Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Twenty-Three]: Three-fold Means of Hearing from God Every Time. In this chapter David is yet pursued by King Saul. David comes out of hiding to rescue the city of Keilah from the Philistines and Saul seeks to trap him and his 600 men. David hears in his heart that Saul is near. He isn’t sure so he consults the Prophet Gad and the Urim and Thummim of the High Priest as to what to do. David is hearing in his heart and confirming what he hears through the prophetic and the instrumentality of the sacred lot in the ephod of the priest. You likewise can learn to hear God and confirm what you hear in order to be protected and kept in the center of God’s will for your life.
[1Sa 23:1-29 KJV] 1 Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors. 2 Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3 And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David enquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand. 5 So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. 6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, [that] he came down [with] an ephod in his hand. 7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars. 8 And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.
In the previous chapter Saul commands his servant Doeg to slaughter the family of the High Priest and all the inhabitants of the city of Nob because they had met with David on his flight from Saul’s persecution. Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech the priest escapes and takes refuge with David. What the previous chapter doesn’t mention is the Abiathar brings the ephod of the High Priest with him to David. David hears that the city of Keilah is under assault from the Philistines and he asks of God if he should go and save the people. This is a rare instance. The history from Judges chapter one till this point in Israelite history there are only one or two times that the people of God actually ASKED God if they should do one thing or another. When it says that David inquired of the Lord – he is inquiring through two instrumentalities: the Prophet Gad and Abiathar the High Priest by using the Urim and the Thummim. You will remember that the Urim and the Thummim are a sacred lot kept in the breastplate of the ephod of the High Priest. When the High Priest would cast the lot there was an answer of yes or no given. If the person asking needed to more than this they would consult a prophet and in David’s case the Prophet Gad was there for this purpose.
9 And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. 10 Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down. 12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver [thee] up. 13 Then David and his men, [which were] about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth. 14 And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. 15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David [was] in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.
When David came to rescue the people of Keilah it was known to Saul and he planned to ambush David before he could escape this city. The verse says that David “knew” that Saul planned this. It isn’t clear from the wording just how David knew this. David goes to God and asks if it was surely so that what he “heard” about Saul would come to pass. Again it is not clear how David heard. It doesn’t simply say that someone came and told him. In truth David no doubt heard this in his own heart. In the previous chapter when he meets Abiathar fleeing from the slaughter of the city of Nob David admits that he KNEW that this was going to happen beforehand. David was listening to his heart and confirming what he heard through the High Priest and the Urim and Thummim and the Prophet Gad.
This shows us a three-fold means of hearing from God. 1.) We hear from God in our heart. This is the first and primary way that God wishes to speak. 2.) The prophets. David took what he heard and would consult the prophetic gifts of others to see if there would be a confirmation. 3.) Then David was known to consult the Urim and Thummim. Now we don’t have or use a sacred lot today but how many times have people randomly opened their bible seeking a word from God on some issue? Gideon laid out fleeces on the ground for this kind of confirmation. What this means is that you can look at your circumstance or some situation in life for a sign from God that is so obvious that you know it is God talking and you know what He is saying to you regarding a question you have put before Him.
16 And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18 And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. 19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which [is] on the south of Jeshimon? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part [shall be] to deliver him into the king’s hand. 21 And Saul said, Blessed [be] ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me. 22 Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, [and] who hath seen him there: for it is told me [that] he dealeth very subtilly. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah. 24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men [were] in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. 25 Saul also and his men went to seek [him]. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard [that], he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. 28 Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth. 29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.
When the verse says that Jonathan made a covenant with David this is referring to blood covenant. In ancient times this was a cutting of the hand or arm to mix blood together between two parties. This was a bond stronger than marriage. You could divorce your wife by handing her a piece of paper but if you broke blood covenant your life was forfeit. In making blood covenant Jonathan also obligated his entire family because a blood covenant friend is now one of the family as surely as if they were born of the same mother and father. How did Jonathan and Saul know that David would surely be king of Israel? Because of the prophet Samuel. Samuel was a prophet who throughout his lifetime God did not allow his words to fall to the ground. If Samuel anointed David to be king as he certainly did there was no doubt that David would indeed be king. This is a potent level of the prophetic that is available today. It is called “Oracle Prophecy”. Sometimes a prophet speaks because a thing is going to happen. Other times a thing happens because the prophet speaks. I remember God telling me “if you say it I will do it – if you don’t say it I won’t do it.” This is Oracle Prophecy. It is not the highest level of Prophetic Office but it is a powerful anointing from God.
In all of this David was on the run from King Saul. At one point in the story about they are on the same hill and Saul’s men are coming around from one side and David’s men are escaping from the other. At each move David is consulting the Urim and the Prophet Gad to see what would do next. He was listening to the voice of God in his own heart and confirming through the Urim and the Prophet Gad and when he complied he was safe and he escaped his pursuers. How does this work? One example is Col. 3:5 that says in the Amplified Bible “… let the peace of God act as an umpire in your heart settling with finality all matters that are at hand …” There is a peace of God that is violated when you get out of God’s will. Listen to the peace of God. Don’t be hesitant to seek confirmation. I have found that God will give as many confirmations that you ask for. 2 Cor. 13:1 says “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established…”
There are many pitfalls in life. There are times that you may be making travel plans and you just don’t have peace about what you are about to do. How many times have we listened to this and avoided an accident? I remember once when Kitty and I were invited to do a prophetic small group with one of the most influential judges in the state of Colorado. It was a powerful opportunity to share the gospel and demonstrate the prophetic to people who did not know such things. The people were anticipating us coming but we had an overwhelming sense of no peace about doing this. We canceled and later found confirmation that the judge was deeply mocking the prophetic and this would have been a very bad situation.
Learn like David to listen to his heart. When David heard in his heart that Doeg was going to kill Ahimelech he didn’t listen. When Ahimelech’s son escaped to David he took responsibility (David did) for not listening to the witness of his heart and protecting the High Priestly family. He missed it as we often do. He didn’t stop trying to hear but he added the dimension of taking what he heard to the Priest and the Prophet for confirmation and in obeying what he heard escaped the traps Saul set for him every time. You and I can do the same thing. Don’t be afraid to listen to what you hear God say in your heart. You may be like David and not be sure you are hearing but you can seek confirmation. Notice that David asked direct questions and didn’t ask the Priest or the Prophet to play guessing games. That is how unbelievers come to God. They hold back certain facts so that when the prophet accurately says what they are hiding from him they don’t have to exercise faith to believe it is God talking. David grew out of this childish approach and we should to. 2 Chron. 20:20 says when we believe the prophets we are prospered and this is God’s plan for you and I as well.
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