MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25
SCRIPTURE:1 SAMUEL 23
BY: Jeremy Witt
Remember playing “Chase” as a child? Do you remember the joy and fun of being pursued? Maybe you remember being chased by someone who was angry at you? Or maybe you were pursued by a buffalo like I was. We were in the Wichita Mountains and we were trying to get close to get a good video (Camcorder from the ’80s). There were me and two other kids along with the adult who was videoing. Suddenly the buffalo charged and we took off trying to get to the safety of the van. Naturally, I was faster than the other two, and one of them fell, and the adult who was videoing ran to help them up. Needless to say, it was quite a video that we had! This is the picture of chapter 23. David is being pursued by King Saul. Or as Roscoe P. Coltrane (Dukes of Hazzard) would say, “I am in hot pursuit!”
The chapter starts with David trying to help some folks in Keilah, but before David does anything, he inquires of the LORD. Why? David is well aware that King Saul is trying to catch him. Even David’s best friend, Jonathan and his intervention on David’s behalf has not been enough. David wanted to help others especially his countrymen, but David needed wisdom and the LORD’s guidance. That is really an important thing for us to take notice of. Seek the LORD first in our circumstances.
David sought the Lord by bringing the ephod, an article worn by the high priest. (Read more on the ephod: Exodus 28:4; 29:5; 39:2; Leviticus 8:7).
The ephod was held together by a girdle of similar workmanship sewed on to it. It had two shoulder pieces, which, as the name implies, crossed the shoulders, and were apparently fastened or sewed to the ephod in front. In dressing, the shoulder pieces were joined in the back to the two ends of the ephod. At the point where the shoulder pieces were joined together in the front “above the girdle,” two golden rings were sewed on, to which the breastplate was attached. The Urim and the Thummim were most likely held in the ephod and used to determine the will of God. We don’t know exactly how these were used. Some say like dice or others say two flat objects with one side being the Urim and the other side of Thummim. If both showed the Urim, it would mean no or vice versa. Ultimately, we are not exactly sure on the Urim and Thummim, but we do know that the ephod was used to seek the LORD’s guidance and will as we see David do multiple times in this chapter.
We see David striving to help the people of the southern part of the country, but we see them turn on him in favor of the king. We read more on the friendship between David and Jonathan in verses 16-18. Ironically, Jonathan could get to David while Saul never could. God protected David from being caught by Saul (verse 27) but God still allowed David to be pursued. The pursuing taught David to rely on the LORD.
There are quite a few things we could focus on from this chapter. The friendship of two men was strong enough that Jonathan submitted to David despite his birthright said he would be king. We could focus upon David seeking the LORD and trusting even when it was difficult. Psalm 54 was written directly from verses 19-23. Psalm 17 is tied to the pursuit and persecution
It is in times of adversity that our faith is put into action or our faith fails. These times either make us stronger or times of failure. How will we respond in times of adversity? Will we be faithful? Will we trust? Will we rely upon the Word of God despite our circumstances?