I Samuel 23 Providence, Prayer, And The Word.
Even while David was in exile, he was serving the LORD and King Saul in seeking the LORD in prayer as to whether he should take the battle to the Philistines who were fighting against Keilah. However, Saul presumed upon God’s providence in believing that David’s presence in Keilah was the LORD delivering him into his hand. Throughout this conflict between David and Saul we see to important truths converging. David and Saul both believed in God’s sovereign control of history, and that the LORD often in his good providence acts on behalf of his people. However, David still prayed. The mere occurrence of certain events and circumstances was not enough for David, he wanted the LORD’s interpretation of the events, whereas Saul presumed and read into these events what he wanted to see and ascribed this interpretation to God.
Not only did David pray, but he also sought out the minister of the word and sacrament in Abiathar the priest, the only one to survive the earlier massacre of Saul, and one who because he wore the linen ephod covenantally represented the entire nation before the LORD. David looked beyond himself. Sometimes we cannot even trust our own prayers. We often need godly counsel from those who know the word in order to have the wisdom we need to make tough decisions. Canada’s founding fathers sought such wisdom, but our history since is littered, like much of the western world, with humanistic narcissists who pride themselves on their own conception of our destiny. The people of Keilah are all too common in history – they rejected the LORD who had rescued them for the supposed long term security of statists like Saul.