No, this isn’t about Taylor Swift. It’s about King Saul. King Saul and his yes men are on a rampage. In plotting and scheming for David’s death, we find them massacring every last priest in their path. Every last priest, save one, that is. Abiathar, son of the good Ahimelech, escaped 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.” ~1 Samuel 22:20-23
Abiathar escaped. He alone avoided these murderous men of corrupt and maligned power. Unfortunately, his entire family is dead. To whom does he go?
Abiathar fled to David. He ran away from the enemy, but, as with any battle, running away from evil is not nearly enough to make us safe. Abiathar runs to David. He needs support, consolation, and protection. This poor kid has just lost every relationship he’s ever known. He’s watched his friends and family die brutal deaths and he knows he’s bound to be next. David is his only hope.
When Abiathar arrives and tells of the executions, David mourns. He mourns not only for the evil actions and unholy wreckage done to God’s people by Saul, Doeg, and their men, but also greatly over the fact that his presence is what led to their execution. As with any godly man finding self responsible for destruction or devastation within God’s house, David mourns most over his responsibility in this tragedy.
David was not blind to Doeg’s schemes. He had wisdom and discernment. The text says, “I knew on that day…” He knew. He knew from day one what was going on behind his back without anyone informing him. He knew because he knew what kind of man Doeg really was.
Notice that David recognizes Doeg – the lead serial killer of God’s people – as an Edomite. Edomites were descendants of Esau, the one whom God hated. Edomites professed religion and pretended to be Israelites in the same way Easu pretended to be the son of blessing. But both were utterly rejected. They belonged to the family but they were not chosen. Little wonder why the very name, “Esau” and “Edom” means “red.” Edomites were continually angry and hostile towards the true people of God over their own rejection.
David pens psalm 52 on this occasion. This is what he says of Doeg the Edomite:
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 2Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 3You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. 4You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
5But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.~Psalm 52:1-5
The psalm begins with a question, “Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?” The following three verses make plain the fact that this man who is in power is most certainly a vicious liar.
Doeg was both proud and mighty, trusting in his own strength. Nevertheless, David argues fairly with him. As Doeg boasts of his wicked actions, not only justifying them but also magnifying them as though they were actually righteous deeds, he foolishly fails to see God’s coming judgment of his wicked practices.
On the contrary, David trusts that even despite all the lies upon his reputation and the wicked decree to kill all those who are righteous (the priests), God will indeed continually preserve and protect him. While the liar boasts in his own ability to do the evil that he disguises as righteousness, the fair and honest man of a just God will trust his God, whose weakness is stronger than man’s strength, to shatter all of his schemes.
Doeg is not only a liar who misrepresents Ahimelech and David, he is a master of confusion. As Doeg has drawn up a charge against Ahimelech in Saul’s court, David draws up a charge against him in the court of heaven. Confusion is always a sign of the children of the devil, whereas those associated with orderly processes signify children of God.
Doeg is a malicious liar who was subtle in his sin. For what he said was true, yet it was terribly truncated and misrepresented. He was guilty of omission. He told some of the truth, but refused to tell all of it as a good witness must. He was crafty. He devised mischief like his father, the devil, in what he did. He loved his sin so much (Psalm 52:4) that he had not even a hint of conscience to do what was right. He would rather please a man (Saul) with a lie than please God by speaking truth.
The verdict is read for this atrocity against God’s people saying that, “Since you have destroyed the priest sof the Lord and cut them off, God shall likewise destroy thee forever.” ~Matthew Henry
6The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, 7“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”
8But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 9I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.~Psalm 52:6-9
Though David was in great danger and under great stress, he not only rejoices, but even triumphs as in victory. He knows that even if Doeg and Saul succeed in snuffing out the lives and influence of every last priest and even his own, God will serve justice to these fools and make them so ridiculous that all of heaven and those who belong to God will laugh at their absurdity. Note, those that consider themselves self-sufficient and strong often experience humiliation for their folly. Pride goeth before a fall. Those who will not humble themselves are humiliated and humbled by God himself.
It is also noted that since this man (Doeg) did not make God his strength, rather himself, his wealth and his wickedness, he is obviously falsely established. His house will surely fall because he built not on the rock, but the sand. He will be buried in his own ruins. David, on the other hand, is like a green olive tree, signifying long, healthy, vibrant life that goes on and on. He produces fruit for God as his enemies wither and die.
That fruit is inclusive. When Abiathar runs to David, David reassures and comforts him. He welcomes him and encourages him. He lets Abiathar know that it isn’t just him – this enemy hates both of them. David promises to protect and provide for Abiathar as long as they are under attack.
What a beautiful picutre of Christ! Our world is red. It’s full of the Enemy’s anger and blood. So many casualties has the Enemy’s rage! Even still, a remnant escapes. When we flee from Satan, we don’t do it aimlessly. We flee to Christ. He is our only hope when all we’ve ever known in the world is dead. We watch as Jesus mourns and dies over the sin laid on him in his innocence. As we begin to see the red, hot anger of our Enemy against us, Jesus gathers us to himself and includes us lovingly into his company. He draws us close, reassures us in our fear, comforts us in our loss, and makes certain that we know we are not alone. He promises to protect and provide for us all of our earthly days, knowing that we are continuously under attack. What a Savior!
Oh! That we who follow him would do the same for those just escaping from the Enemy today!