I Samuel 30-31
The divergent paths of David and Saul are totally exposed in these chapters.
David and his experiences at Ziklag are legendary in encouraging people who have been through trials. When he returns with his men to the camp at Ziklag, he discovers that all of the families and goods have been taken, and the camp has been burned to the ground. So his men want to stone him. Things couldn’t get much worse than that!
But David sets an example for us all. He weeps, and then he “encourages himself in the Lord.”(v.6). Finally he inquires of the Lord what to do. When the Lord says “pursue,” he does, recovering all that was taken.
There are times when all of us have encountered battles which seem too much for us. That’s when we need to “encourage ourselves in the Lord.” We need to set aside time to praise, pray, read the Word, and remind ourselves of God’s goodness and His greatness. The devil is no match for our God. When we are trusting Him, He will have an answer.
The opposite end is in store for Saul and his sons. As the Philistines overtake the Israelites, the sons are killed, and Saul is mortally wounded. He pleads for his armor-bearer to end the pain, and he does.
Saul displays such a sad path for a man. He was small in his own eyes when he was chosen as king, but the appointment went to his head, and he fell out of favor with God. The end of his life is years of jealousy, frustration, anger, and bitterness as he chases David continually.
All of this makes me want to stay humble and trust in my Father. His end is the better one for me, and I will continue to pursue that end. There may be a few years in a cave, but that’s okay. The end is worth it.
Jesus says something very interesting in verses 31-33. He is approached by some Pharisees who say that Herod wants to kill Him, and He calls Herod a fox. (Jesus has a reason for that word in particular).Then he says, basically, tell the fox that I will continue to grow and I will reach my goal.
This passage is special to me. There was an incident in my life when I thought God was telling me something – and it turned out not to be so. Young in the Lord, I felt very discouraged that I hadn’t heard him properly, so I ran to Him for answers. He gave me several clues in His Word. One of them was in Song of Solomon 2:15, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining our vineyards while our vineyards are in blossom.” Then he showed my how Jesus used that verse here.
At that time, He began to show me that the “foxes” are false prophecies – as born out in Ezekiel 13:3-4. The false prophets are seeing things out of their own spirits and are like “foxes among the ruins.”
When you are growing and blossoming in your walk, false words – from yourself or others – can ruin your vineyard, or spoil your growth. They can stop God’s plan if you listen to them.
So back to what Jesus says here. He knows that He will be put to death, but not by Herod, and not now. He will be put to death by the high priest as God’s perfect Lamb, and at the appointed time – Passover. So He proclaims, “This word is a fox, a false prophecy. It will not stop my blossoming and fulfilling God’s plan. I will continue to cast our devils and heal the sick and I will reach my goal. This vine will not be spoiled by a false word or plan from the enemy.”
I’m sure that Herod doesn’t need to hear that detail, but the devil does. That word denounces the devil’s plan to take Jesus’ life before the time and in the improper way.
As we proceed with our walk, it’s important not to just listen to every word that pops into our minds – or from others. We must measure everything by God’s Word. only then can we be sure that we are hearing properly.
God has a plan for you and me – a perfect plan. As we stick close to Him and listen carefully, He will direct our paths.