230 God-Hearted #7 — 1 Samuel 21-22 Pursued

Theme: We often forget, as David did in our story, that God loves us, is able to help us, and has a plan for our lives. But God does not forget, and works hard to remind us, if only we will listen to His voice.

What David Forgot (21:1-15)

1 That God Loved Him (21:1-6)

21:1 Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David trembling and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

  • 1 David came to Nob: It is hard to precisely track the movements of the ark of the covenant during Saul’s era, but here we learn the priests were operating at this time out of Nob.
    • Later, we will learn there were eighty-six priests (and their families) living in Nob.
  • 1 Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, for David was a man of war, a known emissary of Saul, and his visit was unannounced.
  • 2 The king has charged me with a matter: This is a lie, cover for the fact he’s running from Saul.
  • 6 There was no bread but the bread of the Presence: Ahimelech only has access to the bread which had already been used in worship of the LORD.
    • Ahimelech made sure David and his young men had were not unclean, and then gave him the showbread to eat (according to Exodus 19, Leviticus 15).
  • 4 I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread:
  • Jesus referred to this episode.
    • Mark 2:23–28 (ESV) — 23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
      • 24 Not lawful on the Sabbath: According to their ridiculous perspective on the Sabbath.
      • 26 Not lawful for any but the priests to eat: David and his young men ate something ceremonially off limits.
        • Because the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
        • The Sabbath law — which was a big deal to God — was made for David. He was more important to God.
  • You are of great value to God.
    • We know some ways He might straightforwardly tell us of His love, but how might God try to whisper His love to your heart?

2 That God Was Able To Help Him (21:7-9)

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul's herdsmen. 8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

  • 7 Doeg the Edomite: Likely keeping a vow, but only in ceremony, not in his heart (note: detained before the LORD).
    • As an Edomite, he had come from Esau, so was not a true Israelite in biology. Nor is he one, we will learn, in spirit.
  • 8-9 Sword: David asked for a sword. This sword was last seen in the hand of David and put in his tent.
    • Really? Of all the swords in all of Israel, this was the only sword in Nob! Amazing. What a coincidence!
      • Again, God seemed to have whispered in David’s ear, “I am strong. I am able. Remember Goliath? Trust me again.”
      • Remember the boldness David had against Goliath by recounting his victories over the lion and the bear? He does not have that same memory or boldness here.
  • God is able to help you.
    • We know some ways He might straightforwardly remind us of His ability to help us, but how might God try to whisper His ability into our hearts?

3 That God Had A Plan For His Life (21:10-15)

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

  • 10 Gath: Goliath’s hometown, with Goliath’s sword.
  • 11 Achish: For some reason king Achish received David.
    • It is amazing to consider David running to the Philistines, until we think of the places we often run.
  • 12 David took these words to heart and was much afraid: Though he was older, they recognized him, so he feigned insanity, which they likely had superstitions about.
  • 11 Is not this David the king of the land?: David was not yet king, but the Philistines already viewed him as such.
  • God has a plan for your life.
    • We know some ways He might straightforwardly remind us of His plans for us, but how might He whisper them into our hearts?

How God Reminded Him (22:1-23)

David’s team is going to form during this chapter (mighty men, prophet, priest).

1 In Isolation (22:1-2)

22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

  • He wrote Psalms during these episodes.
    • Psalm 34 in Gath.
    • Psalm 57, 142 (and maybe more) in the cave of Adullum.
    • He remembered! He knew it wasn’t the cave or the sword protecting him.
      • Psalm 57:1 (ESV) — 1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
  • God will speak when you’re alone with Him.

2 With A Prophetic Word (22:3-5)

3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

  • 3 Father: Honored his parents. David loved and cared for his parents (see Colossians 3:20).
  • 3 Moab: David was 1/8 Moabite (Ruth).
  • 5 Then the prophet Gad: He became David’s personal prophet (2 Samuel 24:11, 2 Chronicles 29:25).
  • God will speak through godly messengers.
    • Believers who know God’s word.
    • Believers who are gifted by the Spirit.
    • Believers who are called to communicate God’s word.

3 By Serving Someone (22:6-23)

6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the LORD for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” 11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the LORD. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword. 20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father's house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

  • 20 Abiathar: He was the lone survivor. He would become the priest in David’s kingdom.
  • 23 With me you shall be in safekeeping: Notice the confidence. David had been reminded of God’s plan for his life.
  • God will speak as you take responsibility for others.
    • God loves you. He is strong. He has a plan for your life.
      • He will whisper this to you.
      • But He will also speak it to you blatantly and clearly in personal devotions, through godly messengers, and through serving others.