Beware of Doeg

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by Richard Mansel, managing editor

No one can say that the Bible is boring. The story of Doeg the Edomite proves that statement quite well.

First, some background.

Saul was made king (1 Samuel 9:27-10:1,17-25), but within a few years he was in trouble with God (1 Samuel 13:1-14). God had Samuel anoint David king and God helped the young man kill Goliath (1 Samuel 16-17). David was lauded as a hero and Saul’s jealousy consumed him.

“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled [Saul]” (1 Samuel 16:14, NKJV).

Saul’s mental state began to deteriorate and his paranoia became dangerous. He began to see conspiracies that did not exist (1 Samuel 22:7-8). Saul did everything he could to kill David and the son of Jesse lived on the run.

In 1 Samuel 21, David went to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech was surprised David was there without a force of men. David lied to him saying that he was on a mission from the king.

David talked the priest into giving him holy bread and Goliath’s sword for protection. David then fled and met the servants of Achish and pretended to be mentally deranged in order to save his life (1 Samuel 21:10-14).

As David left Ahimelech, Doeg the Edomite saw him and ran to Saul. Doeg reported that David went to Ahimelech and that the priest consulted God and helped David (1 Samuel 22:9-10). Doeg’s lies sent Saul into a rage, and the priests were brought before the King.

Saul demanded that they be killed, but his men refused. The ambitious Doeg stepped forward and killed 85 priests and massacred the residents of the city of Nob, including women and children.

We learn three basic lessons from this crazy story.

First, fear leads us down dangerous paths that we travel alone. Scripture says we should fear God (1 Peter 2:17). However, that means we should fear him like we do electricity. We know its power and we respect it for the damage it can do to us.

The fear that David experienced leads us to think that we are completely alone and have no hope. This kind of fear cannot co-exist with faith. It sends our minds into confusion and nightmares.

David forgot his faith in God and turned to deception and feigning madness to save his skin. When we forget God and face the evils of the universe alone, we will likewise become unrecognizable.

Second, opportunistic liars are very dangerous. Doeg was exceedingly ambitious and that all-consuming drive turned him to lies and blood lust. God hates lies (Revelation 21:8). We must do what we can to avoid opportunistic liars because they will destroy everyone in their way.

Third, actions have consequences. One seemingly small lie by David led to absolute disaster. Later, David mourned his careless decision when he lamented to Ahimelech’s son:

“I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house” (1 Samuel 22:22).

We must be very careful with our actions because they have consequences and they can start wildfires that cannot be contained.

Beware of Doeg because people like him are still with us and they wield a mighty sword.

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