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May 29, Day #150 – Are We So Short of Madmen?

In our readings today, we come to the scene of David fleeing from Saul to Nob and to Ahimelech the priest. David and his men are hungry, and he asks the priest for food, “but the priest answered David, ‘I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread” (verse 4). The consecrated bread points ahead to the true Bread of Life – our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the incident whereby our Lord justified plucking and eating grain on the Sabbath (cf., Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; and Luke 6:1-5). As the Sabbath was made for man, man’s needs are greater than the Sabbath, and its ordinances may legitimately be set aside to meet man’s greater needs. While David is at Nob, we coincidentally meet up with the foreign traitor and scoundrel – Doeg, the Edomite. Not unlike Judas, Doeg is Saul’s “head shepherd” (verse 7). He will reappear in chapter 22 and future readings to make trouble for David. In addition, from today’s readings, I am further intrigued by the level of Saul’s hatred of and obsession with David. All the time, energy, resources, and lives wasted by attempting to pursue his own son-in-law to death - out of pure envy and sheer jealousy - is absolutely amazing to me! In verses 12-15, we note God’s sense of humor to include some comic relief in His Holy Word when David – out of fear of Achish, king of Gath - pretends to be insane. “Acting like a madman” (verse 13), David pulls this stunt off so convincingly that Achish responds to his servants, “Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here?” (verse 15). We see a lesson here for us - God even uses human lies and deceit to expose what’s in our own hearts. Then, in chapter 22, we see that David moves on to the cave of Adullam – and subsequently to Mizpah, - where he “gathers around him those who were in distress, in debt, and discontented” (verse 2). This helps us to understand that life under king Saul was not necessarily pleasant. Such is usually the case where tyrants reign. Doeg slays eighty-five men, and David senses his responsibility for this because he “knew that Doeg would tell Saul” about his location (verse 22). In chapter 23, we see that Saul’s collusions and pursuits of David continue to the Desert of Maon, but “Saul breaks off his pursuit in response to a message about Philistines raiding the land” (verses 27-28). Saul doesn’t realize that he is fighting against the God of the universe.

Today’s Proverbs – 13:10-19 - contain wise, practical counsel for us. “Pride breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in heeding good advice, listening to instruction, and regarding discipline" (verses 10-18). Good practices like saving money, respecting authority, and taking correction are a “fountain of life” that can turn us away from the “snares of death” (13:14). Interestingly, “prudent men act out of knowledge, but fools expose their own folly” (verse 16). We see this every day. Ignore discipline and you come soon to “poverty and shame” (verse18). “Fools detest turning from evil” (verse 19). Basically, that simply teaches us that fools love to engage in evil deeds.

In John 18:1-24, we see the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, but we actually observe that Jesus - not the authorities - is in full, active control of all these events. He is not passively being acted upon, but rather He is sovereign over it all. Three times, again, we see Jesus identifying with the Father in His use of the “I am” statements (cf., verses 5, 6, and 8). Jesus is taken to Annas (verse 13) where we see Peter’s first denial (verse 17). In verse 18, John writes, “It was cold,” which complements his earlier statement, “And it was night” (13:30), foreshadowing the complicity of the extreme conditions, the complete spiritual darkness, and all the harsh physical treatments that come together to oppose God’s Son at His unlawful trial. In verses 19-24, we see that “one of the officials struck Jesus in the face” (verse 22) – simply because Jesus “spoke the truth” (verse 23).

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