Memo 1048: Stale Bread
David was officially on the run, a fugitive, and his only crime was being successful and serving the king and his people with distinction. His downfall was his success and he had no choice but to run for his life as Saul sought to eliminate the rival to his throne. David had enjoyed success that belied his age, for he was still a young man who had a lot of maturing to do. We can't blame David for being young and inexperienced, and the only "remedy" was for him to go through some things that would mature and prepare him to serve as the king he was anointed to be. In this Memo, let's examine what happened as he began his life on the run with Saul in hot pursuit.
BREAD AND A SWORD
David's first need when he fled was some food for him and his companions:
Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here" (1 Samuel 21:1-3).
The priest only had the twelve loaves of the week-old bread of the Presence which the priests ate as their food. That tells us that David's traveling cohort was small, for 12 loaves would not feed many for very long. Then David turned his attention to another need he had:
Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me" (1 Samuel 21:8-9).
At some point, the trophy from David's most notable triumph, Goliath's sword, had ended up in the possession of the priests. If David didn't have a sword, then it's doubtful any of his traveling companions had one either. So there was God's anointed, starting his survival trek with no food or weapons. Stale bread and an over-sized sword were his lot, while the crazed King Saul sat in the palace with a large army and all the food he wanted.
David lied to the priests as to why he was on the run, and it eventually cost them their lives when Saul came a-callin' and accused them of harboring his criminal son-in-law. This indicates that David was confused and fearful, still trying to figure out what he had done to deserve such treatment, while also wondering how he was going to survive. Yet in the midst of his panic, God showed him the reason for his dilemma, and it wasn't anything he had done wrong, but something he had done right: his victory over Goliath. David's faith had brought him to where he was (for it was his faith that had won the battle with the giant and brought him great fame) and when he was presented with Goliath's sword, he was reminded that faith was what would carry him forward to the throne God had promised him.
Perhaps you find yourself in a tough spot right now. You launched out with the best of intentions to fulfill your purpose and do God's will. As you have, the enemy of your soul, who could not keep you from your purpose, is now trying to keep you from succeeding in it. He has created what I call "economic terrorism" to cause you to panic and run back to the comfort of what you used to do. Your friends seem to have disappeared and it's just you and God.
Like David, you may be eating "stale bread" as you struggle to make ends meet. As you cry out to God, He's silent or doesn't seem to move on your behalf. That's because He's allowed this season to prepare you for your future, and lean times have a way of imparting important lessons you will need later, lessons that teach you the reality of this truth:
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Like David, you need to be reminded of your past faith victories because the way of your past is the way forward. You need to trust God and embrace this season of stale bread and limited means. One day, when your faith is rewarded (and faith is always rewarded), you will look back and thank God that He brought you the way He did, for you will have a testimony that no one can steal. You will have confidence that whatever you face, you will make it through because you're not alone—although it sure seemed like you were in the days when economic terrorism threatened to destroy your faith journey that had started out with such promise. Stir up your faith today, eat those hardened morsels of stale bread, and reflect not only on where you have come from but where you will be when your economic terrorism comes to an end. Have a blessed week.