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Help Others Even When You Need Help 

Discover why David was a man after God’s own heart

First Samuel 23–24

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 25, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Doing good for others


  1. First Samuel 23.1–5 – David delivers Keilah

    23.1 Then they told David, saying, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David inquired of the Lord once again. And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
  2. First Samuel 23.6–12 – Keilah does not help David

    6 Now it happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he went down with an ephod in his hand. 7 And Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. So Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 Then Saul called all the people together for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. 9 When David knew that Saul plotted evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will deliver you.”
  3. First Samuel 23.13–15 – David fled out of Keilah to the wilderness

    13 So David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go. Then it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah; so he halted the expedition. 14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. 15 So David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. And David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in a forest.
  4. First Samuel 23.16–18 – Jonathan strengthened David

    16 Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.
  5. First Samuel 23.19–24a – Another town tries to turn David over

    19 Then the Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding with us in strongholds in the woods, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand.” 21 And Saul said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, for you have compassion on me. 22 Please go and find out for sure, and see the place where his hideout is, and who has seen him there. For I am told he is very crafty. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides; and come back to me with certainty, and I will go with you. And it shall be, if he is in the land, that I will search for him throughout all the clans of Judah.” 24a So they arose and went to Ziph before Saul.
  6. First Samuel 23.24b–29 – Philistines invade Israel; Saul has to stop pursuing David

    But David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. 25 When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David. Therefore he went down to the rock, and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon. 26 Then Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. So David made haste to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were encircling David and his men to take them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!” 28 Therefore Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place the Rock of Escape. 29 Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi.
  7. First Samuel 24.1–4 – God gives Saul to David

    1 Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) 4 Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
  8. First Samuel 24.5–16 – David spares Saul

    5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6 And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down. 9 And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? 10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. 12 Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? 15 Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”
  9. First Samuel 24.16–22 – Saul recognizes David’s good

    16 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 Then he said to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the Lord delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Therefore swear now to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.” 22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.


  1. First Samuel 23.1–5 – Help People 
    1. Help people and get others involved in the project.
    2. What if some balk?
      1. Do what David did, he prayed to the Lord first.
      2. If you need to, pray again, which David did.
        1. Eventually you have to stop praying and
        2. get busy doing what needs to be done.
  2. First Samuel 23.6–12 – Some Will Not Return the Favor 
    1. You have had people who did not appreciate what you did for them.
    2. They may even have turned against you later.
      1. If you truly have done the right thing,
      2. do not blame yourself.
        1. Why do people do as Keilah?
        2. I do not know.
          1. Why did the people who initially favored Jesus,
          2. turn against Him when their leaders did?
  3. First Samuel 23.13–15 – Keep Fleeing 
    1. The enemy may pursue you without ceasing.
    2. Troubles of one form or another may attack you without end.
      1. Why does that happen?
      2. Why does one person have perfect health and another endless issues?
        1. Why did the Roman government brutalize the church, but
        2. so far our government has not?
          1. We do not have all the answers,
          2. sometimes we just have to continue to flee.
  4. First Samuel 23.16–18 – Have a Friend Who Will Strengthen Your Hand in God 
    1. Never forget that you have loyal friends like Jonathan was to David.
    2. Look over Jonathan’s amazing words to David:
      1. Do not fear.
      2. You shall be king.
      3. I shall be next to you.
      4. My father knows this to be true.
        1. Jonathan gave up the throne for his friend David.
        2. Jonathan again made a covenant with David.
  5. First Samuel 23.19–24a – Not Everyone Will Be a Jonathan 
    1. Jonathan and others could see that David would be the next king.
      1. Why could the Ziphites not see the same thing?
      2. Why did they seek to hand David over to Saul?
        1. Why did they forget all the good David did for Israel?
        2. Why do people forget what you have done?
  6. First Samuel 23.24b–29 – You Will Have a Rock of Escape 
    1. Just when Saul and his forces had about encircled David and his forces,
    2. the Philistines invaded Israel, and
      1. Saul had to forsake David and
      2. defend the land of Israel.
        1. Was this of the Lord?
        2. The Bible does not say.
          1. Either way, a way of escape opened up for David.
          2. However, David continued to stay away from Saul.
  7. First Samuel 24.1–4 – The Lord Will Deliver Your Enemy into Your Hand 
    1. The enemy will not let up.
    2. Yet, the Lord put David’s enemy right into his hands.
      1. What would David do?
      2. Your supporters will tell you to go after the enemy.
        1. However, David in his wisdom did something
        2. to show Saul later
          1. that David could have taken Saul’s life, but
          2. David did not do so.
    3. Saul was an Israelite.
      1. Saul was the king of Israel.
      2. Therefore, David would not harm Saul,
        1. although Saul wanted to harm David.
        2. This is the heart of a man with a heart like God’s.
  8. First Samuel 24.5–15 – Show Humility and Respect 
    1. Not only would David not kill the king, but
      1. it bothered David that he had even damaged the king’s robe!
      2. Saul was the king of Israel and David’s father-in-law.
        1. Therefore, David regretted having cut off a corner of Saul’s robe, and
        2. David bowed with his face to the ground before Saul!
    2. This is the man whom the Lord used as a model of Himself.
      1. The Bible calls the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of David.
      2. Jesus refused to strike the Jewish leaders and the Gentile leaders.
  9. First Samuel 24.16–22 – Reward Evil with Good 
    1. The goodness of David touched the heart of Saul.
    2. Saul confessed
      1. his sin,
      2. that David did differently than what others would have done,
      3. that David would be king.
        1. Those confessions led Saul to plead with David
        2. that he would not cut off Saul’s descendants.
          1. David made the promise, but
          2. he continued to stay in his stronghold,
            1. knowing that Saul could later change his mind again.
            2. David did what was right
              1. in regard to the national leader, and
              2. in regard to his own men and their families.
  10. Who are you in this story? 
    1. Are you the Philistines attacking God’s people?
    2. Are you the town of Keilah receiving help, but not giving it?
    3. Are you Saul, envious of another person?
    4. Are you one of David’s men, supporting him all the way?
    5. Are you Jonathan, willing to risk fame and fortune for a friend?
    6. Are you David, seeking the Lord in everything?
      1. Be a follower of the Son of David, and
      2. you shall be whatever the Son of David wants you to be.
        1. Can you accept His authority?
          1. Accept His authority by serving Him
          2. rather than seeking to have Him serve you.
        2. Is the Son of David, Jesus of Nazareth, your Lord?
          1. Here is how you can know:
            1. You have said it.
            2. You have demonstrated it.
          2. Jesus put both of those together when He asked this question,

            46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6.46).