Fickle People, Faithful God

Waffle /ˈwɑf(ə)l/, 1. a flat cake that has deep square marks on both sides. 2. To pause or hold back in uncertainty or willingness.

Some days waffles are served whether you want them or not. This is a lesson I learn from David.

David was running for his life. Saul, his jealous pursuer, was behind him. The formidable Philistine army was before him. A nervous army stood with him.

David sees trouble everywhere he looks, but that does not stop him from offering aid to the people of Keilah, a city facing their own problems. The book of 1 Samuel captures the drama:

1 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.”2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”3 But David's men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”4 Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. 1 Samuel 23:1-5

No sooner does David save the city and take up temporary refuge there, than Saul hears about it. Saul wrings his hands in delight. Saul is thinking, "David just entered a walled city. I can easily surround the place. I've got him now!"

Saul thought he had David cornered, but David was a savvy warrior. He knew Saul's intentions. David also knew that the pressure would be great for the people of Keilah to waffle; to save themselves by surrendering him to Saul.So David did what he always did. He asked the Lord for help:

10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.”12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.”

Poor David. Everywhere he went people were waffling.

  • Saul was devoted to David one minute, determined to kill him the next.
  • His own soldiers were in step with him one minute, out of step with him the next.
  • Keilah was applauding David one minute, betraying him the next.

Can someone bring me a little butter and the maple syrup, please?

David's encounter with the city of Keilah is a reminder that people are fickle -- in business, in friendship, in marriage, in sports -- in life. It is also a reminder that God is faithful. He protects his own. This is the message God wants us to get. He drive it home three times.

The first reminder of God's faithful protection occurs during the Keilah incident:

13 When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition.14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.1 Samuel 23:13-14

The second reminder of God's faithful protection occurs at the end of chapter twenty-three. Saul, still on the hunt for David, is closing in for the capture and kill. Amazingly, God provides a way out:

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. 1 Samuel 23:26-28

The third reminder of God's faithful protection is given to us in Psalm 54. This psalm is David's "sweet song of delieverance" as he looks back on God's protection recorded in 1 Samuel 23:

4 Behold, God is my helper;

the Lord is the upholder of my life.

5 He will return the evil to my enemies;

in your faithfulness put an end to them.

7 For he has delivered me from every trouble,

and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

This post has been long, but the message is short: People are fickle, but God is faithful. He will deliver you.

Where do you need to rest in that truth today?