In Ps 27:8, David prays, ‘My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.’ Seeking God’s face is part of what sets David apart as a leader. In 1 Samuel 23, he faces tough choices: does he fight against the Philistines who are looting the threshing floors of Keilah, thus risking Saul finding out his whereabouts and therefore coming to kill him, or does he go to the aid of the people of Keilah, even if it means potential personal harm? His men, understandably, are afraid and want to remain in hiding, but David seeks God to find out what he should do. He is not prepared to let safety-first be his guiding principle; he wants to know God’s will over and above what situations look like or what others tempt him to do.

With Abiathar with this group and therefore the means of divination present (the priestly ephod with its Thummim and Urim), David seeks God twice for guidance, and ventures out of his comfort zone to defeat the Philistines and save the people of Keilah. He is not prepared to hide behind safety and self-protection; he wants to do God’s will.

We may not have the same means of guidance as David had, but we need to learn to seek God’s face just as He did. Nicky Gumbel lists some of the ways that God guides us:

  • Commanding Scripture (God’s word spoken directly to us)
  • Compelling Spirit (that inner disquiet as God disturbs us and speaks to us personally)
  • Common Sense (never to be despised!)
  • Counsel of the Saints (where God uses other believers to speak to us)
  • Circumstantial Signs (where circumstances slot into place to lead us on in new areas)

Whichever method God uses and however He rescues us, the fact is that David is at this point indestructible because he has not yet fulfilled God’s plan for his life. He may be facing trials and opposition and his life may be at risk, but God is still in sovereign control. That remains true today, giving us confidence and hope.