Bible Study – Enduring Trials

Key Verse

“The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.”
— 1 Samuel 24:15

Enduring Trials

1 Samuel 21-24


King Saul, a man who had been an example of humility and grace, had become the vicious pursuer of David, a man after God’s own heart. Something had happened to Saul. He lost his favour with God through disobedience. In today’s text, Saul hunted down one whose only crime was doing the will of God. At this time, the Tabernacle was in Nob, a city south of Gibeah and north of Jerusalem. Nob could be seen from Jerusalem. The “common bread,” referred to in vs. 4, meant bread that anyone could eat. Hallowed bread was also called “shewbread.” Each Sabbath, twelve fresh loaves were put in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle by a priest. Only the priests could eat the bread from the week before. Ahimelech confirmed with David that his men were ceremonially clean, and then he applied the spirit of God’s laws when he gave the bread to David. Jesus cited this occasion to illustrate that the spirit of the Law was more important than the letter of the Law(Mark 2:25-26). The following details add to an understanding of this text. Gath was about 23 miles from Nob, and Achish was the Philistine king. David pretended insanity to gain refuge there. The word scrabbled means “scratched.” Sane men would not allow saliva to fall upon their beards. The cave of Adullam was approximately 10 miles east of Gath, and 15 miles west of Bethlehem. His brothers, no doubt, deserted the army of Saul to join David. The “discontented” refers to those who did not like how Saul governed. Largely, this was a group of outlaws, yet David managed them wisely enough to make them mighty and heroic. The height of Saul’s spiritual depravity was apparent when, in addition to pursuing David, he commanded the destruction of the priests of God. 85 people died because he felt that they supported David. David ran farther from Saul and sought refuge for his family in Mizpeh under the king of Moab. Moab was not friendly toward Israel, however, Ruth, David’s great-grandmother, was from Moab, which may have made some difference. Saul’s hostile actions against David made him a greater threat than the heathen kings.
David loved God with all his heart. Before any major decision, he sought God’s direction and will. In our text, David was being pursued by Saul almost continually. Saul was obsessed with finding and killing David, because he was jealous of David, and he knew David would be the king someday. Although David wanted deliverance from his enemy, he still wanted God’s will in the situation. Abiathar, a priest, escaped Saul’s massacre of the priests of Nob, and he managed to take an ephod with him. This means that he had the Urim and Thummin with him when he came to David. The Urim and Thummin were two flat stones that were used to discern the will of God. David welcomed Abiathar and promised him protection. Although Saul had spies looking for David, Abiathar was able to give the Word of God to David and advise him on what God wanted him to do. The meeting between Jonathan and David that is mentioned in this text may have been the last time they saw each other. Being a true friend, Jonathan encouraged David. At one time, Saul and his army were within one mountain ridge of David and his men. Then a messenger came to call Saul to battle with the Philistines, and God once again delivered David. En-Gedi is a natural fortress that overlooks the Dead Sea. The area has many caves, and some were used as houses or tombs. Some caves were big enough that thousands of people could get inside them. “To cover his feet,” means that Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. The Law of Moses had strict rules regarding sanitation, so Saul was probably away from his camp. He no doubt left his robe at the cave’s entrance. Since David and his men were hidden in the sides of the cave, they had easy access to Saul. David’s respect for God and also for Saul’s position as king provided deliverance for Saul. Our key verse mentions, David called on the Lord, asking Him to declare him innocent and keep him from Saul. God did not fail. David was safe in God’s hands and was delivered from his enemy.



The man was consumed by revenge. Thugs had beaten his son so badly that he had a skull fracture. The doctors suspected brain damage and possible permanent vision loss. The father tried everything he could to locate the perpetrators. Meanwhile, the son showed no signs of improvement. One Sunday in church the father was considering what he would do if he caught these fellows. Even though he was not really listening, he realized the minister was preaching about forgiveness, and he did not care for the subject! As the preacher continued, the man realized he could not pray for his son’s healing without first forgiving those who had hurt his son. That morning he asked God to help him forgive. God released his soul from the hatred, and he prayed for both the son and the attackers. That day, when he went to the hospital, his son was sitting up! New x-rays were taken, and the fracture had been healed. His son left the hospital on Monday, completely well. This father knew that his son needed a touch from God to deliver him from his injuries. However, the father also needed a touch from God to deliver him from his vengeful spirit. In today’s society, many need deliverance — from addictions, troubling situations, financial difficulties, or broken relationships. Others need deliverance from wrong attitudes and fears. God can bring true deliverance, and David found this out. In our text, we read repeatedly about David’s desire for deliverance. Each step of the way, David continued to seek God’s will, and the Lord helped him every time. Do you need deliverance in your life today? Open your heart to God, and tell Him your needs, because He answers prayer. God does not answer or deliver according to our will. For example, His deliverance may be the grace to cope with a situation. However, He never fails, and He wants to deliver us in the best possible way.



Question 1
Why do you suppose David fled to Ahimelech in Nob?
1 Samuel 21:1-6
Question 2
What was the significance of David getting hold of Goliath’s sword?
Question 3
Who was Doeg? I Samuel 22:9, 17-22
Question 4
Why do you think Saul wanted David killed?
Question 5
How did David demonstrate his faith and trust in God? 1 Samuel 22:5; 23:2. How did David receive deliverance from Saul and his pursuing army?
Question 6
Name some areas of life from which we might like to run and what types of deliverance might God give today from such situations.



We may not be facing physical persecution, but the enemy of our souls will pursue us with temptations and try to discourage us from following the Lord. We are running for our lives spiritually, and the safe refuge is Heaven. Until we reach that Goal, we need to be sure that we stay tuned to God’s directions for us and then remember that He knows where we are and will be with us. No matter what trials or temptations are “pursuing” us, we know that God can give us victory. The key is in having a heart toward God, as David did. Let us be like David and rely on the Lord in every situation. God is waiting for us to ask Him to work in our lives.