Valley Experiences of David

David’s first feeling of being exalted was when the prophet Samuel anointed him as the next king of Israel.

(1 Sam 16:1 NIV)  The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

(1 Sam 16:13 NIV)  So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

David also became the harpist of King Saul and loved by the king.

(1 Sam 16:14-21 NIV)  Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. {15} Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. {16} Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.” {17} So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.” {18} One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.” {19} Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” {20} So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. {21} David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers.

David also earned instant rapport with the king’s son, Jonathan.

(1 Sam 18:1-3 NIV)  After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. {2} From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. {3} And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

David also reached the pinnacle point in terms of popularity with the people. He became even more well regarded than the king.

(1 Sam 18:6-7 NIV)  When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. {7} As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

This is when David’s journey to the valley begins. King Saul became jealous of David because he had become more popular than himself. He lost favor with the king, who even tried to kill him. He was even demoted.

(1 Sam 18:9-13 NIV)  And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. {10} The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand {11} and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. {12} Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul. {13} So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns.

Even when David was in the valley, the Bible repeatedly says that the Lord was with him.

(1 Sam 18:14 NIV)  In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.

(1 Sam 18:28 NIV)  When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David,

David did not dread the demotion by Saul. He continued to do the best in whatever capacity he was placed.

(1 Sam 18:30 NIV)  The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

In his valley experience, David had close friends who stayed by his side. I think that makes a tremendous difference. David may not have made it through this difficulty alone. Firstly, he had the support of Jonathan, who not only helped him to escape but is constantly encouraging him.

(1 Sam 19:1-2 NIV)  Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David {2} and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.

(1 Sam 23:16-17 NIV)  And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. {17} “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”

Later on, David had an even bigger group of companions.

(1 Sam 22:1-2 NIV)  David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. {2} All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.

Why do you think all these distressed people went to David? Is it not because David was going through the same struggles as them and they believe David could therefore identify with them and help them? God places us in difficult moments to experience brokenness so that we can help others who are broken.

David lied to protect himself from Saul.

(1 Sam 21:1-2 NIV)  David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” {2} David answered Ahimelech the priest, “The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place.

His lie led to the death of 85 priests (22:9-19). David’s small lie seemed harmless enough, but it led to tragedy. The Bible makes it very clear that lying is wrong (Leviticus 19:11). Lying, like every other sin, is serious in God’s sight and may lead to all sorts of harmful consequences.

(1 Sam 22:3 NIV)  From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?”

God is the One whose power and providence he wholly relied, and not upon the men that flocked to him, nor upon his own power, courage and wisdom. He knew the promise of God to him, and he put his trust in him for the performance of it even though he knew not the time, nor way, and manner, in which it would be performed.

David was always asking God for directions what he should do.

(1 Sam 23:10-13 NIV)  David said, “O LORD, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. {11} Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, God of Israel, tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will.” {12} Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will.” {13} So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

When we are at our wits end, God will intervene in the situation to rescue us from our troubles.

(1 Sam 23:25-28 NIV)  Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David. {26} Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, {27} a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” {28} Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth (meaning the Rock of Escape).

Even though David was in deep trouble and Saul was the cause of his troubles, he would not resort to being delivered from his problems the wrong way. We should not let the ends justify the means. A method that involves violating God’s laws cannot be God’s intended way to bring us out of our difficulties. We need to be patient and do things the right way. Only then can our deliverance be lasting.

(1 Sam 24:1-7 NIV)  After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” {2} So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. {3} He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. {4} The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.'” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. {5} Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. {6} He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” {7} With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Even when your problems are caused by other people, do not resort to taking things into your own hands.

(1 Sam 24:12 NIV)  May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.

David went even lower into the valley of his life. His two wives were captured by the enemy and his own people almost turned against him. David must have been totally emotionally drained at this time. But David got strength from God to go through this.

(1 Sam 30:1-6 NIV)  David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, {2} and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. {3} When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. {4} So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. {5} David’s two wives had been captured–Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. {6} David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.

Even when David was deep in his own troubles, he was not too busy to help people in need. God rewarded David for this because it turned out that the person David helped led him to his enemies.

(1 Sam 30:9-19 NIV)  David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Ravine, where some stayed behind, {10} for two hundred men were too exhausted to cross the ravine. But David and four hundred men continued the pursuit. {11} They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat– {12} part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights. {13} David asked him, “To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. {14} We raided the Negev of the Kerethites and the territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.” {15} David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.” {16} He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. {17} David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. {18} David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. {19} Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.