GOD IN GATH
Powerful One, you are from everlasting to everlasting: your holy character does not change. I praise your name.
Read 1 SAMUEL 27:1 - 28:2
David Among the Philistines
27 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
2 So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal. 4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”
6 So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7 David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.
8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) 9 Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.
10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”
28 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.”
2 David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.”
Achish replied, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectGod is with you in this place, in this time. Thank him for his presence with you.
In yesterday’s passage, Saul promised – ‘cross my fingers, hope to die!’ – to stop trying to kill David. But David isn’t stupid, so today we read that he and his rag-tag band of supporters have decided to move to Gath, home of Israel’s archenemies, the Philistines (27:1). They get their own town (vs 5–7) – offering some protection from plotting Philistines and temptations of other gods.* And, from here, they throw themselves into being an asset to their hosts, particularly the local ruler, Achish (v 2).
God doesn’t get a mention in this part of the story, and we might be tempted to think he doesn’t hang around in places like Gath or with people who do bad things, like David appears to be doing here (e.g., verses 11,12).
But who did Jesus, the image of the invisible God, seek out? Sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, and outcasts: ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners’ (Mark 2:17). There is nowhere we can go where God is not at work, nothing we can do that puts us beyond the reach of his presence.
How are you living for God in the situation in which he has placed you today?
Dear God, you are with me always, through the ups and downs of life. Grant me the strength to push through the downs of my life.
*Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Brown, Fausett, Jamieson, 2009
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