1 SAMUEL 23
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11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Yahweh Elohim of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And Yahweh said, He will come down.
12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Yahweh said, They will deliver thee up.
According to some popular conceptions on the subject, the answer "He (Saul) will come down," was the inflexible fiat of destiny which nothing in heaven or earth could interfere with. People in general would treat it as an absolute statement-that the coming down of Saul was a matter of fixed futurity-whereas it is evident that like many statements we hear, it contained an unexpressed condition, taken for granted as a matter of course. "He will come down"-if you stay here. "The men of Keilah will deliver you up"-if they have the chance.
There is more than one illustration of this in the scriptures.
"Yet forty days and Nineveh will be destroyed;"
Jonah was made to say: but the Ninevites humbled themselves, and Nineveh was not destroyed at the end of forty days, though Jonah patiently waited out the time to see the event. An unexpressed condition was bound up in the proclamation:
"Yet forty days and Nineveh will be destroyed"-if they repent not.
So in Paul's shipwreck (Acts 27), though angelically assured of the safety of every man in the ship (22-24), Paul told the centurion that if the sailors deserted the ship, the lives of the rest could not be saved (31); from which it follows that Paul understood the divine intimation that he had to be subject to the employment of the right means:
"God hath given thee all them that sail with thee"-if proper measures be adopted.
This association of implied condition with apparently positive statement is expressly enunciated in Jeremiah 18:7:
"At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I pronounced turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them."
Ways of Providence.