1 Samuel 21:1-15 (Part 3) – Examining Your Mess & Making It Your Message

Posted: March 22, 2018 in Book of 1 Samuel

1 Samuel 21:1-15 (Part 3)
David Runs from Saul

One of the common things about AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery and coming to Jesus Christ as your Savior is examining your past – the mistakes, the hurts, the pain, the pain we caused others. One of the greatest steps in these recovery programs is taking a long, hard look at your past. One of the biggest, maturing steps that you can take as a Christ follower is to write down your salvation story – who you were before you came to Christ, how you came to Christ, and your life after coming to the saving grace in Christ. It is a gut-wrenching and eye-opening experience. You get the opportunity to go back and deconstruct, analyze, and reconstruct all the events of your past. In it, you will see consistent patterns develop that reveal some major stuff about who you are that you may have not seen about yourself in your past. It something that you may have to do several times in your walk with Christ because as you mature in Christ you can see things about your past that you couldn’t see before. So, these ongoing revisits to your spiritual biography can be so incredibly revealing. That’s something from these addiction recovery groups that we, as Christians, need to borrow and make a permanent part of our discipleship process – a fearless and honest evaluation of our past life before the cross, how Jesus saved us, and our life since that great shining moment of salvation. If you have not sat down to do yours, I highly recommend it. It make take you weeks or even months to write it all down…thank God for Microsoft Word where you can edit, revise, rework, rearrange. It will open your eyes to exactly how self-centered, and messed up we all are. We all have big ol’ stinking piles of poo in our past that we try to cover up. These spiritual biographies help us examine the piles of poo for what they really are.

For me, my spiritual biography revealed to me that human approval was my god, particularly from the women in my life. Growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid, we never lived anywhere very long so approval, fitting in, being seen as having value to others, was what I was all about. That was set in me at an early age. It became the theme of my life before salvation and, even after salvation, it was one of those things that the Holy Spirit had to slap me in the head with a baseball bat with repeatedly to get me to let go of my need to be validated. My validation of my value came through my relationships with women, as I grew into adulthood. I measured my value by what the woman in my life thought of me. It led me to make some of the most stupid decisions in my life that created the mess that was my life before and even for several years after salvation (NOTE: Just because we come to Christ does not mean that the troubles we create for ourselves before salvation immediately end!! Sometimes it takes a while for those messes to work themselves out).

Choosing relationships because your seeking approval and validation from someone is no way to begin or maintain relationships. We must first seek our value from God and then our relationships with others will fall into place and we will find healthy relationships because of it. Seeking value from others is to make them your god. Seeking value from others gives them great power over you (whether they realize it or not). Seeking value from others leads you to make stupid decisions about what you will accept in a relationship. Seeking value from others leads you to lose yourself in the approval chasing game. Seeking value from others allows them (knowingly or unknowingly) to define who you are. When you have a god other than God himself, it is never good and leads to big ol’ messes in your life.

It is only when we examine our past that we can make our past mess into our message that can teach others not to make the same mistakes we made. We can teach others that God does redeem. We can teach others that God can make something beautiful even out of our big ol’ stinking piles of poo. We find too that God was looking after us even when we were doing incredibly stupid things.

That idea of God looking after us even in our stupidity before we came to the cross is what I thought of this morning. Let’s read the passage together now for the third of three reviews of this passage with an eye, today, toward whether David broke the law of God or not:

Chapter 21
1 [a]David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. “Why are you alone?” he asked. “Why is no one with you?”

2 “The king has sent me on a private matter,” David said. “He told me not to tell anyone why I am here. I have told my men where to meet me later. 3 Now, what is there to eat? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.”

4 “We don’t have any regular bread,” the priest replied. “But there is the holy bread, which you can have if your young men have not slept with any women recently.”

5 “Don’t worry,” David replied. “I never allow my men to be with women when we are on a campaign. And since they stay clean even on ordinary trips, how much more on this one!”

6 Since there was no other food available, the priest gave him the holy bread—the Bread of the Presence that was placed before the Lord in the Tabernacle. It had just been replaced that day with fresh bread.

7 Now Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief herdsman, was there that day, having been detained before the Lord.[b]

8 David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword? The king’s business was so urgent that I didn’t even have time to grab a weapon!”

9 “I only have the sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah,” the priest replied. “It is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. Take that if you want it, for there is nothing else here.”

“There is nothing like it!” David replied. “Give it to me!”

10 So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. 11 But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing,

‘Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”

12 David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. 13 So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard.

14 Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? 15 We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

In this passage, we read of the city of Gath. It was one of the five major Philistine cities. The others were Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron. In our text we read about David doing something incredibly stupid. David’s life is in danger and he is fleeing from Saul. He’s desperate. So what does he do? David goes to Gath—the city of Goliath! This is incredible. There was no city on earth where David would have been more unwelcome.

This was a Philistine city and 1 Samuel 17—the chapter which describes David’s victory over the giant Goliath—tells us that Goliath was from Gath. David decides to go there! Goliath surely had relatives who would seek to avenge his death—brothers, father, uncles. But even if Goliath had no relatives it would have been extremely dangerous for David to go to any Philistine city. After all, what had David been doing since he entered Saul’s service—he had been killing Philistines. (1 Samuel 18:27,30; 19:8). Wow. I wouldn’t have thought that going to Gath was a possibility. What in the world was David thinking? I mean, Gath of all places? That would be the city where David would be most hated. And going there with Goliath’s sword? What was David thinking? Surely it would be recognized. It would be impossible to hide such a distinctive weapon.

We’re not sure why David went to Gath. Perhaps he thought that that would be the last place Saul would look for him. That would certainly be true. But it would seem like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. David’s going to Gath seems to make no sense. It seems a most foolish thing to do. Now what does this passage teach us? The main lesson we should learn from this is that God will protect and save us in spite of our stupidity. God watched over David at Gath and did not let the Philistines kill David. David was safe in the most dangerous place he could have gone. God protected him. This is clear from Psalm 34, which was written right after this incident. Psalm 34 is a great psalm of praise to God and David thanks God for delivering him. David didn’t attribute his escape, his preservation in Gath to luck, or Achish’s gullibility—but to God’s protection.

So, what are some of the most incredibly stupid things that you have done in your past? Think about it. Write it down. It came make you see the patterns of your life. It can also make you see the amazing miracle that your salvation was and how amazing the action of the Holy Spirit in you has been since that time. Writing your spiritual biography is so important to seeing the work of God in your lives. If you haven’t done it yet! Get on it! It will help see your messes for what they are and help you turn your mess into your message of God’s grace.

Amen and Amen.

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