The First Church of Keilah – A ‘Church’ that Hands Victims Over to the Abuser
This story came to my mind today as I was thinking about how local churches so often essentially hand over an abuse victim to her abuser –
Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” Therefore David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the LORD said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”
Then David inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.”
And the LORD said, “He will come down.”
Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.” (1 Samuel 23:1-12)
Notice the great good that David had done for the people of Keilah. He literally saved their lives at the risk of his own. Yet how did they repay him when they heard Saul was coming? They would have given him over to Saul, just as the Jews gave Christ over to wicked men to be killed.
And so it is today. In order to save their own hides, so many churches are handing the righteous over to the unrighteous.
“Lord, will the people of this church surrender me and my children into the hand of our abuser?”
“And the Lord replied, ‘They will surrender you to him.”
Time to flee. Leave Keilah in the dust.