Summary: First Samuel 23:1-14 shows us what seeking God's guidance looks like.
King Saul wanted to kill David. So David became a fugitive on the run from Saul. Initially, David’s faith in the Lord was superseded by his fear of Saul. However, David came to realize that God was still sovereignly watching over him and protecting him. Therefore, David’s trust in the Lord grew. One sign of David’s trust in the Lord is seen in how he sought the Lord’s guidance in different circumstances.
Let’s read 1 Samuel 23:1-14:
1 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand. (1 Samuel 23:1-14)
Two old friends met one day after many years. One attended college and now was very successful. The other had not attended college and never had much ambition, yet he also seemed to be doing extremely well.
Curious as to why, the college graduate asked his friend, “How has everything been going with you?”
The less-educated, less-ambitious man replied, “Well, one day, I opened my Bible at random, and dropped my finger on a page. The word under my finger was oil. So, I invested in oil, and boy, did the oil wells gush. Later, I tried the same method again, and my finger stopped on the word gold. So, I invested in gold, and those mines really produced. Now, I’m as rich as Rockefeller.”
The successful friend was so impressed that he rushed to his hotel, grabbed a Gideon Bible, flipped it open, and dropped his finger on a page. When he opened his eyes, he saw that his finger rested on the words, “Chapter Eleven.”
I hope that is not the way you seek guidance from the Lord. Nevertheless, if you are a Christian, you want to do that which is pleasing to the Lord, don’t you? You want to follow the Lord, and so you want to know God’s guidance in your life.
The question is: How may I know God’s guidance in my life?
When David was a fugitive on the run from Saul, he was initially very fearful. But, then he began to realize that God was sovereignly protecting him. And so David started trusting God more and more. One sign of David’s growing trust in the Lord is seen in how he sought the Lord’s guidance in different circumstances.
The key verse in today’s text is 1 Samuel 23:6, which states, “When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand.” In the previous chapter we learned that Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David because Saul had killed Abiathar’s entire family. Ahimelech had been the high priest, but he was now dead. The only priest left was Abiathar, and he was now with David.