Sunday, August 30, 2015

1 Samuel 21

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Samuel 21. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In verse 2, David lies to Ahimelech the priest to protect himself. The king had not sent him; he was actually running from the king.
  • Once a week on the Sabbath, a priest would put freshly baked bread on a table in the "Holy Place" where God's presence was supposed to dwell. It was called the "Bread of Presence" because it represented God's presence. When new bread replaced the old, only the priests were to eat the (now) one-week-old bread.
  • Gath (verse 10) was a city in Philistine. The Philistines were the enemy of Israel (David's people). Perhaps King Achish accepted David because he knew he had become an enemy of Saul, the King of Israel. Soon, however, people begin to get nervous about David being there, so he acts mentally unstable to protect himself (verses 12-14).

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • David was a "man after God's own heart" (see Acts 13:22) but he still commits the sin of lying. This does not mean that lying (or any other sin) is acceptable, but it does mean that God loves us despite our sin. (We are going to see in 1 Samuel 22 that, although God loves us despite our sin and forgives us for our sin, that does not mean we escape the consequences of our sin. There will be consequences for David's lie.)
  • Ahimelech agrees to give the bread intended for the priests to David and his men. Later, Jesus used this very incident as an example of the fact that compassion can be applied in following what we could call "ceremonial" law. The "moral" law of God (do not murder, do not lie, etc.) should always be kept. But we need discernment about keeping ritualistic laws of religion, and should not put them above actually living for God and loving people.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • It is so easy for us to focus on some sin of our past (maybe recent past) and, because of our guilt, assume that God must not love us or want us. But in the Bible we see David sin, but also that he held a very special place in God's heart. Again, this does not mean sin is acceptable, but it does mean that God loves you regardless of your sin. And feelings of guilt should not drive us away from God, but to God. The Bible promises us, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." Why don't you take a few minutes to exam your heart, and to bring to God any unconfessed sin.