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1 Samuel 22:20–23:5

Now one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the LORD’s priests. So David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house. Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.”

Then they told David, saying, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.”

Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

And the LORD said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.”

But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the LORD once again.

And the LORD answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

David finally realizes this is all his fault. “I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house.” His error is great but so is his repentance. David is growing. That sets the stage for what’s next.

And what’s next is impressive. David is an outlaw on the run. Saul’s pursuit of him is unjust, even insane. David’s an outlaw even though he didn’t break any laws. He’s in the middle of an unjust nightmare.

So, David could be excused for not paying attention to the problems of others. But that’s not what he does here. David’s response to Keilah’s unjust treatment is to ask the LORD whether he should intervene.

Then we hit a teaching moment. God says, “Yes,” but David’s men recoil in horror. They effectively ask, “Are you kidding?” David’s men aren’t thinking the way he thinks.

This is a perfect example of the difference that spiritual maturity makes.

So David inquires again, just to be sure. That’s good for two reasons.

First of all, David is listening to the advice of others. Others can be wrong—they are in this case—but the right thing to do is to hear and weigh what they have to say.

Second, double checking big decisions is always wise. In this case, David isn’t double checking his calculations, he’s double checking his understanding of the LORD’s will.

We’d call his decision, “Bathed in prayer.”

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to the DEEP click here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, can be downloaded here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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