A Moral Dilemma (1 Samuel #26)

David tried to find refuge in Samuel, but Samuel could not protect him. David tried to find refuge in Jonathan, but Jonathan could not protect him. Now David tries to find refuge at the tabernacle of God. The few men with him haven’t eaten in three days so David and his men are very hungry and they don’t know when they’ll get another good meal. Remember they’ve been in the wilderness hiding from Saul so they probably can’t make a fire or do the normal things you might do when you’re camping.

Now, David goes to the tabernacle of God for refuge. Not knowing where else to go at this point. He’s even skeptical of coming to the tabernacle which is why he won’t give Ahimelech the priest there all the information. With he and his men hungry, not knowing where to go or where they will be able to eat again, David asks Ahimelech if he has any bread to eat. Ahimelech’s answer brings us to the moral dilemma.

You’ve come to a place of moral dilemma. This is a situation where there are two choices to make, but neither of them seems right. Do I choose this wrong or do I choose this other wrong? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t kind of a situation. And when you consider it, these types of decisions are made on a regular basis. 

  • What do I do with mom or dad on life support? Worse yet, what do you do when mom or dad have become so unhealthy and miserable they refuse to eat or take medicine and would rather let their bodies die?
  • Some of the bigger ones like a decision to bomb Nagasaki and Hiroshima, killing tens of thousands of people in hopes of saving millions of lives.
  • Jonah is the cause of a storm onboard the ship. If the sailors throw him overboard, he’ll die but the storm will calm down. If the sailors allow Jonah to stay onboard the whole ship will go down. What do you do?

This evil world is full of examples ranging from menial to life-threatening scenarios where there seems to be no right answer. And we can all give our opinions about these things without any real progress. BUT, when the LORD makes a comment on a situation like this, you and I need to take note. Matthew 12:1-4, 7 offers the LORD’s commentary on his event. Anytime the new testament interprets the old testament you and I need pay attention and take that as the explanation. 

The LORD chooses mercy over ceremony

  • Ceremony serves reality, not truth that serves ceremony.
  • Mercy is not ignoring sin. Law simply defines boundaries, but David is not sinning or trying to sin here. So there is no guilt.

The law serves the spirit, not the spirit the law

  • The law has its shortcomings. There are certain things the law and the ceremonial law cannot account for.
  • Jesus said ye have heard it said: adultery, swearing, eye for eye, hate your enemy…BUT I say unto you… This is what hypocrites don’t want to understand.
  • You might say suicide is wrong, but you’d applaud the soldier who died for his fellowsoldiers. Do you know why you make a distinction? Because the spirit is different. One is sacrificial which makes it good. The other is selfish and that makes it unacceptable.

Make sure your heart is right

  • Right spirit is the chief good