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14. Saul Pursues; David is Spared

December 17, 2009

Text:      I Samuel 23:1-26:25

Outline:      I. David Attacks the Philistines      I Samuel 23:1-18

                         II. God Spares David’s Life      I Samuel 23:19-29

                        III. David Spares Saul’s Life      I Samuel 24:1-22

                        IV. David Spares Abigail’s Life      I Samuel 25:1-44

                        V. David Spares Saul’s Life Again      I Samuel 26:1-25


     The Philistines attach Keilah in Judah at harvest time so David asks the Lord if he should respond and attack them. God gives His OK twice, once to David and one to assure his men. David and his men attack, inflicting heavy losses on the Philistines and saving Keilah. Saul learns that David is at Keilah and sends his forces south to capture David. David consults the Lord again using the ephod of Abiathar the priest and learns he and his growing force of 600 men must leave and hide in the Desert of Ziph. Saul searches for David but does not find him. But Jonathan locates David at Horesh and encourages him in the Lord promising his father will not be permitted to harm David and that he will gladly serve David when he becomes king.

     The Ziphites give David’s location to Saul and Saul asks for detailed information on David’s habits and hiding places. Saul searches in the Desert of Ziph but David moved on the the Desert of Maon. Saul pursues David there but is suddenly called home to fight the Philistines. David moves on to the hills near EnGedi.

     After pursuing the Philistines, Saul learns that David is at EnGedi and goes there with 3000 men to capture David. [Note that EnGedi is one of two natural oasis in Israel and would provide pure water.] Saul enters a cave where David and his men are staying. David cuts off a piece of Saul’s robe but forbids his men from capturing and killing Saul claiming he is still God’s anointed king of Israel. David follows Saul, calls to him, bows to him, asks why Saul is intent on killing him, and shows Saul the piece of his robe, proving that David spared his life. David tells Saul the Lord will be the judge between David and Saul. Saul weeps recognizing David is more righteous then he. Saul admits that Israel’s next king will be David and asks that David not take vengeance on his descendents. David agrees and stays in the hills as Saul takes his men and goes back to Gibeah.

     Chapter 25 opens with Samuel’s death and the mourning of all Israel. In the meantime, David moves back to the Desert of Maon. There they watch over and protect vast herds of livestock for a wealthy, stubborn, and mean man, Nabal of Carmel. David and his men ask for provisions in payment but are rebuked and refused. Abigail, Nabal’s wife, recognizes Nabal’s foolish error and gladly brings provisions to David and his men so as to prevent bloodshed. She bows before David, asks for his forgiveness, and prophesies he will indeed become king. David forgives her and blesses her, accepting her gift.

     The Ziphites give David’s location away to Saul a second time so Saul returns with his 3000 men. David sends out spies, locates Saul’s camp, and visits Saul at night while he is sleeping. David spares Saul’s life a second time but takes his spear and a water jug. David leaves but calls out to Abner, Saul’s commander, from a distance asking why he was not guarding Israel’s king. Saul wakes up, recognizes David’s voice, and hears David question him again on what reason he has to pursue David and keep him from worshipping the Lord. Saul acknowledges his wrong doing in pursuing David [sin] and promises not to try and harm him further. David returns Saul’s spear and Saul blesses David before going home.


     1. Sometimes we are called to battle more than one of God’s enemies. Again, always seek God’s direction and blessing. When fighting for the Lord, accept the encouragement and increased support of your fellow man.

     2. Be wary of those with whom you reside and rest. They may feign loyalty but they think and act on who they believe will benefit them most. Motives govern man’s actions. Man reveals his motives by what he does, not what he says.

     3. When doing God’s Will, God miraculously intervenes on our behalf and we don’t even realize it. Let us give thanks to God daily for all his blessings, even those we have failed to see.

     4. When God’s enemy is cornered and the battle won, offer Grace in the Name of the Lord. We are to love God’s enemies so they repent and turn to Him.

     5. Withholding support for those who are serving the Lord is a deadly mistake. For whom much is given, much is expected [Luke 12:48b]. Let us use our possessions and blessings to encourage those battling to bring Glory to God’s Name.

     6. Our God is a God of second chances. God is in control of when He will withdraw His Grace. Our responsibility is to be graceful and gracious in all circumstances. God’s Grace reveals man’s sinfulness just as much as does God’s Law.

     7. God is always watching over we who love Him. He watches over us day and night, in good times and in bad times, over our enemies and over our friends. God is sovereign over all things. One must acknowledge God in word and then validate it with what we do. Saying the right words and continuing to do evil is not repentance.


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