Page 15 of 16
A New Light Dawns!
AT THE CAVE OF
As preached by Pastor Erin Miller on 11-8-2014, as remembered and added to and commented on by Dr. Bob Holt, MD that evening -
Pastor Erin Miller was the acting Chief Pastor at Foster Memorial Church (SDA) for more than a year before Pastor Bryan Aalborg was chosen for that position. More recently she served as a chaplain and is currently the Principle of an Adventist Church School. Several of her own children attend that school which may partly explain why she chose that position. I have displayed several more of Pastor Miller's sermons on this website over the years since the year 2000, and used this photo of a movie star look-alike which I will display again here.
Erin Miller reminded the congregation at Foster Church how much we all dislike waiting for things to happen, and how distressed we sometimes become when things don't happen in our lives exactly at the time and place we are hoping and planning for them to happen. Then she quoted David on this subject and reminded us that David had to wait for a long time after the Prophet Samuel anointed him as a youth in Bethlehem as God's choice to be the next king of Israel and Judah. In the meanwhile David was chosen by King Saul to play music on a harp (actually a much simpler instrument, the lyre) when Saul was vexed by an evil spirit. This was after David had his famous confrontation with the Philistine giant Goliath of Gath, in which David was victorious, using only a few stones from a slingshot to bring down this giant, and take possession of his sword.
1 Samuel 16:14 "But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."
17 "And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. 19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep."
21 "And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: and Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."
1 Samuel 18:6 "And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and shouting, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."
8 "And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what else can he have more but the kingdom? 9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward."
10 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times; and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. 11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice."
Not far into ERIN MILLER'S sermon of 11-8-2014 David is fleeing for his life from the angry and treacherous king Saul with no time to prepare for his flight, and no time to pack a lunch or even find a weapon to protect himself.
He arrives hungry and out of breath in Nob, a town in which live 85 priests of the Lord and the sanctuary tent in which is kept, among other items, the sword that once belonged to the giant Goliath of Gath, and which is now, in Erin's oratory, a NATIONAL TREASURE. David is in a hurry, he's tired of waiting for God to do the things God has promised to do for him, It's time for David to start looking out for David.
The priest on duty notices that David is not accompanied by his usual group of a thousand warriors. David lies. He says he's on a secret mission for King Saul.
1 Samuel 21:2 "And David said unto Ahimalech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. 3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. 4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women."
(We didn't get to hear this part of this text also -- the church was more or less packed with Erin's Church School students, and an explanation of why celibacy was connected with eating shewbread might have been problemmatic to this non-Catholic group of students) Said David to Ahimalech --"Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel."
6 "So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in that day when it was taken away."
After that Ahimelech gave him Goliath's sword, because David said -- "I have neither brought my sword or my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste."
After another episode that ERIN wisely skipped, David arrives with a few companions at the Cave of Adullam, which Erin stated was quite near to the valley in which David had originally acquired Goliath's sword, which was now once more in his possession. And somehow or other, he also arrived, we assume, with his harp or lyre, to while away the long hours while he was waiting for God to tell him what to do next.
1 Samuel 22:1 "David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his fathers house heard it, they went down thither to him."
2 "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered them-selves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and they were with him about four hundred men."
Here's where ERIN got more eloquent. She asked us to imagine 400 discontented men in a dark cave lit perhaps by only a few smoky torches, all speaking perhaps at the same time about what was bothering them. Erin has a class in which 19 of her students get an opportunity to complain, so she said she can begin to imagine what 400 men in a cave doing the same thing might sound like!
What was mentioned specifically in the text was debt, and Erin reminded us that in those days they had debtor's prisons, and no doubt a lot of these people had farms, and the crops had perhaps failed due to bad weather, and they had borrowed money to save their farm. And now they were in danger of being sold themselves. Sold into slavery to pay off these debts.
Things were not going well for these 400 people as they were not going well for David. Whose name was now on the equivalent in those days of WANTED posters, with a price on his head. They had all come to this cave with similar problems. And all trying to talk at once! Said Erin, David did not have here a rational group of people. Not an organization. Not an army. He had a mob! And who did this noisy, disorganized group find standing in front of them in the smoky light in that cave?
A musician! A young man with a harp!
To Erin Miller, who of course as Foster's minister for many years, has heard the problems, emotional, financial, and interpersonal, of the diverse group meeting in this building, she compared us after reading this Bible story, with the group David soon had coming to him and meeting with him in that Cave of Adullam. We have our own musicians up front. They had David the harp-player up front. The PRAISE TEAM at Foster. David writing and singing his Psalms. Real songs about real people singing those songs to a God they hope will hear them and help them cope.
BAD NEWS FROM NOB
1 Samuel 22:6 "When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with them, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;) 7 Then said Saul unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;--"
9 "Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And he enquired of the Lord for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king." King Saul did not like Ahimelech's answer, although the priest told the king David had lied to him. And although no one among Saul's army but Doeg would hurt the Lord's priests but Doeg himself, at Saul's command, Doeg personally slaughtered all 85 priests.
19 "And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword."
20 "And one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. 21 "And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the Lord's priests."
1 Samuel 22:22 "And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house."
23 "Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard."
Abiathar had brought with him when he fled, an ephod. An article of priestly clothing that these priests in those days could communicate with Israel's God Yahweh, and get back an answer of Yes or No. And in the very next chapter Abiathar is using this ephod to advise David.
ALTHOUGH ERIN'S SERMON WAS NOT ABOUT WOMEN BUT ABOUT DISCONTENTED MEN, DAVID HAD NINE WIVES, EACH OF WHICH IS CONNECTED WITH UNUSUAL STORIES, SO DR. BOB HOLT IS HERE ADDING SOMETHING ELSE OF INTEREST:
David's and Jesus's
UNUSUAL AND FAR FROM PERFECT
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac;--
"-- and Isaac begat Jacob;--"
"--and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;--"
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar;
"--and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naason; and Naason begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab;
Joshua 2:1 "And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 6 "But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid them in order on the roof.15 "Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her home was on the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. Joshua 6:22 "--Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her." "--and Booz begat Obed of Ruth;--"
"-- and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
2 Samuel 11:2 "And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 4 "And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness; and she returned unto her house. 5 "And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, I am with child."
7 And Solomon begat Roboam;--"
"--and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon;
12 "And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zarobabel begat Abiud; and Abiaud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Mattham, and Mattham begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
In each of the high-lighted pregnancies and births I have supplied pictures and comments for in this genealogy of Matthew's, some sort of miraculous intervention by God, usually through his Holy Spirit is assumed. But especially so is this true of the last-mentioned one, that of the "Virgin" Mary, whose betrothed husband-to-be appears to be completely surprised and taken aback by her being pregnant. And yet, it is possible to discover, even 2000 years later, when and how Mary became pregnant -- even in spite of an obvious attempt by a great number of people to cover-up this information, -- make it hard to discover!
For more on this interesting and provocative subject:
The Ark of the Covenant was taken into a battle with the Philistines and was captured.
To read that story and what happened when King David tried to move it into Jerusalem --