Hero and Horror – Making of a King

It took nine pages in my Bible. Six chapters, 1 Samuel 18 to 23, tell the story of David’s David052rise from being a hero to the Most Wanted List then to acting like a King.


This journey is marked with great drama and powerful emotions. Here are some of the action words or ideas that can be found in these six chapters: joy, galled, anger, betrayal, fear, bold rescues, grief, love, friendship, daring escapes, fiend insanity, ruthless pursuit, murder, and jealousy.   Michal, Saul’s youngest daughter, is a big part of this drama. She “loved” David but Saul knew he could use her as a snare to kill him. She helped David make a daring escape but I find it interesting that she never tried to flee Saul and go to David’s side. I believe that since David was a songwriter he used the things in his life to be the inspiration for his songs. I could attribute fifteen psalms to this time of drama.


The story of Keilah is the story of David starting to act like a king. In the time it is set with the Feast because a harvest was happening, which is what the Philistines were after – the grain. Keilah must have been an important city because it had “bars and gates” and a population big enough to “hand David over” to Saul. On most maps, David’s hideout is only a few miles from the city. To compare Saul and David here is appropriate; David went to the city and liberated it from the enemy but the Bible never mentions Saul going there to check on the population.


In Chapter 23 we see David growing as a leader and David’s men learning to trust him as a leader. There is a difference between saying someone is your leader and then actually following him into battle. David’s habit of asking God for directions is mentioned at least five times in this story. It would seem that David had a prophet named Gad and after the victory in Keilah the priest of God named Abiathar and Aaron’s Breastplate (the ephod) to give Heaven sent answers.

David gained much knowledge and help from his willingness to free Keilah.

  • He found out that just because God had you do something it does not mean the people will be thankful, the citizens of Keilah would have turned him over to Saul.
  • David learned that you follow God just because He says to do it. This will lead to God’s bragging on you and not praise from men.
  • David learned to keep his options open and to ask more than one time for directions.
  • On the practical side, he picked up 200 more men, the Philistine’s supplies, and a new enemy.


David’s new enemy was the Ziphities. They were descendants of Caleb and a leading clan in Judah. They were going to turn David over to Saul even though David rescued Keilah. The reason could have been many but jealousy and fear of losing prominence within the Tribe of Judah possible were factors. David penned Psalm 54 over this incident and with phrases like, “Let evil recoil on those who slander me” verse 6 (NIV); it is clear there was no love loss. The word Ziph deals with flowing asphalt. This was found around the Dead Sea and brings to memory its trapping ability when Bera’s men fled in Genesis 14:10 and fell into tar pits.


He is a priest (Aaron’s family) and a member of the house of Eli (1 Samuel 2:30). He was faithful to David during his life but did not agree with Solomon as king. He sided with Adonijah so Solomon removed him and his family from being priest (1 Kings 2:22). It is possible that his family being killed was going on at the same time as David rescuing Keilah; compare 1 Samuel 22:20 with 23:6.

Take Away

For me, the BIG thing in this story is that David, acting independent of Saul, showed compassion and concern for the people of Israel. This is the first recorded time that he did what a king would have done, save a city.


Bends in the Road vs. A Straight Path

curves in the roadA “bend” in a road is often a literary signal for a change, either good or bad. Adventure is waiting, danger and destruction are lurking, or a golden opportunity awaits the noble wayfarer who is on the journey of a lifetime. Contrast this to the “straight” road where things are peaceful and the future is visible, if only you will lift your head and look.

David in Psalm 4: 8 is asking for just such a straight road because of his enemies. It is interesting that we want a straight road from God but we always want the bend if means adventure and excitement. A contrast here is Isaiah 40:3 where WE are to make straight paths for God. Part of this “preparing” is to knock down hills and fill in valleys.

Hills, valleys, bends in the road, and straight paths so many paradigms and graphic straight roadimages. All the words preached and ink spilled on paper using these icons can they be combined? Maybe! I tend to think horizontally and probably need to think more vertically (ah, more graphic images). If Jesus is in control and I do not purposely choose to bend off of His path why should our paths be anything but straight to God? WELL, what about all the tough times we encounter?

Join me now in a vertical look at a straight road that goes through hilly country. Do you rollercoasterbend down to go into a valley and then bend up to go to a hilltop? But I can’t see everything in front of me on that road! No, God never promised that you could always see everything in front of you He just said, “Follow Me.”

What about Isaiah 40: 3? Since the command there is that we make level paths so that God’s glory will be revealed; may I suggest that as we knock off high spots and fill in the low spots on the path for people behind us, it will be smoother and a little more level for them.





Psalm 103 – Musings

David starting and ending Psalm 103 with “Barak the Lord, O my soul” shows what was important to David and where his heart was. But I have grown to appreciate all the topics he covered between his praising and blessing.

He captures (hooks) the reader/singers with why you should praise the Lord. I think the idea of “benefits” is a great attention grabber. In our age, we worry about benefits and want them as part of our compensation for doing something we are expected to do (our jobs). So in just doing what we should (praise God), we get some serious compensation – forgiveness, healing, satisfaction, etc.

I used The New Layman’s Parallel Bible to compare phrases and check on words that I looked up in my KJV concordance. I noticed how the different translations separated the various sections of Psalm 103. KJV and the Living Bible had no separations but the NIV and Revised Standard did arrange the verses into sections. The Revised Standard divided 1-5, 6-14, 15-18, and 19 -22 the NIV divided almost the same except verses 6 and 19 are by themselves and form breaks between the sections. That is always a minor thing but it is interesting to see how the various translators interpret and arrange Scripture.

My biggest take away maybe that leaders (Moses) need to ask to see God’s highway. His “Ways and Deeds” form quite a road for the people to be lead on.

Psalm 103 – Benefits


  1. Forgives
  2. Heals
  3. Redeems
  4. Crowns
  5. Satisfies
  6. Works for the oppressed

His Ways and Deeds:

  1. Compassionate
  2. Gracious
  3. Slow to anger
  4. Abounding in love
  5. Removed our transgression
  6. Has compassion
  7. He knows us
  8. His love is with those who fear Him

I am going to deal with the word “righteousness”, as it appears with the “Benefits” and “His Ways and Deeds.” It is in verse 6 and 17 and both times it is used it is the feminine form – tsdaqah.   The Strong’s Concordance states that it is used 157 in the Old Testament but is not found in Exodus, Leviticus, 2 Kings, Eccl, Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. Tsedeq is the masculine form and is used 119 times mainly in poetic literature. Both of these words have a figurative usage of “prosperity.” The conclusion of many exegetes is that the terms have a relational and legal significance.

In verse 6 He is working for the oppressed while in verse 17 it is with those who fear the Lord and their children. At least in these verses, the relationship is the stronger with the weaker thus reflecting the Bridegroom/Bride relationship Jesus has with His Church.

See Psalm103 – Praise and Moses

I used the 1990 NIV for this study.

Psalm 103 – Moses

Psalm 103:6 He (the Lord) made known His ways to Moses and His deeds to the people Moses_Pleading_with_Israelof Israel. (NIV)

My study note on this verse was – Why not Abraham or Jacob/Israel? That was several years ago but as I began to study Psalm 103 that question nagged me again. Why did God wait to show “His ways” to a man? Why Moses and not the Father of Faith – Abraham or Jacob, Joseph, or Judah?

Why did David single out Moses as having been shown the “ways of God?” I mean Abraham had gotten a promise and a covenant from God and had been shown favor so why Moses? I am going to digress here a moment and think about the relations these men had with God. In Exodus 6: 2- 5 God said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as El-Shaddai (the God who pours out His riches because of His grace) thinking about these men they were blessed. Yes, they were tested, had trials and even messed-up but they were blessed because of God’s grace. However, in the same verses, God said He had not shown them the Jehovah (the One Who promised them deliverance because of His divine control) side of His nature. This part was for Moses and the children of Israel to experience.

Both Abraham and Moses experienced visits with God. In Genesis 12:7, 17:1, and 18:1 God “appeared” to Abraham; at first I thought of a vision like he had in chapter 15:1. But according to Strong’s Concordance “appear” carries the context of something literally seen. Moses also had “visits” in the burning bush (Exodus 3), the heavenly dinner party (Exodus 24), and the times in the cloud on the mountain.

Both men had conversions with God but it seems that Moses wrote things down while Abraham passed things on orally. Before the event that is talked about in Psalm 103, which is Exodus 33:13, Moses had written a Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24: 7).

So now to the question as to why God’s ways were revealed to Moses – Moses asked! Exodus 33:13 records the conversation Moses had with God. The NIV states it this way, The Path“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know You.” The context here is important because in verse 12 Moses is talking about leading the people. “Ways” means a highway or well-traveled path so with a little play on words Moses is asking for two things in this passage – physical direction and spiritual knowledge. (See study on Paths and Ways). A lesson here for leaders, you need to ask to know God’s ways.