Lighthouse Leader Study Guide Date: April 23, 2017 Series: The kings & the King: A Study of 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 21-22 This Week’s Printable Resources:
Overview of this Lesson
As we enter in 1 Samuel 21-22 in our study of “The kings and the King,” we see David at the lowest part of his life. Driven away from home, family, and friends, David is a hunted man. Saul is desperate to kill him, and will spare no one in his efforts to get David.
Once again, we see the contrast between David, a man after God’s own heart, and Saul. As David reaches the depth of despair, Saul becomes even more violent in his obsession to kill David. Through it all, however, God is working in David’s life.
This week we will zero in and focus on David’s life on the run. Specifically, we will watch as he takes shelter in a cave in an effort to hide from Saul. This proved to be a sacred refuge for David as he recorded in his journal. How do we know David kept a journal during his life? We have a copy of many of his entries. They are found in the Psalms.
Specifically, this week we will see three Psalms of David that were written during the period of time we are studying this week–Psalm 142, Psalm 57, and Psalm 34. David was thoughtful enough to include in the Psalm what was happening at the moment he wrote the Psalm. Psalm 142, for example, begins, “A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.”
Memory Verse for This Week
“And the king said, ‘You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.’ And the king said to the guard who stood about him, ‘Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.’” – 1 Samuel 22:16-17
This Week’s Core Practice
Joy (John 15:11): I have inner contentment and purpose in spite of my circumstances.
This Week’s Take Home Truth
“Having a heart for the Lord does not guarantee perfect circumstances, but it does garner us opportunities to showcase humble submission to God’s character-building process.”
1. Where do you tend to go when you are discouraged or depressed?
2. What kinds of trials tend to drain the joy from your life?
3. Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
Read the Text (1 Samuel 21-22)
This week we begin a four-part miniseries we are calling “Man on the Run.” This summarizes David’s life for this 10-year period of time. In today’s vocabulary, David was a “high value target.” He was the focus of an intensive manhunt by the forces and government of King Saul. Those loyal to David were considered the enemy of Saul, and Saul killed his enemies…even the priests of the Lord. Where does David turn when there is nowhere to turn? That’s the focus of this week’s lesson. 1 Samuel 21-22.
1 Samuel 21–22 (ESV)
David and the Holy Bread
1 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?” 2 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. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 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.” 5 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?” 6 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.
7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.
8 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.” 9 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.”
David Flees to Gath
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?”
1 Samuel 22
David at the Cave of Adullam
1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests of Nob
6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “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, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
4. What is happening to David in 1 Samuel 21-22?
David is entering the most difficult, challenging time in his life. In 1 Samuel 17-20 David started to learn of Saul’s fear and hatred of him, but now there is no doubt about it. David has become Public Enemy No. 1, a “high value target” being hunted by all the king of Israel and his vast army. Saul wants David dead. Not only does he want David dead, but he wants everyone who is close to David dead. This includes his family, his friends, his fellow soldiers. Anyone who is loyal to David is disloyal to Saul, and Saul is committed to wiping out all opposition to his authority as king.
Saul’s fear and motivation is foreign to us as Americans, but his logic is not uncommon in governments ruled by despots and authoritarian kings or dictators. When challenged, they kill. We see this in countries like North Korea or Syria, where no man, woman, or child is safe from the death squads of those in authority.
The Family of Nicholas II of Russia
One of the clearest examples of this kind of thinking in modern times happened in Russia in 1917/18. As revolution raged throughout Russia, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated his throne. After taking the Tsar and his wife and children captive, they were held for 11 months as prisoners. Determined to eliminate all hope that the Tsar would one day regain power, the Bolsheviks took Tsar Nicholas and his family into basement of the house in which they were being held prisoner and executed the entire family. The youngest son was 13 years old. The logic is simple: the children of today become the enemy of the future. Why take a chance? Wipe them all out.
This is Saul’s thinking. David is in a difficult time. Who can he trust? Saul is ready to reward greatly anyone who either kills David or turns him over to Saul’s forces.
5. How does Saul’s obsession to kill David impact Saul and those around him?
Saul’s mistrust of David continues to grow to the point it becomes an obsession. This obsession begins to impact Saul’s relationships of those around him:
- Saul becomes suspicious of his son Jonathan because Jonathan has helped David and does not see the danger that Saul sees.
- Saul grows increasingly violent toward those whom he believes are loyal or even neutral to David.
- As Saul’s hatred grows, he sees everything in absolutes concerning David. You are either with Saul and David is your enemy, or you are against Saul and you are his enemy. By the way, Saul kills those whom he perceives as his enemies.
Wickedness is planted as a tiny seed in our heart. Our fallen nature proves to be a fertile soil for wickedness to grow. If we allow it to continue unchecked, wickedness will eventually dominate our heart. And it is out of the heart dominated by wickedness that flows all kinds of evil (Matthew 15:19).
6. How does David respond as life begins to cave in around him?
There is a pun in Question 6 that is the answer to the question: when life begins to cave in around him, David runs and hides in a cave (1 Samuel 22:1-6).
There are some key observations to keep in mind as we read and study David’s life as a man on the run:
- This period of time is not a few hours in the wilderness. Warren Wiersbe indicates that David’s experience on the run lasted 10 years. That’s a long time in the Old Testament, and that’s a long time in the 21st Century.
- The Devil is in his element. Nothing drains our faith and hope like long-term suffering, trials and discouragement. The Devil is searching the earth for discouraged believers whom he can rain further suffering upon them.
- God is sovereign. Even in the deepest, darkest cave of suffering and discouragement, He is there. He sheds His protective wings over us and brings us close to Him during these times.
- God is at work. God uses the trials and challenges of life to mold and shape us. Trials produce character. This is true in David’s life, it is true in our life.
7. Where is God when great trials start to invade David’s life?
As you read through 1 Samuel 21-22, it can appear that God is distant if not absent during this time in David’s life, but He is not. As we will see in the remaining chapters of 1 Samuel, God providentially cares for David in numerous ways.
We can see this most clearly in 1 Samuel 22:1-6. David is in the cave, hiding from Saul, and seemingly out of no where people start to arrive at the cave. First, David’s family joins him. Next, others started to arrive, 400 men, in fact, who would form the core of David’s fighting unit.
Sometimes when we are discouraged, we long to be alone. We isolate ourselves from others because we are either ashamed, discouraged, or both. God doesn’t leave us alone in that situation. Like David, he starts to send others to rally around us and to encourage us. Unfortunately, we are sometimes so lost in a cave of our own making that we see the people God is sending to help us as a distraction and intrusion.
Remember, the Devil wants us alone and isolated in our discouragement. Don’t fall prey to this temptation.
8. What can we learn from David’s example as we find ourselves down in the valley of discouragement?
David recorded his thoughts during his time in the cave in Psalm 142 and Psalm 57. Read Psalm 142 and discuss what you can learn about David’s dependence on God during this time of trial:
You Are My Refuge
A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.
1 With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
2 I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.
3 When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!
In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.
5 I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!
7 Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.
David is in the depths of despair and alone: “There is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.” What does he do in this lonely, forsaken place? “I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Even though he was hunted like an animal and alone in a cave, David’s hope and trust were in the Lord! “You are my refuge!”
Many times God allows everything to be stripped away from us. He allows us to reach rock bottom, to feel the pain of loneliness and lostness. It is in times like this that the child of God cries out, “With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.”
9. How does God minister to us during our times of trials?
Many times when we are in the valley of despair, we feel very forsaken by God. “Where are you, Lord?” is a phrase often asked. What we fail to see is that God is ministering to us even when we are in the cave.
Notice what happens when David is in the cave: “And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.”
This “band of misfits” becomes the core of David’s fighting force. Sometimes, when God sends help, we miss the help He sends because we are looking for some miraculous “Star of Bethlehem” experience.
The story is told of a man caught up in a flash flood. He’s able to grab hold of a tree branch and hang on for dear life. He begins to pray, “Lord, save me from this flood!”
Moments later, a man in a raft approaches and offers to throw the man a rope.
“No, I’m a man of faith, and I believe the Lord is going to save me!”
The man continues to cling to the tree trunk when a helicopter appears overhead. A man on a loud speaker shouts down, “let go of the tree and I’ll lower a ladder down to save you!”
The man in the river replies, “No! I’m a man of faith, and I believe the Lord is going to save me!”
As the man is carried down the river, a group of people standing on a bridge over the river shout to him, “Grab the rope and we’ll pull you in!”
“No,” the man replied, “I’m a man of faith, and I believe the Lord is going to save me!”
Eventually, the man is overcome by the flood waters and drowns. He appears at the Eastern Gate in Heaven and immediately asks to see the Lord.
“Lord, what happened? I prayed and I believed in You and trusted You would save me. You let me drown!”
The Lord replied, “I sent you a man in a raft, another man in a helicopter, and a group of people standing on a bridge to save you, and you refused all of their offers to help. What more could I have done to save you!”
Many times, we are like this man in the river. When the storms of life sweep us away, God sends people into our life to help us and to encourage us, but we turn them away. Then we sit in our cave alone and cry to the Lord to help us!
Be aware that sometimes God will send an angel to supernaturally save you from a trial, but most of the time, He sends Pastor Todd or Pastor Carlos or your Lighthouse into the storm to help you. Don’t be stubborn and refuse their help! Praise God for His provision and thank Him for sending a helping hand!
These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.
10. Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, what’s the most important thing to remember?
11. Are you experiencing a time of trials in life? Take time to read and meditate on these Psalms this week and declare (speak out loud) your hope and trust in God. Psalm 152, Psalm 57, and Psalm 34.
12. Are you hiding in a cave as the storms of life rage outside? Who is God sending into the cave to be with you and give you comfort? Rather than curse their intrusion, thank God for their fellowship. If no one shows, maybe God is asking you to leave the cave and join in the fellowship with a Lighthouse or other small group. If you need help finding a group, reach out to Chris Eller (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let him know you are looking for a shelter in a time of storm.