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a woman in anguish April 18 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Samuel 22:6-23; Psalm 52; 109; 1Samuel 23

Victims of Circumstance

If a person were to max out his/her credit cards and become bankrupt, would that bad behavior affect his/her family? Probably. If a person is involved in an immoral relationship with someone who is not his/her mate, will that affect his/her family? Eventually, yes. If a person is jailed for a crime, will that affect his/her family? Certainly. No man or woman is an island, totally independent of others. Even if a person is a hermit, if he commits any wrong doing outside of himself he will undoubtedly affect others; we cannot assume that he won't. Sometimes we are the victims of the crimes or bad behavior of others. What can we do? In our Bible study today, David, the great military leader and son-in-law to King Saul, faced this problem.

David was a pursued man. Jealousy fueled Saul's pursuit of David. David had done nothing wrong, but Saul wanted to kill him to remove his perceived rival; so David ran. The first place David ran to was Nob, where the tabernacle of the LORD was residing. Perhaps he went to inquire of the LORD as to why he was being pursued, but he lied about his purpose for being there. Ahimelech, the priest at Nob (probably the high priest because Nob was one of the towns where priests lived, and it is obvious from the reading that Ahimelech was the leader), believed David's story and gave him shelter, food and even a weapon to defend himself. Ahimelech was totally unaware of the true situation and acted in innocence to help David and his men. Unfortunately, Doeg the Edomite, a chief shepherd of Saul, was there to witness the interaction between David and the priest. Doeg's name means “fearful.” He was well named for Doeg was a coward. Instead of confronting David himself, he went and told Saul of the incident (for a price). Doeg then followed Saul to Nob. Saul ordered his men to kill Ahimelech, but they feared the LORD and would not do it. Saul would not even do it. Instead, he told Doeg to do it. Hiding behind the authority of Saul and sure of his rewards, Doeg took action in killing not only the priests, but their whole town including their families and their livestock. They were unavoidable victims of evil. One priest, Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. David gave him refuge because he felt responsible for victimizing the town and priests of Nob. Sometimes we become unwary victims. We can plead our case and hope that reason will prevail, but ultimately we must commit our lives to God for his will to be done.

Psalm 52 refers to this incident with Doeg. Doeg was very wicked and would do anything for a price. David, the writer, said,

Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others! But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever, (Psalm 52:7-8, NIV).
We do not have to destroy others to get ahead; we do not have to victimize the innocent. Instead, we can choose to trust in God's unfailing love and experience his favor.

David was a warrior. He heard a report that the city of Keilah needed help. God sent him to deliver Keilah, but the city was hemmed in with bars and gates. Saul saw his opportunity because David was hemmed in as well. God protected David by telling him of Saul's plans, and so David left the city. God also sent Jonathan, Saul's son and David's best friend, to encourage him. Still, Saul hotly pursued David, but when Saul came too close, God stirred up Israel's enemies. Saul abandoned the pursuit to defend Israel against Philistine attacks. He had to break off the pursuit when David was almost in his grasp. Though David was pursued, God showed him he still cared for him and protected him. Just as David experienced trials, God may not take our trials away, but we can trust him to be our defense and deliverance (more...).

Lessons to live by:

•  Sometimes we become unwary victims. We can plead our case and hope that reason will prevail, but ultimately we must commit our lives to God for his will to be done.

•  We do not have to destroy others to get ahead; we do not have to victimize the innocent. Instead, we can choose to trust in God's unfailing love and experience his favor.

•  God will bring trouble on those who bring trouble to others.

•  As David experienced trials, God may not take our trials away, but we can trust him to be our defense and deliverance (more...).

Today's Bible memory verse:

Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.” (NIV).

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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