Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, it does!
Perhaps that is what David was thinking after this makeshift army of indebted, discontented and distressed men gathered to him in the cave of Adullam where he was hiding from the wrath of Saul.
A few lessons back we mentioned someone named Doeg and said he would show up again. Well, here he is, the infamous tattletale. Doeg reported to Saul that Ahimelech had helped David in his escape. Furious, King Saul sends for Ahimelech and all his family. Standing before the throne of Saul, the priest, Ahimelech, courageously defended David and assured the king that David was loyal to the throne. Seething with rage, Saul ordered the murder of all the priests but his guards refused to carry out such a heinous order. So Doeg, the Edomite, volunteered to do the dirty work. He single-handedly murdered eighty-five priests and all their family members with them – women, children and even infants. Only one escaped, Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. He hurried to where David was and informed him of the mass murder of the priests, including his own father.
Grieved, David responded, ‘That day when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your father’s whole family. Stay with me; don’t be afraid; the man who is seeking your life is seeking mine also. You will be safe with me.’ I Sam. 22:22-23
We get a glimpse of David’s horror and sorrow over the massacre of the priests from Psalm 52 which in some Bible translations has the subtitle ‘When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him, David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.’
Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit.
You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue!
Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin; He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Psalm 52:1-5
One might think that David has Doeg in mind as he writes these verses but in vs. 7, we learn exactly who he’s thinking of. Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others. Ps. 52:7 He is clearly talking about King Saul.
This last verse highlights a horrific character flaw in Saul. He ‘grew strong by destroying others.’ Putting other people down in order to make oneself look good is the ultimate manifestation of extreme insecurity. It is also sin! We are commanded to love our fellow man, not destroy him. Jealousy and rage motivated Saul to seek to destroy anyone in his path whom he perceived as a threat. Have you ever know someone like that? The reality is that when putting someone else down, we say more about ourselves than we do about the other person. By God’s grace may none of us ever behave in such a way!
Now look at vs. 8: But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. Remember now – David is in a cave, on the run from the king who wants to kill him in cold blood! Yet look again at his personal response to the tragic news. He recognizes that God is not the author of destruction – Saul was. He reminded himself that it is God who repays evil and that our hope must be in Him. He also declares that no matter how bad things look, God is a good God.
We are seeing increasing horrors going on around our world at present – beheadings, murders, violence and destruction of property. It could – and may – get worse. How do we handle such misery?
The only way we can is the way David did. We must focus our thoughts on the God who sees all and knows all. His revealed Word is an anchor for us when we feel as though we are being tossed about by every wave of wickedness. Holding on to one’s faith in the face of unexpected and un-explainable tragedy is the grace God offers us in this hour. Maintaining a consistent attitude of gratitude for all that God has already done for us strengthens our faith in difficult times. For…God is GOOD…ALL the time.
Though others may criticize or ridicule you for keeping faith in the face of horror, be assured that you will be richly rewarded for your faith and that your stand is deeply pleasing to the God you love. Be strong, as Moses said to Joshua. Be courageous, for the Lord is with you as He was with David!