1 Samuel 29-30, 1 Corinthians 1

The Wisdom of God.

1 Samuel 29-30, 1 Corinthians 1

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. – 1 Corinthians 1:25 ESV

From an outside perspective, it would appear that David’s life was one huge train wreck. He had been anointed to be the next king of Israel, and yet he was living as a fugitive in the land of the Philistines, the enemies of God. He had a bounty on his head and found the only way to escape the constant pursuit of Saul was to live as a guest of Achish, the king of the Philistines. Even his life among the Philistines was a very carefully conceived ruse, where he feigned allegiance to the king, but was actually going out on secret raids against the enemies of Israel. Nothing about David’s circumstances appears to be what you would expect for someone who had been anointed the next king of Israel. And things went from bad to worse when the Philistines determined to go to war with the people of Judah. David now found himself in the awkward position of having to choose sides. King Achish expected David to fight by his side because he had been fully convinced by David’s deceptive behavior that he was on his side. David was faced with the prospect of having to go to war against his own people or show his true colors and risk the wrath of the Philistines. But God intervened.

What does this passage reveal about God?

David had gotten himself into this mess, but God would graciously get him out of it. There is not indication in the Scriptures that David sought out God’s advice when he determined to flee to the Philistines for protection against Saul. He simply decided that hiding out amongst the enemies of Israel would prevent Saul from seeking him, and it worked. When Saul became aware that David was hiding out in the land of the Philistines, he gave up the chase. But this doesn’t mean David’s decision was right or godly. It would lead to the predicament in which he found himself, as well as the ultimate capture of his two wives and all the Jews who were living with him in Ziklag. Sometimes our decisions, when made independently of God, will result in less-than-perfect circumstances. But God is able to use even our poor decisions to bring about His divine will for our lives. He lovingly protects us from ourselves and graciously provides us with a way of escape. While David had made some foolish decisions, God’s wisdom would prevail. The apostle Paul reminds us, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31 ESV). At the end of the day, God wants our trust to be in Him. He wants our decisions to be based on His counsel and His wisdom. He wants us to live according to His direction and not our own, so that when all is said and done, we will have every reason to boast in Him and not ourselves.

What does this passage reveal about man?

God provided David with a way out of his predicament. The commanders of the Philistines knew David’s reputation as a great warrior for Israel, so they didn’t trust him. They feared that as soon as they went into battle against the people of Judah, David and his men would turn against them. So they demanded that King Achish send David home. God would use the influence of these pagan Philistine commanders to prevent David from having to go into battle against his own people. But David was still going to experience the painful consequences of his decision to live among the Philistines. When he and his men returned home to Ziklag, they found the city had been raided and burned to the ground by Amalekites. All the women and children had been taken captive, including David’s two wives. Suddenly David found himself threatened with stoning by his own people. They blamed him for their circumstances. So faced with one of the darkest moments of his life, David turned to God. “And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul,each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6 ESV). David sought God’s will, because he realized he was going to need God’s help to get out of this fix. And God responded. God delivered. They recaptured all their women and children, alive and well, along with a great deal of spoil. God turned David’s mess into a victory. And David knew that it was God’s hand that had made it all possible. “He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us” (1 Samuel 30:23 ESV). David boasted in the Lord and gave Him the glory.

How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?

In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul reminds us that God, in His infinite wisdom has provided us with victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. The whole idea of salvation made possible through death seems foolish and ridiculous to most people. It makes no sense. The idea of a single man living a sinless life and dying as the sacrifice for the sins of all men sound ludicrous and far-fetched. Human wisdom would say that the favor of God must be earned through self-effort. The violent death of a single, obscure Jew could do nothing to satisfy the demands of a holy God. But Paul would disagree. “…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25 ESV). “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV). Mankind got itself into the mess in which it found itself. Separated from God and incapable of living up to His righteous standards, we found ourselves in a hopeless situation. Then God stepped in. He did the impossible and improbable. Contrary to the wisdom of this world, God provided a way for men to be made right with Him. “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV). God graciously provided a solution to man’s problem. He stepped into our mess and made it right. “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ESV). God saved David. God has saved me. When I was at my weakest, when I lacked wisdom, when I was hopeless, God stepped in and provided salvation. So that I have no reason to boast in myself. My salvation is His work from start to finish.

Father, You saved me. You redeemed me. You did what only You could do through Your Son Jesus Christ. It makes no sense. It sounds far-fetched and unbelievable. But Your foolishness is wiser than men and Your weakness is stronger than men. It doesn’t have to make sense for it to be true. I don’t have to fully understand it for it to be effective. Your salvation is real and Your solution to my problem has been life changing for me. So I have no reason to boast or brag. I played no part in it. I am the undeserving recipient of Your grace and mercy. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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