I SAMUEL 23:19-29; PSALM 61:1-4

"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
(Psalm 61:2)

Intelligence / intel —The collection of information of military or political impor­tance.
Jut—To extend out, over, or beyond the main body or line of something.
Typological—Regarding the study and interpretation of types and symbols, espe­cially in the Bible.


There are some situations where you feel overwhelmed. There are some enemies that outnumber you. There are times you may want to fight, but common sense tells you to run. Sometimes the prudent thing to do is to withdraw, to retreat, to take refuge. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." (Prov. 22:3). In military matters, David demonstrated his prudence. But in the lesson scripture, he also learned that the best hiding place is not a physical location so much as it is confidence in God.

Emphasis 1: David Runs to the Rock

David and his band of refugees hid in the hill country to the west of the land of Benja­min. The inhabitants of a nearby town, Ziph, observed David and brought intelligence to King Saul about his location. In short order, Saul and his army landed themselves on the outskirts of Ziph. David's intel helped him escape further to the west, into the desert of Maon, just ahead of his pursuers. The territory was flat and exposed, except for large rock formations that jutted out of the ground. There are such landscapes in the American Southwest. Imagine the setting of a movie western, where the heroes might hide from a group of bandits or warpath Indians under the covert of a rock shelf. David crossed the plain of Maon, looking to hide amidst such a rock formation.​

Saul must have intuited David's strategy; he ended up following him to the same rock formation. While David's band was on the opposite side, the Israelite army began to circle. The Bible says, "Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them" (1 Sam. 23:26). This implies the king separated his army into two, ap­proaching simultaneously from both directions, hoping to catch David in the middle. It was a strategic maneuver and would have succeeded if God did not intervene. Sud­denly, a messenger came to inform the king of a Philistine invasion from the east; Saul hurriedly led the army away to confront that threat. David then escaped to Engedi, on the western shoreline of the Dead Sea.

Emphasis 2: How God Hid His Christ

As we see many times in the scriptures, David was a typological example of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the beginning of Jesus' life, the enemy wanted to kill him. Remem­ber how certain astrologists came to Jerusalem declaring that they had seen a star in the sky announcing a king's birth. Because Herod discovered that the child was in Bethlehem, he determined to kill all the boys aged two and younger in that village. The Christ-child only escaped because his earthly father was warned in a dream to take his family into Egypt. Jesus was hidden abroad until Herod died.

Also, consider how Jesus was manhandled by a crowd in Nazareth when he offended them by declaring himself Messiah and insulting their faithless reactions. "And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way" (Luke 4:28-30). Jesus was lost in the middle of the mob and es­caped them. The apostle John told of a similar deliverance when Jesus was threatened with stoning. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by" (John 8:56-59). Jesus was hidden in God until the time when he would have to give up his life.

Emphasis 3: Trusting in the Covert of His Wings

David wrote a few psalms that seemed to have been informed by his miraculous expe­rience hiding behind the rock in the wilderness. Psalms 27 and 61 make particular use of the imagery. His sentiment appears to be something like this: "If my enemy is on the ground, he won't find me hiding behind the rock. If my enemy is on the rock, he won't find me hidden in a cleft of the rock. Anywhere I go, I can find a hiding place. Because it's not the rock: it's my God, Who's wrapped His hands around me, and hidden me in plain sight. My God hides me!"

My mind goes back to a youthful experience visiting the duck pond with my family. My parents gave us day-old bread to feed the ducks. Sometimes, tossing the dough to the birds, I would get a little too close to a duckling, and its mother would hurriedly wad­dle up and wrap her large wing around her baby. It was like the duckling disappeared under cover of that wing! It is the image of how God treated David—how He treats all his saints. God is like a mother-bird, and He'll wrap his wing around us so the enemy cannot see us. We can trust in the covert of his wings (Ps. 61:4). Like David experi­enced—as Christ did too—in the time of trouble, the Lord shall hide us.


Where did David flee to when Saul learned he was hiding near Ziph?
Explain how David eluding Saul was as miraculous as Jesus escaping his ene­mies.


Let us pray to see God is our refuge in the time of trouble.
Let us pray that our enemies are prevented from knowing our whereabouts when they seek to destroy us.

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