Stay with me

1 Samuel 22:23
“Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.”

It started with a song. I woke up this morning with the song “Santuary” in my mind. You know the song:

“Lord, prepare me
To be a sanctuary…”

With the word “sanctuary” on my mind, I went to the concordance in my Bible, wandered back and forth through the Psalms, and ended up in First Samuel chapter 22. It’s a striking chapter in the story of Saul and David.

David is, of course, on the run from Saul. David’s family has caught up with him and he has found a safe place for them with the king of Moab. Saul hears that David had visited the city of Nob and that the priests there had aided him. Saul then orders the death of the priests and all their households – 85 in all – but Abiathar, a son of the priest Ahimelech, escapes and tells David what Saul has done.

It seems strange to think of Saul ordering the killing of priests of the Lord. In fact, when Saul had ordered his own servants to do it, they refused, and so Saul ordered Doeg the Edomite (who had betrayed David in the first place) to do it. Saul’s servants knew it was wrong, but Saul was so blinded by his hatred for David that he would punish anyone who aided his enemy. When Abiathar escapes to David’s camp, David offers him sanctuary.

I find David’s words very striking. Are these not words our Savior would say to us? Look at them again:

1 Samuel 22:23
“Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.”

“Stay with me…with me you shall be safe,” David says. Does not our Savior promise us everlasting life? (John 4:14)

“Do not fear,” David tells Abiathar. Does not our Lord tell us not to fear men but to fear God? (Matthew 10:28)

“He who seeks my life seeks your life,” David informs the son of Ahimelech. Jesus warned us of such persecution:

John 15:18-21
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

As Christians, we have to know two things:

1) We WILL be persecuted, reviled, imprisoned, and perhaps even killed for speaking the gospel of Christ. The worldly powers hate the true Word of God, because it convicts their souls.

2) We WILL be safe with Christ. That is not to say we will not suffer pain and misfortune in this life, but rather that our salvation is assured and we will, as the Psalmist says, “dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalms 23:6)

Ahimelech did what was right by helping David, and he stood up to Saul when confronted. Nearly all of Ahimelech’s family paid with their lives, but Abiathar found sanctuary with the Lord’s anointed king. (1 Samuel 16:13) When we stand up for God, we can expect persecution and the sword, but we will find sanctuary with Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus, the true King of kings, in whom we will always find sanctuary. Your way, Lord God, is in the holy places, and You have promised to shelter us there if we but seek You. Today I seek You, and tomorrow, too. And if You so desire, Lord, allow me to offer Your sanctuary to others in Your name, to those who seek that blessed assurance of a better life with You. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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