I Samuel 21
Tuesday, 8th August 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
David left Samuel, who was the prophet, the budget, and priest, but sought the help of Jonathan. At the end of chapter 20, David had to start his life of running away. He left all his family and friends, and went into exile.
V1 ‘Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one is with you?”’ In chapter 21, we see how David was frightened, he was full of fear. But we sad Ahimelech the priest was also afraid of David when he came to him. David was feeling defeated and he lost faith. The same happened for Samuel in the past when Saul was chasing after him and when God rejected Saul as the king of Israel.
V2-3 ‘So David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, ‘Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.’ And I have directed my young men to such and such a place. Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found.”’ We often fall into despair like David, and if we are in a doing mode, then we will not want to rely on God, we will rely on people. David lied to Ahimelech, he was in fear and he didn’t want to speak the truth.
V4-5 ‘And the priest answered David and said, “There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.” Then David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.”’ David lied to the priest, David came to the temple of God, but he didn’t seek God’s help, he only wanted food to sustain him. David didn’t see that God is greater than all things, he didn’t see that God can help him.
V6 ‘So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.’ The meaning of the show read is the bread of the presence of God, the priest offered David the presence of God, but David only saw the bread. Then David also asked for weapons.
V7 ‘Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. And his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul.’ Doeg was the servant of Saul, he had the money and he had the authority to help, but David chose not to see all the favours from God. He ran away to the enemy’s territory.
V8-9 ‘And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.”
And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”’ When David was fighting Goliath, he didn’t need swords and arrows, he only used a slingshot to kill the enemy. But now he sought weapons to protect himself, he was weak in faith, he was falling into fear, and he forgot the strength and identity God has given to him. Ironically, there was the sword of Goliath in the temple of God. God’s presence was there, but David chose the sword. David could have asked for blessings and protection from the Almighty God, but he chose to take away with him the bread and the sword. What are we afraid of?
V10-11 ‘Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying: Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?”’ We want to cover up our fear, do we know we have fear inside us? It’s like a bitter root, deep inside us that pulls us away from God. When we see challenges and troubles we allow them to defeat us, and we didn’t put God first.
V12-13 ‘Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.’ David had forgotten his gifts from
God, because he was in fear. He also didn’t see that he was in the place of God’s refuge, and he chose to leave and to run away with the bread and the sword. David was full of confusion, he didn’t realise that what he did was not giving him any advantage. He went to a dangerous place, where he thought was safe. And he didn’t receive peace.
V14-15 ‘Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”’ Everyone saw David was a great warrior, the priest was afraid of him, the enemy was afraid of him, but he didn’t see the identity and honour he’s been given. He changed himself and made himself a madman. He had a royal identity, but he chose to be a madman. People saw him as a great man, God appointed him as a king, but David chose to pretend to be insane. It was a disgrace for his identity and it was rejecting God’s honour for him.
God wants to exalt us, when we exalt Him. Are we willing to humble, to obey, to deny ourselves, and to benefit others? God has given us royal identity, but are we will to live it out?