escape by jet April 17 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Samuel 21:1-15; Psalm 34; Psalm 56; 1Samuel 22:1-5; 1Chronicles 12:8-18

Escape and Deliverance

What are some situations from which people would like to escape? Perhaps they would like to escape an embarrassing situation, a situation of high stress or temptation, or perhaps, as in the Biblical account of David, to escape a life-threatening situation. When is it best to flee?

In our last chronological Bible study we saw King Saul's jealousy of David become dangerous. He was jealous of David's success.

Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, “If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed.” So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. (1Samuel 19:11-12, NIV)

One might argue, if God is on your side, why should you ever have to flee? Perhaps David wondered the same thing. However, many times God uses a man or a woman to give good counsel or help, and the wise man listens and obeys. As we shall see, David's flight is in the providential will of God.

Nevertheless, David's escape is a low point in his life. He was a hero, having defeated Goliath the giant Philistine warrior who defied the armies and God of Israel. Afterwards, David fought great military battles and always with great success because the LORD was with him. David even became son-in-law to King Saul and a personal best friend of Jonathan, the king's son. Everything was looking great for David until Saul grew into a jealous monster.

Now David is a pursued man. What happened? Has God, who gave him these great victories, deserted him?

Perhaps some of us can relate to David. After great victories where we feel on top of a mountain, we then fall into the valleys of disillusionment, discouragement, depression, and despair. When we are physically weak, we can also become spiritually weak. That is also when we are most vulnerable to Satan's attacks. He loves to defeat us.

When David is weak from hunger and pursued, he does some things which are uncharacteristic of him. First, David flees to Nob, one of the towns assigned for priests to live in. The tabernacle has not yet found a resting place in Jerusalem. It moves around and is now in this town. David lies to the priest who asks about his purpose for coming and why he is unarmed. David and his small band of men are hungry and looking for help anywhere they can find it. The priest gives them the day old consecrated bread, which they gladly receive. David also obtains from the priest, the sword of Goliath the Philistine, which he left there after he killed him. Unfortunately, Doeg, a head shepherd of King Saul is there and observes everything. He will later betray David's whereabouts.

After this, David escapes to Gath, the territory of the Philistines. Perhaps he thinks this will be a safe place where Saul will not dare pursue him. However, the caption above Psalm 56:1 says this Psalm was written on the occasion of David being seized by the Philistines in Gath. Shrewdly, he acts insane in the presence of the king, and they let him go. David is operating by his own wits and acting out of fear. When we are in trouble, it is best to pray for direction from God when we make our escape.

Psalm 34 is traditionally said to have been written in reference to the time of David being pursued by King Saul. This is when he sought help and refuge in Nob, the territory of Gath of the Philistines. David wrote,

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame [unlike the time when David let his spittle run down his face to appear to be insane before Achish, king of Gath].

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.

The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:4-8; 17-19, 22, NIV)

After Gath, David escapes to the cave of Adullam where his family joins him. Adullam is in a hill country, which is a stronghold for defense. His relatives encourage him, but it is not safe for them to be with him, so he leaves them in Moab.

David is in danger at Adullam, however, because the prophet Gad tells him not to stay there but to go to the land of Judah. Even in our weakness, God shows himself strong. He is lifting David up from the miry clay of discouragement and disillusionment, and leading him to a land where he will eventually become king (David reigns first in Hebron of Judah). The LORD also gives him a valiant and powerful band of warriors to lead, some even from Saul's family tribe of Benjamin (perhaps they realized Saul's insanity).

If we have been unjustly treated, God can also bring us out of our spiritual woes, if we will look to him for deliverance. Although David is weak and discouraged, the LORD gives him new hope, new assignments, and protection until the time is right for him to be king. We, like David, must learn that even when we are weak, God is strong. He is our fortress and deliverer.

Lessons to Live By

•  Listen to counsel; sometimes it is best to escape.

• When Christians are physically weak, they can become spiritually weak. This is also when they are most vulnerable to Satan's attacks. He loves to defeat us.

•  Believers, it is best to pray for direction from God when we make our escape, instead of operating by our own wits. He can help us.

•  God is gracious to those who are unjustly mistreated.

•  We Christians, like David, must learn that even when we are weak God is strong. He is our fortress and deliverer. Is he yours? (more...)

Focus Verse

Psalm 34:8 (NIV) “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

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A Look Ahead: King Saul is so jealous that David is now Pursued, Victimized, and Stalked—what can [he] do about it? If we were in a similar situation, what could we do? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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