Monday, June 13, 2011

collateral damage

But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD.
1 Samuel 22:20-21

This was a sad unintended consequence of David's quick thinking deception. Now the priestly line has been nearly wiped out by Saul's hot-tempered revenge. It has come to the king's attention that the priests offered aid to the fleeing David. In retaliation, he has the priests all killed, and their homes and families obliterated. Only one son of Ahimelech escapes. Abiathar brings David the bad news. David accepts this fugitive priest into his company.

David's life is now that of a renegade general. It is not what he has chosen. But Saul has turned bitter and suspicious. He has made David into a wanted man. And now he roams the Judean wilderness with a band of desperadoes. David is a leader of a group that would later be known as his "mighty men". For now, they are just desperate, debt-ridden, depressed but faithful to David. And God would make of this group the finest army Israel ever would know.

I am sure that when David first concocted his deception to the priests, he never thought Saul would twist it like he did. But now David must live with the collateral damage that he caused. He must take responsibility for the last surviving priest in Israel. He must protect the Lord's reputation and must take responsibility for leading beyond his past mistakes.

This is a lesson worth contemplating. Many times we make quick and selfish choices that later come with damaging consequences. God's grace can lead us to accept and move beyond them. That is what David did. He kept leading and stayed faithful despite his past sins and mistakes. That is the mark of a leader who is truly courageous.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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