Relationship over Religion

by Rick

(Read 1 Samuel 21:1-6)

I shared part of my personal life story in Friday’s message and I trust it was a blessing to you.  Let’s get back to our series “Grace that is Simply Amazing.”  The 21st chapter opens up with David on the run.  The last we saw of David he was saying his goodbyes to Jonathan, prepared to never see him again.  Jonathan had just been attacked by his father, having to dodge a spear, because of his alliance to David.  David escaped into the night and in this chapter he shows up in the town of Nob.  As soon as he got there he went to see Ahimelech the priest.  David was tired and hungry.

The priest trembled when he saw David.  “Why are you alone?” Ahimelech asked. “Why is no one with you?”  David lied and said, “The king has sent me on a private matter.  He told me not to tell anyone why I am here.  I have told my men where to meet me later.  Now, what is there to eat?  Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.”  The problem with David’s request was that it was the Sabbath.  The priest could not cook anything that was not already cooked and the only bread he had available was hallowed bread, known as “showbread” which sat on a special table.  The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold.  It stood on the right side of the Holy Place (inside the temple) across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel.  The priests baked the bread with fine flour and it remained on the table before the Lord for a week; every Sabbath day the priests would remove it and eat it in the Holy Place, then put fresh bread on the table.  Only priests could eat the bread, and it could only be eaten in the Holy Place, because it was holy.  Ahimelech and his priests had just eaten the showbread from the previous week and had just placed the new break on the table for the upcoming week.  To take the shewbread off of the table before time was a serious offense and anyone accept a priest who ate the showbread at the proper time was in violation of the Judaic Law (see Lev 22:9-16).

Since there was no other food available, the priest gave David the holy bread.  David ate of it and later gave the rest to his men.  In the New Testament Jesus made mention of this situation when He and His disciples were being accused of working and eating on the Sabbath.  Jesus said, “Haven’t you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.  The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”  (see Mark 2:23-28).  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things:
1.  God uses flawed people by grace.  David lied on several occasions and here he even lied to a Priest, but God continued to protect him for his purpose.  This is not to condone sin, but it is to keep you from condemnation.

2.  God is more interested in a relationship with you, than He is religion.  The Priest broke the Law by giving the holy bread to David and his men, but he did it because they were hungry.  In the New Testament Jesus mentioned this story when He encountered people who were more interested in laws, rituals, rites, and routines, than they were in human beings who needed help.

3.  God will go to great lengths to help you fulfill your purpose.  Thus far in David’s story we have seen God use Saul, Jonathan, Michal, and now Ahimelech to help David, even when they were not sure why they were doing it.  The grace on your life will open doors for you that no man can close and people will help you even when they don’t know why they are doing it.

Closing Confession:  Father, I thank You for being so good to me and to mankind in general.  You are in the business of making holy garments from flawed material.  If You required me to be perfect, I could never be used of You.  But You look past my faults, flaws, and failures, and You are still faithful to me.  You see things in me that I don’t see in myself.  You chose me, even when I would not have chosen myself.  You bless me richly, not because I deserve it, but because of Your grace.  And You give me favor with others, to the point where they help me, even when they don’t know why they are doing it.  You do all of this because You want to have a relationship with me.  You do this because You are protecting me for my purpose.  For that I will never cease to give You praise.  I seek a true and intimate relationship with You and I declare, by faith, that I find and foster it.  You are more interested in me than You are in rituals and I thank You for that.  I seek You with my whole heart and I find You.  I connect with You daily and You also connect with me.  Together — You and me, me and You — we enter this day to make a difference!  You are ON me, IN me, WITH me, and FOR me.  Therefore, I enter this day with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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