1 Samuel 23:19
“Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon?”
1 Samuel 24:1
“When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him, “Look, David is in the desert of En Gedi.””
1 Samuel 26:1
“The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon?””
1 Samuel 26:19
“So let my lord the king now listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has incited you against me, may he take delight in an offering. But if men have instigated this, may they be cursed before the LORD! For they have driven me away this day from being united with the LORD’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go on, serve other gods!'”
Sometimes there are people in your life who just want to goad you, but one of the most terrifying things on earth is being pursued relentlessly by someone who seeks to harm you. Feelings of desperation and helplessness overwhelm you as you wonder if it will ever end. Driven by jealousy and selfishness and fueled by instigators and false counsel, the pursuer relentlessly seeks his way.
The Philistines’ betrayal made sense. They were the enemies of Israel – but it is odd that Saul would listen to his enemy. Their motives were surely for their own glory. You wonder who you can trust as people surround your pursuer with counsel to come after you. The Ziphites, Judeans like David, betrayed him twice. Betrayed by his own people. It does not get much worse than that.
People surrounding Saul knew what Saul wanted. Despite numerous times when Saul saw his folly, he quickly returned to pursuing David when those around him incited him. He received counsel from people who ultimately sought his own destruction, as well. The irony is that Saul reaped the opposite of what he sought and those who informed Saul sought his favor, but ultimately his demise, too.
I was comforted when I read of David’s hiding out in caves for 15 years – not at all by the duration of time, but by the fact that a man of God, chosen to lead, first had to endure severe testing and God was His portion. Why should it be different with us?
I share personal testimony here because I think somewhere out there someone else might be barely hanging on with a similar suffering and I earnestly desire to serve someone through the pain I endured. Dragged to court for five years by people who used to be family was one of the most excruciating moments in my life. False testimony and accusations left scars that only God could heal, but the immense pressure of the pursuit harmed my health and hurt my family deeply.
At the same time, another family member would not accept me and lied about me, spreading rumors about me. Add to that job loss for my husband and you have an incubator for change.
If I had not had God as my portion, I would have perished. I sought Him more deeply than I ever had and now see that season as a treasure in my walk with God. This blog would not have been birthed had I not walked through dark valleys and seen God’s hand in the midst.
David trusted in God and walked righteously. Despite the attacks, he had a righteous response and saw God deliver him. So it is with us. When people speak ill of us or are jealous, we have a refuge to run to. The instigator does not hold sway or power over us – our God is bigger. We might have to endure false perceptions caused by those who despise us, but it will not last forever and if we keep walking uprightly with God, he will cause our enemies to cease or give us strength to bear it.
Saul apologized several times but David knew he could not be trusted. There was still the capability for the same sin to rise up in Saul and David had to walk in wisdom and protect himself from Saul’s potential attack. Sometimes in our own lives we need to protect ourselves from people who have harmed us in the past. David forgave Saul but he was not going to place himself in possible danger willingly.
More than deliverance, however, and the character earned along the way, is the beautiful surrender of our spirits to God. Our temporary suffering is not about us, after all. What the instigator and pursuer sought results in blessings when we hide ourselves in Jesus. If God allowed it in, there is a divine purpose that we might not understand, but God can always be trusted.
Lord, thank You for Your protection and healing. Help us to trust in You completely even when it seems like we are forgotten. Your ways are not our ways and You are good all the time.