“THE CHOSEN ONE” (1 Samuel 21)


The Chosen One – Sermon by Egan yip

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Welcome back to our weekly Sunday message. We’re going to start today the same way we do it every Sunday: with a review of what we talked about last time we were here.

Last week we went over a very familiar story—perhaps the biggest story about David that everyone would instantly recognize: the story of David and Goliath. But let’s go back a bit further to explain why it’s so significant. Even though David was anointed king, he didn’t just instantly become king. Saul was still king. It’s not like in the case of Saul where there was no king, so it was easy enough to anoint and put him in power. With David, things were not going to be that simple. David was anointed but he was still young and essentially an ordinary shepherd boy. So it’s almost like nothing really happened. We had this big event for David, and this ceremony and he was told that he would become king one day. But until that day comes, life for David would resume as usual. And then we came to this story of him and Goliath. He went to the frontlines with the only purpose of delivering food. He was just a delivery boy. He didn’t know what was going on. But this would end up becoming one of the biggest moments in his life. He got a time to shine.

While everyone else cowered in fear at Goliath’s challenge, David said he would go. He managed to convince Saul somehow and went out to face Goliath. He took out Goliath with one shot and this led the Israelite army to victory.

The lesson we learned was from David’s attitude over the whole thing. He didn’t do it for fun. He didn’t do it for fame or money. He just did it for the glory of God. So we’re not supposed to marvel at how this boy skillfully took down a giant. We’re supposed to marvel at how God can accomplish things through us for His glory. And the verse we looked at from 1 Corinthians reinforced that lesson. In whatever we do, if we do it with the right heart and for the glory of God, we can expect great things. This is what sets apart our faith from others. We’re not here for God to serve us. We’re here to serve God. If all you ever do is think about yourself and serving yourself, then your faith in God won’t amount to anything. We can only accomplish God’s will when we put Him first.

Now we’re briefly going to go over what happens as a result of David’s victory. Jonathan admires David for what he did and they quickly become best friends. And it makes sense because they both love God and trust God. Saul takes David in and gives him a position of leadership in the army. So David is in the big leagues now. No longer is he just an ordinary shepherd boy. He’s a soldier. He’s a war hero. And as David becomes more and more successful in battle, Saul starts losing his mind. When they come back from war, the people sing songs about how much better David is over Saul. It was looking like the people loved David more. And Saul becomes mad jealous and afraid.

At first Saul tries to get back at David by randomly throwing spears at him while they are in the palace. But that didn’t work out because David was good at dodging them. Then Saul hatches a plan by offering his daughter in marriage to him. The price for her hand in marriage amounts to a hundred dead philistines. Saul hopes David would fall in battle. David comes back to get married after killing two hundred philistines.  This made Saul even more angry and afraid. He had enough of this sneaking around and spoke openly about killing David and started throwing spears at David again.

Long story short, Saul keeps trying to kill David, Jonathan keeps trying to save David from Saul, and eventually David just runs away. He can’t take it anymore. After meeting up with Jonathan for one last time, he goes on a journey, fleeing for his life.

And that’s where we’ll be starting our message for today. With that said, let’s start reading the Bible.  1 Samuel 21:1-3.

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.”

David is on the run. And what we have here is a very interesting look into the lengths that David goes to survive. This is what you expect and imagine when you hear about a manhunt. David is like a fugitive on the run. He didn’t do anything wrong, but the king is out to kill him—which means the whole government is out to get him. There’s no real safe place for him to hide. He first goes to a place called Nob and meets with a priest. And in this scene, we already see that the priest suspects something. It’s exactly the same reaction we got when Samuel went to Bethlehem because nobody wants to mess with the king. The priest is trembling and asks the big question: why are you alone? It’s suspicious. David isn’t an ordinary person. Not anymore. He’s not supposed to be alone. He’s a big shot commander in the army. But now here he is: all alone. What’s the deal? And just look at David’s explanation: “I’m on a special, secret mission from the king to meet some people and no one should hear of it.” I’m sure that’s the best, convenient excuse David could come up with, and it could have sounded perfectly fine—until he starts asking for bread. Now it’s sounding really suspicious. Let’s see how the priest responds.

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.

This is how desperate David is. He’s just hungry. And there is no common bread. The priest doesn’t prohibit the holy bread from being eaten though. The priest is fine with it as long as the ones to eat it have kept themselves holy. But David’s response is still an interesting one. Knowing fully well about the holy bread, he chooses to reply in a way that is everything the priest wants to hear. David seems to be alone at this time, so if he is talking about himself in the 3rd person then it’s not entirely a lie. But certainly doesn’t seem to be the truth either. Verses 8-9.

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

Again, David is continuing with his story. Now he wonders if he can get a weapon because “the king’s business required haste.” His excuse for not even having a weapon is that he was too much in a hurry. I really wonder what kind of expression David had on his face when this happened. I wonder what kind of thoughts he had in his mind during this whole exchange of words. David is just completely creating this big story to cover up his tracks. But it doesn’t matter. No matter what he does or what he says—even if it seems kind of suspicious—the priest believes him. And we see David get through this supply run safely and quickly.

And now let’s finish reading this chapter. 10-15.

10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances,

‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”

12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

David flees from Saul and winds up in the presence of Achish, king of Gath. Now to clarify, this is one of kings among the philistines. David feels so threatened by Saul that he would rather run and hide in the land of their enemies, the philistines. These are the same guys that David has been fighting and slaying throughout his career. As we read earlier, he even killed 200 of them just so he could marry Saul’s daughter. Obviously, it’s not like David is enjoying his time there, as it states that he was much afraid of Achish. But one does not just wind up in another country simply by accident. David made the conscious decision to be there and take his chances with the philistines instead of just sneaking around Israel. And we see here, yet again, that David escaped danger by pretending. This time, instead of pretending to be on some secret mission for the king, David just pretends to be absolutely nuts. And it works. He gets out of that situation alive.

Now then, why did we read this story? Why did I go through all that backstory even? It’s because I really wanted you all to get a good look at the life of David. It’s a very strange and complicated journey.

A few weeks ago, we talked about David’s anointing. David was the chosen one. And usually, when you are the chosen one, that’s when things are supposed to get good. I used the example of the story of King Arthur. He takes the sword out of the stone, and there you have it. He’s king. That’s the same thing with a lot of fairy tales and legends. The main character starts out as an ordinary person, something happens, they find out they are the chosen one, and then they live happily ever after.

That’s not what happens here. That’s not the story of King David. The anointing was only the beginning. David is anointed and finds out that he will become king. And then what happens? All of this. He rises to fame, but the fame backfires. Saul keeps trying to kill him. Now he’s on the run, and this is nowhere near the end of his troubles. This is only the beginning. For a long time, he will not become king. For a long time, he will have to survive as basically a fugitive on the run. He will have to hide his identity and go through all these trials and tribulations. This cannot be the life that he wanted. But it is the life he was given.

And this is story we see time and time again in the Bible. Jacob had to go off on his own, taking nothing much with him on his journey, because Esau wanted to kill him. Joseph had to endure slavery and prison for no good reason. Moses had to escape to the wilderness and live there for 40 years because Pharaoh wanted him dead. And now we have David in the same boat. He is destined for great things. And when you hear that you think that having a great destiny should make things easier but it’s not. Before he can be a part of those great things, before he can really take up the role as king, he has to go through so much trouble and danger.

I remember one time someone just commented very casually, “You must really be blessed by God.” Surely, we are blessed by God. But when I think back to that time, when that person said it, I feel like the reason that person made that comment is because of the false assumption that life becomes blessed and wonderful and peaceful when you follow God. But that’s not how it works. What we just read shows that David’s life is a troubled one. The idea that following God leads to material blessings is something we call a “prosperity gospel.” It is what a lot of people teach and it is what a lot of people hope for and wish for. But it’s not what the Bible teaches. As we go through life, and we experience difficulties and hardships, we may want to give up. We may wonder if there’s any point to it all. But I truly believe there is meaning in everything that we experience—whether it is “good” or “bad.”