Summary: An Exposition of 1 Sam. 21-22
Walking the Fine Line Between a Good Guy and an Outlaw
1 Sam. 21-22
Most of us are familiar with Robin Hood, the hero of legend, books, TV, and movies. He and his band of merry men wandered Sherwood Forest, playing cat and mouse with the Sheriff of Nottingham and the evil Prince John. Technically he was an outlaw, but he is more famous for “robbing from the rich, and giving to the poor.” Do you ever wonder how a thief qualifies as a hero? Is stealing OK when you steal from bad people and give it to good people? Robin Hood is one of those characters who walk a fine line between being a good guy and an outlaw.
I think a lot of us walk that line. I don’t know anybody who is either totally evil, or absolutely good. I think most of us are a mixture. We have moments when we behave pretty well. But there are times when the outlaw peeks out and we cross the fine line between right and wrong.
I want to tell you about a man in the Bible who walked that fine line Robin Hood and you and I walk. The people of Israel probably saw him the way you see Robin Hood- technically he was an outlaw, but really a good guy. I think God put this story in the Bible to teach us something not just about David, but about you and I. How do you become more of a hero, and less of an outlaw? Let’s learn some lessons from an episode in David’s found in 1 Sam. 21-22. I want to see 3 lessons we can learn here:
I. WHEN GOOD GUYS LIE, THEY ACT LIKE OUTLAWS. (21:1-15)
One of the easiest ways to tell a good guy from an outlaw is to see whether or not they tell you the truth- right? Yet here is the hero of this story- a man after God’s own heart- lying like an outlaw not once, but twice! He lies to the priest (who would be the Friar Tuck if David were Robin Hood) and he deceives the King of Gath (he might make a good Sheriff of Nottingham!) In these verses, David shows us that when God guys lie, they act like outlaws. He shows us:
a. There is never a good reason to lie. (v. 1-6) Why did David lie to Ahimilech? Was he scared the priest wouldn’t help him? Did he think he would turn him over to King Saul? Is he trying to protect Ahimilech? We don’t really know. We know he needed food and weapons- both of which he gets from Ahimilech by lying to him. But was David justified in his lie? Some scholars say David didn’t lie when he said he was on a mission for the king; he just didn’t say which king. He was talking about God, not Saul, they say. I don’t buy that. David certainly knew which king Ahimilech thought he was talking about. The fact is David lied, and he didn’t just lie to anybody- he lied to God’s priest!
My question is not did David lie? (he did) or why did David lie (that’s doesn’t really matter), but is it ever right to lie? The answer is no and the reason why is God says it’s wrong to lie.
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
A lie is an offense against the very nature of the God of Truth. Better to say nothing, better to suffer the consequences, than to lie. No matter what the circumstances, no matter what the danger, David had no right to lie. Unfortunately lies often travel farther than we intend, because
b. Somebody listens when you lie. (v. 7-9) Somebody just happens to be in Nob thay day: Doeg is King Saul’s chief herdsman (v. 7). For a split second Doeg and David’s eyes meet, and David thinks Not good. This guy is going to rat on me. But he lets it go- a decision that will later come back to haunt him. When you lie, you never know who is listening!
Armed with food and a sword, David ends up but in the city of Gath and there he teaches us
c. Deceit will make you act like a fool. (v. 10-15) This is not the smartest. David strolls into town trying to stay inconspicuous. One problem: does anybody remember where Goliath’s hometown was? You guessed it- he was from Gath. These guys not only remember the sword- they still remember the song (cf. vs. 11.) David is brought before the Achish, king of Gath. What can he do now? He starts acting crazy. Literally, like a Looney Tune. He foams at the mouth, scratches on the door, and pleads insanity. And it works. Achish says he has enough crazy people to deal with, he doesn’t need one more. So he lets him go.