Posts Tagged ‘Philistine’

So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel…Now when the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went out against them…And David inquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand.” So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there…Then the Philistines once again made a raid on the valley. Therefore David inquired again of God, and God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; circle around them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 1 Chronicles 14:8, 10-11a, 13-15

Four Reasons Why Christians Suffer

Generally speaking there are four fundamental reasons why born-again Christians experience suffering. First and foremost we’re afflicted because we live in a fallen condition brought about by Adam’s indiscretion in the Garden. As a result we sin against others and they sin against us; God does not routinely interfere lest He deny us our free will.

A subsequent (and obviously interrelated) cause is based not on what other sinners do to us, but rather upon what we do to ourselves; i.e., the things we suffer because of our own foolishness. The reality is God is not mocked and we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8).

Thirdly, there is the sanctification process the Christian willingly submits himself to. Followers of Christ choose submission over disdain because the trying course consistently proves to be a blessing rather than a curse. The truth be told, believers know that those who are without God’s chastening are considered to be illegitimate children (Hebrews 12:5-8).

The final reason is subtly revealed in the 1 Chronicles 14 passage (above) and fortified by this New Testament canon:

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b

When David knew that God had established and ordained him ~and~ when the Philistines heard about it, they attacked. This satanic policy holds true for us as well, for when the enemy learns of our anointing, he too will attack. How the enemy manifests himself varies and I submit that they range from flat tires to martyrdom. I know of one brother in the faith who had a deer jump through his car window as he traveled to a ministry conference. The naysayer rolls his eyes and screams, “Coincidence! Hardly. Christians know better.

Our Response

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Our first response is birthed in our hope, for we know that, ‘All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28). We have our rest in the assurance that God is orchestrating a picture beyond the scope of both our suffering and our imagination. However, in light of that hope, we have spiritual responsibility.


That responsibility is revealed in what David did. In an act of Godly dependence, he inquired of the Lord, not once, but each time the enemy was on the attack. How God answered David teaches us that our responses can be as varied as the attacks themselves. Like David, we might be called to mount up a frontal assault one time and a rear offensive another. The significant point is that we cannot be confident in anything until we ask for His input. For all we know, we might be called to ignore the enemy entirely. Important things to glean from David’s story are to never suppose God’s methodology runs consecutively and to never assume (based on history) we can leave God out of the equation. To become dependant upon what God has given rather than upon God Himself, we effectively open the door of victory to our adversary.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 2 Samuel 5:23-24

David is poised to battle his adversaries again. The Philistines had attacked once previously, but David was victorious because he dropped to his knees to pray before he stood up to fight. Wisely, David returns to his knees before taking further action. David could have marched into battle without making inquiry of the Lord, but fortunately he perceived that yesterday’s divine strategy was for yesterday. The lesson of course is for us to bring every matter before the Lord never assuming that divine tactics are etched in tablets of stone. The bonus, as it were, is that persistent prayer improves perception.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Both non-believers and biblical scholars have scrutinized the passage, “When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees,’ and have theorized that the breeze-in-the-trees was merely some kind of natural phenomenon. Some have even speculated that the marching column of Philistine soldiers was enough to rattle the branches of the delicate Mulberry. Perhaps. They can choose to look at the incident like that if they want, but oh boy, are they missing out on something truly spectacular. Personally, I prefer to see the rushing wind as the Holy Spirit for which it is.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:20-21

The fact of the matter is that the disconnected aren’t able to see God’s hand in these things because they aren’t willing to. Self-disabled, they regard things as naturally occurring rather for the supernatural occurrences they are. In contrast, and as the detractors shake their collective heads in astonished disbelief, the purposed Christian can look at any component of God’s good creation and rightfully proclaim, “I see God’s handiwork.”

“Oh well,” we rejoin, “their loss!”

The reality is that bringing this to their attention will probably not influence them to abandon their skepticism, but I’m not writing this them…I’m writing this for me (and maybe you). The truth is that I occasionally forget that ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above;’ I am the one who needs the reminder. When I step outside the refuge of Christ Jesus and neglect the components of my faith, I run the risk of seeing things as the world sees them—pleasing, but nevertheless catastrophes of nature; accidental pleasantries if you will. Oh how sad it is to miss the gargantuan quantity of blessings God has bestowed upon us. The resolute know that standing close to Jesus improves our vision.

“God will not be behind-hand in love to us: for our drop, we shall receive an ocean. Thomas Watson

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Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14

In the last chapter of 1 Samuel 31, King Saul is struck with an arrow by the Philistines and is severely wounded. Not wanting to be taken captive and abused by the enemy, Saul commits suicide by falling on his own sword. However, as we open Second Samuel we discover in chapter one there is more to the story. A man comes into David’s camp with extraordinary news…

As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ He said to me again, ‘Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.’ 2 Samuel 1:6b-9

Did This Really Happen?

Did the Amalekite finish off Saul? Some say this event truly occurred and others theorize the man just stumbled upon an already dead Saul, stole his stuff, and brought it to David seeking a compensation of some sort. We cannot be dogmatic about either position, but we can be certain of two thing: the Amalekite man was there ~and~ that he should not have been.

We know he was there because he had details of the scene and he had the damming evidence in his possession; King Saul’s royal crown and bracelet. We know he didn’t belong there because of what transpired twenty five years earlier.

Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey…Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek…” 1 Samuel 15:3, 18-20a

Saul failed. He did not completely annihilate the Amalekites and therefore, the one who finished him off should not have even existed. In typology, the Amalekites are a picture of our flesh; or more accurately the sin that continues to plague us from generation to generation. The account in Second Samuel demonstrates effectively how if the flesh is not dealt with, it will come back to destroy us. The Apostle Paul picks up the theme when he writes [that] if we choose to live by the flesh (sin) we will die by the flesh.

When Saul took Agag captive, he thought he had the situation under control. Is that not always the way with the sin we commit; don’t we also believe we have it under control? Saul’s action further demonstrates that the ill effects of sin might not be experienced for years—in his case twenty five years. Far too often we come to believe that because the consequences are not forthright, God must approve of our sin or worse yet, that our sin is not a sin at all. Beware.

The very truth of the matter is that our flesh; our sin; our Amalekites need to be dealt with—they need to be annihilated and utterly destroyed. How do we do that? The first thing we need to do is to recognize our sin as sin; calling it anything else but sin only serves to deny ourselves the remedy found in Christ’s blood. It’s kind of like going to the doctor and denying that you’re sick—if we cannot admit we are sick, the doctor likely won’t see us.

The second thing we need to do it repent of our sin; turn away from it and turns toward God. Thirdly, we must take responsibility for the sin we commit; sure we are forgiven and our salvation is secure, but there are earthly consequences that need to be dealt with. Finally, we need to accept the unmerited favor that our Father desires to bestow upon all who believe in His Son.

Saul failed, but he could have recovered. He didn’t recover because he thought he had his flesh under control.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

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Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him… 1 Samuel 18:6-8a

Let’s Play ‘Find the Sinner’

If you are just a little familiar with the story you will recall that David, empowered by the Lord for service, had just single-handedly defeated the enormous Philistine Goliath and much of their army. The achievement essentially saved the entire nation of Israel from becoming enslaved by the enemy. It’s only natural that everyone would be elated by the hearing of this wonderful news…right? Nevertheless, the sight of thousands of women dancing joyously in the streets celebrating the triumph only served to anger Saul.

Aside from Saul’s obvious blunder, what’s wrong with this picture? The rejoicing women were in sin also. How so you ask? These women were giving their glory to David rather than to God and in so doing they played a part in causing Saul to transgress.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence…to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 and Romans 16:27

Now before we go any further we need to recognize that no one (not even satan) can cause a person to sin therefore no sinner can use that as his or her excuse. It might be more prudent to say that these woman in their sin enabled Saul in his. Be that as it may, Jesus had some good advice on the topic.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

The reality is that sinners sin and Saul did not need any assistance in this arena, but the fact he would have likely committed it anyway is irrelevant. We need to know that there are things we do (and sometimes neglect to do) that make easy the sinners path. As I said earlier, these women in their sin (and even David in his sin) fashioned a vehicle by which Saul could easily facilitate his sin. What sin did David commit? It can be inferred that David likely heard the praise and did nothing to redirect it towards the Lord.

Again, the purpose of today’s application is not to make excuses for Saul, but to be cognizant of the fact that we are sometimes quick to point out the wickedness of others when in fact we may have played a role in their offense by transgressing ourselves.

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So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 1 Samuel 17:38-39

Pretty much every sermon I have ever heard regarding this story of David and Goliath assumes that because David was a boy (or at least a young man), Saul’s armor and sword were too big for him to handle. Personally, I don’t suppose that’s the issue at all. I believe that when David said he wouldn’t wear the equipment because he hadn’t tested it, he was really just politely turning down King Saul’s offer.

Why would I put forward such a notion? Because we know a little bit about Saul’s history and how he pridefully likes to steal other people’s thunder. We would remember the 1 Samuel 13 account of how he stole his own son’s glory after he (Jonathan) won a victory over the Philistines.

And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!”

The truth of the matter is that if King Saul was truly concerned for David’s welfare, he could have requisitioned some suitable armor for him. In actuality Saul was more interested in putting on appearances—he desired to dress David up in his garb (with that big ol’ bronze helmet covering his head) so the people would think that it was he who was going into battle against Goliath. Saul was after all the most logical choice to fight the giant because he was a full head taller than any other Israeli man—but he was dreadfully afraid of Goliath. I contend that David would have none of this charade. The basis for the argument is found later on in 1 Samuel 17:50-51…

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

Amazingly, David takes the untested sword of Goliath and cuts his head off with it—a sword by the way that was likely twice the size (if not more) than Saul’s weapon. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

But having said that, I believe the scope of this picture is much larger than David not wanting to be duped by Saul. The reality is all of Saul’s armor rightly belonged to David anyway—the Lord (in the previous two chapters) had rejected Saul as king and had anointed David! So what is this event really illustrating?

First we need to recognize that David is a type; that is a picture of Jesus Christ in this story—the parallels are amazing. David and Jesus were both shepherds sent by their fathers. David was sent to his brothers with the bread. Jesus would say in John 6:48 and John 10:11, “I am the bread of life…I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

David sought the treasure Saul offered: great riches, the daughter in marriage, liberty for the family and Jesus seeks the prize of His saints; His rich inheritance (Ephesians 1:18), His bride (Revelation 21 and 22), and our freedom (John 8:32). David was scorned by his brothers. Jesus was scorned by His brothers and the entire nation.

There are many more, but most importantly (and as it relates to this event), David laid aside the armor of King Saul, essentially striping himself of that which was rightly his and in so doing illustrated what Jesus would do when He came to earth as a man.

(Jesus) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6-7

Whether David realized it at the time or not, his purpose of rejecting Saul’s armor was not because it was ill-fitting or even because it was untested; the reason was because the deed pointed directly to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the singular victory He would have for all humanity.

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So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord. Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 9:2-3

The Lord truly spoke to my heart yesterday, essentially saying to me, “I can see into the future and beyond. That thing you are concerned with is done.”

The peace that came over me was magnificent. The particular thing that concerned me was not huge at all (quite trivial in actuality), but His words gave me the assurance that He has already viewed everything that’s going to happen (or not happen) to me in this life. My Father is positioned over me like the Good Year Blimp is above the Rose Bowl Parade. From my venue I only see what is in front of me with limited peripheral vision, but He sees the splendor of what’s to come and knows exactly where the entire procession is going to end up.

Yesterday’s encounter reminded me how easy it is to focus on a task or a problem rather then Jesus. The fact of the matter is that when we lose focus on Christ, the thing we’re focusing on becomes darkness—even if that thing is a God-given ministry or a mission. My assignment is to merely present myself to Him each day as an empty and willing vessel trusting that the real work to be done is His work. I am a hammer that needs to be in the Master’s tool box each morning not because He needs me, but because I need Him. If I’m not there God will use another instrument and as a result I will become dirty and rusty. Daily usage keeps a Christian clean.

This was in a sense Samuel’s message to Israel in the passage above. Their focus was everywhere but on God and as a result they were fearful of things not worthy of fear. The admonition Samuel gave to Israel then is appropriate for us today. Let us not focus on the problem, but on the problem solver; let us not curse the darkness, but turn on the Light.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. Psalm 34:8-22

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But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

As the Exodus emigration from Egypt commences, Christendom takes notice that God does not take shortcuts. God could have led Israel to the Promised Land by way of Philistine country; a ten-day journey perhaps, but as we will see He opts for a longer route; a course which will integrate seven different campsites and will take about one year to complete.

Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 13:17-18

Protracted for Your Protection

Why this longer route…because God knows his people. The Bible passage (above) exposes that Israel, in their fledgling condition, would have likely turned and ran when faced with such a formidable opponent in the Philistines. Six hundred thousand men do not go from slaves to warriors in a week’s time. However the real issue for Israel was not (solely) their combat-readiness, but rather the excess baggage they carried out of Egypt. God’s intended journey would relieve them of this burden.

What Burden?

Israel had spent approximately four hundred and thirty years in Egypt and during that time absorbed many of their irreverent customs—a familiar reality common to any believer forced to live in the world (Egypt being a picture of the world). The journey God had orchestrated for His people would serve to root-out these behaviors and thus prepare a nation for its new home. Reading the biblical accounts we might say that it was easy for God to get Israel out of Egypt, but a larger undertaking to get Egypt out of Israel.

Our Present Journey

God intended Israel’s journey to take about a year, but we know it took closer to forty years—Israel was (and still is) a tough nut to crack. Israel’s journey was recorded in God’s Word for a variety or reasons, all of which bring honor, glory, and praise to Him, but one particular reason is so that the body of Christ, His church might learn from the mistakes others have made. We might reflect upon the missions we presently find ourselves and ask, ‘Are we progressing along according to God’s plan and timing or our own?’ As we struggle with our answers, it helps us immensely to remember that at this present moment, Jesus is preparing a place for us…

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3

But that actuality is only half the equation, for simultaneously Jesus is preparing us for the place!

And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built. 1 Kings 6:7

We are His temple and we are being formed and refined on earth; in the quarry that is the world. Just as God prepared Israel in the wilderness, so He prepares us. However, once we cross over into His heavenly realm, no longer will the pain and suffering associated with preparation be experienced. That should give every believer great comfort, that as sojourners and pilgrims in a perverse land, this purging trek we all find ourselves on is fleeting. With that knowledge let us enjoy the trip.


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