Call to Worship September 12 2021

Expository thoughts on 1 Samuel 21-22:4

Fugitives are often confused and wandering. They search for hope in the midst of their circumstances. The fear of their situation and surroundings manifests troubling and sometimes sinful decisions. David as a fugitive proved to produce some disconcerting decisions. David was no longer the teenager who had been ready to take hell on with a water pistol. He had seen war, bloodshed, and death firsthand. The sights and smells of corpses of all ages were painstakingly burned into his memory. He knew death and what it meant to be the hunter and the hunted. His time with Saul had made him both. He moved at times simply to escape the flailed spears of Saul and the Devil. Soaring projectiles of the physical or emotional sort seldom make for a wise disposition in judgments made on the fly. Still, God brought hope and direction during this era of David’s life. God took bumbling actions and made a path of hope and deliverance.

David left Jonathan on his way to Nob and became a fugitive. He relinquished the finer tastes of the King’s house for the hunger of an escapee. He longed for nourishment of soul and body. David hoped that God’s priest would give him both without giving him over to Saul. David’s singular presence before Ahimelech caused concern, so David surrendered no information to him of the present issues with Saul. Probably, he thought to protect Ahimelech by not telling the truth. In the end that would not prove helpful to Ahimelech.

The scripture did not applaud David for his deception, but simply recorded its occurrence. There are times for deception that coincide with God’s Law. Such as the “Hebrew midwives” of Exodus 1 and Moses’ mother and aunt in Exodus 2. These women rebelled against the earthly command of Pharaoh to murder babies. When questioned, the midwives offered a plausible, but somewhat misleading, answer regarding the robust nature of Hebrew women in labor. Moses’ mother and aunt found a way to subvert the edict as well. Mom floated Moses down the Nile in a basket and the sister watched to see “what would happen.” Pharaoh eventually raised an adopted grandson, who was Hebrew, in the aftermath of his wicked edict. Also, consider the actions of David’s wife, Michal. She subverted the murder of David when Saul’s henchmen came to murder him. She deceived them by telling them he was sick. Of course this was after she had lowered him out a window and he escaped. Deception in these circumstances was allowable to protect life according to the Sixth Commandment.

David’s ruse in this circumstance helped David, but not Ahimelech or most of his family (I Samuel 21).[1] David’s unwise deception ends with the mass murder of Ahimelech and “his household” (I Sam. 22:16-19). Truthfulness may have given Ahimelech a better understanding of what was taking place and the opportunity to protect his family. David acted foolishly and succumbed to lying.[2] By making himself so openly known to Ahimelech and deceiving him, he demonstrated his fearful and confused mindset.[3]

David is not recorded in scripture as the perfect Messiah. He is an earthly type, or one who symbolically pre-figured the true future Messiah-King. David’s wanderings and decisions are not all foolproof. He was a historical person chosen by God to exhibit God’s power. God used him to reveal His order and purpose, in spite of David on several occasions. David’s life revealed how God overcomes the fears, doubts, and sinful decisions of sinners. He was not chosen as King of Israel to show that a man born of the seed of Adam alone could save Israel by His own human fortitude. David demonstrated that God provided for his earthly needs even when David’s decision making included sinful deception. God used Ahimelech to provide sustenance and a sword. After all, it was consecrated bread to God that was given to David. God provided David the crazed wits to see that the King of Achish and his servants would use him as pawn for barter with Saul. God sent him to Moab, a place with familial background and present protection.[4] May we remember this theme of scripture. God is our provider from the smallest physical morsel all the way through our greatest cosmic fears, even though we sin against him. He alone will deliver His people by His mighty hand of providence. Soli Deo Gloria

[1] Joseph Hall, Contemplations of the Historical Passages of the Old and New Testaments, (Tentmaker Pub., 2017 from work originally published in 1860.), pg. 193.

[2] John Gill, The Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, vol. 2, The Baptist Commentary Series (The Baptist Standard Bearer, Paris, AR., 2006), 521.

[3] Joseph Hall, pg. 193.

[4] Dale Ralph Davis, I Samuel: Looking on the Heart, (Christian Focus Pub., 2014.), 220-222.