1 Samuel 21:1-15
21 David went to Ahimelek the priest at Nob. Ahimelek trembled with fear when he met him. He asked David, “Why are you alone? Why isn’t anyone with you?” 2 David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king gave me a special job to do. He said to me, ‘I don’t want anyone to know what I’m sending you to do. So don’t say anything about it.’ I’ve told my men to meet me at a certain place. 3 Do you have anything for us to eat? Give me five loaves of bread, or anything else you can find.” 4 But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any bread that isn’t holy. I only have some holy bread here. But it’s for men who haven’t slept with women recently.” 5 David replied, “Well, we haven’t slept with women recently. That’s the way it is every time I lead my men out to battle. We keep ourselves holy even when we do jobs that aren’t holy. And that’s even more true today.” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread. It was the only bread he had. It had been removed from the table that was in front of the Lord. On the same day, hot bread had been put in its place. 7 One of Saul’s servants was there that day. He had been made to stay at the holy tent for a while. He was Doeg from Edom. Doeg was Saul’s chief shepherd. 8 David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon. That’s because the job the king gave me to do had to be done right away.” 9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath, the Philistine, is here. You killed him in the Valley of Elah. His sword is wrapped in a cloth. It’s behind the sacred linen apron. If you want it, take it. It’s the only sword here.” David said, “There isn’t any sword like it. Give it to me.” 10 That day David ran away from Saul. He went to Achish, the king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish spoke to him. They said, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one the Israelites sing about when they dance? They sing, “ ‘Saul has killed thousands of men. David has killed tens of thousands.’ ” 12 David paid close attention to what the servants were saying. He became very much afraid of what Achish, the king of Gath, might do. 13 So he pretended to be out of his mind when he was with them. As long as he was in Gath, he acted like a crazy person. He made marks on the doors of the city gate. He let spit run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, “Just look at the man! He’s out of his mind! Why are you bringing him to me? 15 Don’t I have enough crazy people around me already? So why do you have to bring this fellow here? Just look at how he’s carrying on in front of me! Why do you have to bring this man into my house?”
David is on the run from King Saul and has left with nothing. He is alone (his men are to meet him elsewhere), he’s hungry (and is given the Bread of the Presence ‘Holy Bread’ from the temple) and unarmed (he has no sword – but in the temple is Goliath’s sword which David used to kill Goliath) when he goes to see Ahimelech the priest.
This passage made me think of the line in the song “when you come to the end of yourself…..Jesus is calling”.
Here David goes to the temple to the priest and he receives food and a sword.
It made me think about church and how each week as we gather together we receive what we need.
We receive “the bread” – which is the Word of God both spoken and in song, that is food for our souls. That as we ponder during the week on the message we received, it brings us nourishment, sustenance and life change.
We receive a sword. Ephesians 6 reminds me that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers (forces we cannot see). Each week we can take up our sword again and use it to defeat what tries to constrain us, mould us or rob us.
There is power and purpose in coming together each Sunday.
Lord, as we come together each Sunday, help us to hear what we need to hear and understand what to do with it. Help us to become more like you, so that we can be all that you want us to be.
Written by Ps. Sue Botta