Tag: Nob

Incremental Work with God Example from David

David-at-Nob Event Sequence

An event may appear insignificant but could be a key step that triggers a sequence of events toward fulfillment of God’s promise. Irrespective of the apparent significance of the trigger event, how a person responds could determine whether they follow or depart from God’s Schedule. Respond in every event knowing your next step could be ordered to open doors and release your blessing. An example: David’s meeting with priest of Nob Ahimelek appeared insignificant initially but triggered an event sequence that exposed Saul’s disrespect for clergy independence and authority, fulfilled God’s promise of punishment to Eli, and provided David a benefit that endured through almost the remainder of his life. David’s interactions with Ahimelek in the meeting conveyed compassion that likely contributed to his blessing.

Jesus teaching from boat
Jesus teaching from boat TheGlobalGospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

David’s meeting with Ahimelek the priest of Nob is important for its effect on subsequent events, though the meeting itself appears insignificant. The sequence of events triggered by the meeting include Saul’s massacre of the priests of Nob, which exposed his disrespect for clergy independence and authority while fulfilling God’s promise of punishment to Eli and his descendants. Also, the event sequence resulted in a blessing for David: through Abiathar, son of Ahimelek (descendant of Eli), who escaped the massacre and served David for more than forty years as companion and clergy. Abiathar was retired from the priesthood at the conclusion of his service to David.

Massacre of the innocents
Massacre of the innocents
wikipedia.org

David had met with Ahimelek at Nob to request short-term food supply and weapon. Ahimelek provided him with leftover consecrated bread and the “…sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah…” [1 Samuel 21:9]. However, a sequence of events triggered by the meeting was more important than the items David received from Ahimelek. Therefore, David-Ahimelek meeting at Nob illustrates an event of little significance that triggered an event sequence (or cascading events) of great consequences. Furthermore, David’s response in the trigger event conveyed compassion that likely contributed to his blessing from the event.

The importance of the meeting derives from two occurrences. First, the interactions were witnessed by Doeg the Edomite, a servant of Saul serving a detention under the priest. Second, David showed concern for Ahimelek’s safety by withholding information regarding his dispute with Saul so Ahimelek could interact with him normally without taking a side in the dispute. He recognized Ahimelek needed protection from potential accusations by Saul regarding the interactions and did what he could to protect him. Although his compassion was not effective in protecting Ahimelek from Saul, David benefited immensely from the interactions, not because of the material items he received but because of subsequent events triggered by the interactions.

To understand the importance of David-Ahimelek meeting, we recall an antecedent event: a prophecy for Eli and his household and descendants, whereby God declared punishment on Eli for honoring his sons more than God “by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel” [1 Samuel 2:29]. God declared to Eli as follows: “The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age” [1 Samuel 2:31]. Further in Verse 33, he added: “Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.”

We discuss the event sequence triggered by David-Ahimelek meeting, focusing on Saul’s disrespect for the independence and authority of the clergy, how Saul’s massacre of the priests of Nob fulfilled God’s promise of punishment to Eli, and David’s benefit from the massacre that endured with him through almost the remainder of his life. The study adds to understanding that an event may appear insignificant but could be important as the trigger for an event sequence that leads to fulfillment of God’s promise.

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Punishment of Saul Conveys God’s Promise

Saul Violates Separation of State and Worship

Saul was punished swiftly with termination of his kingdom over Israel when he violated a principle of separation of state and worship. The punishment conveys a promise of God’s intervention to provide relief against a government that violates his principles. He provided principles to guide performance of individual responsibilities in government versus people relationships. Any person (leader or recipient of leadership) that violates the principles will be punished for the violation at a time and in a way of God’s choosing. Therefore, it is important to remain faithful and committed to Godliness even in the event of ‘bad’ government. The people must believe God and rely on him to guide interactions with the government.

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The separation of state and worship (see previous study under Separation of State and Worship) introduces two principles in people versus government relationships. First, government does not have authority to regulate worship, therefore, has no role in a person’s relationship with God. Second, God establishes a hierarchy of worship leadership (referred to as the clergy in modern-day societies) independent of state authority. The clergy is self-regulating and determines the training and qualification requirements for its membership. A king (or any other person in rulership position) is not a member of the clergy unless duly qualified by the appropriate regulatory authority.

Apparition of spirit of Samuel to Saul
Apparition of spirit of Samuel to Saul
wikipedia.org

King Saul violated both principles. He violated the second principle first when he assumed the authority of the clergy to lead burnt offering. He was supposed to wait for Prophet Samuel but “…felt compelled to offer the burnt offering” [1 Samuel 13:12] because he was overcome by fear of the apparently superior Philistine army. He believed that the kingship conferred on him the authority to lead offering, which was a violation of the second principle of separation of state and worship. Samuel rebuked Saul and informed him God will terminate his kingdom because he disobeyed the principle [1 Samuel 13:13–14]: “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue.”

Saul was not penitent after the violation and punishment because he went on to violate the first principle in a subsequent incident. The violation was that he failed to respect clergy independence. He was suspicious of an interaction between David and the priest of Nob, Ahimelek; assumed authority to interrogate the interaction; passed judgment against the clergy; and executed the judgment. On that day, he massacred 85 priests and destroyed their city, having accused one of them of conspiring against him with David [1 Samuel 22:13]: “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as it is this day?”

Punishment in Hungary
Punishment in Hungary
wikipedia.org

We discuss Saul’s violation of the principles of separation of state and worship and his punishment for the violation. The punishment was swift and conveys a promise that God will provide relief against a ruler that disobeys his principles. The events provide two lessons regarding people versus government relationships. First, the principles of separation of state and worship are commandments of God. He frowns at any person that disobeys his commandments. Second, God has provided principles to guide performance of individual responsibilities in government versus people relationships. Any person (leader or recipient of leadership) that violates the principles will be punished for the violation at a time and in a way of God’s choosing.

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David Departs from Saul and Begins to Build His Team

David Builds His Team

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After David left Saul’s service, he set out to build a team to protect him from Saul. He needed people, food and supplies, and weapon. He was joined initially by a group of four hundred men that needed relief under Saul’s administration. They would be unreachable to Saul’s people by teaming with David and at the same time help protect David by building a team around him. David’s relationship with this group illustrates an important principle of team building.

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