Red Village Church

Saul’s Downward Spiral – 1 Samuel 22:1-23

1 Samuel 22:1-5 (ESV)
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.

It is Well
We all know that at times, there, at face value, we can appreciate… but then as we learn a bit of the backstory… our appreciation only grows.


Let me give you an example of this… with the famous hymn “It is Well.”


I love all of the verses, but for this time, let me just read verse 1: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul!'”


And then the chorus: “It is well with my soul! It is well, it is well with my soul!”


Indeed, it’s a wonderful song that many of us love to sing. But what makes this song so great is not just the face value of the song. What makes this song so great is the backstory tied to it.


A backstory that I am sure some, but not all of us, know. So let me share that story with you.


This hymn was written in the early 1870s by a man named Horatio Spafford. Who was a successful lawyer who went through financial ruin that coincided with the Great Chicago Fire.


However, even though he lost so much, Spafford kept his faith in Christ.


And he kept it to the point, that he planned to help the famous evangelist DL Moody on a campaign he was about to do in England.


So Spafford made plans for him and his family to make the trip together across the ocean. However, a last-minute change came so that Spafford had to stay behind as his wife Anna and four daughters boarded the ship for England.


While the ship was crossing the ocean, tragedy struck. As the ship with Anna and the daughters were on, it collided with a different vessel, and the damages to the ship were great that it began to sink rapidly.


And because of how rapidly it happened, tragically, not all survived.


Some died at sea, including some from Spafford’s family.


In fact, the only survivor of Spafford’s family was his wife Anna. All four daughters died.


As Anna was rescued, she was to send a now-famous telegraph to her husband to detail the horrific news.


A famous telegraph that simply said, “saved alone.”


Well, shortly after receiving the telegraph, Horatio was able to find a ship to cross the Atlantic to get to his grieving wife.


And his ship passed near where his daughters died by shipwreck. Spafford wrote the words to the famous hymn that I just read for you.


“It is well, it is well, with my soul.” Great song that becomes even greater when we understand the backstory behind it.


Saul’s Downward Spiral

Now I tell you all of this to let you know that today, as we return to our study of 1 Samuel, after the multiple week break.


We are in the midst of the backstory from some of the Psalms that David wrote that many throughout history have loved and appreciated. That I think only become greater and more appreciated when we connect these beloved Psalms to the backstory of David’s life.


For the sake of time, I can’t read for you all of the Psalms that were written in the section of 1 Samuel we are in, but let me read you a few verses from a few different Psalms. And as I read these to you, just file them away as we work through the text today.


Here are a few lines from Psalm 59, written during a passage that we already went through from 1 Samuel 19.


Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; 2 deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. 3 For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me.


Here are a few lines from Psalm 27, written potentially during our text today.


The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.


Psalm 52, that is credited to be written at the exact time of the events happening in our text today.


Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 3 You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah 4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. 5 But God will break you down forever.


As mentioned, keep these words in mind as we work through our text today.


At the end, when we come to some application of our text in 1 Samuel 22, the Psalms written during this time can help be our guide. Now, because it has been a several week break for us from this book, let me quickly set the context of where we left off. A man named Saul was chosen by the people to be their king, a king after their own heart, which in doing so was a rejection of God as their king.


And this was a rejection for many reasons, including the fact that Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, even though the Lord had previously promised in his Word that one day he would appoint a king, his King, from the tribe of Judah.


The rejection of God and his Word is a bit of a cyclical theme throughout 1 Samuel that always leads God’s people to disaster. However, with that being said, at the start of Saul’s reign, he was actually doing pretty well.


But in short order, disaster did start to come. Because in short order, Saul’s own pride, his own insecurities, his desires for control and power would get the best of him.


So in short order, Saul began to do more and more that was not in line with God’s Word, which culminated in Saul giving an unlawful sacrifice, which was an act so egregious in the sight of God that the Lord rejected Saul as King and removed his empowering Spirit from Saul.


And as the Lord rejected Saul, he anointed a man named David, who was a man after God’s own heart, to be King, who was from the tribe of Judah.


And as David was anointed to be King, providentially David was placed in Saul’s court to actually be a minister of grace to Saul.


As you may remember, Saul faced torments from God because of his sinful actions. So David would play a harp for Saul that would soothe the tormented king.


However, even though David was kind to Saul and did many other things that benefited Saul, over time Saul became more and more jealous of David. And as Saul’s jealousy grew more and more, so did Saul’s paranoia, which led to Saul becoming more and more aggressive in his attempt to keep his power. That led Saul to be overcome with an evil, sinful, bitter desire to kill David.


And that is where we left off in 1 Samuel 21, as David was on the run, trying to escape Saul’s sword. And as he was on the run, one of Saul’s henchmen, who we will see in our text, spotted David after David was trying to find safety with the priest in a location called Nob.


And we will see that come back in play today. So with that as the backstory of our text today, look back with me after verse 1, where we see that David had departed from there, with the “there” being Gath.


Which you also may remember was the home of Goliath and the enemies of God, the Philistines, which is where David fled in his panic to try to get away from the henchman of Saul who spotted him with the priest in Nob.


And as he fled Gath, we see that he found refuge in the cave of Adullam. This cave was located about 10 miles or so to the east of Gath. Interestingly, Gath was a city located in the region where Saul was originally from. This geographical detail perhaps continues to indicate to us how much of a panic David was in during this scene.


To go back to what was mentioned when we went through chapter 21, David was in such a panic that he thought his best place for safety was to seek refuge in Gath—the home of his enemies who hated him.


Now from there, he fled to find refuge right in the heart of where Saul was from.


Now, it might be easy for us to question David’s wisdom here, but I think we all can understand that when things are falling down around us, it is not always easy to make good and wise decisions. This is why it is so important, especially when we are going through hard times, that we let others speak into our life. We will get back to that in just a bit.


Back to the text, as David arrived at the cave, we read that somehow his family was made aware of his whereabouts.


So we read that his brothers and the rest of his father’s household went to be with him in the cave. I am sure they went to check in on David out of concern for how he was doing.


And in verse 2, as they came to David, it appears that they were not the only ones who wanted to be around him. Because we read that everyone who was in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul—presumably towards Saul—also came to him.


And this here, this was a group of people in Israel who had had enough of Saul. They were miserable because of how he was leading Israel, where they were becoming more and more crippled by the taxes Saul was implementing. Much like today, when political officials lead poorly, society starts to become bitter, wanting new leaders in place. That was this group here, coming to meet David at the cave. They were done with Saul, and I would gather that this group seemed to recognize David as the true anointed King from chapter 16.


And I think we get that sense that they recognized David as king—at least important. Because as this ragtag group of disenfranchised people showed up at the cave (which our text tells us was a group of about 400, so not a huge number), we read that they made David the commander over them.


And even though this was a relatively small group who joined forces with David and swore their political and military allegiance to him, it was enough to put some wind back in David’s sails and give him a much-needed shot of encouragement.


Perhaps this was like a healing balm to his weary and discouraged soul.


Friends, when community is done properly, it can be such a powerful thing used by God to strengthen and encourage others. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to live in community with others.


In the text, as the community came around David and supported him, he felt so encouraged. Rather than just hiding out the rest of his days in isolation in the cave, we read in verse 3 that David got up and traveled even further east.


This time, he headed east of the Jordan River and into the land of Moab, specifically to the city of Mizpeh. I think this move was to circle the wagons a bit, to get some much-needed rest, to get right and recharge, and to figure out what to do from there.

And by the way, a point of interest concerning some backstory for David and Moab: his great-grandmother was from Moab. A name that some of you will know from the Bible is a lady named Ruth, who is one of the great heroes in the Old Testament and was from Moab.


In the text, as David got to Moab, we read that he went and found the king. He asked the king if he and his family could be political refugees seeking asylum from Saul. He let the king know that he desired to stay in Moab until he could understand what the Lord wanted to do with him from there. This is why I think David’s desire in Moab was, as mentioned, to get right, get rest, and get back at it.


And as David made this request to the King of Moab, the king agreed. So, in verse 4, for an extended period of time, David was protected by the king. He was able to dwell in the residents of the stronghold, which I think refers to Mizpeh, where David’s true stronghold, the Lord, would ultimately protect him from Saul.


However, after this extended period of time, the period of God-given rest for David—emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual rest that he undoubtedly needed—had come to an end. In verse 5, the time had come for David to get back at it.

And the Lord made this clear to David by sending him a prophet named Gad.


Now we don’t know much about Gad outside of this context. He is listed in a couple of other places in Scripture as well. In 2 Samuel 24, you may remember the story where God was punishing David for the prideful census he took of his kingdom. It was Gad who gave David the three choices on how he would be disciplined by the Lord. Gad is also mentioned at the end of 1 Chronicles 29, where it seems like he had an important and ongoing role in David’s life.


In our text today, as Gad came to David, we see that he had a message from the Lord. This message indicated that the time of rest and refuge in Moab had reached its end, and it was now time for David to get back up, leave the stronghold, and go back to Judah. In a very real sense, David needed to head back into danger.


Which, by the way, is also something we need at times. Yes, we need rest and restoration, but that rest and restoration is not meant to be permanent. The intended purpose is to restore us in ways that we can get back at it. So, at times, we need prompting to get back at it, especially if what we need to get back to doing is hard. That is what Gad did for David.


David, the Lord’s desire is to use you in Judah, so it is time to get up and get back to the kingdom work at hand.


So David got up, departed Moab, and our text tells us he went into the forest of Hereth. This area’s exact location is unknown at this point, but being a forest, it was an ideal location for David to set up camp in a way that he could still hide from Saul.


Well, hide at least for a while. Because we read in verse 6 that eventually David and the band of men who were with him were discovered. Somehow, they were spotted hiding out in the forest. As you would guess, word got back to Saul of where David was generally located.


And as the word got back to Saul, it appears it did so during a time when Saul was conducting his kingly business. Our text tells us in verse 6 that Saul was at Gibeah, which is where he was from. He was under a tamarisk tree, which would have been an outdoor location capable of accommodating a large number of people.


And with Saul being under the tree was symbolic of worship, which goes all the way back to Abraham in Genesis 21, who, in his worship of God, planted a tamarisk tree.


As Saul was under the tree, we see that he had a spear in hand, symbolizing his kingly authority. He did all of this with his servants around to further make this an official kingly business.


In the text, as Saul was performing his royal business meeting, the news came to his attention about David and where he was hiding. Naturally, Saul wanted to address his servants with this new information.


And we see how he chose to address the meeting was through a series of rhetorical questions. I would assume he asked these questions with an explosive tone, filled with deep anger and frustration. “Hear now, people of Benjamin, will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you commanders of thousands and of hundreds?” The implied answer from Saul’s viewpoint is no, David would not do that for his servants. These questions also seem to imply that this was something Saul was doing for his servants, which no doubt he was using to justify himself and his actions.


So, people of Benjamin, with the implied answers to my questions that prove David is nowhere near the king that I am—a king who has been so good to you. In the text, verse 8, are you all going to conspire against me for him? Tell me, why is it then that no one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse?


This is a reference to chapter 18 and the covenant that David made with Saul’s son Jonathan. A covenant that they would be loyal to each other, a covenant that on more than one occasion Jonathan kept as he helped keep David from harm that Saul was trying to inflict on him.


In our text, Saul questions why no one told him about this, why none of them are sorry for him that he has to deal with a son like this. He asks why no one disclosed to him that his son Jonathan stirred up his servant David against him, to lie in wait in the forest, as at this day.


Now, it does not take a lot of interpretation skill to see in our text that Saul is not happy. He is stirred up, fired up, frustrated. As Saul rebuked his servants for not being as loyal to him as he has been to them (which I highly doubt was true), he was hoping to stir up the emotions of those by his side. He aimed to get them behind him, to help him with his quest to kill David, and to extract any additional information about David’s whereabouts.


In the text, if that was his intention, he was successful. Because we read in verse 9, Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by the servants of Saul, responded back to Saul with words he would have loved to hear.


Now, if you’ve been with us in our study of 1 Samuel, the name Doeg might sound familiar. We met him earlier in our last sermon in this series before the extended break. As mentioned earlier, David was on the run from Saul and sought refuge among the priests, starting with the priest named Ahimelech.


Ahimelech agreed to help provide for David through the use of temple grain and even gave David Goliath’s sword. However, on that particular day, the henchman referred to earlier, Doeg the Edomite, was present at the scene. Despite not being part of Israel, Doeg was in Saul’s inner circle, and he happened to be there when David was in Nob. The two men spotted each other, putting David back on the run because he knew the kind of man Doeg was.


This brings us to verse 9, where we read that Doeg responds back to Saul, saying he saw David, the son of Jesse, sometime back at the temple in Nob. Doeg explains that he saw David there with Ahimelech, and he witnessed Ahimelech inquiring of the Lord on behalf of David and giving him food to eat, along with Goliath’s sword.


In short, Doeg snitched. He ratted David out. As Saul heard this news, we read in verse 11 that he clearly believed Doeg’s story. He summoned Ahimelech the priest and all the other priests from Nob to come before him. As they came before Saul, he was about to put them on trial, with his verdict likely already decided.


As Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, stood before the king, Saul wasted no time.


“Ahimelech,” Saul began. “Yes, here I am, Lord.”


“Ahimelech, tell me,” Saul continued. “Why have you conspired against me? Why did you give bread and a sword to David, the son of Jesse? And why did you inquire of the Lord for him? Why would you do that? Do you know what you did? You enabled David to rise up against me, to lie in wait this day.”


Here, I think we are to continue reading a furious tone from Saul towards the priest. We’re also getting a real sense of how paranoid Saul was that David was out in the field. By bringing this up again in the text, it seems like Saul was paranoid, even frantic, that at some point David was going to jump out behind a tree in the forest and kill Saul.


As the king brought forward the charges to the priest, the priest was given a chance to respond, which he did boldly, at least in part.


“King, I know you have been asking some questions of recent. How about now, let me ask you some questions. Who among all your servants is as faithful as David? And who is the king’s son-in-law? David married one of Saul’s daughters. And King Saul, who is the captain over your bodyguard? And who is so honored in your house that everyone likes him? Answer me, King, is it not David?”


Furthermore, he continued, “Can I ask, do you think this is the first time that I have inquired of God for David? Saul, is that what you think? No, Saul, let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father. For your servant knows nothing of all this that you are charging against me, whether it be knowing much or little.”


So this here, Ahimelech was not only defending David and his credentials, but he was also defending himself and the other priests from Nob. He declared to Saul that as David showed up, they were just doing the thing they normally did as part of their normal priestly routine.


They were not conspiring against Saul.


Which here, while I agree that I don’t necessarily think that Ahimelech was going out of his way trying to conspire against Saul, I do think the priest might not have been fully letting on how much he knew was happening with David.


Because you may remember, in the previous chapter, even though David was very vague about why he was in Nob and didn’t share any details, it was to hopefully keep Ahimelech ignorant and out of trouble.


However, when David showed up, as you may recall, Ahimelech was trembling with fear and anxiety, seemingly pointing to Ahimelech not being completely naive to Saul’s thoughts about David.


Either way, regardless of how forthright and honest Ahimelech was with his response to Saul in verse 16, Saul bought none of it. As mentioned, it seems like he already had a predetermined verdict on this case.


So Saul declared to the priest a guilty verdict, with the judgment being the most severe of judgments. “Ahimelech, you shall surely die for what you did,” Saul proclaimed. “And Ahimelech, not only will you surely die, but all of your father’s household will die alongside you.”


This is how evil Saul had become and how far his control and paranoia over his desires for control had escalated. As Saul felt his kingdom slipping out of his fingers, he was willing to slaughter all of Ahimelech’s household to try to keep it.


Truly, Saul was spiraling into deeper and darker sin. He had become so far different from who he was at the start of his reign.


And in the text, as Saul gave the death sentence, in verse 17, he immediately turned to his guard and gave him orders.


“Guard,” Saul said, “turn and kill the priest of the Lord. Kill them because their hand is with David, and they knew that he fled and they didn’t tell me about it.”


By the way, just notice here, Saul recognized that the priests were of the Lord. Yet, he didn’t care. He was so self-centered, self-focused, and obsessed by his power that he didn’t want to lose it. He wouldn’t even let the Lord stand in his way. Saul had no fear of God.


However, in the text, even though Saul gave this order to his guard, the guard did fear God, and he feared the Lord even more than he feared King Saul. So he responded back to the king with a firm “no.” He told Saul that he would not follow his orders, that he would not put his hand to strike the priest of the Lord, and he would not go along with Saul’s evil, murderous ways.


By the way, can you imagine the courage of the guard to say no and stand up for what was right? He knew full well that saying no to Saul could have been declared an act of treason, and he could have been killed right alongside the priests. In the text, as no answer was given by the guard, it didn’t deter Saul from getting what he wanted or slow him down to reconsider his actions.


Instead, in verse 18, he turned to Doeg, the Edomite, trusting that Doeg would do his dirty work and strike down the priests. By repeatedly referring to Doeg as “Doeg the Edomite” in the text, the author stresses the point of how far Saul had fallen. He kept going back to a pagan Edomite, continuing to reject any and all godly counsel.


As Doeg was receiving his orders from Saul,


We see that Doeg responded without delay. He turned and struck down the priests in an act of sinful, evil murder.


This evil mass murder tragically didn’t stop with the 85 priests. Doeg made his way throughout the entire city of Nob, where he put to the sword men and women, children and infants, as well as oxen, donkeys, and sheep. All were put to death by the sword, a completely devastating tragedy.


And just to circle back again to what was mentioned in the introduction, this is the backstory of so many of the Psalms. When David wrote about evil men seeking to take his life, he wasn’t resorting to hyperbole or rhetoric to try to communicate a point. This was an incredible, awful act of evil by Saul and his henchman Doeg, one that we’re about to see shook David to the core.


Finally, in verse 20, the text ends with the escape of one of the sons of Ahimelech named Abiathar. He was able to escape the evil murderer Doeg and flee to David to tell him about the tragedy that had taken place.


As the news report fell on David’s ears, while he was heartbroken by it, he wasn’t surprised. He told Abiathar, “You know, I just knew on that day when that evil man, Doeg the Edomite, spotted me at Nob, I just knew he would go and tell Saul.”


Even though David clearly wasn’t intending for any of this to happen and it was all on Saul, David was deeply shaken. He felt that he caused the occasion for the death of all the people of Abiathar’s house. This overwhelming burden for what took place is seen in the backstory of so many of the psalms.


He was completely heartbroken by the evil around him.


Really, just think how crippling that would have been for David to have to process through. Feelings of guilt and shame must have weighed heavily on him, even though in the end it really wasn’t his fault.


Some might refer to this as survivor’s guilt. David would likely have had to battle real levels of PTSD due to all that he went through.


As David and Abiathar talked, David ended this scene by inviting Abiathar to stay with him, offering words of comfort and urging him not to be afraid of Saul, who was undoubtedly seeking to take his life.


David promised to protect Abiathar and did for the young priest what the king of Moab did for him at the start of our text today. David kept the young priest in safekeeping, and that concludes our text for today.


Now, for the remainder of this time, I want to provide some thoughts of application from this text. Some of it will be drawn from the text itself, and some will be drawn from the various Psalms written during this time period in David’s life.


Which brings me to the first point of application today:


1. We can and should be honest about life’s difficulties.


This doesn’t mean we should be whiners or complainers, which can be an issue in society today. But, that being said, we should be honest when life is difficult. That’s one of the great takeaways from the Psalms, including those written during this scene.


David was honest, even vulnerable, about how difficult life was, especially with evil men seeking to hunt him down.


Friends, life is not always rosy. I’m sure that just in this room today, there are real challenges being faced and painful difficulties being walked through.


And if that’s you, my friend, let me give you some encouragement. You can be honest about your challenges—to yourself, to others, and even to the Lord. Bring your hurt, pain, and concerns to the Lord. This is the application for so many Psalms. David and other Psalm writers were honest about the difficulties of life and were driven to the Lord through their honesty.


If you’re struggling to know how to be honest with God, consider reading Psalm 27 and Psalm 52, which were attributed to events in 1 Samuel 22. Psalm 57, which we’ll discuss shortly, is also a great guide on how to do this.


2. We should let others into our difficulties.


At the start of our passage today and in the previous passage in chapter 21, David was isolated. We read that he might not have made the best and wisest decisions as he was on the run. However, David’s isolation was likely by necessity due to Saul’s pursuit, not by choice.


This might be different for most of us. When life gets tough, we tend to isolate ourselves by choice, not force. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common in society, with people isolating themselves through obsessive social media scrolling, constant podcast listening, excessive video gaming, and endless internet searching.


Regardless of how we end up in isolation, it’s not a healthy place to be, and we can’t be content to stay there. We need community, as God designed us to live in community. One of the reasons for this is that community, when done right, can be a source of healing and support during life’s challenges. It’s a place where burdens can be shared and carried together.


This is evident in our text today. When David was isolated, he wasn’t making the best decisions; he was overwhelmed with fear, worry, and anxiety while on the run. But when his family and supporters arrived, it was a breath of fresh air that strengthened his confidence in the Lord.


Don’t isolate yourself from others; connect with a supportive community.


3. At times we should seek genuine rest from life’s difficulties.


I mean real rest—intentionally pulling back for an extended period to recharge, gain perspective, and find renewal.


Our culture often glorifies constant busyness, leading to burnout and little margin in our lives. This isn’t healthy, and it likely doesn’t honor the Lord. Such a lifestyle can reflect a desire for control, where we fail to trust in the Lord’s provision and timing.


In our text, we see that David was clearly not in a good place due to various legitimate and difficult reasons. In God’s grace, David was provided with rest in Moab—a real and extended rest that he desperately needed. It was a rest he had to trust God with.


If this resonates with you, if you find yourself living at a burnout pace with no margin, consider planning and budgeting for rest. Create space in your life for rest, step away from things that might be driven by a sinful desire for control, and recognize that life is too challenging for us to be constantly on the go.


Rest, genuine rest, is essential for our well-being, our spiritual growth, and our ability to handle life’s difficulties with wisdom and grace. Trusting in the Lord’s provision for rest can lead to a healthier and more balanced life.


4. At times, we need to be pushed out from our difficulties, which is kind of the other side of things.


There are moments in life when things can be so hard, even traumatic, that we are tempted to completely pull away.


We might pull away out of fear, fearing that reengaging will inevitably lead to hurt and pain. For those who have experienced past hurt, past pain, and carry scars from life, perhaps even your own level of PTSD, you know how hard it is to reengage.


In our text, yes, David got a season of rest that he probably really needed. However, he didn’t stay in that season of rest permanently. The prophet Gad came to him to push him out of the safety of Moab, urging him to depart and head back to Judah.


This no doubt had to be a real step of faith for David to take. After all, he was heading back into danger. Friend, if that is you this morning, if the difficulties of life have been such that you are almost crippled by fear to re-engage, I invite you to do so with a spirit of gentleness.


Can I invite you to take a step of faith and trust in the Lord? Re-engage with others in ways that are for the glory of God, seeking to serve and care for others with the gifts, abilities, and opportunities God has given you.


5. At all times, we need safekeeping.


Not just safekeeping from the difficulties of life, but ultimately, we all need safekeeping from the just judgment of God. This judgment is not like Saul’s unjust and evil judgment; rather, God’s just judgment is one that burns over sin, of which we are all guilty.

Friends, the safekeeping from sin is found, and only found, in the Lord Jesus Christ – the Son of God, the second member of the blessed Trinity. Jesus is our safekeeping because, according to God’s eternal plan to display His love, mercy, and kindness, He sent His Son to become fully man. This Son was born of a virgin named Mary and, although sinless, became sin for us, taking on the punishment of our sins.


He accomplished this not by sitting under a tree with a spear in hand, but by being nailed to a tree – the cross – where a spear was run through His side. It was on that cross that Jesus, in our place and to be our safekeeping, bore the punishment of our sins upon Himself. He died and rose again on the third day.


Therefore, by faith, all who run to Jesus, who seek refuge in Him, will find eternal forgiveness and mercy. This is the essence of the cry in Psalm 57, which was written as part of the backstory of our text today:


“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me.”


As I close this morning, friends, remember that regardless of your personal backstory, no matter how painful and difficult it might be, the promise of Jesus is that if you run to Him for mercy, you will find it.


As the old song I mentioned at the start sings:


“Your sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, so that you will bear it no more.”


So, in the end, whether it’s from 1 Samuel 22, the Psalms, or any other portion of Scripture, the lesson from the backstory is to run to Jesus for safekeeping. This way, for all eternity, we can joyfully sing:


“It is well, it is well… it is well with my soul.”



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