When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” 2 he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” (1 Samuel 23:1-5)
Before David came into his place as King of Israel he was a man on the run. King Saul tirelessly sought David’s life and so he was forced to go from place to place hiding out in caves and moving locales as needed. Yet a word came to David that the people of Israel were being oppressed by an enemy nation and his heart was stirred on their behalf so he sought a Word from God. The word was to deliver the people of Keilah. The men who joined David in the wilderness expressed their concern saying we are already afraid because of Saul, why would we take on the Philistine forces! Delivering Keilah seemed like an unnecessary risk and more than they were able to handle.
I can’t help but think about our own situation as the church wondering when this pandemic will end and how a new government regime along with a culture who seems increasingly unfavorable toward the church along with a culture will affect our ability to worship freely. It would seem the church could be tempted to spend more time focused on self-preservation losing sight of the mission and intention of the church. Maybe we would come to the conclusion that it is not a good time to share the gospel with a lost and dying world until things settle down a bit and we can get our collective footing. This way of thinking goes against the very purpose of the church though.
We are called to be a people who do not depend on our own strength but instead to move forward by faith into places where we have to completely depend on God to come through. Yes this means to advance in obedience to God even when we are afraid knowing that the Lord is bigger than anything we can face.
Just like David and his men, the church is to be a mobile force of deliverance to those who are oppressed.
David’s heart was touched by those who needed deliverance because he did not forget the purpose of his rule which was to represent the Kingdom of God. David sought confirmation from the Lord and shared with those with him that God was in fact calling them to move forward in spite of their lack of security. God moved on behalf of David and his men. Even after saving the people of Keilah, David and His men did not find a place of protection or a home base where they could rest from Saul and were forced to move on to the next place. I believe God was preparing David during this time so that when He had a place to lay his head and a city with walls that He would not forget His purpose as God’s representative to bring freedom to His people.
To further support the importance of remembering the purpose of God’s people, fast forward some years and David is sitting on the throne in Jerusalem and a time of protection and prosperity comes upon Israel.
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they brought destruction on the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1).
Those of us who know the story see what is coming next is the murder of Uriah and the adulterous act with Bathsheba. It is interesting that David got in the most trouble when he stayed home not moving out to fight against the forces that were coming against the Kingdom he was entrusted.
Thank God that many of us have buildings and faithful people giving to the church, and that we can gather publicly as of now but are we doing what God has called us to do or are we just trying to hold onto what we have?
We are a people called to advance even and maybe especially when we don’t feel secure. Our hearts are touched by people who do not have Jesus and we are asked to push forward beyond fear of what will happen to us knowing that there is eternal significance in what we are called to do. God also wants us to face up against more than we ourselves can take on so that we learn to rely on Jesus for our deliverance and the salvation of those He has called us to reach in the name of Jesus. As we listen to God’s voice and represent His Kingdom, the Lord will be our rear guard moving us from place to place and situation to situation and we will see God move. In the end, God is the One who calls and He is the one who brings salvation.
It is our privilege to participate with Him carrying out His loving work of deliverance. Allow your hearts to be open to the needs of others and to listen to God’s voice and believe He will be the One who accomplishes His work as we step out in faith.