Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape. 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi. ~1 Samuel 23:24-29
David was told that he had been found out. As soon as he knew how severe the force against him was, he relocated himself near a rock in the wilderness.
David wasn’t standing next to a pebble, he was hiding behind a mountain. Saul was on one side of the mountain pursuing David, and David was on the other side running away from Saul. What Saul found to be a frustration, David found to be a fortress.
As the enemy closes in on David, he is distracted. It was told to Saul that another enemy – the Philistines – were raiding his land. Funny how Saul suddenly became concerned when it was his house that was being spoiled by these evil men. Where he failed to concern himself with Keilah, he now seriously concerns himself with…himself. National security and the people’s protection are not on this man’s mind – self protection and security are. Here, God used one enemy to frustrate another.
Anyway, God knows this raid is enough to send Saul packing, thereby preserving David. God’s timing and providence never fails. It is always perfect according to the needs of his people.
And I guess God doesn’t always use light to destroy darkness. Sometimes God uses darkness to deter darkness. I think of my own sin. When the evil and injustice of the world rages against me, I am often brought to my knees over my own evil. Sometimes God uses the sinfulness of other sinners against us to eradicate sin in us…or at the very least to distract us from the worse evil we were planning.
It often becomes very difficult to fight over the throne you’re sitting on. Apparently, soldiers have no business fighting over thrones. Soldiers, rather, are called to stand by the Rock and, even, wait in the wilderness sometimes.
It really isn’t all about what David did in this case. It’s all about what God did. God provided the rock. God distracted the enemy. God frustrated the evil. God preserved David in the wilderness. Wait. Jesus is the Rock. Jesus destroyed the enemy. Jesus delivered us from evil. Jesus preserves his people.
Don’t fight over the throne. It doesn’t belong to you. Stand by the Rock. Wait in the wilderness. You don’t have to deliver yourself. God will deliver you.
“The wisdom of God is never at a loss for ways and means to preserve his people.” ~Matthew Henry