Last Sunday, we read thru the final 3 chapters of 1 Samuel. While wrapping up the book that gave us the story of Samuel, Saul and David, we were able to see once again how God delivers David in spite of himself.
At the start of chapter 29, David is pretending to be an ally of Achish. We know that David is called by God to be the next king of Israel and the dominant enemy to Israel are the Philistines. However, while hiding from the current king of Israel, Saul, David has decided to find protection with his enemies through lying and has convinced the Philistine king, Achish, that he is a fighting ally against Israel. By David's tall stories to Achish, David is placed in a leadership role in the Philistine invasion against David's own people. As the forces are moving to fight Israel, David and his men are marching at the rear with Achish. The other leaders marching with David and Achish have their doubts about David's loyalty based on previous history and convince Achish to send David away and out of this fight. So the next morning, David got up, gathered his men and returned to the land of the Philistines.
In chapter 30, we see that those events of getting David removed from the fight, led to the timing of his men to return to Ziklag. (the home where David and his men kept their families) Ziklag was raided, burned and all the women and children were taken by the Amalekites. We learned awhile back that Saul failed to destroy every single Amalekite, and now this is one instance of that decision coming back to haunt the people of Israel. Upon seeing this, David got his priest and inquired on whether he should pursue them. God told David to chase them and he will succeed in getting everyone back. Him and his 600 men, in the middle of grief and mourning, set off to catch the Amalekites an regain their loved ones. Only 400 men had the energy to cross the valley, so 200 stayed behind at one point to watch the gear.
On the road, we see God deliver help in the way of an Egyption slave who was left behind by the raiders to die alone. In return of his life, the slave led David's men to the camp of the Amalekites and they spent from dusk until evening the next day laying waste to the raiders and getting back everything that was taken from them.
As David returned with the families, we see David's heart when he shares the plunder, against popular suggestion from the 400 who fought, with the 200 men who didn't participate in the victory. He claimed that they must not hold back anything from which the Lord delivered to them and it became an ordinance from then on.
In the short chapter 31, we change the scene over to Saul where the Philistines are coming to destroy him at Mount Gilboa. The Philistines kill Saul's sons, including Jonathan who David loved dearly. Saul decided he doesn't want to be slain by the Philistines and throws himself on his own sword killing himself.......
.....or did he?
Tune in for 2 Samuel to find out.