Vol.XIX No.VI Pg.3
August 1982

Flea Chasers

Dan S. Shipley

David's popularity in the kingdom angered king Saul. He was especially resentful when certain women paid tribute to David in a song which said, "Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands". We are told that Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on" (1 Sam. 18:9). After unsuccessful attempts to have him slain, Saul and 3,000 of his men pursue David into the wilderness of Engedi. While there, and following an interesting incident taking place in a cave, David confronts a surprised Saul and in the ensuing conversation asks him, "After whom is the king of Israel come out? After whom dost thou pursue? After a dead dog, after a flea?" (1 Sam. 24:14) Imagine! The king of Israel, the head of a great nation, with all of his kingly duties and responsibilities, taking 3,000 men and chasing after one innocent man! David sees Saul's great campaign as something like chasing fleas — and in doing so makes a point with an application appropriate for all of God's people of all time.

As a called-out and redeemed people we, like Saul, have God-given responsibilities to be concerned with and that deserve priority. We have set before us the greatest and most urgent work on the face of the earth! As a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), we should busy ourselves with offering up spiritual sacrifices. As soldiers of Christ, we are to be continually fighting the good fight of faith (2 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 6: 12). As wise men living in days that are evil and with an abiding awareness of the judgement to come, we must be redeeming the time (Eph. 5:16). We need to guard against allowing our time, talents, and resources becoming occupied with trivial and unprofitable matters — and becoming flea chasers!

To this end it is important that we recognize and overcome the little "fleas" that become big hindrances to our faithfulness. Pride, for instance, can make flea chasers of us as it did Saul. An inordinate concern for the approval and praise of men has turned many a heart from the Lord (Jn. 12:43). Such pride hinders the acknowledgement of wrong, confessing sin, forgiving and seeking forgiveness, appreciating others and ministering to their needs. A form of selfishness to which all Christians are susceptible, pride diverts many from the heavenly goal.

In addition, the anxiety such as Jesus deals with in Matt. 6 makes flea chasers of others. "No man can serve two masters... Ye cannot serve God and mammon..." (v.24). Or, as it relates to our theme, "You cannot serve God while chasing fleas!" Concern is one thing, but distracting worry is something else. Personal problems, family problems, business and economic problems are like the poor — with us always. And the Lord knew this would be the case. The remedy is to seek His kingdom and righteousness FIRST! (v.33)

Still others become flea chasers in seeking after earthly treasures and personal pleasures. Jesus reminds us that such cares, riches and pleasures can choke out the Word and render us unfruitful (Lk. 8). The Lord's cause is hurt by such flea chasers. How is it with you? Do you pursue righteousness — or fleas?