Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

1 Samuel 24:1-7

When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Wilderness near En-Gedi.”

So, Saul took three-thousand of Israel’s fit young men and went to look for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. When Saul came to the sheep pens along the road, a cave was there, and he went in to relieve himself. David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave, so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the LORD told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “As the LORD is my witness, I would never do such a thing to my Lord, the LORD’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the LORD’s anointed.” With these words David persuaded his men, and he did not let them rise up against Saul.

Then Saul left the cave and went on his way.

The Original Intent

1) Where is the Wilderness of En-Gedi and how is it significant? (verse 1) 

On the west side of the Dead Sea lies an oasis in the Judean Desert named “En-Gedi”. It’s a fertile spot amid dryness, with fresh water, green life, and many natural caves! Because of the freshwater spring and myriads of caves, En-Gedi provides a perfect place to hide out. It serves not only as a place of refuge, but also a military staging ground.

Being an oasis, it makes sense why it presented the perfect hiding place for David while also being an excellent place for Saul’s army to prepare for battle. 

The Wilderness of En-Gedi is a significant place in Israel’s history. 

  • It is first mentioned in Genesis 14:7, where it describes the war between two coalitions of kings during the time of Abraham. 
  • Joshua 15:62 mentions En-Gedi as an allotment given to the tribe of Judah. 
  • The mention of En-Gedi occurs twice in relation to David’s life. (1 Samuel 23:29, 1 Samuel 24:4, and 2 Samuel 22
  • Is also spoken of during the reign of Solomon (Song of Songs 1:14) and King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1 -2). 
  • Finally, It comes up again in the prophecies of Ezekiel where he speaks of “fresh waters from the Temple in Jerusalem flowing to restore the Dead Sea” (Ezekiel 47:1-12) This prophecy could be coming to fulfillment even now! (Israel Today)

Many historical accounts outside of the Bible also mention En-Gedi. (Josephus) Archeological discoveries in the caves bridge historical gaps from 650 AD to as recent as 2021 AD, including partial Biblical scrolls. (CBC News) 

We live in exciting times as we watch prophecies unfold before our eyes and look to the Eastern skies for the Messiah.

The Everyday Application

1) Where is the Wilderness of En-Gedi and how is it significant? (verse 1) 

En-Gedi represents The Living Water spoken of so often in the Scriptures. (That the World May Know by Ray Vander Laan) Our oasis from the trials of life are His Promises. Even during times of relentless pain, we can find a refreshing oasis in the Living Word of God. In dealing with chronic pain and loss, His words give me strength during tests and while waiting for results.
 
The strength the Lord has given through His Word is a major reason I stress the importance of memorizing the Word of God to those around me. It’s a practice I have learned to rely on over the years to deepen my faith. God’s stable truth needs to be recalled at a moment’s notice, usually when you’re least expecting it. In my case, I cannot take a Bible into the MRI tube or on a shifting platform for a posturograph. When trials arise, we seldom have a Bible at hand, neither are we in a physical position to stop and read it. The Promises of God need to be, not at the tip of our fingers, but at the tip of our minds.
 
Where do you run from the storms of life? Are you memorizing the Word of God?

The Original Intent

2) What is the context of this Scripture and why was Saul pursuing David? (verse 2) 

Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel when David was a teenager, but God did not remove Saul just yet. Several years of growing and training passed on David’s part first. Initially, David entered the service of the king because an evil spirit tormented Saul and needed someone to calm him. David came to play his harp which soothed Saul’s nerves.
 
Then the Israelites went to war with Philistia and David returned home. His father sent him to the war with food for his brothers who were fighting. While he was there, Goliath, a giant from Philistia, challenged any soldier from Israel to fight him one on one.
 
Not surprisingly, no one had jumped at the chance. However, David, full of faith, volunteered to face the giant and killed him with one stone and a slingshot!

The king gave David his daughter, Michal, as a wife and made him a commander over one thousand men. God blessed David as a military commander. The people sang praises of David, “Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands”. (1 Samuel 18:7) Of course, this did not settle well with King Saul, and he became intensely jealous of David. One day, as David was playing his harp for him, Saul threw his spear at him. And, thus, began years of Saul’s jealousy to kill David. 

This event in an En-Gedi cave followed several previous attempts to kill David. War shifted Saul’s focus for a while, but after resolving the conflict, he returned to his pursuit of finding and killing David. (1 Samuel 16-24)

The Everyday Application

2) What is the context of this Scripture and why was Saul pursuing David? (verse 2)

If you have a chronic illness as I do, surprises arise all along the way. Does it seem to you we just get beyond one trial before another comes along, whether you live with illness or not? Life circumstances threaten to yank us away from the truths we know and have learned in lighter times.
 
More diseases usually accompany an autoimmune disease, and I have had several new diagnoses added to my list in the past twelve years. Medications and treatments have these under control for now. Presently, I am dealing with a second joint replacement in less than six months. My rheumatologist warns that many more joint replacements can be expected for me.
 
With each step, I keep my eyes on the Lord and He does not allow me to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22) His character is unchanging despite my constantly shifting circumstance, and His Word remains an immovable anchor for me to cling to.

Where are you in your story? Where are you running for refuge?

The Original Intent

3) Why didn’t Saul detect David and his men in the cave? (verse 4) 

The oasis of En-Gedi housed innumerable opportunities to walk into a trap laid by David and his men. Perhaps it was Saul’s arrogance and thirsty jealousy that fueled him to enter caves without army protection.
 
On all sides, En-Gedi’s caverns served as lurking places for David and his men, just as they still do for outlaws in present days. The cave where David cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe is where David and 600 followers hid. This fact alone helps us understand the enormous size of this cavern, as were also many other caves in the area.
 
David and his men stayed deep in the cave, whereas Saul came in alone and stayed near the front of the cave. Perhaps he was feeling over-confident to enter a cave without protection from his soldiers, or perhaps he was relying on the darkness of the cave to protect him.
 
As for David’s vast army, as long as they remained quiet in the lightless cavern, their presence would go undetected. 

The Everyday Application

3) Why didn’t Saul detect David and his men in the cave? (verse 4) 

God has always been in the business of protecting His people.
 
David wrote, “Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; you understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; you are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me. This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.” (Psalm 139:1-6)  

What wondrous love these words of truth describe! To be fully known and embraced with His love on all sides; remarkable!

Perhaps you have heard the story of Brother Andrew, a young Dutch factory worker who, through incredible effort, transported Bibles across closed borders. Each time, against all odds, God miraculously provided for him every step of the way. At times, they had Bibles laying right out in the open and the border patrol did not see them. (God’s Smuggler

We can all claim this protection from God when we walk in His will, clinging to truth and entrenched deeply in relationship with Him. (Psalm 91)

The Original Intent

4) Why didn’t David and his men attack Saul in the cave? (verses 4-7) 

David’s men were determined to go after Saul in his vulnerability, but, curiously, David stopped them. David respected the king, the anointed of God, but more than respecting a man, David was determined to honor the Lord, Israel’s true King.
 
David’s action, or lack of action, reflected a heart that trusted the Lord’s hand of revenge over his own. The Lord taught His people in His law from the beginning, “Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay.” (Deuteronomy 32:35) David lived out what Paul would later instruct all believers, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…”. (Colossians 3:17) David cared more about honoring God than avenging himself.
 
He would not dream of killing the king by surprise. He knew God had a plan for Saul’s life, as well as his; these details belonged to the Lord alone. Additionally, he knew God would not tell him to break the law by killing the king. God would raise David to the throne in His way and His time, and David chose to trust Him while he waited.

The Everyday Application

4) Why didn’t David and his men attack Saul in the cave? (verses 4-7) 

I have had promises from God that seemed to never come true. I have shared in the past about how God promised me in college that I would marry, and I asked Him, “Where’s the promise fulfilled? When will it all happen?”
 
But I had to wait for His timing.

It’s tempting to take matters into our own hands when we look around at our circumstances and believe we could improve it by our own doing. But isn’t this just a cover for compromising our faith in the Faithful God?

Compromise is never the answer. God has something better in mind. Every Time. Wherever you are being tempted to doubt His way and His heart, flee from that temptation. Run straight to His Word and plead for Him to increase your faith! (Mark 9:24

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