In our last study we looked through verse 18. I would like to go back to verse 18 and look at a truth that we just touched on. We hit on it last time just a little. There is a teaching in it that I don’t want us to miss. ” Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod (I Sam.22:18).
This is a brutal and unjust slaughter by Doeg. But this event had already been foretold back in I Samuel 2:30-36.
“Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”
Doeg’s slaughter of the priest of Nob was a fulfillment of this prophecy against the house of Eli. When God says something we can rest assured that it will occur. This prophecy was written 40-50 years before it actually occurred. And yet, don’t blame God for the happening but blame the Edomite Doeg and the antichrist who is over him, Saul. They destroyed the priests of God and it is Saul and Doeg who are fully responsible. This is a clear fulfillment of the word of God. When you put all of this together it is plain truth that even God’s enemies are used to bring God’s Word to pass.
There is one principle that I would like to highlight. It’s that we can mightily attack the enemy and at the same time be committing exactly what the enemy wants. That’s the way it was with Saul and Doeg. Even in their evil attack upon God’s priests they in fact fulfilled God’s word. God’s enemies actually prove the truthfulness of His Word: and in the their treachery carry out God’s will.
This truth is a little mysterious, and yet I think is plain, but still not simple. Peter put all of this in one verse. “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” ( Acts 2:23). This is really very reassuring to me. When we know that as men oppose God and His people they will only fulfill the Word of God, but it doesn’t take away any sorrow or grief or suffering. I think that this is the secret to victory. I Samuel 22 is as clear as any other text that I know on this. There is no way that God’s enemies will ever get the upper hand. They are completely outdone whether they know it or not. If they knew what they were up against they would run for all they are worth.
We can see from these texts that God’s words of judgment are certain, and just as certain are His words of consolation to us. Let’s rest in this truth!!