Well, friends, Saul’s rage got taken to a whole new level in today’s reading from 1 Samuel 21 and 22. After leaving Jonathan, David went to the town of Nod; this is where the priests lived. And David went to the high priest, Ahimelek, and asked for bread. David actually lies here. He tells him he is on a mission from the king and needs the bread for his men. Ahimelek tells David he only has consecrated bread, which was considered holy bread that only the priests were allowed to eat and our application tells us that although it broke the law, “Ahimelek put David’s need and life ahead of religious ceremony and fed him the consecrated food. This upheld a higher law of love… To do good and to save life is God’s greater law.” David goes on to ask for a sword. Turns out the sword he used to kill Goliath was held in that town and Ahimelek gave it to him. While this was happening one of Saul’s servants Doeg was there and saw David and what happened between him and Ahimelek. After leaving Nod, he went to Gath where the people started talking about him after recognizing him, this scared him, so he pretended to be insane to get out of there; “it was the custom not to harm mentally unstable people.” (Application) From there he went and escaped to a cave of Adullam, but he wasn’t alone long, his brothers and father heard where he was and joined him then “all those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander, about 400 men were with him.” (v. 22:2) Saul now does the unthinkable. Saul is going on and on about how everyone is conspiring against him, so Doeg comes and shares that he saw David with the high priest Ahimelek back in Nod. Saul then sends for Alimelek and questions him. And he responds that David has been faithful to Saul, but that he knew nothing about what was going on between the two of them (remember David lied to Alimelek!) and Saul then goes on to order him and his family to be put to death, none of Saul’s officials were willing to actually do this, except Doeg. And he does, but Saul didn’t stop there. He then ordered the entire people of nod to be put to death, scripture tells us “that day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.” (v.18, the ephod was a vest worn by the priests) Only one son of Alimelek, Abiathar, escaped this tragedy, the only priest left from Nod and he fled to David.
David’s response to him coming was today’s verse “Stay with me; don’t be afraid” he goes on to say “The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too, You will be safe with me.” (v.22:23) Before I jump into why this verse struck me for today’s reading, I want to back track to two things that our application really puts the words to that gave meaning behind what just happened in our story because I don’t know about you, but that was a heavy read this morning. First, it tells us that David’s lie was not acceptable, and we saw how his lie played out. None of the priests knew of David’s lie, but they still provided for him, and for that they all lost their lives. In our scripture today, when Abiathar meets David, David even takes ownership for the loss of their entire family. David, has seemed pretty perfect up until that point, which allows us to see that even the most “perfect” person is human and capable of sinning. So, the application goes on to tell us not to minimize our sins, because all sins have consequences and we should be doing everything we can to avoid sin in our lives. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking how could God let such evil happen over David’s lie, and thankfully our application took that one for us too. It says, “Sometimes God allows evil to develop to teach us not to let the evil systems flourish. Serving God is not a ticket to wealth, success or health. God does not promise to protect good people from evil in this world, but he does promise that ultimately all evil will be abolished. Those who have remained faithful through their trials will experience great rewards in the age to come.” Although, that is hard to swallow too, we can find comfort knowing that evil will not prevail, in the end God wins! And this leads me perfectly back to our verse. When I read this, I felt David’s confidence still in the Lord, don’t you? After all that has happened, he still knows that with God they were safe. He tells Abiathar not to be afraid, that he will be safe with David because David was safe with God. David knew God was on his side. He knew God was faithful before and would be faithful again. Don’t you feel like this is something God would say to us? Stay with me, child; don’t be afraid of what’s happening; I’ve got you in this; remember the last time I was faithful in the hard; cling to my truth; in me you will find peace in the storm; YOU ARE SAFE WITH ME.
Is there a pain in your heart that has left you completely devastated? Or a time in your life when you thought God had completely left you? Or you thought, how in the world God could you have allowed this to happen? Journal about it, write it all out, every fear and hesitation, even if there is anger there, lay it all out there before the Lord. Once you are done, take today’s scripture, remember God’s faithfulness before and how with him we are safe, listen to what goes on through your heart and mind, journal out how you feel the Lord moving in your situation.
Lord, today’s reading was hard, it was sad and filled with so much evil, yet, you ended our time in reading with hope. A hope that can only come through faith in you. You showed us that we need to be on guard at all times because all sin has consequences. Lord, I know we don’t always know why you allow some of the evil, but God we thank you that evil does not win, that you win, that love and goodness and peace win! Thank you for being our safe place. Thank you that with you we do not need to fear. That you’ve had us before and you will have us again, time and time again, you are faithful. Help guide us in the areas where we are living in grief, fear or hopelessness, allow us to feel your hand upon us telling us, ‘Stay with me; don’t be afraid…you will be safe with me” Allow us to feel it deep within us, to our core being, help us to remove any doubt that it may not be true, guide us into fully believing and trusting you in it. Let our hearts be filled with your love. We thank you Lord for the gift that each scripture gives us. It’s in your faithful name we pray, AMEN!