1 Samuel 21 When Our Faith Falters

by | Oct 21, 2023 | 1 Samuel, Old Testament

I. David’s Fearful Interaction With Ahimelech

A. David Pretended That Everything Was OK V. 1

1. V. 1 Ahimelech recognized that David should have been accompanied.

a. Ahimelech was the priest, serving the Lord at the Tabernacle w/85 other priests.

b. They had no weapons, except for the sword of Goliath, for they needed no protection there. Goliath’s sword was there as a memento of David’s victory over Goliath.

2. David panicked and was fleeing from Saul. He knew that Saul wanted him dead. (20:1,3)

3. REMEMBER-David has been anointed king of Israel by God.

a. The Holy Spirit has come upon David for service.

b. Under Saul, he has gained many military victories.

c. As a shepherd boy, he killed a lion and a bear, and Goliath, the 9’ giant from Gath.

d. David had so many victories, but he was still not king. God was preparing him.

e. If the path to the throne was smooth, he would never learn the needed lessons.

f. He would never write the psalms of God’s sweet deliverance.

g. He was being trained to be a king, and that is a lonely training to go through.

4. Now that David was moving towards God’s greatest place of service for him, the trials intensified, and the enemy comes at him even more fiercely.

5. Here is David, anointed to be king over all Israel, but on the run, and begging for bread.

6. David went to the Tabernacle to find food & weapons.

7. Sad that he didn’t go to find counsel & prayer. He has let his fear get the best of him.

8. NOTE- Ahimelech senses that something is wrong. He asked David why he was alone.

9. This could have been David’s opportunity to confess his fear, ask for prayer and counsel, and be built up in his faith. Instead, he fearfully develops his lying story, which will lead to the death of an entire city.

10. QUESTION- When WE come to the house of God, do we come anticipating what our needs are? Like David, we arrive with our problem, but we have presumptuously already decided that we know the answer to our problem.

11. Sometimes we come to church, and God asks us, “What’s wrong”? He wants us to be honest with him, and perhaps be honest with others to receive prayer and/or counsel.

12. Don’t come and pretend that there is nothing wrong.

13. Don’t lie to God and to His people and decide that you know how to fix your problems.

B. David Lies To Ahimelech Vs. 2-6

1. Vs. 2, 3 David has momentarily lost confidence in God’s call upon his life.

a. He has even lost confidence in God’s ability to simply keep him alive.

b. His lie will cause Ahimelech to give provisions to him, which will be seen by Saul’s servant. This will result in the death of 85 priests. One priest will escape and live.

c. The entire city of Nob will be murdered because of David’s lack of faith and his lies.

2. V. 4 This holy bread was called the showbread, or “The Bread of The Presence”.

a. It was to be eaten in the presence of God at the Tabernacle.

b. 12 loaves were kept in the tabernacle as a reminder of God’s provision of the manna.

c. God provided manna to the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness.

d. The bread would be removed weekly and given to the priests to eat.

e. New bread would replace the old bread.

3. Vs. 5, 6 David lied about young men being with him. He wanted to seem credible.

a. The replaced bread was in essence, now common bread, no longer “before” the Lord.

b. Though the bread was to be for the priests, Ahimelech recognized human need.

C. Doeg Witnesses David’s Actions Vs. 7-9

1. V. 7 Doeg was not just a lowly servant of Saul; he was a leader among Saul’s servants.

a. Doeg was the man who would inform Saul of David’s interactions with Ahimelech.

b. Psalm 52:1-4 (A psalm of David about Doeg.)
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. 2 Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3 You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah 4 You love all devouring words, You deceitful tongue.

2. Vs. 8, 9 QUESTION-Did David see Doeg there? Is that why he asked for the sword?

a. We see that he didn’t ask for the sword until after Doeg is mentioned.

b. Surely David knew what kind of man Doeg was, and that he would betray David.

c. We see David making yet another fearful move in taking the sword.

d. David receives the sword of Goliath, whom he had killed.

e. Goliath was from Gath. Guess where David goes next? Gath-hometown of Goliath.

II. David’s Fearful Interactions With Israel’s Enemies

A. David Flees To Achish, King Of Gath Vs. 10-15

1. V. 10 Consider the irony of all this. David sought refuge with the enemy.

a. Achish was a Philistine king. Gath was where Goliath was from.

b. David was not depending upon the Lord for his safety but is leaning upon his own emotions and reactionary behavior.

c. NOTE- When we are afraid for ourselves and lose confidence in the Lord’s ability to take care of us, we might find ourselves at the door of our enemy, looking for safety in the worst possible place. Fear is the opposite of faith.

2. V. 11 Even David’s enemies recognize him as a soldier and the rightful King of Israel

a. The Philistines knew that David wasn’t living according to who God made him to be.

3. V. 12  David heard the words of the enemy and realized the truth in their words.

a. He realized that he had run to the enemy’s camp for safety, and how foolish that was.

b. Alan Redpath-“Fear is always the enemy of faith; this is the battleground of Christian experience. A man grows and triumphs as his faith overcomes his fear. To believe God, to rest in the Word of God, to enjoy the promises of God is to conquer our fear. But to doubt God and question His motives causes our faith to shrink until literally we cease to be believers- we are believers in name, but not in practice or in action”.

c. Because of fear, David had to pretend to be someone that he wasn’t in the presence of unbelievers. He was a good man in bad company. He let his fear gain the momentary victory.

4. Vs. 13-15 How sad that David humiliated himself in this way.

a. This is Israel’s next king, chosen by God, and acting completely undignified.

b. To defile one’s beard was the highest insult.

c. We see David go from tremendous victories to acting like a madman.

d. He goes from the anointing of Samuel the Prophet to the presence of a Philistine king.

5. At this point, some people would have thought that David disqualified himself as king.

a. He lied to the High Priest about many things.

b. He would be responsible for the deaths of 85 priests, their families, and the people of the city of Nob.

c. He sought refuge in the camp of the enemy.

d. H then acted like a madman; even the enemies of God didn’t want him around.

6. How wonderful that God allows us to see into David’s heart, not just at his life.

a. We have seen much of his outward behavior, but how did he feel about these things?

b. David will recover and be greatly used of God. Oh, the mercy and grace of God!

c. David writes about this in Psalm 34.