Offerings and rituals of food have been an important part of many religions around the world. In the Indian area of Bengal, food offerings to the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, are made every Thursday and on special holidays. The Shinto rite of ritual purification includes offerings of rice, rice paste, and rice wine.
We might be tempted to wonder how the offerings of food that we have studied so far this month differ from the food offerings in other religions. Is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob really that different from Lakshmi or any other god or goddess? We see part of the answer in our reading today and tomorrow.
Right before this story, Jonathan confirmed for David that indeed King Saul was bent on killing him. In a touching scene of loyalty and friendship, Jonathan warned David to flee (see 1 Samuel 20). When David showed up at Nob, his reputation as a fugitive from Saul preceded him. Ahimelek the priest was understandably terrified to see him (v. 1; see 1 Sam. 22:16–19).
David requested some bread for himself and his men, but all that Ahimelek had on hand was the consecrated bread of the Presence. As we saw yesterday, God had made this bread available for the priests to eat, but He had forbidden anyone else from eating it. And David was not a priest. What was the right thing to do?
Interestingly, David made the argument that his men were, in fact, holy, especially on that day. Ahimelek agreed to give him the bread, giving him the provisions that he needed in order to escape from Saul. As we will see in our study tomorrow, God used this incident to reveal something important about how He views mercy and holiness.
Apply the Word
As we wrestle though what Scripture reveals about God’s character, ask the Lord to show you what it means to love mercy and justice in your life (Micah 6:8). If you need to stand with God’s people, pray for courage. If you need to extend mercy, pray for grace and strength. God delights to make His character evident in the lives of His followers.