FIRST STEP

| 24 June 2013 |

FIRST STEP

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: 1 Samuel 26

*1 Samuel 23*

New Living Translation (NLT)

*David Protects the Town of Keilah*

*23 *One day news came to David that the Philistines were at Keilah
stealing grain from the threshing floors. *2 *David asked the Lord,
“Should I go and attack them?”

“Yes, go and save Keilah,” the Lord told him.

*3 *But David’s men said, “We’re afraid even here in Judah. We
certainly don’t want to go to Keilah to fight the whole Philistine
army!”

*4 *So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “Go
down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.”

*5 *So David and his men went to Keilah. They slaughtered the
Philistines and took all their livestock and rescued the people of
Keilah. *6 *Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at
Keilah, he brought the ephod with him.

*7 *Saul soon learned that David was at Keilah. “Good!” he
exclaimed. “We’ve got him now! God has handed him over to me, for
he has trapped himself in a walled town!” *8 *So Saul mobilized his
entire army to march to Keilah and besiege David and his men.

*9 *But David learned of Saul’s plan and told Abiathar the priest to
bring the ephod and ask the Lord what he should do. *10 *Then David
prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, I have heard that Saul is planning
to come and destroy Keilah because I am here. *11 *Will the leaders of
Keilah betray me to him?*[**a*

*]* And will Saul actually come as I have heard? O Lord, God of
Israel, please tell me.”

And the Lord said, “He will come.”

*12 *Again David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah betray me and my
men to Saul?”

And the Lord replied, “Yes, they will betray you.”

*David Hides in the Wilderness*

*13 *So David and his men—about 600 of them now—left Keilah and
began roaming the countryside. Word soon reached Saul that David had
escaped, so he didn’t go to Keilah after all. *14 *David now stayed
in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph.
Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him.

*15 *One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the
way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. *16 *Jonathan went to find
David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. *17
*“Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will
never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be
next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” *18 *So the two of
them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned
home, while David stayed at Horesh.

*19 *But now the men of Ziph went to Saul in Gibeah and betrayed David
to him. “We know where David is hiding,” they said. “He is in
the strongholds of Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, which is in the
southern part of Jeshimon.*20 *Come down whenever you’re ready, O
king, and we will catch him and hand him over to you!”

*21 *“The Lord bless you,” Saul said. “At last someone is
concerned about me!*22 *Go and check again to be sure of where he is
staying and who has seen him there, for I know that he is very crafty.
*23 *Discover his hiding places, and come back when you are sure. Then
I’ll go with you. And if he is in the area at all, I’ll track him
down, even if I have to search every hiding place in Judah!” *24 *So
the men of Ziph returned home ahead of Saul.

Meanwhile, David and his men had moved into the wilderness of Maon in
the Arabah Valley south of Jeshimon. *25 *When David heard that Saul
and his men were searching for him, he went even farther into the
wilderness to the great rock, and he remained there in the wilderness
of Maon. But Saul kept after him in the wilderness.

*26 *Saul and David were now on opposite sides of a mountain. Just as
Saul and his men began to close in on David and his men, *27 *an
urgent message reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel
again. *28 *So Saul quit chasing David and returned to fight the
Philistines. Ever since that time, the place where David was camped
has been called the Rock of Escape.*[**b*

*]29 [**c*

*]*David then went to live in the strongholds of En-gedi.

_____________________________

The story of Saul trying to capture David continues. What strikes me
about this particular chapter is the ease at which David and God
converse. David finds himself yet again in a difficult position where
he’s found out that Saul knows where he is, and that Saul is on his
way to capture him.

What would you do?

David simply asks God what he should do, and God replies!

Why is it that when we find ourselves in difficult situations prayer
is not our first resort? We try many other things first, and even get
other peoples counsel before going to God for the solution to our
problems.

A CALL TO ACTION

Today could be the beginning of a new way of life for you: a life
where, before trying anything else in a difficult situation, you go
straight to God in prayer asking Him for wisdom and solutions to the
difficulties you face. If there is anything you are facing at the
moment that is difficult for you, take time right now to pause and
speak to God about it.

A PRAYER TO PRAY

Lord forgive me for often getting counsel elsewhere before coming to
you in prayer. Today, I want to bring this issue before you. [/Speak
to God about the difficulty you are facing]. /Amen.

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