Memo 1051: Betrayed

Have you ever felt used and even abused in God's service the very people you were trying to help? If so, David would have known how you feel as we learn from one my favorite stories in 1 Samuel 23. David was on the run from Saul who should have been using the army to chase the Philistines. Instead, he was using the soldiers for his own purpose and that was to eliminate his son-in-law and rival to his throne. Let's look at that story and the lessons we can learn in this week's Memo.


David was on the run, attracting all the malcontents in the kingdom to his side. Then we read that the people in a town named Keilah were in trouble and see David's heart for the people come through:

When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors," he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1-5).

David's untrained men were already afraid when David announced his plan to attack the Philistines. When the heard his decision, they asked him, "Are you sure you heard from the Lord?" Rather than entertain second thoughts and doubt, David went back to the Lord to ask again what he should do and got the same answer to proceed. Have you ever had a "crazy" impression in the expression of your own purpose that seemed too big or risky? If and when you do, the answer is not to entertain those doubts but to dispel them as quickly as possible, remembering what James wrote:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do (James 1:5-8).


God gave David victory and used him to save the inhabitants of Keilah, but then there was a cruel twist to the story:

Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men (1 Samuel 23:7-8).

Crazy Saul heard where David was and set out to destroy him and his forces, for as a military man, Saul knew that David was in a vulnerable spot. David got wind of Saul's plans (were there spies in Saul's midst who were informants for David?) and again went to the Lord, His source of wisdom and guidance:

David said, “Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Lord, God of Israel, tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will.” Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will.” So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there (1 Samuel 12:10-13).

As usual, God gave David divine guidance, but the point to notice in the story is that the residents of Keileh, whom David had jus saved, were more than willing to cooperate with Saul against him when the king arrived. Imagine how David and his men felt after the news of that predicted betrayal. They had done good but were about to be rewarded with evil.

Notice, however, that David had 400 men in 1 Samuel 22, but in this story the number had increased to 600. God will help you establish the work of your hands, but He will do it His way and on His own terms. God wasn't going to give the people in Keilah any opportunity to say they did something to help David on his way to the top. God alone was going to do that for David. He will also do the same for you.

As you pursue your purpose and serve others, God will test you to determine why you're doing what you're doing. Is it to truly help others or to fulfill your own agenda of personal gain or notoriety? Are you serving Him as you serve others, or are the others your primary focus? Have those you helped not helped you, perhaps even trying to do you harm? If others have disappointed you, and it's just a matter of time before they do, don't lose heart. Remember, God is watching and will give you all the wisdom you need as you seek to do the right thing, regardless of what others think or say about you, or do to you. Have a blessed week!


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