.

 There are also some lessons we need to learn and apply as we read these chapters.

First, we need to be careful who we connect with and are bound to. Secondly, we need to beware of deception and especially the deception to presume that God will intervene on our behalf every time we pursue our own agenda. God is patient but there is a point when his patience runs out and judgment comes as we will see tomorrow. Thirdly, there are two phrases that come up in the Bible that scare me. One goes like this, “they (he) said to himself,” or worse yet, “they (he) thought to himself.” What follows these phrases rarely works out well. Why they scare me is that I am tempted quite often to do them myself. Like I said, these rarely work out well. The remedy for this is found in Proverbs 3:5&6. (read homework)

 Prayer is our connection to God's direction. Seek Him and pray before you act. Trust that He has you on His heart and that He wants the best for you.

 Pastor Dave