David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword? The king’s business was so urgent that I didn’t even have time to grab a weapon!” “I only have the sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah,” the priest replied. “It is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. Take that if you want it, for there is nothing else here.” “There is nothing like it!” David replied. “Give it to me!” – 1 Samuel 21:8-9 NLT
David was in trouble. He was being pursued by a lunatic, hell-bent on killing him. To make matters worse, this mad man was once his king and mentor. In his angst, David inquired of any resources that might aid in his survival. He had essentially become a fugitive of the state. The sword of Goliath was sitting behind the ephod and wrapped in a cloth for its protection. “There is nothing like it,” says an exasperated David, who perhaps was reflecting on his monumental achievement of slaying the giant and maybe in some way thought that it would bring about great fortune again.
David (like many of us can be at times) was ruled by his emotions. In his anxiety, he desperately held tightly to anything that would give him a greater chance of survival. Make no mistake, David was warrior, but he was first a worshipper. He let the warrior side of him take control as he ran for his life. He neglected the side of him that was a worshipper and disregarded the ephod that would have given him insight and direction from God Almighty. It’s so easy for us to do the same thing! It can be quite simple to take unilateral action on a certain situation without any prior consultation from the Lord.
When the pressure is on we can often take matters into our own hands instead of seeking the Lord’s guidance. Notice that the sword of Goliath was behind the ephod. I believe that this represents the importance of seeking the Lord first. Throughout Scripture, there are several stories that illustrate how the Lord looks favorably upon people that seek His will first. Jehoshaphat, Israel’s war with Benjamin, Hezekiah, Matthew 6:33, Solomon, etc.
What was the ephod?
It essentially was a garment worn during religious services associated with the tabernacle or temple. “Ephod” generally referred to the vest that the high priest of Israel wore over a blue robe. The high priest would wear/hold the ephod and would generally get direction and guidance from Yahweh, especially concerning military operations.
Interesting that Ahimelech basically told David that the only thing useful to him was the sword of Goliath. How sad was it that the man of God failed to see the clear mechanism that could have given David the true aid he needed at that moment? What a lesson for spiritual leaders? We may think that we have clear answers for people’s problems, “just pick up Goliath’s sword and you’ll be fine.” We must direct people to the feet of Jesus. I’m all for godly counsel and wisdom, but we must be diligent in reminding people to ask the Holy Spirit for direction and clarity. I recently read Isaiah 30 and was struck by the Lord’s displeasure with the Israelites when they made an alliance with Egypt:
What sorrow awaits my rebellious children, says the LORD. You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. – Isaiah 30:1-2 NLT
It is so important that we pause in the mist of our turmoil, seek the Lord, and be directed by the Holy Spirit. Practical steps:
Prayer Walk – Go to the beach, UNF or Fort Carolina trails. Find your wilderness and seek the Lord with all your heart. Cry out to him in desperation. He’s a good Father who hears the cries of His children. I want to encourage you to get out of your normal routine and go and experience the beauty of God’s creation and pray!
Sleep – Don’t ever make a drastic decision in exhaustion. Table whatever is pressing in your mind and get to bed early. I can only imagine how tired David was when he encountered Ahimelech. He was probably running all night and because he was so exhausted, looked at things from a human/carnal point of view instead of a God/spiritual perspective.
Fast – I would encourage you to fast a couple of days. The Holy Spirit will tell you what you need to remove in order to hear Him better.
David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God. Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. Then David asked the LORD, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the LORD told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” – 1 Samuel 30:6-8 NLT
Here we see a mature man who realizes that it’s futile to take matters into his own hand, but wisely consults the Lord. This time David doesn’t rely on the strength of the sword, but instead depends on God for guidance in his upcoming battle. Let us be a people that, instead of reaching for the sword of Goliath (taking matters into our own hands), reach for the ephod (The Holy Spirit’s direction), and find renewed strength and vision from the Lord.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.