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guys chasing girls on the beach April 18 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Samuel 22:6-23; Psalm 52; 109; 1Samuel 23; Psalm 54

Pursued, Victimized, and Stalked—what can we do?

Sometimes it is fun to be chased or pursued. We run, laugh, play, and tease each other. At other times, being chased and pursued is not fun; it is stalking. Jealousy, envy, and hatred may cause a person to pursue or stalk someone to intimidate or harm him. This harassment causes fear, flight, and mental anguish. What do we do about it?

In today's Bible reading David is a pursued man. He was once a trusted body guard of King Saul and loved by everyone. He was also a very successful warrior. Jealousy because of his success, however, fuels Saul's hatred of him. David has done nothing wrong, but Saul wants to kill him to remove his perceived rival. So David flees. The first place David runs to is Nob, where the tabernacle of the LORD is residing. Perhaps, he goes to inquire of the LORD as to why he is being pursued, but he lies about his purpose for being there. Ahimelech, the priest at Nob believes David's story and gives him shelter, food and even a weapon to defend himself. Ahimelech is totally unaware of the true situation and acts in innocence to help David and his men.

Unfortunately, Doeg the Edomite, a chief shepherd of Saul, is there to witness the interaction between David and the priest. Doeg's name means “fearful.” He is well-named for Doeg is a coward. Instead of confronting David himself, he leaves and tells Saul of the incident (for a price). Doeg then follows Saul to Nob. Saul orders his men to kill Ahimelech and all the priests, but they fear the LORD and will not do it. Saul will not even do it. Instead, Doeg is the appointed executioner. Hiding behind the authority of Saul and sure of his rewards, Doeg kills not only the priests, but their whole town including their families and livestock. They were unavoidable victims of Saul's insane jealousy.

One priest, Abiathar, escapes and flees to David. David gives him refuge because he feels responsible for victimizing the town and priests of Nob. Sometimes, we become unwary victims. We can plead our case and hope justice will prevail, but ultimately we must commit our lives to God for his will to be done.

Psalm 52 refers to this incident with Doeg. David writes,

Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others! But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever, (Psalm 52:7-8, NIV).
We do not have to destroy others to get ahead, and we do not have to harass the innocent. Instead, we can choose to trust in God's unfailing love and experience his favor.

David is a warrior. He hears a report that the city of Keilah needs help. God sends him to deliver Keilah, but the city is hemmed in with bars and gates. Saul sees his opportunity to get David because he is reported to be in the city. When David hears of Saul's knowledge of his whereabouts, he consults God using an ephod (part of the priestly garment brought to him by Abiathar from the city of Nob). The LORD protects David by telling him of Saul's plans, and so he leaves the city. God also sends Jonathan, Saul's son and David's best friend, to encourage him.

Still, the king stalks David, but when he comes too close, the LORD stirs up Israel's enemies. Saul abandons the pursuit to defend Israel against Philistine attacks—he has to break it off when his perceived enemy is almost in his grasp. Although David is harassed, God shows him that he still cares for him and protects him. Just as David experienced trials, the LORD may not take our trials away, but we can trust him to be our defense and deliverance (more...).

Lessons to Live By

•  Sometimes we become unwary victims. We can plead our case and hope justice will prevail, but ultimately we must commit our lives to God for his will to be done.

•  We do not have to destroy others to get ahead, and we do not have to harass the innocent. Instead, we can choose to trust in God's unfailing love and experience his favor.

•  As David did, continue to do the things God has called you to do. Do not give into fear.

•  God will bring trouble on those who bring trouble to others.

•  As David experienced trials, the LORD may not take our trials away, but we can trust him to be our defense and deliverance (more...).

Focus Verse

Psalm 52:8 (NIV) “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.”

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A Look Ahead: David continues to be pursued by King Saul in his jealous rage, even though he has done nothing to deserve it. Perhaps some of us have felt the same way. What do we do? How will we be Vindicated? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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