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Rock of Escape “Therefore, Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; So they called that place the Rock of Escape.” 1 Samuel 23:29   David, the one appointed to succeed the throne, was on the run. Saul, the king of Israel, was in determined pursuit. Whether David was in the mountains, in the wilderness, or in the forest (1 Sam. 23:14,19), he “saw that Saul had come out to seek his life (vs. 15).” The one who brought comfort to Saul, the one who was his armor bearer, the one who brought victories to Israel with yielded commitment to his leader (1 Sam. 16:21-23, 18:5-9) was now viewed by that leader as a personal threat.   Why the threat? Why the pursuit to seek his life? Two kingdoms began to collide. War is inevitable when a heart surrendered to the Lord and His kingdom threatens the heart intended on building their own. Relational trust and love to the Lord is always a threat to the insecure. Insecurity breeds control, which seeks to squelch the “life” and pursuit of the establishing and furthering of the Kingdom of God. The war is between religion and relationship. The war is between the nature of self and the spirit.   “… Therefore he went down to the rock, and stayed in the wilderness of Maon (1 Sam. 23:25).” A hiding place was prepared for David in the wilderness. The rock of refuge became the rock of escape. Maon means residence, habitation, abode of God, tabernacle. The place of habitation was not a deterrent to the proud spirit of Saul. He and his men encircled David up one side of the mountain as David and his men made haste to flee around the other. What a sight. What a chase. Isn’t that same chase felt as we seek to abide in His shelter? The lure of the enemy of our soul and the calls of surface religiosity and self-importance try to keep our hearts from truly entering and then becoming that tabernacle of the Lord.   “God is our refuge and strength... The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn (Ps. 46:1, 4b-5).”   “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!” At the Lord’s appointed time a messenger came to reroute Saul’s focus. The Philistines were the consistent enemy of Israel. Israel means “one who prevails with God”. Philistine means “to wallow in the flesh.” The rising of the flesh captivates the focus of the self-sustaining kingdom. The flesh will seek to allure the one not set to abide, or the places within us that have not yet become the habitation of the Lord. On that mountain it’s our call which kingdom to pursue. Run to the flesh with Saul’s camp or abide as David with a heart after God Himself.   David’s eyes remained fixed upon the Lord as He waited in that mountain of the Lord’s dwelling place. So they called that place the Rock of Escape.   “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust (Ps. 91:1-2).’”   Remain fixed in the chase. Wait on the Lord. Pursue His abiding presence. Watch as the internal enemy, who seeks to distract your focus, becomes the one distracted and flees.   In Him,   Pastor Sharon Carlson 7/12