He lied. He faced a situation that felt desperate and he lied.
The year is roughly 1,000 B.C. and King Saul is certain his top general intends to seize his throne. Saul has decided to execute the man, but the general is warned and flees. He gets as far as the town of Nob and stops.
The general is David and the priest Ahimelech approaches him there asking, "Why are you alone?"
"The king has charged me with a matter and said, ‘Let no one know …’"
David keeps lying to gain food and a weapon before hurrying on. David gets his parents out of the country, and David’s brothers join him. They’re in danger.
When King Saul learns of the matter, Saul accuses Ahimelech of treachery.
Astonished, Ahimelech says, "Who among all your servants is so faithful as David…[I] know nothing of all this …"
But Saul orders execution for Ahimelech and the 85 priests of Nob. Saul’s guard won’t do it, so the king employs a heathen Edomite, who murders the priests. In fact, Saul kills everyone in Nob, even infants, and slaughters their animals. (I Samuel 18:6-22:19)
Sometimes Christians justify untruthfulness saying, "Even David lied in the Bible." Yet they forget the massacre at Nob, the regret David carried for deceiving Ahimelech.
Deceit is a big topic in Scripture, far greater than the Nob story. Jesus says the devil is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Deceit is Satan’s great weapon.
First, evil searches for your weakness. You know where you’re vulnerable, whether it’s cheating, lying, immorality, gluttony, pride, selfishness, or something else.
Once evil finds that crack in your foundation, it enters there and builds a stronghold. You may start saying, "I can’t change."
That’s a lie.
"I’ve tried and tried. It’s hopeless." Lies — nothing is hopeless with Jesus. Scripture says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
Those last two sentences aren’t my words — that’s 2 Corinthians 10:4. Read it again.
The next verse tells us what to do: "… take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)
"I need to steal this." "I need this woman." "I need to get angry." "I need to eat this." Lies. Seize those thoughts and ask why. The answer may change to "I want this." Another lie.
What you want most is to be free of evil and to live for Christ. Say it aloud: "I want Jesus. Jesus!"
Speak the name of Jesus and the demons tremble. Resist the devil and he will flee. (James 2:19, James 4:7, 1 John 3:8, John 8:32)
The first time you confront the Liar, you’ll feel the divine power. The second time you’ll know you can change.
"Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
But that’s not enough. You must also repent.
Jesus makes this all important, beginning his ministry saying, "Repent." He emphasizes, "Unless you repent you will … perish." (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3,5)
Before Jesus, John the Baptist said, "Repent ..." (Matthew 3:2)
After Jesus, the apostles said repent:
Peter said, "Repent … repent …" (Acts 2:38, 3:19)
Paul said "… [God] commands all people everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30)
Repentance is turning from evil to God. It’s confessing sin and seeking forgiveness. "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." "… the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:9,7)
Start a family "Repent Rock" tradition. Take your family on a hike this weekend and find a rock for everyone. Paint them. On one side write your name and the date. On the flip side put the word "Repent." Place the Repent Rock on your pillow every morning. Every night it will remind you to take your sins to God.
Evil is not stronger than God. Evil is not smarter. The devil is a liar, searching for weakness.
Repair the cracks in your foundation day and night — take lying thoughts captive immediately and, at bedtime, turn to God in repentance.
Copyright © 2019 R.A. Mathews. The Rev. Mathews is an attorney, faith columnist and the author of "Reaching to God." She may be reached at Letters@RAMathews.com.