“Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.”
1 Samuel 21:7 KJV
“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.
And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. 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.”
1 Samuel 22:9, 18-19 KJV
David came to Nob seeking what little he could find to get by, but he left with more than he bargained for. (1 Sam. 21:1-9)
Got bread? Not just any bread, holy bread. Shewbread.
Got a sword or a spear, just any old weapon I can take? Not just any weapon, only the best sword you can find anywhere.
David knew where to find what he needed. It was in the house of God.
Doeg was detained before the Lord in the tabernacle. Commentaries give several possible reasons he was detained: he was unclean for some reason; he was suspected of leprosy; he was unable to travel due to the Sabbath; he was fulfilling a vow; he was in violation of some law; or he was a proselyte.
We don’t know which reason precisely, but there are some clues we can use to create the scenario. Consider that the story may have gone like this.
Doeg was rising as David was falling in favor with Saul (comp. 21:7 with 22:9).
Doeg was close to Saul, probably for a long time, even prior to his kingship. But with the anointing to be king, some things had changed. It seems reasonable that Doeg was fulfilling a request from Saul to convert (he was not a native Jew, he was of Edom, or Syria).
Doeg was not just zealous for Saul, but also jealous of David.
He perhaps would have killed David, but he was fearful (Doeg means “fearing” of “fearful”). His plan apparently was to simply tattle on David to Saul once he was free to leave the tabernacle and be back at Saul’s side. Doeg apparently did not have an original thought in his head; he had to filter everything through Saul, otherwise he would have acted when he saw David. Aside from the fact that David was a mighty warrior and Doeg was a herdsman, Doeg wouldn’t have done anything without Saul’s approval. David says it later, in 1 Sam. 22:22, that he knew when he saw Doeg that he knew the guy was gonna go tattle on him to Saul. He was attached to Saul that closely.
Saul was his meal ticket. David was a fugitive. Doeg was working his way up the ranks, taking advantage of the situation. He owed all he had to Saul, even to the point of being detained in an act of proselytization to maintain appearances and keep his momentum going to the top.
Doeg was only interested in pleasing a man. He had no interest in pleasing God. That’s why he was detained; he had no desire or delight in being in God’s house.
Once he finally broke free from the bonds of God’s house, he treated the righteous as profane and embraced the wicked as righteous. He killed and destroyed God’s anointed and the things set apart for God, at the word of a fallen man.
You follow man, and he will lead to to places you don’t want to go. No man can give you the great things that God will freely give you. You must not follow a man, you must follow after God and the things of God, in the house of God!
Doeg was favored, and David was a fugitive. But David was not detained, David was free. David came willingly to the house of God in a desperate hour. He could no longer stay in the palace for Saul’s wrath, but he could run to God for what he needed.
In the house of God, there are two kinds of people: the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. And this is not measured the way it is measured in the world. Before God, there is no man that can keep you from becoming a HAVE. Christ gave all so that you could be a HAVE in the house of God.
Doeg was surrounded by the things of God in the house of God, but he was a HAVE NOT. He had no use, no desire, and he sought not the gifts of God all around him.
But David became a HAVE in the house of God. The Bible says:
“Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
James 4:2-3 KJV
- Get out of the world and into the House
- Get the world out of yourself, stop longing to go back out there, and get the Holy Ghost inside.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
James 4:4 KJV
You can’t be a hostage to God and a friend to the world and expect to receive anything.
David on the other hand, Asked and Received
Gee, I wish I could find 5 loaves of common bread around here, but all I can find is 12 loaves of holy bread, the best we have!
I’m looking around for any old spear or sword, but all I have here is the greatest sword that’s ever been held by a warrior.
When we come to the house of God in desperation and say, “God, I need something, anything!” He looks around and says, “I wish I could find something, anything, for you, but all I have is the best of everything.”
The whole armor of God. the bread of life. the gifts of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit. The waters of baptism. The oil of anointing. An old-fashioned altar. The blood of Jesus. The way, the truth, the life.
Where else can you go? What else do you need? God’s house is well-stocked with only the best- none of the rest!
The church of today across the landscape of the US is in the “something, anything” business. Those churches are looking at the questions, “What can we offer that will attract people? How can we do church that looks different than other churches?” They’re saying, “Come on in, no expectations here. Tell us what would make you comfortable. Tell us what would keep you entertained. Tell us how we can serve you.”
Programs. Facilities. Convenient service times with your preferences of preaching and worship styles. Lax dress code.
A form of godliness that denies power is all they offer. Why go into a place that just puts a pinch of the word out there, when you can enter the house of God and get the whole loaf? All 12 loaves?
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
1 John 2:15 KJV
If you’re stuck in the house of God, detained, when you look around all you can wish for is something “out there.” If I can just get OUT THERE I’ll find what I want, I’ll get what I really need.
The ties that bind…
The expectations and opinions of others
Station/Status quo/Social hierarchy
From Ed Stetzer:
97%- life changes (wanted a break, moved to college, work schedule)
58%- problems with their church or pastor (judgmental/hypocritical saints, little-no connection with church people, unfriendly/unwelcoming people)
52%- stopped or never believed what the church taught on religious, ethical, or political beliefs (disagreement on issues, only going to please someone else, or no longer wanted to affiliate with church/organized religion).
According to Ken Hamm, students and young adults do not feel that they get their questions answered on hard issues in the Bible.
Another source faults lack of intergenerational fellowship (the youth group is a bubble), and states that each young person needs 5 adults who actively influence their spiritual development.
To sum it up- people simply do not develop a vibrant, personal faith in God that carries throughout their lives. Bibles are not opened. Prayer is not a priority. The Holy Ghost and the power thereof is neglected.
I know what it’s like to grow up sleeping under a pew, going to Sunday school every week, sitting under the preaching of the Word of God, while all the while riding a drum stool to hell. I couldn’t wait to get out from under the detainment of God’s house. Everything was going to be the way I wanted it OUT THERE. But I never found anything that didn’t sooner or later bring me shame and regret.
Don’t be a Doeg, whose loyalty to God is as shallow as TN top soil. Don’t be a Doeg, whose devotion to the things of God only extends as far as what a man or a woman thinks of you.
Don’t be a Doeg, imprisoned by obligation. Unlike Paul centuries later, who called himself a “prisoner of Christ.” It’s not about obligation or what you can get out of the church, it is about being sold out to Jesus Christ and bound to Him
Be a David, who said
“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”
Psalms 51:11 KJV
Who said of Doeg:
“Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
And of himself:
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”
Psalms 52:7-8 KJV
Who also said:
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
Psalms 86:12-13 KJV
Don’t be Doeg the Detained; be David the Delivered!
If I’m speaking to Doeg now, it’s time to let go of the pain of the past. It’s your responsibility to go from Detained to Delivered.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
1 John 2:19 KJV
There is one inevitable outcome for Doeg. Doeg will go and be gone without a holy intervention. If you’re Doeg today, you feel detained in this house, trapped against your will, and you’re hoping things will change, things will not change unless you surrender to God today. And if you don’t surrender, then the odds are in favor of you going out of this place and committing atrocities against yourself and others, things you do not want to do.
If you see Doeg around here today, that’s good because there is a chance to save him or her before it’s too late.
We fail to tell our children what is right, leaving it up to them to decide for themselves. Doeg starts out as a person in need who was left hanging.
We fail to recognize and reward holy characteristics. Doeg could go either way; Doeg could be David. But We’re more interested in compliance than character.
We fail Doeg when Doeg could be delivered.
You can reach Doeg, and you can prevent someone from becoming Doeg. You can put both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road as a parent or a saint and reach someone who we know already has the deck stacked against them. There is no place out there that has the best interest of your son or daughter at heart, only Jesus and the things of God are best for your child.