“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
Hanani the Seer
Each year during this season of introspection it seems to become more difficult. I was thinking aloud, “This time of Teshuvah should be getting easier. I think I am more mature now.” We hope so, anyway! But then I thought, “No! No, that’s not how it is.” Joseph gets the coat and the dreams and prophetic calling way before he gets the pit. Yes, the false accusations, and the prison come before the palace. David gets the head of the giant and the anointing long before he is chased over the hills by Saul. The crown comes after the crushing and testing. I don’t know about you, but my attacks have gotten stronger as if to say, “How will you act under pressure?” I was presented last year with several tests. Sadly I failed some. Many times what we think is in our heart or how we envision we will react to a situation is different when we get sucker punched. I am thankful that we serve a merciful Father, aren’t you?
As I began to meditate and study David closer, I started seeing David and Saul as a reflection of us and our nephesh. We all are either acting as David does in 1st Samuel or like Saul. Ouch! Our hearts are deceptive like Saul’s, or the Spirit is leading us just as it led David and sheltered him in the Rock. I also noticed that David and Saul are from the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom–Judah and Benjamin. Once Judah and Benjamin see Joseph (Ephraim) and recognize him and we recognize their Torah, we will be one stick in our Father’s Hand.
Here are some questions to ponder:
Do we act like Saul at times? Can you see any of his attributes that we might mimic when under pressure?
- Saul was anointed (We have been given the outpouring of the Holy Spirit/ 4th Feast Shavuot. He has washed us and anointed us and covered us under His Wings.
- “When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him (Saul) another heart” (1 Samuel 10:9 ESV). (We have been changed from the inside out) His commandments are engraved on our hearts.
- “Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands” (1 Sam. 5:11). (We can disobey His Commandments at times and fail to destroy the Amalekites in our own lives)
- “Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words because I feared the people and listened to their voice” (1 Sam. 15:24). (We can fear people too) Proverb explains, “The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted” (Proverbs 29:25).
- Saul doesn’t repent when he is caught with his pants down, he weeps and so forth, but his actions speak louder about his character. Obedience is better than sacrifice. (By the next chapter, he is hunting David down again).
- “Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes”(1 Sam. 28:8). (We can act like a chameleon around certain people and camouflage ourselves–our identity)
Hopefully, this post will help us become more like David who acted in righteousness in the face of evil.
Yes, when everything is going well, there isn’t much of a test, is there? If all is well physically, financially, and there is harmony with loved ones, and so on, we can go away to a quiet place and mentally review the past year, asking to make right with those we’ve wronged. But what about when you are living on the edge? When you’re waking up at a shelter, the streets, or like David, in a cave? Is it easier to make Teshuvah when one is financially depleted and getting eviction notices? Taking chemo? What about when you are being chased by your enemies “EVERY DAY.”
“And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand” (1 Samuel 23:14, NASB). Saul hunted David to kill him every day. Do you think he ever cursed over this chasing? Wept? Feared? Do you think he longed for a hot bath? Good food? At least enough to feed him and 600 men. Do you think he ever doubted?
Which man do you think would be able to get to the heart of the matter? Saul or David?
The man hunted says, “Search me and know me–rip open my chest cavity, saw through the breastbone– cut through my sternum! Oh, friends, can you see our hearts exposed before the throne of Glory? “SEARCH ME, OH ABBA!”
During this chasing, it is believed that David writes from this pen below. This particular Psalms is one close to my heart at this moment. The words are potent, heartfelt and piercing. The mighty David who slays giants and philistines needs a savior! HOSHIANA!
“In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
2Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
3For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake, You will lead me and guide me.
4You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength.
5Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.
6I hate those who regard vain idols,
But I trust in the LORD.
7I will rejoice and be glad in Your loving kindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
8And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.
9Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
10For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.
11Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.
14But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, “You are my God.”
15My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
16Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.
17Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon You;
Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.
18Let the lying lips be mute,
Which speak arrogantly against the righteous
With pride and contempt.
19How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
20You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
21Blessed be the LORD,
For He has made marvelous His loving kindness to me in a besieged city.
22As for me, I said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless, You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.
23O love the LORD, all you His godly ones!
The LORD preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.
24Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31, NASB).
One of these men has a palace and servants. The other is hiding in the rocks. One looks blessed and highly favored in certain settings. The other looks like he will surely be murdered by Saul and his army of thousands. BUT The Rock of Israel has him just where He wants him. If you are going through great difficulties during this season, perhaps He has you just where He wants you. In verse 5 above, David speaks the same words as Yeshua. “Into your hands, I commit my spirit. You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth” May we commit our spirits to His Spirit and may He ransom us all and seal us in His Book.
In our last portion, Saul was caught with his pants down, and David was holding part of his garment. Saul begins to weep. He tells David that David has acted holier than him. He returns home, and David returns to the strongholds because David knows Saul’s true heart towards him.
“Then Samuel died; all Israel gathered together and mourned for him, and buried him at his house in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran” (1st Samuel 25:1 NASB)
Paran is (abounding in Foliage or Glorious). Picture a desert full of glorious fruit– fruit that comes through crushing, pruning and waiting. Even Leviathan gets used for His Glory.
David then ventures to Carmel (Fruitful field), and he meets a man (Nabal) whose name means fool. This man will not help David or his men with food or supplies even though David has made sure his servants and flocks were safe and cared for. He even mocks David and talks down to him. When this man’s wife, Abigail (Father Of Exultation/The Father is joyful) gets wind of her husband’s errors, she immediately comes bearing gifts, food, wine and words that bring healing. This story is very interesting, and again I am reminded of the Ten Days of Awe, as ten days later Nabal’s heart becomes stone and he dies. His bride, the one whose name means the Father of exultation will become David’s bride. This seems so prophetic to me. Beloved David and His joyful Bride—ten days later they become one, and the foolish man (our own stone hearts) die! We die to ourselves, and we search our hearts and fast and cry out for a heart that is willing to surrender all.
“Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light. 37But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal, and he died” (1 Samuel 25:36-38 NASB).
The prophet Ezekiel explains this conundrum. He tells us what the Father wants to do to our hearts. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 NASB).
Abigail also brings her five maidens.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish ones took their lamps, they took no oil with them. 4 But the wise ones took oil in jars along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was taking a long time, they all got drowsy and started falling asleep. 6 But in the middle of the night there was a shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 Now the foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, since our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise ones replied, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Instead, go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves”
Matthew 25:1-9, TLV.
We blow the shofar during this season, and it is a sound that resonates and reminds us to stay awake and guard our oil just as Abigail did. Just as the wise virgins did. We trade our foolish natures (Nabal) for our Beloved (David.) We remove our hearts of stone for a heart of flesh.
The Sages teach, when the Shofar is blown on the Feast of Trumpets, the Gates of Heaven are opened. During this time we pray, repent, call on the Father and make things right with those we’ve wronged if possible. On the tenth day (The Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur) God seals the fate of every person. Nabal’s heart was like a stone. We want to be as Abigail—a humble servant bowing before our Beloved.
“David has sent us to you to take you (Abigail) as his wife.” 41She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife” (1st Samuel 25:40-42, NASB).
David takes another wife, and her name was Ahinoam of Jezreel. Ahinoam means sweetness and delightful. What a fantastic picture of His Bride.
“Leshana tovah tikatev v’tichatem.”
“May you be written and sealed for a good year.”
Blessings & Shalom,
Sources: All name definitions –Abarim Publications
Pictures: All photos by Tekoa except the cave– photographer unknown.