April 8

Read I Samuel 22 -- 24

After Saul's third attempt to murder David (I Samuel 18:10-17; 19:10), he fled to the small town of Nob, the city of priests (22:19), just north of Jerusalem, where the sacred vessels had been kept by the priests since the destruction of Shiloh. This was reported to Saul in Gibeah by Doeg, an Edomite servant. In a rage of anger, King Saul sent a servant to Nob to bring Ahimelech the priest . . . and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they all came to the king (22:11). Then Saul accused Ahimelech the priest of conspiracy for giving David food and allowing him to take the sword that had belonged to Goliath. In response, Ahimelech reminded Saul of David's loyalty, asking: Who is so faithful among all your servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house? (22:14).

Blinded by jealous hate, Saul ordered the execution of all the priests and their families. But the servants of the king refused to murder the priests of the Lord (22:17). However, without hesitation, Doeg the Edomite . . . slew on that day eighty-five persons who wore the (priest's) linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, he smote with a sword, both men, women, and children (22:18-19). This horrifying murder by Israel's first king was unparalleled in the 400 years of Jewish history. Sadly, there is no record that he ever repented of this ruthless massacre of innocent children, women, and priests of God.

David was joined by Ahimelech's son Abiathar, the only priest to escape being murdered. He thus became the High Priest (22:20).

Soon after, Saul led his army in search of David, who was hiding in a cave at Engedi, high in the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. On the first evening of their mission, Saul withdrew from his men to sleep in a nearby cave, not realizing that David and his men remained inside the cave. . . . David arose (in the darkness), and cut off the skirt of Sauls robe (24:3-4). The next morning, with the piece cut from Saul's robe in his hand, David, from a distance, shouted: Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you saying, he is the Lord's anointed (24:10). Although "circumstance" could have led some to believe that God had delivered Saul into David's hand, he didn't seize the opportunity to become king by destroying his enemy.

There are times in the lives of Christians when everything seems hopeless, as it must have for David who was in hiding. In fact, we all experience times when we need to be encouraged about ourselves, our gifts and talents, our work, our children, or even our relationship with the Lord.

This was also true of David, who received spiritual direction and comfort from Abiathar and prophets such as Gad (22:5), as well as directly from the Lord, as noted in the often-repeated phrase: David inquired of the Lord (23: 4,10-12). David then passed that encouragement on, through the psalms he wrote, to millions of others, including all of us.

The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them (Psalms 34:7).

Christ Revealed: By David's refusal to take the kingdom by force or before the appointed time set by God (I Samuel 24:10-13). Christ refused to become King of Israel by force, though the people wanted to make Him an earthly King before His appointed time (John 6:15).

Word Studies: 22:18 fell upon means murdered; 22:22 I have occasioned means I am responsible for; 23:16 strengthened his hand means encouraged his faith in God; 24:3 sheepcotes means where the sheep were kept; 24:4 privily means without his knowledge.

Prayer:

Government Officials: Rep. Tom DeLay (TX) and Rep. David Wu (OR) · Pray for Ron & Gloria Bechtel, Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in U.S. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Addison J. DeGraff · Country: Colombia (39 million) in northwestern South America · Major language: Spanish · New government has declared religious freedom · 96% Roman Catholic; 1% Protestant; 1% Indian tribal religions · Prayer Suggestion: Exalt the Lord, for He is holy (Psalms 99:9).

Optional Reading: Acts 9

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 34:7