1 Samuel 22:13 Saul said to [Ahimelech, the loyal Temple priest], “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and enquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?”
This verse is a stark reminder of what a terrible mess sin has made, and continues to make, of our world. Firstly, Saul’s accusation against Ahimelech was completely unfounded and unjust. We see from the previous chapter that Ahimelech, the priest, was totally innocent in his helping of David to escape from Saul. David had deceived Ahimelech by pretending to be on an urgent mission for his father-in-law, King Saul, and the priest would have no reason to doubt this story. “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household?”, he protested (14), and this was a very reasonable and honest assumption for him to have made. And yet, in spite of all this, he and his whole family and community were slaughtered by Saul for trying honestly to help David! Secondly, there is Saul’s irrational attitude. He accused David of rebelling against him and seeking his downfall when the truth of the situation was, in fact, the exact opposite: it was Saul who was in pursuit of David, and on at least two subsequent occasions David would mercifully spare Saul’s life, at the risk of his own because, at that time, Saul was ‘the LORD’s anointed’ (24:6; 26:9). Thirdly, although David’s deception led to the death of many innocent people, the Lord Jesus himself gave his tacit approval of his action by using it as an example to answer his critics concerning his ‘breaking’ of the Sabbath commandment (Matthew 12:1-8). Whether we like it or not, sin delivers to us all a very unjust world, and many things happen in our own experience of it that leave us bewildered, and even questioning God’s character. But, on the basis of this story, I rest in, and humbly submit to, God’s mercy and providence: Like Ahimelech, Jesus, the Innocent One, has died to enable me to escape the consequences of sin; God knows all about sin and its consequences and he understands when I am treated unjustly by others, and when I behave irrationally towards others because of my sinful heart, and he still works out his sovereign purposes in my life in spite of all the effects of sin – my sin or the sin of others (Romans 8:28)! “How good is the God we adore! Our faithful, unchangeable friend: his love is as great as his pow’r and knows neither knows measure nor end. For Christ is the First and the Last; his Spirit will guide us safe home; we’ll praise him for all that is past and trust him for all that’s to come” (Joseph Hart).
– Bruce Christian