• Rev. Mark Tews

Pursued By Evil Forces

“’Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.’” (1 Samuel 23:17).

In the Book of 1 Samuel, David finds a great partner in faith: Jonathan, the son of King Saul. Jonathan made a commitment to be a loving godly brother to David. King Saul, because of his ego and turning away from God, became wicked and had decided to kill David, even though David was a hero for the nation of Israel. David had no choice but to run and hide.

David had known for a while that King Saul wanted to kill him and David was fearful for his life. Because David was fearful, God sent Jonathan to David. How did Jonathan know where David was and what he needed? Because they were godly men and God was at work in both David and Jonathan’s lives. And what did Jonathan do for his godly brother? Jonathan encouraged David with his presence and godly words. Even though he was the prince, Jonathan was committed to follow David as king. Together they renewed their commitment to the Lord and to each other. Jonathan humbled himself before the Lord and before his godly friend David.

It is interesting that right after this example of a good and wonderful faith partnership, God tells us of another type of partnership. We read of a worldly partnership marked by spying, flattery, abducting, narcissism, lies, plotting, and scheming: “The Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, ‘Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? Now, Your Majesty, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for giving him into your hands.’ Saul replied, ‘The LORD bless you for your concern for me. Go and get more information. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty. Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information. Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track him down among all the clans of Judah.’” (1 Samuel 23:19–23). Saul had turned away from God, yet he lied and gave the Ziphites God’s blessing, then sent them out to do his dirty work and track down David. The rest of the chapter describes a race between David and Saul as the latter pursued the former. This interaction between opposing forces is a picture of our Christian life. The devil, the world, and our own sins will pursue us and we have to respond.

David was at the brink of being captured when something interesting happened. Saul hated David so much that he was ready to do whatever it took to kill him, from using his own family members, to partnering with his country’s enemies, to leaving the comforts of his throne, but Saul broke off his pursuit when he had David in a corner because the Philistines were raiding his land. How perfectly timed for David! It was a miracle that happened for David and allowed him to escape danger. So, what are we, the believers of God, to learn from this story? I believe it is this: like David, we will be pursued by worldly forces, but God will provide help and a way of escape. Praise God that Jesus Christ our Lord, our God, and our brother is right beside us and for us, not against us in this race!

Should Christians today just sit back and wait for God to do something? Did David just sit around waiting for God to do something? No, he did not. We can note a few things David did that we Christians also should do as worldly forces pursue us: be in fellowship with other believers, be in a relationship with partners of the faith, be present in the lives of others, and offer godly words of encouragement. While doing all these things, be discerning of “worldly” partnerships. Respond to one another with godly actions. The world will try to influence us and we may end up near the edge of a cliff where we could fall. But in those moments, call upon your Lord Jesus Christ and He will save you.

How close are we to God? Do we have Jesus Christ always in our hearts and minds? Are we yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit within us? We can daily experience our Lord Jesus Christ in the Word of God and in our fellowship with one another to overcome the fears that pursue us in this world.