Posts Tagged ‘Nabal’

It happened after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 2 Samuel 2:1-2

There might be scores of reasons why God isn’t talking to you and I don’t want to explore them all right here right now. I simply want to say that perhaps one reason God isn’t talking to you is because you aren’t talking to Him.

When I read the Bible passage above, one thing that leaps off the page is that God’s response to David’s first prayer is extraordinarily concise. Why, when David asks the question, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?” doesn’t God simply give him the entire answer at once? Why doesn’t God respond, “Yes David, go up and specifically I want you to go to Hebron.” It’s almost as if God is making David ask more questions.

I submit to you that is exactly what God is doing with David. In the same way a parent draws out conversation from a child, our Father in Heaven elicits prayerful exchanges with us. Our Father calls for more than communication; He desires communion. The reality is that He loves us so much He wants to converse with us continually and the deeper those conversations are, the better they are. Consider the inferences revealed in these quotes:

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire.” Corrie Ten Boom

“I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” John Wesley

“Is the Son of God praying in me, or am I dictating to Him…Prayer is not simply getting things from God, that is a most initial form of prayer; prayer is getting into perfect communion with God. If the Son of God is formed in us by regeneration, He will press forward in front of our common sense and change our attitude to the things about which we pray…Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers

“Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It’s important because it’s the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you “my beloved daughter,” “my beloved son,” “my beloved child.” To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being.” Henri Nouwen

Our Father seeks our intimacy, our honesty and our accessibility and wants nothing more than any parent desires from their adored child – an authentic relationship.

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So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal‘s widow. And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more. 1 Samuel 27:3-4

David had no business being in Gath; Saul wasn’t pursuing him any longer and Gath was a stronghold of Israel’s enemy the Philistines. In a very real sense Gath is a type (or picture) of the world. David ends up in Gath because he mistakenly paid heed to what his heart was telling him. By now David should have known better, but thankfully we have his error for our example.

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:9-10

David relies on his emotion to guide him, ends up back in the world, and puts together a series of blunders that will ultimately catch up with him. David may have been considered the apple of God’s eye, but nevertheless, God is not mocked and sinners always reap what they sow. However I don’t want to focus on David’s errors right now; I want to focus on one of his accomplishments. It’s found in Psalm 8, 81, and 84.

To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen– Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1-9

Did You Catch it?

David writes this Psalm and he plays it on the instrument of Gath—a pagan instrument! The worshippers when they heard it must have been shocked; much the same way many of us were shocked when electric guitars were brought into out sanctuaries. Looking back, I suppose there was a likely uproar when the first pipe organ was introduced too. And believe it or not, some folks are still being shocked. Check out this little snippet I pulled from a recent internet blog:

Obviously, God does not want us listening to flute music. Flutes and other woodwinds are horrible instruments. They entice us to sin with their wistful tunes…Clearly, Satan operates through the flute….keep woodwind instruments out of our public high schools. Warning labels should also be attached to music containing saxophones, flutes, or other instruments that require the touching of the lips.

In light of David’s accomplishment on the Gathinite instrument, this quote is laughable. Our Father has filled the Bible with one account after another of His taking that which was meant for evil and using it for good. God through David makes that point melodiously clear in his Psalms. There is no such thing as a bad instrument, just bad musicians. When glorifying and worshipping the Lord, we can feel free to use whatever instrument we desire as long as we do so in an orderly fashion. (Now where can I find me on of those Gath-a-phones?)

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Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 24:4-6

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Let’s recap what has been going on. David is in flight-mode and King Saul is in hot pursuit. Saul ducks into a nearby cavern to use the ‘facilities’ unaware that David and his band of merry men are hiding out in the recesses. David’s men alert him to this information and in essence advise him, “What a blessing David! God has delivered Saul into your hands!”

David’s men were wrong. Oh, their hearts may have been in the right place, but their discernment was way off. Given the opportunity to look back upon this incident we should see that this was not a blessing from the Lord, but rather a testing by the Lord.

David’s Test Grade

So how did David fair on this test? The primary purpose of any test is to evaluate progress and most [of us] would probably agree that David faired well since he did not kill Saul. From that we can rightly suppose that David saw this experience not as a blessing, but as a test. However, I submit to you that if David did pass the test, it was not by very much. We can deduce such a thing because in the very next chapter, David heads out to kill a man (Nabal) for merely refusing to give him food. It would seem that the test revealed David had not progressed very much at all.

The good news is that David is teachable and in time he will progress wonderfully. Given that reality the good news for us is that God’s testings have the capacity to transform into blessings. It’s true, everything from the Lord is either a bless’n or a lesson. And when we endeavor to walk in His way, those lessons will always turn into blessings.

Take a look at those blessings in your life–are they blessings or are they tests? The Lord has provided us [in His Word] these examples so we might better know the difference.

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