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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 2, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: I Samuel 21-24


I Samuel 21:2

And David said unto Ahimelech 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.


Unintended consequences. Every sin has unintended consequences connected to it. The story of David in Nob and his interaction with Ahimelech the priest is a perfect example of the unintended consequences. On the surface it is not easy to pick up the transgression of David, but there it is for all to read. David clearly told the priest in Nob that Saul, the king of Israel sent him on a secret mission; The king hath commanded me a business…. This was not true; it was a lie.


This lie may have accomplished David’s purpose, but it carried with it severe consequences for 85 innocent souls. David even embellished his lie with more details in verse 8 saying the king’s business required haste. He wanted something to eat, he wanted a weapon and he lied to obtain both. To some, this is perfectly acceptable. After all, a little white lie is ok as long as a person wins the point, or is benefited somehow, or obtains the results they want, right? No, that kind of thinking is not right. The phrase “the end justifies the means” is not true. Neither is the phrase “situational ethics” appropriate. Ethics are not determined upon the situation, that is why they are called ethics.


Later, in the next chapter (I Samuel 22:18), Saul found out about David’s interaction with Ahimelech. As a result, that dreaded Doeg slew the priest and 84 other priests. Eighty-five innocent men lost their lives because of David’s lie. By the way… there is always a Doeg willing to hurt the righteous.


This is not the only story of unintended consequences in the Bible. In order to crucify Jesus, the mob, led by the religious leaders of the day, cried out, …His blood be on us, and on our children (Matthew 27:25). He was crucified and some time later when Peter and the other Apostles preached Christ’s gospel in Jerusalem, these same individuals said: …Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. (Acts 5:28) These same leaders were the ones that led the people in Matthew 27. They never expected Jesus to come back to life, they never expected to actually be held accountable for His bloodshed. But they were, they suffered the unexpected consequences of their rash proclamation. In Matthew they just wanted their way. In Acts they faced the consequences.


Again, all sin carries with it unintended consequences, and usually it is innocent people that suffer. The 85 priests did in David’s day. The Lord Jesus did in His day. His followers did also in the first generation of the church age. Even unto today, His followers still suffer from the unintended consequences of sin.


Dr. William T. Howe


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