1 Samuel 27:1-7 – Sometimes, You Need to Slip Away to Philistia

Posted: April 14, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 27:1-7
David Among the Philistines

As I sit here mid-morning on a Saturday on my couch beginning this blog at a time that is usually late for me. It is now a quarter til 11am. It is this lazy pace on a Saturday that is much needed. I needed to sleep late on this Saturday. For this 55 year old man, sleeping late means til around 8:30 or til my bladder demands attention – whichever comes first. But since I got out of bed, Elena and I have been reading our daily devotionals, drinking coffee, and having conversations about church business, church plans for the future, our potential parts in all that, and just about life in general. Rest. Much needed leisurely pace.

Prior to this weekend, we have not really had a weekend to just catch our breath since we moved to Illinois. We have either been packing, unpacking, looking for houses, and moving again from our temporary apartment to the home we purchased in Rock Island – doing much of the moving of personal items ourselves in the back of my SUV. And then there was the unpacking of everything (we didn’t unpack all of our personal belongings at the temp apartment) and putting it into place where we (I really mean, Elena…LOL) wanted it. Then there was all during our first two months here were activities on either Friday or Saturday (my normal days off) that were necessary because of special circumstances in the life of the church. Add to that, we had to travel back to the Charlotte, NC area last weekend and the first two days of this past week for events related to the funeral for Elena’s dad. So, yesterday and today, is the first weekend that we have had with no real commitments or things to do. Outside of a drop-in related to our life group, we have had and will have no agenda for this weekend. Yesterday, we were actually able to take care of tax stuff related to our house and our cars to make us official Illinois residents. But that was because we had the time for the first time to do it. And, today, like I said, outside of the drop-in, we do not have any agenda at all. We needed this weekend. I needed this weekend. Rest. Much needed leisurely pace.

I think that sometimes as pastors and pastoral couples, and as Christ followers in general, we get so caught up in the business or busy-ness of the church life that you forget to take time to rest and relax. We forget in our busy-ness why we are doing what we are doing. For those who are not employed by churches, the same is true too. We get so busy with soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, football, etc. with our kids and paying bills and getting to our “leisure activities” that we get so tired out that we forget to rest and relax. We forget to take in the wonders of God. We forget to take in the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through this passage, 1 Samuel 27:1-7, this morning. Let’s read it now together:

Chapter 27
1 But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.”

2 So David took his 600 men and went over and joined Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. 3 David and his men and their families settled there with Achish at Gath. David brought his two wives along with him—Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal’s widow from Carmel. 4 Word soon reached Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he stopped hunting for him.

5 One day David said to Achish, “If it is all right with you, we would rather live in one of the country towns instead of here in the royal city.”

6 So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag (which still belongs to the kings of Judah to this day), 7 and they lived there among the Philistines for a year and four months.

In this passage, we saw that Saul finally stopped pursuing David. His army was not strong enough to invade Philistia and battle with its army with the goal being simply to track down one man. Further, with David out of the country, the immediate threat to Saul’s throne was gone with David out of the country. In God’s sovereignty, David knew that there was a time of peace needed. David needed a place to rest and regroup and have a place to call home for a while. We all need times of rest. We all need a place to call home.

For Elena and I this morning, it is really the first morning that we can sit and relax and realize that this is home. We have been living temporarily in many ways since we started packing up our house in Lyman prior to the movers coming on February 14th. We have been on the go with activity, living temporarily with family before we left for Illinois, slightly unpacking at the temporary apartment, all the go-go-go that has characterized the first few weeks on the job and uneasiness of learning my new role as Director of Business/Staff Pastor at the church, seeking a house, buying a house, moving and unpacking everything and putting it into place, Easter at church, traveling back and forth to/from Charlotte, and now breathe…exhale…rest.

David needed it, too. He had been on the run for so long. Living temporarily every he could find a moment. Fleeing from a man trying to kill him. The move to Philistia and gaining a town he could call home for a while. A place to take his armor off. A place to sit by the fire without his sword at his side. A time to sleep without one eye open. It may have seemed as though David had lost faith in God’s ability by fleeing to Philistia but I don’t see it that way. Because of our last two months of flurry, I can see where David just wanted to get out of harm’s way and catch his breath and live a normal life for a while. He was a warrior for sure but even warriors need down time. In God’s sovereignty, David was guided to rest and wait for the inevitable death of Saul. He had been on the run. He needed rest. He would become king and the rest of his life would be filled with royal management duties. He needed this moment. God knew David needed this rest. This time of not scheming and planning and running and avoiding. He needed this time.

That is my prayer for you today as well. Let us remember that we need rest. God even rested on the 7th day of His cycle of creation to demonstrate to us that we need down time. God is eternal and all powerful and does not sleep since He is existence, He is being, He is I AM but His resting on the 7th day was for us, to demonstrate to us that rest is necessary. We need rest so that we do not get burnt out in life. As Christ followers, we need rest so that we do not get so caught up in the tasks of carrying the gospel to the nations that we forget that it is the gospel that is important not the tasks. The tasks are necessary to carry the gospel message but the tasks are not the reason for what we do. We must have rest. We must have time to seek God in quiet and peace. We need time to restore our vigor for what we are doing. If we get caught up in the doing of Christianity, we forget the being of Christianity. We cannot get so caught up in the doing that we forget to develop and nurture relationships. We cannot get so caught up in the busy-ness of being a Christ follower that we forget to be the light on the hill to the unchurched. We need rest. We need to be able to take stock and take a breath. We need time with God just being with Him. Take time to rest. Take time to forget the details for a moment. Take time to look up toward the heavens and see God and be with God.

Amen and Amen.

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