David and the Gibeonites: On Guard over Your Sacrifice

Guarding Your Promise and Contribution


A promise creates expectation in someone that goods or service will be available to provide for a need. The beneficiary relies on and can enter into commitments based on the expectation. A promise to a person conveys the same level of commitment as a promise to God. Therefore, God guards every promise and may step in to redress failure of a promise if he so desires. Similarly, a contribution is a delivery of goods or service with an implied promise to guard the goods/service to an appropriate hand-off point. Throwing in and abandoning the contribution prior to the hand-off point is similar to the Samaritan in the parable of the Good Samaritan abandoning the wounded man at the treatment center without further commitment. As we recall, the Samaritan made a commitment to return.

Treaty with Gibeonites Violated

This bible study examines interactions between David and Gibeonites to learn about guarding promises and contributions. Long before the time of David, the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua and on their way to the Promised Land, made a treaty with the Gibeonites to let them live. Both sides honored the treaty through several generations until Saul, first king of Israel, killed several Gibeonites in an attempt to annihilate them. Later, during the reign of King David, Israel experienced famine for three consecutive years and God told David that the famine was because of Saul’s violation of the treaty.

Sacrifice to Appease Gibeonites

The Gibeonites demanded and were given seven male descendants of Saul as sacrifice to atone for the violation. The men were killed and their bodies exposed on a hill. The mother of two of the men camped on the hill for several months to protect the bodies against scavengers. David heard her story and ordered the men be given proper burial. He also retrieved the bones of Saul and Jonathan and buried them properly. Soon after the burials, God answered their prayers and the famine ended.

Guarding Your Contribution

By guarding the bodies the mother preserved the sacrifice that they represented until they were led to their destination by proper burial. A contribution is a sacrifice of whatever a person has to give up in order to make the contribution. To accomplish the purpose of the sacrifice, you need to ensure the contribution gets to its objective or an appropriate hand-off to a process that will take it to its objective.

Completing Your Contribution

Therefore, if you commit to provide for a need, you have to complete the providing or hand-off to another process that completes it. For example, when Peter healed the crippled beggar, he realized it wasn’t enough to tell the man to walk. To complete the healing process, he took the man by the right hand and “helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong” [Acts 3:7]. You have to guide your contribution to its objective, in order to complete the providing and earn the blessing that Christ promised in Matthew 25:31–40.

Promised a Promise

Also, we see that God punished Israel under David for its violation under Saul of a promise that Israel made under Joshua. God used this incident to emphasize the seriousness and longevity of a promise. He fulfills his promises and expects us to do the same.


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