Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 21.1-15
1 Samuel 21.1-15
Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David and said to him, “Why are you alone and no one with you?” David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, ‘Let no one know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.’ “Now therefore, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.” The priest answered David and said, “There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” David answered the priest and said to him, “Surely women have been kept from us as previously when I set out and the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was an ordinary journey; how much more then today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him consecrated bread; for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence which was removed from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place when it was taken away. Now one of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s shepherds. David said to Ahimelech, “Now is there not a spear or a sword on hand? For I brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s matter was urgent.” Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take it. For there is no other except it here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” Then David arose and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?” David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. So he disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me? “Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?”
In today’s passage, we find David, the “King-elect” of Israel in exile and on the run from King Saul. Samuel the prophet can’t protect him. Even his true friend Jonathan the prince can’t protect him from Saul’s fury. So David flees to the tabernacle in Nob to basically beg Ahimelech the priest for food and arms. We know David is in dire straits because he invents a story about being sent by King Saul on a secret mission. David was a man of great faith and courage, but in this circumstance, both fail him.
Initially, it seems his lie does the trick because Ahimelech makes a special dispensation and provides David with leftover consecrated bread. However, David’s fib ultimately ends up having severe repercussions and causes David great regret (1 Samuel 22:22). This is a cautionary tale for those of us who tend to stretch the truth from time to time. Have you ever been tempted to tell yourself, “Who gets hurt if know one finds out?”
David then flees Israel and goes to Gath, one of the five principalities of the Philistines. It seems David must have been at the very end of his rope to seek refuge with Israel’s sworn enemy. Perhaps he thought King Achish might want to stick it to King Saul by harboring his rival David. Or perhaps David thought he wouldn’t be recognized. Either way, in his distress he makes a very bad decision. David is reduced to faking madness to keep the Philistines from killing him.
Many years ago, a friend and Ridge Bible teacher told me about the helpful acronym H.A.L.T. It helps me remember that I’m most likely to sin when I’m hungry, angry, lonely or tired, so at those times I should “halt” before making a decision, acting or speaking. Add fear to this list and David was experiencing all of these. This dangerous combination caused even “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) to sin. Pray today to “not be lead into temptation” (Matthew 6:13) and be mindful of the times when you are most vulnerable to sin.
Weekly Memory Verse: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5.17