I Samuel 21:1-9 David’s Desperation Part 1

16 Mar

In 1948 Jerusalem was being strangled by the Arabs. The Arabs had attacked Jerusalem’s supply road and it was in danger of starving out its inhabitants. In February, the Jewish leadership had met and there was intense pressure to evacuate the women and children. Dov Joseph, a Canadian lawyer, was in charge of Jerusalem’s survival plan. He refused the evacuation of any. His reasoning was that Jerusalem’s fighters would lose their spirit unless their families and homes were left to defend. He believed that desperation could have its benefits in this situation.

I think that this can be true, but if a person is desperate too long one can become desperate about getting through his desperation. It can tear you down and really work on you. In our narrative David now realizes that if there is any chance at all, Saul will have his head. There will be no Jonathans, and Michals, and Samuels to save him now. So, where do I go? What do I do now?

The words in 21:10a kind of sum up the next few verses: “And David rose and fled that day from Saul”. He asks “what good can possibly come from me escaping by the skin of my teeth”? The verses seem to say to us that even in the most desperate times The Lord God does not let go of His servants.

So David heads to Nob, only a mile or two north of Jerusalem. Ahimelech the priest can tell something is just not kosher with David. If he didn’t, he would not have been trembling in 21:1. David was typically not alone. David’s story here seems flimsy to me. He tells the priest the he is on a very sensitive  assignment for the king. This is top secret government business. In vs. 2 he tells Ahimelech that he does have men waiting at a secret location. What is very suspicious is that David left in such a hurry that he had forgotten food (vs.3) and his sword or any weapons (vs.8).

There are enough problems with David’s story, but it is about to get worse. When I read these narratives, to me it is like watching a movie. I can just see it in my mind. The camera now is going to turn to Doeg, the Edomite, one of Saul’s thugs. There is only a glance here but like a great British mystery, this glance has its ramifications coming.

I wonder why David dealt with Ahimelech the way he did? Maybe he was trying to save the priest from any true knowledge in case Saul asked him directly about it. If he didn’t inform Ahimelech of the true reason, King Saul could not rightly discipline him for it. I believe this was the reason. The text doesn’t seem to condemn, or approve David’s actions in this matter. David was indeed panicking here. He seems to be at his wits end and near to be putting to death. The writer here is just reporting the facts pertaining to David and his situation.

So what does God seem to be doing here? We can see that in all of the fear and confusion of David The Lord God provided David with what he needed. God sustained him in the situation. These were maybe small items, but they were needed to sustain his life. The bread that he received was no ordinary bread either. He received “holy bread” that was before the “presence” which only the priests were to eat. Every Sabbath 12 loaves of this bread were piled on the table on the north side of the holy place in the tabernacle. They were to be a quiet witness that The Lord God keeps His people and supplies their needs. Ahimelech’s holy bread becomes here David’s daily bread.

Some of you may say that David does not deserve the provisions because of his deceptions. But what’s new? If you or I had to wait for our daily bread because we deserved it, then we would all have starved a long time ago. We would all be skeletons at best. We all receive our daily bread not because we are godly but because The Lord God is gracious.

I’m thinking that maybe some of us may be under heavy loads right now. You may be facing job, financial, emotional, spiritual, or other terrible circumstances. Are you still eating every day? Doesn’t God’s small provisions in the midst of your big problems tell you something? Doesn’t it assure you that God has not cast you off?

He is the great Provider because He is gracious. Trust upon His never ending grace to get you through your current difficulties. He NEVER forsakes His people!



Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Christianity, David, Religion


Tags: , , , , , , ,

13 responses to “I Samuel 21:1-9 David’s Desperation Part 1

  1. Sharon

    March 16, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Amen. Thank you. You have been an encouragement to me today. God bless your day. Continually seeking Him, Sharon


  2. Petra

    March 16, 2014 at 9:47 am

    “But what’s new? If you or I had to wait for our daily bread because we deserved it, then we would all have starved a long time ago.” Amen. Thank God!


    • Levi Thetford

      March 16, 2014 at 9:48 am



      • Petra

        March 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

        Grace indeed! At every turn! A very blessed Lord’s Day to you.


        • Levi Thetford

          March 16, 2014 at 10:00 am

          I’m doing a no no. I’m in SS class now. Don’t tell anyone.


          • Petra

            March 16, 2014 at 10:02 am

            Haha, was wondering about that. I’m not at church at all today. Perhaps I’m the guiltier one.


  3. christinachase

    March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am

    “We all receive our daily bread not because we are godly but because The Lord God is gracious.” So profoundly true! This past week, I have been learning (God has been showing me) the deep importance of remembering this in all aspects of life. It’s no surprise at all that I read your post today to help me even more!
    Pax Christi


    • Levi Thetford

      March 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

      He is truly gracious to His people always. I’m glad you stopped by today. Come again. Blessings today! Levi


  4. theywhoseek

    March 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    “God sustained him” . . . sometimes it hard to see God working in our lives as we are going through the storm . . . but always when looking back I can see how God sustained me in so many little ways, in some ways bigger, and with a few true miracles too. Indeed, not deserving but by His grace and grace along! ~ Blessings ~


    • Levi Thetford

      March 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Blessings to you too. Sometimes that’s what we need to do is remember what He has done for us in the past, and will do so again. Thank you!



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