David is still moving from one hiding place to another. (See David, on the Run) Such a task to keep 400 men together, yet hidden.
All the while, both Israelite tribes and non-Israelites wished to gain favor with King Saul and were ready to tell of David’s whereabouts.
At one point, both Saul and David were circling the same mountain in the Desert of Maon.
Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” I Samuel 23:26-27
So Saul stopped his pursuit of David and went off to to face the Philistines. What an example of God’s provision. Just in time—a monumental distraction!
After the Philistine interruption had passed, Saul heard that David had moved to the desert of En Gedi, so Saul gathered 3ooo chosen men to tract down David. Maybe Saul didn’t know that David only had about 400 men or maybe he did know and was determined to totally wipe him out.
Along the way, Saul passed several caves. Evidently, he pulled away from his men to do what we all have to do through the day.
Saul went in to relieve himself. I Samuel 23:3
(Even kings have to do this.) In God’s divine providence, Saul chose the very cave in which David and his men were hiding. David saw that Saul had entered the cave alone.
David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. I Samuel 24:5
I am astonished that he was able to do this—unheard and unnoticed. Again, the Lord protected him.
When David showed the piece of robe to his men, they couldn’t believe it. They protested, “What? You had him in the palm of your hand and you just cut off a piece of his robe?” They were ready to go after Saul, but David said no.
“Why?” we might ask. When he had this madman right there, he could have put a spear through him and ended the rat race of being chased and constantly running. After all, Saul was bent on killing him. Why wouldn’t David beat him to it?
“The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed.” I Samuel 24:6
I can just picture the men looking at one another like, “What does he mean? Why did he let him get away!”
What would you have done?
Next week we’ll pull apart the meaning of “the Lord’s anointed” and see what amazing thing David did next.
~ Joyce ~