A Leader is Born
1 Samuel 22:1-5
1David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. 3And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
We all know that when a good leader emerges, people just want to follow them. This is most certainly the case with David. Having escaped Saul’s madness and Philistine revenge, David goes to Adullam. The first to join him there are the members of his own family, which, if you will recall, was fairly large, as he had 7 older brothers. But his own family members aren’t the only ones to gather around David. He also acquires several hundred men who are disenchanted with Saul’s leadership, probably for a variety of reasons. (Whenever I read this account, I am reminded of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.)
We learn a great deal about David in these brief verses. First and foremost, people are drawn to his leadership. This isn’t surprising as he has a brilliant reputation at this point and quite a bit of national notoriety. Even his own brothers are willing to fall under his leadership at this point, even though they had derided him in the Valley of Elah when facing the giant, Goliath. We also find David acting with great honor toward his parents, in in compliance with the Fourth Commandment. (Joseph, in the book of Genesis and Jesus both did similar things as they took care of their aging parents.) David's parents are probably fairly old at this point and he takes care of them by providing safe haven among the Moabites. This was a logical place to put them, as his own great-grandmother, Ruth, was from Moab. The king of Moab agrees to give David’s parents shelter. David is told by the prophet Gad not to hang around Moab, but to head back into Israel. It’s time for David to step up as a leader. And so he does, going back to Judah and taking up a position in the forest.
What we are finding in David is a man who is obedient and honorable. He is led by the Spirit of God and follows God with intention. What I find interesting here is that David isn’t demanding a big picture from God, but following Him in the moment. Yes, David knows that he has been anointed as the next king, but he has no idea when that will actually take place. Instead, he is listening to God and making his next moves based on God’s leading. And while he was only responsible for himself when he feigned insanity in Gath, he is now responsible for over 400 men and their families. God is slowly but surely training him to be the king of Israel.
What we find here is that David is being equipped for the vital role he will play for God’s people. God does the same thing for us. What a patient God we serve, as He moves us through life’s events so that we can learn what is needed for the next assignment. This thought causes me to look back and see the path that God has chosen for me, granting me experiences and training that prepared me to serve as pleases Him. It’s a blessing.