Today's passage: I Samuel 21
In a day where we have electronic devices that give us information at a moment's notice, Ahimelech the priest was at a great disadvantage. He did not have a computer to access the morning news reporting about David fleeing from Saul. He couldn't text his friends in the palace to verify David's story. He didn't have an I-pad that had an app for fugitive lists. Ahimelech had to do something that few of us need to do today. He had to trust David. He had to believe that David was telling him the truth. Of course, David wasn't. Saul had not sent David on a mission, David was the mission. David was not in Saul's service now, but he pretended to be.
David had a reputation that preceded him. He was a kind of celebrity in Israel. He had beaten the giant, he had killed other Philistines, he had married the king's daughter, he was known to be a man of God. So Ahimelech does not feel the need to check out David's story. He believes him. He may have also been a little dazzled by David. This famous man was in his tent, asking him for bread. Who wouldn't be a little star struck?
David was not perfect. David chose to lie his way out of the situation, so he could seek safety and so he could satisfy his hunger. God did not strike him down with lightning for this, but there is a much deeper issue. David must have been trustworthy, but would he continue to be? Would David burn a bridge with Ahimelech, when the priest learned the truth? Would Ahimelech feel as if he had been played for a fool? Nobody likes to feel foolish. Nobody likes to have egg on their face. David was only concerned about the rescue, not the relationship.
It is never to our advantage if a person looks at us with skepticism, it is never to our credit if someone has to refer to other sources to secure whether we are being truthful. We need to deal truthfully in all areas of our life, not just generally. Just because David did it, doesn't mean he got away with it. He did what he felt was necessary, but God could have made another way for him, if he had elected to wait on Him. This became an unfortunate pattern in David's life, which extended down into his children.
Lying takes many different forms in excuses, deceit, pretense. God wants us to be rid of all of it. I would like to think that I have never been involved in any of it, but if I examine myself, I have. It is not worth it. It will cost me trust with my children, it will cause my friends to be wary, it will make me less useful for my Lord. How honest am I with the police officer when he pulls me over for a ticket? Do I pretend I did not realize I was going so fast or didn't see the "No Parking" sign? When I am craving chocolate and there are only two cookies left, do I tell the boys there is no dessert so I can pocket them later because I don't want to admit to my selfishness? When I am asked how I like someone's haircut, do I smile and rave when I hadn't even noticed, or truthfully am not that crazy about the new style? I would like to think that God does not really care about these silly little things, but He cares about it all. If I want to be honest, I have to first start with being honest with myself. And truthfully, really truthfully, I could improve in this area.
In a world where a handshake means nothing, every story has to be checked with snopes, and someone's word has to be challenged, honesty is important. If God's people can't be trusted in every area of life, how can we be trusted to be telling the truth about God? That is why we ultimately need to be honest in all of our dealings. If someone discovers we were dishonest about something small, they will automatically assume we will be dishonest about something big. And nobody's soul is worth that. Honestly, it is not.