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1 Samuel 22-24The Message (MSG)

Saul Murders the Priests of God

22 1-2 So David got away and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all.

3-4 Then David went to Mizpah in Moab. He petitioned the king of Moab, “Grant asylum to my father and mother until I find out what God has planned for me.” David left his parents in the care of the king of Moab. They stayed there all through the time David was hiding out.

The prophet Gad told David, “Don’t go back to the cave. Go to Judah.” David did what he told him. He went to the forest of Hereth.

6-8 Saul got word of the whereabouts of David and his men. He was sitting under the big oak on the hill at Gibeah at the time, spear in hand, holding court surrounded by his officials. He said, “Listen here, you Benjaminites! Don’t think for a minute that you have any future with the son of Jesse! Do you think he’s going to hand over choice land, give you all influential jobs? Think again. Here you are, conspiring against me, whispering behind my back—not one of you is man enough to tell me that my own son is making deals with the son of Jesse, not one of you who cares enough to tell me that my son has taken the side of this, this . . . outlaw!”

9-10 Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, spoke up: “I saw the son of Jesse meet with Ahimelech son of Ahitub, in Nob. I saw Ahimelech pray with him for God’s guidance, give him food, and arm him with the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Saul sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub, along with the whole family of priests at Nob. They all came to the king.

12 Saul said, “You listen to me, son of Ahitub!”

“Certainly, master,” he said.

13 “Why have you ganged up against me with the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword, even praying with him for God’s guidance, setting him up as an outlaw, out to get me?”

14-15 Ahimelech answered the king, “There’s not an official in your administration as true to you as David, your own son-in-law and captain of your bodyguard. None more honorable either. Do you think that was the first time I prayed with him for God’s guidance? Hardly! But don’t accuse me of any wrongdoing, me or my family. I have no idea what you’re trying to get at with this ‘outlaw’ talk.”

16 The king said, “Death, Ahimelech! You’re going to die—you and everyone in your family!”

17 The king ordered his henchmen, “Surround and kill the priests of God! They’re hand in glove with David. They knew he was running away from me and didn’t tell me.” But the king’s men wouldn’t do it. They refused to lay a hand on the priests of God.

18-19 Then the king told Doeg, “You do it—massacre the priests!” Doeg the Edomite led the attack and slaughtered the priests, the eighty-five men who wore the sacred robes. He then carried the massacre into Nob, the city of priests, killing man and woman, child and baby, ox, donkey, and sheep—the works.

20-21 Only one son of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped: Abiathar. He got away and joined up with David. Abiathar reported to David that Saul had murdered the priests of God.

22-23 David said to Abiathar, “I knew it—that day I saw Doeg the Edomite there, I knew he’d tell Saul. I’m to blame for the death of everyone in your father’s family. Stay here with me. Don’t be afraid. The one out to kill you is out to kill me, too. Stick with me. I’ll protect you.”

Living in Desert Hideouts

23 1-2 It was reported to David that the Philistines were raiding Keilah and looting the grain. David went in prayer to God: “Should I go after these Philistines and teach them a lesson?”

God said, “Go. Attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

But David’s men said, “We live in fear of our lives right here in Judah. How can you think of going to Keilah in the thick of the Philistines?”

So David went back to God in prayer. God said, “Get going. Head for Keilah. I’m placing the Philistines in your hands.”

5-6 David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines. He scattered their cattle, beat them decisively, and saved the people of Keilah. After Abiathar took refuge with David, he joined David in the raid on Keilah, bringing the Ephod with him.

7-8 Saul learned that David had gone to Keilah and thought immediately, “Good! God has handed him to me on a platter! He’s in a walled city with locked gates, trapped!” Saul mustered his troops for battle and set out for Keilah to lay siege to David and his men.

9-11 But David got wind of Saul’s strategy to destroy him and said to Abiathar the priest, “Get the Ephod.” Then David prayed to God: “God of Israel, I’ve just heard that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the city because of me. Will the city fathers of Keilah turn me over to him? Will Saul come down and do what I’ve heard? O God, God of Israel, tell me!”

God replied, “He’s coming down.”

12 “And will the head men of Keilah turn me and my men over to Saul?”

And God said, “They’ll turn you over.”

13 So David and his men got out of there. There were about six hundred of them. They left Keilah and kept moving, going here, there, wherever—always on the move.

When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the raid.

14-15 David continued to live in desert hideouts and the backcountry wilderness hills of Ziph. Saul was out looking for him day after day, but God never turned David over to him. David kept out of the way in the wilderness of Ziph, secluded at Horesh, since it was plain that Saul was determined to hunt him down.

16-18 Jonathan, Saul’s son, visited David at Horesh and encouraged him in God. He said, “Don’t despair. My father, Saul, can’t lay a hand on you. You will be Israel’s king and I’ll be right at your side to help. And my father knows it.” Then the two of them made a covenant before God. David stayed at Horesh and Jonathan went home.

19-20 Some Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Did you know that David is hiding out near us in the caves and canyons of Horesh? Right now he’s at Hakilah Hill just south of Jeshimon. So whenever you’re ready to come down, we’d count it an honor to hand him over to the king.”

21-23 Saul said, “God bless you for thinking about me! Now go back and check everything out. Learn his routines. Observe his movements—where he goes, who he’s with. He’s very shrewd, you know. Scout out all his hiding places. Then meet me at Nacon and I’ll go with you. If he is anywhere to be found in all the thousands of Judah, I’ll track him down!”

24-27 So the Ziphites set out on their reconnaissance for Saul.

Meanwhile, David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the desert south of Jeshimon. Saul and his men arrived and began their search. When David heard of it, he went south to Rock Mountain, camping out in the wilderness of Maon. Saul heard where he was and set off for the wilderness of Maon in pursuit. Saul was on one side of the mountain, David and his men on the other. David was in full retreat, running, with Saul and his men closing in, about to get him. Just then a messenger came to Saul and said, “Hurry! Come back! The Philistines have just attacked the country!”

28-29 So Saul called off his pursuit of David and went back to deal with the Philistines. That’s how that place got the name Narrow Escape. David left there and camped out in the caves and canyons of En Gedi.

“I’m No Rebel”

24 1-4 When Saul came back after dealing with the Philistines, he was told, “David is now in the wilderness of En Gedi.” Saul took three companies—the best he could find in all Israel—and set out in search of David and his men in the region of Wild Goat Rocks. He came to some sheep pens along the road. There was a cave there and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were huddled far back in the same cave. David’s men whispered to him, “Can you believe it? This is the day God was talking about when he said, ‘I’ll put your enemy in your hands. You can do whatever you want with him.’” Quiet as a cat, David crept up and cut off a piece of Saul’s royal robe.

5-7 Immediately, he felt guilty. He said to his men, “God forbid that I should have done this to my master, God’s anointed, that I should so much as raise a finger against him. He’s God’s anointed!” David held his men in check with these words and wouldn’t let them pounce on Saul. Saul got up, left the cave, and went on down the road.

8-13 Then David stood at the mouth of the cave and called to Saul, “My master! My king!” Saul looked back. David fell to his knees and bowed in reverence. He called out, “Why do you listen to those who say ‘David is out to get you’? This very day with your very own eyes you have seen that just now in the cave God put you in my hands. My men wanted me to kill you, but I wouldn’t do it. I told them that I won’t lift a finger against my master—he’s God’s anointed. Oh, my father, look at this, look at this piece that I cut from your robe. I could have cut you—killed you!—but I didn’t. Look at the evidence! I’m not against you. I’m no rebel. I haven’t sinned against you, and yet you’re hunting me down to kill me. Let’s decide which of us is in the right. God may avenge me, but it is in his hands, not mine. An old proverb says, ‘Evil deeds come from evil people.’ So be assured that my hand won’t touch you.

14-15 “What does the king of Israel think he’s doing? Who do you think you’re chasing? A dead dog? A flea? God is our judge. He’ll decide who is right. Oh, that he would look down right now, decide right now—and set me free of you!”

16-21 When David had finished saying all this, Saul said, “Can this be the voice of my son David?” and he wept in loud sobs. “You’re the one in the right, not me,” he continued. “You’ve heaped good on me; I’ve dumped evil on you. And now you’ve done it again—treated me generously. God put me in your hands and you didn’t kill me. Why? When a man meets his enemy, does he send him down the road with a blessing? May God give you a bonus of blessings for what you’ve done for me today! I know now beyond doubt that you will rule as king. The kingdom of Israel is already in your grasp! Now promise me under God that you will not kill off my family or wipe my name off the books.”

22 David promised Saul. Then Saul went home and David and his men went up to their wilderness refuge.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Luke 12:1-32The Message (MSG)

Can’t Hide Behind a Religious Mask

12 1-3 By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, “Watch yourselves carefully so you don’t get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.

4-5 “I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

6-7 “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.

8-9 “Stand up for me among the people you meet and the Son of Man will stand up for you before all God’s angels. But if you pretend you don’t know me, do you think I’ll defend you before God’s angels?

10 “If you bad-mouth the Son of Man out of misunderstanding or ignorance, that can be overlooked. But if you’re knowingly attacking God himself, taking aim at the Holy Spirit, that won’t be overlooked.

11-12 “When they drag you into their meeting places, or into police courts and before judges, don’t worry about defending yourselves—what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes.”

The Story of the Greedy Farmer

13 Someone out of the crowd said, “Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance.”

14 He replied, “Mister, what makes you think it’s any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?”

15 Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”

16-19 Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’

20 “Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’

21 “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”

Steep Yourself in God-Reality

22-24 He continued this subject with his disciples. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.

25-28 “Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

29-32 “What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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