David Became An Outlaw Hero

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.
1 Samuel 23:4-5 (NLT)

We continue with the story of David. In the previous article, we read on David settling in a cave in Adullam. His brothers and relatives joined him there. He had attracted 400 men who were in trouble, debt and discontented. One day a prophet told David to move to Judah. So, David lead his group to settle in the forest of Hereth, in the territory of Judah.

Meanwhile, King Saul was in an offensive mode. Based on his words, we can see that he was not exactly a fair king. He favored those from his tribe for high positions in his government. Today, we call this “cronyism”. King Saul reminded his cronies that without him, they would never have enjoyed the high positions they had then. Therefore, it was to their interest that they should help the king to eliminate every threat to his throne. They were to help the king to capture and kill David. The operation begun.

They arrested the priest who gave David a sword and some bread. When the king interrogated the priest, his answer was he did not know at that time that David was an outlaw. So he treated David like who he knew David to be, an army commander and the son-in-law of the king. Such answer did not satisfy the king. As a result, King Saul had the priest and his entire family killed. King Saul had become a cruel tyrant. Fortunately for David, King Saul did not know his exact location. So, David was temporary safe.

One day in Keilah, David received a news report.

1 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.
1 Samuel 23:1-2 (NLT)

Please note that at that time, David was a fugitive himself. He was in deep trouble. Yet, he was ready to help the community there when they had trouble with the Philistines. This tells us that David did not spend his time wallowing in self-pity. He was not a negative person. He did not have pity parties with the 400 troubled men that followed him. If David had been wallowing in self-pity, he would not have been so eager to help. He asked the Lord and the Lord told him to go to save Keilah.

However, he had some problem with his followers.

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!”
1 Samuel 23:3 (NLT)

Let us face the truth. Those 400 guys were not exactly first class warriors. They were negative people. They were afraid to move on to big things. The idea of going to Keilah to fight the Philistines was too overwhelming for them.

David asked the Lord again.

4 So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.”
1 Samuel 23:4 (NLT)

The Lord not only asked David to go, he gave the assurance that he will help David to win. At last David’s men were willing to go. I suspect that must be the biggest challenge they faced up to that time.

5 So David and his men went to Keilah. They slaughtered the Philistines and took all their livestock and rescued the people of Keilah.
1 Samuel 23:5 (NLT)

They won. The Lord kept his promise. Those 400 men had achieved the greatest victory up to that time.

Let us see what we can learn from this story. This story took place when David was in deep trouble himself. He was running away from the king. The king wanted to kill him because he was too successful in carrying out the king’s orders. Don’t you think this is very unfair for David? David had practically lost everything he worked for. He had worked hard and risked his life fighting for the king. Yet the king wanted to kill him.

What will you do if you were in David’s position? I am sure many will start to give up hope, complain, talk negative and indulge in pity parties. Some may even resort to drugs. Life is so unfair. David did not do any of those. He remained faithful to God and maintained positive attitude. He was convinced that whatever the king meant for evil, his God can turn them around for his good.

He was so positive that he attracted 400 men who were in bad situations themselves. Why do you think they followed David? Were they after money and ranks? David had none of those. They must have seen hope in David. David must have been talking positive to them and gave them hope. If there were theologians around at that time, they would have labeled David as a “Prosperity Preacher”.

When David heard of the trouble the community faced, his first response was to go to help. He seemed to have forgotten that he was in bigger problem himself. Why is that so? I suspect David did not allow his troubles to stop him from following his heart. His heart was to help his people. In other words, David did not spend his days in thinking about his problems. He must have spent his time encouraging his 400 followers and thinking of ways to help his people. This explains his eagerness to help when he heard of trouble faced by the community. He immediately asked the Lord for direction and mobilized his men for battle.

However, those guys were too scared to fight. Instead of passing judgement to them like a theologian, David asked God again and got the assurance of God’s help. At last he managed to persuade his followers to go to battle with him. They fought and won. Winning battles may be a routine for David but it meant a great deal to those 400 men who were in trouble, debt and discontentment. They had achieved something that they never dared to imagine. This battle must have caused them to overcome their limiting beliefs and start to think big. I suspect these men had risen from negative mindsets. David had succeeded not only to help the people of Keilah to get their grains back, he had helped those 400 men to gain confidence and positive outlook in life.

David accomplished all these when he was a fugitive himself. God had used him even before he formally become king. God can do the same for us. I have a religious guy telling me that God can still use me even if I am poor (as though I don’t know that). Of course, God can use us when we are poor and sick but it does not meant that we must always remain poor and sick for God to use. God used David when he was a fugitive but David did not live as a fugitive for the rest of his life. He became king. God wanted David to be a king.

Likewise, just because God can still use us when we are sick and poor, it does not mean that he wants us to be sick and poor. It is the will of God for all Christians to be healthy and rich. At the Cross, Jesus died poor for us to live rich. By His stripes we are healed. So, if you are sick and poor right now, start believing to receive your abundance of health and wealth for God. At the same time, do not hesitate to help those around you in whatever way you can. In doing so, you will be sowing seeds for more prosperity to come. This is what David did. If you read more about him, he lived to old age with great prosperity. The same can happen to us if we believe and don’t give up.

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