David, Part 2
10 June 2018
Read the sordid tale for yourself in 1 Samuel, chapters 20-22.
David, at 15 years old, kills the giant, Goliath. By trusting in God, he did what he should not have been able to do. He did what no one else would even attempt to do. And David becomes the most famous person in Israel. He ends up marrying the king’s daughter, becomes best friends with the king’s son, Jonathon, and is on top of the world.
Maybe a little too much on top of the world. David’s popularity begins to grate on King Saul, who knows he is to be replaced as king for his disobedience. It’s not hard to imagine that he sees David as the one God is grooming to set on the throne next. His jealousy finally comes to a head, and he decides David must die. From the top of the world to fugitive on the run for his life, David is only 22. He is abandoned by his country, his king; he is afraid—hard to see how he his anointing as king the prophet Samuel predicted could ever happen now; and he’s alone. Everything appears dark and grim.
David did what we do in such circumstances. He panics and takes matters into his own hands. Gone is the shepherd boy who trusted in God, who should have known he was bulletproof, at least until he became king. He flees to Nob, where he finds the high priest, Ahimelek. David invents a story about being on a secret mission from the king. It’s a squirrely lie—he’s alone, has no food, no men, no weapon. Ahimelek has to know something is amiss, but he gives David some bread and a weapon.
It was a weapon that should have been David’s wake-up call. He stripped off Goliath after he killed him. A weapon that didn’t have the power to protect Goliath from a teenager with a slingshot probably was not what David really needed.
And things go downhill from there, because Saul’s chief shepherd, Doeg, was there in Nob. He saw David and overheard some of the conversation with Ahimelek—just enough to make Ahimelek look very bad when he told Saul about it. Saul is furious. He demands Ahimelek and the priests come to a meeting, where he rejects Ahimelek’s protest of innocence. Eighty-five priests of God are killed on the spot. Saul orders his men to head to Nob and kill everyone. One of Ahimelek’s sons manages to escape. He finds David and tells him the sad details. David is broken, repents, and owns the fact that his actions caused the deaths of everyone in the city.
The truth for us is that these three giants—anger, fear, and loneliness—can lead any of us to panic and take matters into our hands. We can all make horrific decisions that blow back, not only on us, but others. We can all lose sight of the fact that God is with us, even in the tough times, and not trust him to pull us through. So, we asked some questions:
- What is your loneliness, anger, or fear causing you to consider that you’ve never considered before?
- Who is your loneliness, anger, or fear causing you to consider that you know you shouldn’t consider? (We know the answer to that one: you put at risk those you love the most, and those who love you the most.)
- Who, besides you, do your considerations put at risk?
- What advice would you give somebody going through what you’re going through?
We tend to think our situations are unique, but they aren’t. You’re unique, special, one of a kind, but you’re experiences are not. They are well-worn paths trod by countless people before you.
It was grown-up David, looking back at the mistakes of his youth, who penned what he wished he had remembered at age 22. Ps.9:9, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Chemicals, alcohol, an affair, another person, debt, a new car, a new house—none of them are a refuge or stronghold. None of them offer protection. The Lord is the One we should run to, flee to, when it looks like things we value are in jeopardy. In v10 of that same psalm, David writes, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” It’s the same message Jesus relayed in Matt. 11:28: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened—all you who are lonely, angry, and afraid--. . . and you will find rest for your souls.” You might think you’re forsaken, but you are mistaken. Your God is with you.