Sharon and Nicole talk about one of the darkest incidents in King David's life today on the podcast. It's a horrifying story of betrayal and the slaughter of the innocent. David has been on the run for years, and it isn't getting better. And yet, he still believes. He still turns toward God instead of away from Him. How do we have that kind of perseverance? Join us. Review us. Share us. Please and Thank You!!
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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Life is hard at times. Our hearts often get bruised and battered yet God offers us words that help and heal those hearts when we turn to him. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his word and find strength for the day. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode 87, The Persevering Heart. Today we’re going to read a pretty awful story. It shows just how wicked humans can be when they walk away from God. David will teach us some lessons about persevering in prayer and faith when the shocking and traumatic events of life occur. Sharon, you’ve had some trauma in your life as I have in mine. I’ve experienced the loss of a child, the scare of almost losing two others in pregnancy, the betrayal of someone I trusted and a few scary medical conditions for my husband and I both. Life is not without its struggles.
Isn’t that the truth? I don’t think any of us escape, at least some trauma in life. It can be a sudden car accident that changes life forever. It could be the loss of a job or a home due to fire or tornado or flooding. Whatever it is it interrupts life and horrifies us. I’ve experienced Ray, going to war, multiple miscarriages of grand babies we prayed would live, sudden hearing loss, followed by Meniere’s Disease and seizures several years later. It’s just a fact, hard things happen. And they happen to people who are minding their own business and not dabbling in evil ways. (Nicole: Yeah) Right. Well, how do we make sense of that? That’s actually what we’re gonna talk about today during this podcast. So let, let me just stop and pray as we begin. (Nicole: Yeah) Okay. This is a heavy one today. Father God, as we talk about trauma and tragedy today, give us your spirit as a guide over our mouths and over our hearts. Lord, may our words bring healing, comfort, and peace to any who listen, whose nerves are shot and raw because of recent tragedy. Lord God, you see, you feel and you care. Please help all who listen to sense your presence right in the midst of the hard, In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.
Amen. Well, let’s start today with a story that eventually leads to the trauma. We’ll be reading in 1 Samuel 21:1-10, and I’ll start us off. “So David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech , the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. Are you alone, he asked, why is no one with you?”
“The king has sent me on a private matter, David said, he told me not to tell anyone why I’m here. I have told my men where to meet me later.”
“Now, what is there to eat? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.”
“Well, 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.”
“Don’t worry, David replied, I never allow my men to be with women when they are on a campaign. And since they stay clean, even on ordinary trips, how much more on this one?”
“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.”
(Oh, that’s good.) “Now Doeg, the Edomite, Saul’s chief herdsman, was there that day having been detained before the Lord.”
“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.”
“I only have this 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. There is nothing like it, David replied, give it to me.”
“So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath.” Well, this is one tricky little story. (Nicole: Yeah) And even Bible scholars, which we are not (Nicole: Nope) find it hard to completely understand it. So let’s start with David’s situation. He is super hungry and so are his men, six hundred, right?
Yeah, last we counted.
At last chat. Good grief. And he’s really asking for very little isn’t he? He’s asking for five loaves of bread. (Nicole: Yeah) So Nicole, why do you think Ahimelech trembled when he saw David?
Hmm. I wonder if he had heard about some of the trouble that was going between David and Saul. So maybe he was worried that this wasn’t gonna go well for him if he helps David.
I think so. Yeah.
You know? (Sharon: Yeah) So I think some of David’s inner circle, I think people are, some of Saul’s people are starting to see that Saul, I mean, at this point he can’t hide his
His madness. Literally.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And speaking of that, I find that David’s use of the words, the king sent me on a secret mission, the king? Interesting.
He’s on the king’s business. Mmmm. What king? It doesn’t seem like it would be on Saul’s business as Saul wants him dead. Right?
The TV show The Chosen interpreted it as David referring to the ultimate King, God. I’m on the King’s business, but he really meant God, or it could have meant he’s the king, eventually.
I don’t know. But Nicole, in your research, what did you come up with? Because this is weird. I’m on the king’s business.
This is weird. It was interesting. I couldn’t imagine he was talking about Saul either, so I kind of assumed he was talking about Jesus, but I looked it up in the Matthew Henry Commentary. And he seems to think that David just outright lied about being on a mission from Saul.
Which, you know, I thought was interesting. But Matthew Henry was referring to the Psalms where David said he would visit the temple with multitudes of people to go and worship God before his fall from grace with Saul. And now he was coming with just a few men, kind of out in the beginning of the temples, that would’ve seemed odd to Ahimelech and maybe caused him to ask David why he was alone or why he wasn’t here with his normal like entourage. Like, okay, something’s not right.
You used to come here with all the pomp and circumstance and all the courtly people. And now you’re just here. You don’t have weapons. I think he was kind of like, what’s happening?
Yeah. Yeah. Very uneasy.
You know, so maybe David panicked and maybe that’s why he said, oh, I’m here on business from the king.
Yeah. Yeah. Or maybe he was just trying to help Ahimelech not get in trouble.
Ahimelech could have said if he got caught, he said he was on the king’s business.
Right. Then he wouldn’t have to lie.
Which would reflect back on David.
But a little tricky, what’s going on here?
Yeah. So Ahimelech doesn’t actually have food except the bread of the Presence. Well, what in the world, Nicole, is the bread of the Presence?
Yeah. So in the Old Testament in Exodus and Leviticus, we find references to it, kind of telling the priest how to prepare it and to make twelve loaves and all. And it was this very special, holy bread basically, and not meant for the common folk. And it was set out in the temple before the Lord as a symbol, but that the priests were able to eat it once a week in the special holy place the priest would go to. But in the New Testament, Jesus mentions David eating it so he must not have minded.
Because Jesus was using that story of David as an example, when they were giving him and his disciples a hard time about breaking off the heads of grain and eating it on the Sabbath. So he had said, you know, the rules are great, but I’m greater than the Sabbath.
So maybe in times of great need, it was okay for the bread to be eaten by the people.
It must have been. It must have been.
It wasn’t holy enough, where David was struck down dead anyway, we know that.
Right. Right. And Jesus did point to it as you know, this is was okay in these circumstances. They were starving.
Yeah. So I think, you know, still kind of odd, but that’s all I found.
There it is. Well, that’s good. Okay. So he gets this bread. (Nicole: Yeah) And David also gets Goliath’s sword back, which he had initially kept.
That was kind of interesting.
When he first sliced off—
I thought so.
Yeah. So he must have donated it?
Or put it in the keeping of the priest?
An offering to the the Lord or something?
Or I don’t know how it wound up at Ahimelech’s house, but there it is. So life’s getting scary for David and he actually needs a sword at this point. And he’s got men to feed. It’s desperate. But actually this isn’t even the trauma. I mean, this is pre trauma.
But wait, there’s more.
This is still to come. So let’s read 1 Samuel 22:5-19, and see what came of David’s visit to the priest, trying to keep himself and his men alive. And I’m gonna start with verse five. So now we’re getting into the sadder part. “One day, the prophet Gad told David, leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah. So David went to the forest of Hereth.”
“The news of his (David’s) arrival in Judah soon reached Saul. At the time the king was sitting beneath the tamarisk trees on the hill of Gibeah, holding his spear and surrounded by his officers.”
“Listen here, you men of Benjamin, Saul shouted to his officers when he heard the news. Has that son of Jesse promised every one of you fields and vineyards? Has he promised to make you all generals and captains in his army?”
“Is that why you have conspired against me, for not one of you told me when my own son made a solemn pact with the son of Jesse? You’re not even sorry for me. Think of it. My own son encouraging him to kill me as he is trying to do this very day.”
Oh, my word.
Hear him whine.
Whining. Yeah. Also lying.
Also flat out lying.
Uhhuh. So I’m going to call D O E G, Doeg, as you did, because this is a really bad guy.
He sounds like a Doeg.
And it just, he sounds like a Doeg. I have no idea if that’s how it’s pronounced, it could be Do-egg? I have no idea. Anyways. “Then Doeg, the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul’s men spoke up. When I was at Nob, he said, I saw the son of Jesse talking to the priest, Ahimelech, son of Ahitub.”
(Ugh.) “Ahimelech consulted the Lord for him. Then he gave him food and the sword of Goliath, the Philistine.”
“King Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and all his family who served as priests at Nob.”
“When they arrived Saul shouted at him, listen to me, you son of Ahitub.”
“You son of Ahitub. What is it my king, Ahimelech asked?”
“Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, Saul demanded? Why did you give him food and a sword? Why have you consulted God for him? Why have you encouraged him to kill me as he is trying to do to this very day?”
Oh my goodness. He lies.
He was paranoid wasn’t he?
This is after David twice has said, look, I could have killed you and I didn’t,
Oh, my word. Yeah. And he still thinks he’s after him.
Saul. Saul. Oh, man.
“But sir, Ahimelech replied, is anyone among all your servants as faithful as David, your son-in-law? Why he is the captain of your bodyguard and a highly honored member of your household.”
“This was certainly not the first time I had consulted God for him. May the king not accuse me and my family in this matter for, I knew nothing at all of any plot against you.”
“You will surely die Ahimelech, along with your entire family, the king shouted.”
“And he ordered his bodyguards, kill these priests of the Lord for they are allies and conspirators with David. They knew he was running away from me, but they didn’t tell me. But Saul’s men refused to kill the Lord’s priests.”
Good for them.
Good for them.
“Then the king said to Doeg, you do it. So Doeg the Edomite turned on them and killed them all that day, 85 priests in all, still wearing their priestly garments.”
“Then he went to Nob the town of the priests and killed the priests’ families, men and women, children and babies, and all the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats.” Oh, this hurts to read it.
It does. It makes your tummy hurt.
For crying out loud, Ahimelech gave five loafs of bread and the sword that belonged to David to David and all these innocent people. And lies, lies all the way through it. David was not trying to kill Saul. (Nicole: No) This! Saul was really mentally ill by this point, I think.
Good grief. I can’t imagine running away from someone trying to harm me and having them declare it’s me trying to harm them. (Nicole: Yeah) I mean, what an upside down world? What a kaleidoscopic, Alice in Wonderland, nothing makes sense world.
Right. He was so delusional at that point.
And then the slaughter of so many innocents. Nicole, I have no words.
I know, it’s just awful, Sharon. It’s so incredibly hard to read when innocent people have to suffer for the evil or the cruelty of others, it just breaks my heart.
Yeah. Okay. So a really, really horrific tragedy took place.
Not our favorite part of the story.
Not our favorite part, but the truth. And horrific things happen. People can be so wicked. (Nicole: Yes) We all are capable of it. We all have sin in our heart.
When we fall away from God it’s a scary thing.
David has had quite the life since he was a little shepherd boy, anointed the king. Let’s list some of the traumas. He was given Saul’s daughter as a wife, and then Saul took her away and married her to another man. I feel that was traumatic.
Yeah, I would think so.
Yeah. And then he was super successful in battles for King Saul. And the result of that was Saul’s being jealous and trying to spear poor David when David was playing the harp to soothe him.
Can you imagine playing a soothing tune and then having to duck?
Yeah. You’re just probably into it.
His reflexes were amazing.
Also, he was God’s anointed so God reflexed him.
Good heavens. Oh. And then David’s hiding in caves, actually avoiding killing Saul when he has opportunity. Trying to make sense of how he’s supposed to ever be king when Saul is king and he is quite sure God doesn’t want him to kill Saul. He’s hungry and confused and even has to send his family and relatives to live in another country so they’re not slaughtered.
I feel like he’s had some trauma before this trauma.
And the burden of worrying about others that might pay for his, you know not his crimes, but for the fact that he’s being chased. (Sharon: Right) That’s really scary. (Sharon: Yeah) And then a priest who is kind to him, not only pays with his life, but 84 other priests pay along with theirs, and the entire town, down to the animals and the babies and the children. It’s just, who does that kind of wicked thing?
I know it.
Well, this is trauma. (Nicole: Mm-hmm) And confusion. And a huge moment where we cry out, where are you God, in all of this? Right. I mean, this is where human beings are like how? Why?
I don’t see the point in this? Why?
Yep. And you know, when people think that, you know, life is really awful now? Life’s always been awful.
I hate to say it. It just has.
There’s nothing new under the sun.
There isn’t, there are always sunsets and butterflies, you know, catching fireflies in jars.
And torture and horror and innocent people suffering.
It’s all this crazy mess. It always is. But here’s where we’re gonna go with this. We’re going to get to actually read David’s thoughts and prayers specifically about this event. I love it when the Psalm is labeled. So we know when he wrote the song.
Yes, me too.
Psalm 52 is unbelievable. So let’s see how David persevered. This is our whole theme today is persevering, a persevering heart. How do you keep going when you’re like trauma, after trauma, after trauma?
Right. And he’s like, every step leads to harm for other people, even.
Right. He’s hurting other people, not just himself. Sometimes it’s worse if you’ve hurt other people than if you’ve hurt yourself, you’d rather hurt yourself.
Right. Oh, poor David.
So, so how do you persevere? And yet he does. Yes, he does. So David persevered, when it surely looked like his life was going down into a flaming pit. So let’s read it together and Nicole, you can begin and absolutely read its title.
Yes. I know. It’s so specific. So this is Psalm 52, For the Choir Director, a Psalm of David regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, David has gone to see Ahimelech. So we know precisely this is what he wrote afterward.
And isn’t it interesting that that’s how David responds to things.
He writes a song.
I know. It helped him process all that trauma.
All right. So I’ll start with verse one. “Why do you boast about your crimes great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?”
“All day long you plot destruction, your tongue cuts like a sharp razor. You’re an expert at telling lies.”
“You love evil more than good and lies more than truth. Selah”
“You love to destroy others with your words, you liar.”
“But God will strike you down once and for all, God will put you from your home and uproot you from the lands of the living. Selah”
“The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say, look, what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
“But I am like an olive tree thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.”
“I will praise you forever, Oh God, for what you have done, I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.” Nicole, what are your favorite takeaways? I mean, there’s so much in this psalm.
There’s so much. I know. David has such a beautiful way with words and the honesty he always shows as he transitions from crying out about the horrible tragedy to finding comfort and rejoicing that evil will be destroyed. And then he ends with his love for God and for who God is. And it’s just so easy to relate to him, to walk through those feelings, you know? (Sharon: Yes) He doesn’t shy away from his darker emotions. He’s so honest with God.
He is. He is.
Yeah. And he’s so confident. Oh my goodness. The first verse, ‘why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?’ I mean—
He’s calling him out.
Yeah. There’s none of this, Oh, I’m such a loser. You know, nothing goes my way ever. It’s like, you know, Doeg, your days are numbered.
Yeah. What you’ve done is wrong.
Right. And you are gonna pay for it because God’s justice will be met. And I need to remember that when I get overwhelmed by evil people in the world. (Nicole: Yeah) Oh, they’re gonna face God someday.
God is God. He is just, and someday it will all be made right. And we ought to be on our knees, praying for mercy for these enemies, because it’s not gonna be pretty.
Oh yeah. No.
Oh, my goodness. So I just love that, that right at the beginning, you see David’s faith. Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? Doesn’t matter that you have the upper hand right now.
You’re in trouble.
You’re in big trouble. Doeg, you’re in trouble.
God’s gonna know, Doeg.
But it is so beautiful. And I just, I love how he always ends with, I will praise you forever, Oh God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name and in the presence of your faithful people.
So he ends on that good note again, like despair and triumph and promise and God’s got this.
Yes. I still trust you. And I’m gonna declare it in the presence of your faithful people. (Nicole: Yeah) And honestly, Nicole, when you see somebody do that, live that out, to be in the midst of a hard time and still declare that God is good.
It is such a testimony. Isn’t it?
Doesn’t it strengthen your faith though? It does. It really does.
Yeah. Yeah. Because that’s someone that is looking with the eternal perspective that too often we don’t have.
We get stuck in the middle of the trauma, you know, the one thing that’s going on right now, and we don’t look long term at the fact that he will make it right. It will be okay in the end. We need to pray for faith.
That’s a fruit of the Spirit to have this kind of faith that will help us stand even when it looks like everything is going terribly.
Mm-hmm. We have to learn to pick our heads up from looking down at like the mess, the mess. It’s like I get stuck looking down like, ugh, how are we getting out of this?
Yes, yes. Yes.
And then look up and go, okay, you’ve got this, God. Even if it feels horrible right now.
I think one of the most challenging things to my faith as an adult was watching my friend walk through the loss of a child. And when she found out that he had passed, she started singing a song in the hospital. She said, you give and take away, blessed be the name of the Lord. And I just, I couldn’t believe it. I said, oh, my word, at the lowest point of a mother’s life to lose a child. (Sharon: Yes) And she praised God immediately.
She praised him.
And watching her walk through that with God was just like, okay, God can get us through anything.
The deepest hurt, the worst trauma. God can. I’ve watched other people walk through it without God and it has been traumatic to see cause you think, oh no, we could never survive this trauma.
We can’t. Only with God, can we hope to survive the horrors of this life.
Right. Right. Right. And it’s the knowing what the truth is even when we aren’t seeing it played out the way we want.
And that’s what Job did and poor old Job.
I’ve been reading him lately.
I was too. That’s too funny.
Oh my goodness. And he has one line that says, though, he slay me, (Nicole: Yes) though God himself kill me, yet will I trust him.
Mmmm. And you know, I don’t know if Job ever knew that God— I wonder if God ever told Job what had happened, like why he had all those horrible things.
We don’t ever find out if God was like, oh, actually Job, it was a test. I let Satan kind of have at you. We don’t know if he ever found out why.
We have no idea if he ever found out. Right?
I mean, he knows now.
But during his lifetime, I mean, when he finally gets his answer from God, it’s all about who are you to question me?
I love that.
And Job’s like, okay, shutting my mouth.
Who are you, oh man? Where were you when I created the —-, you just kind of trembled a little listening to God, where were you when I made the earth?
Right, right, right. And then he kind of describes the incredible glory of creation.
And Job’s like, all right, so you kind of know what you’re doing.
So I should trust you.
Right. But nothing, that Job had done warranted what happened. And I think that’s the reason Job was given this task of showing the world the truth that God sometimes allows bad things to happen to people that have done nothing from a human perspective, (Nicole: Right) to deserve it.
And that’s something we have to remember with trauma is that we often don’t cause it, it just happens. I mean, David, he was just watching sheep and singing happy songs to God.
I know, he didn’t ask for any of that.
He never thought he was gonna be king. I doubt. I mean, you know, maybe he aspired to own a part of the farm someday.
Right. Wasn’t he the youngest or near the youngest?
He was the youngest. He probably wasn’t gonna have much of anything.
So he didn’t ask for all the torment and torture and cave dwelling and you know, wife, here have a wife. No, don’t have a wife.
That would be awful. If he took my Josh from me and said, just kidding, he gets to marry someone else. Sorry. That’s the worst.
Yeah, no kidding. I mean he had so much and yet this beautiful, beautiful psalm declares clearly, God’s got this.
I don’t have to see it to know that in the long haul, when this world is done and the next one unfolds, it will all be made right.
And that’s where we land as Christians so we are not as those who have no hope.
That’s why we have hope.
We do have hope and we have to trust even if we don’t see the end of the trauma. Why?
The reason why without knowing.
We may never know why.
No. And we have to kind of, leave that
And we can still say, I really don’t like it.
I have done that before. I do not like your plan.
You can write him a psalm and tell him how much you don’t like it.
And all these stories, the Bible says, were written to teach us. (Nicole: Yeah) In Romans. And they do, this is teaching me today that if trauma comes again and it may, it probably will, you know, in some form or another that’s that’s life that it’s come before (Nicole:; Mm-hmm) and God still has us held close even in the midst.
Hallelujah. So, well, let us pray. Oh Father, we wanna understand so much that we don’t and we confess to you that we like comfort. We like happy endings. We don’t wanna hurt. And we hate seeing the innocent suffer. And so do you. I thank you that you are just. I thank you that there will come a time when all will be made right. And we can trust that. I thank you that in our lowest moments, you don’t leave us ever. You are there hurting with us, holding us and willing to heal if we will just nestle in. Jesus, if someone is recently going through a trauma, listening to this today with wounds that are raw and sore and open, would you touch them, heal, hold, comfort. I ask this in your name. Amen.
Amen. We really hope this episode has helped you as you walk through your own hard places. We truly do love to pray for people. So write us and let us know how we can lift you up to God who sees you. You can find us at sweetselah.org/podcast. You can donate at sweetselah.org/donations, and you can meet us and tell us in person, if you choose to attend our retreat next year. We are so excited about the Refuge Retreat happening September 15th through the 17th, 2023. Want to come and hear great speakers, sit by a gorgeous New Hampshire lake in the fall and spend some time in quiet worship and rich conversations? Sign ups start in a few weeks. Go to Sweetselah.org/refugeretreat for more information. We would love to meet you. Next week we’re going to look at David from a different angle. Sometimes we let our anger get the best of us. And David almost does a really rotten thing because of some uncontrolled rage. We’re going to meet a gutsy woman who saves the day too. I’m looking forward to episode 88, The Humbled Heart. We hope you’ll join us for this. And until then have a great week.
Speaker 1 (27:01):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found @SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can print or download the transcript here.