Category Archives: The Blog

The Holy Bread

Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. 1 Samuel 21:1-6.

The priest is willing to break with tradition to feed a hungry man, but he does not make this distribution lightly. The men should at least keep themselves from sexual relations as an acknowledgement of the sanctified nature of this bread.

This was not a matter of obeying a specific law so much, but being mindful of God’s presence. And God is always present with us. As gods priests, those of us who believe extend our awareness of God’s presence by declaring it to those who do not believe.

Neither Blood nor Power

So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him. 1 Samuel 20:24-34.

David wanted his friend, Jonathan, to understand that the king wanted him dead. Jonathan can’t believe his father wants to kill David. So David cooks up this scheme to prove it, and Jonathan is nearly killed himself when the king shows his outrage at his son for protecting his rival.

Jonathan is a noble person, who lives and admires his friend more than he wants to be king himself. He chooses David’s side because he knows he has been a loyal servant to the king who is favored by God. And that is all that matters to Jonathan. He does not betrayed his friend nor his God for his father, nor for his own claim to power. Jonathan wants what is right, and neither blood nor power can turn him aside.

Sometimes our family or our ambition cause us to remove God and His kingdom from the top of our priorities. But God always remains on top. Do we choose to be on top with him, or grovel for the crumbs in the earth below?

The Kindest Opposition

Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Samuel 19:18-25.

Causing someone to be so overcome by the Holy Spirit that he prophesies naked seems like an oddly gentle way to stop someone from doing wrong. Saul was still king, and God would let David become king in due time, but in the meantime, Saul needed to be restrained.

This is not a template for behaving in some out of control way because, “he got the Holy Ghost!!” This was a miracle and it had a purpose. It cannot be claimed because you got chill bumps in church during the sermon.

The Bromance

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 1 Samuel 18:1-5.

Some modern writers have made this relationship about homosexuality, but there is no record of this. It is the wishful thinking of perversely motivated writers who will sexualize anything they can. Men have many friends, but once in awhile you are lucky enough to have a friend you greatly admire for his character qualities. I had a friend like that when I was 18. He was a bit older than I was, and I hung on his every word. He was an adult, and he helped me make some important decisions.

Jonathan was a real war hero himself, but he saw in David a hero and inspirational leader. He was not so insecure that he would be jealous of him, but appreciated his courage and faith. Saul was quite insecure.

Truly admirable men are fairly uncommon. They make a lot of insecure people jealous, and they attract ambitious men who want a mentor. You can love such a man without it turning to perversion.

Big Talker

And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.” 1 Samuel 17:41-47.

David went up against Goliath with a sling and a stone, but also with much more than that. He came with boldness, and confidence that God was with him. He had taken on challenges before while protecting his father’s sheep. And he credited God with killing the bear and the lion. And now his zeal for God’s honor propelled him forward.

This is a rare thing; not that God will deliver us, but the boldness and eagerness to honor God’s name. We are all heirs of God’s covenant, and our faith in Christ comes with spiritual weapons that are able to invade the physical world. But we must dare to speak it and do it, even though the rest of the congregation trembles.