Abiathar: The Priest

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Samuel 21:1-9, 1 Samuel 22:6-23
Date: 11/13/2010 
Lesson: 7
Abiathar the priest had faithfully served David during his lifetime, but his unwillingness to adhere to God's choices disqualified him from the priestly office.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento Seventh-day Adventist Church right here in rainy California this morning. But it's beautiful, it's fall, and it's just beautiful. We have a very special welcome to those that are joining us this morning in our sanctuary to worship with us. We even have guests this morning from all the way from australia.

So we have welcomed them. A very special welcome to you that are joining us from across the country and around the world, live on the internet this morning, through radio, television, however you're joining us, we know that you will be blessed as we worship together. So take out your hymnals at home, and take out your hymnals. We're going to sing hymn number 560 this morning, "let all things now living." This comes as a request from jojo in the Philippines, obioma in sweden, June in trinidad and tobago, Christopher in Massachusetts, marie in Iowa and mirna, richard and delores in Washington. Hymn 560, and we'll sing both verses.

.. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our web site at saccentral.org. And there you can click on the "contact us" link, and you can request any song in our hymnal, and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next song that we're going to sing, our hymn, is 327, "I'd rather have Jesus." And I pray that that is your song in your heart this morning, that you would rather have Jesus more than anything of this world. This comes as a request from gabriel, charles, anita, kenyon and felicia in australia, ariel and jessica in australia, birdie and ralph in the bahamas, dorothy in California, cathy, tony, felicity and stephanie in Canada, luis in the cayman islands, weston in Colorado, aurora, isatu, David and isabelle in england, eunice in honduras, bob and Paula in Idaho, hazel in japan, eric in Kentucky, leo and dorothy in Michigan, burdette in Montana, zurisic in New Jersey, caesar and luis in New York, jack and lucy in North Carolina, tom in Pennsylvania, rut in peru, jhing, junnie, Elisha, jerome and angelus in the Philippines, paco in Texas, raquel in united arab emirates, joe in vanuatu and kenneth in Virginia.

"I'd rather have Jesus," and we'll sing all three stanzas... Let's bow our heads. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath that again we can come and worship you. You have brought us safely through this week to again worship together as a congregation that is in love with you. And we want to just lay our lives before you this morning, Lord, and just give them to you anew.

And we ask you to just take our hearts, use us to finish this work. Help us to truly, as these words say in this song, we would rather have you than anything, anything that this world has to offer, because it is nothing compared to who you are and what you are and what you have done for us. We are grateful. So please be with Pastor Doug this morning, Lord, use His Words to change us, that we can hurry, that we can hurry your coming, because we can hardly wait. We pray these things in your precious name, Jesus, who gave it all, amen.

Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Good morning. Welcome everybody. So glad to see you here. I think jolyne was a little excited this morning, because her son ethan is getting baptized.

And so I think she felt a little joy and emotion about today. And we just rejoice with her, as well as some others that are making that decision. So we praise God for that. I want to welcome our friends who are watching on television. I was going to say watching on the radio, but that doesn't work.

Listening on the radio and on the internet, could be listening or watching. And we have central members who are some of the extended central family that are watching from around the world. Welcome to your Sabbath school class. And we're glad that you have tuned in. I just want to praise the Lord for the way that he blessed--now at the time that this will be broadcasting, it'll be a few weeks old already.

But you know, we were gone for a couple of weeks doing the m.i.q., The Amazing Facts for teen seminar in Michigan. And the Lord really blessed. And we want to thank him, and thank the whole crew, 3abn and everybody that helped us produce that. And the Lord blessed. Matter of fact this last week the program was also airing on the inspiration network which reaches about 65 million homes.

And our website just got a surge of people who are watching, young people, a lot of decisions were made for Christ. And we praise the Lord for that. So we're so excited. And going back to our study guide dealing with background characters in the old testament. For our friends who may be watching along with us, you can find this online.

If you just type in the word, "Sabbath school study guide," you'll find a couple of websites that carry this. You can study with us there, or you may just want to go to your neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church and I'm sure they'll share one with you. If they don't, you let us know; we'll announce their names in front of the whole country. No, I'm sure they'll share one with you. Hey, our study today is lesson 7.

And we're going to be talking about "abiathar: the priest," one of the background characters in the Bible. And we're dealing with a number of Scriptures: Exodus 28, gonna be talking about verse 6, Exodus 39:2-7, 1 Samuel 21:1-9, 1 Samuel 22:6-23, and then 2 Samuel 15:13-29. Now I know you didn't remember all that, but we'll do our best to cover as much as possible. We have a memory verse, comes from 1 Peter 2:9. You know, whenever I share my testimony, this is usually the Scripture I read.

I don't read a lot of Scriptures when I do my personal testimony, but this my favorite one. I'm going to be reading it from the new king James version, 1 Peter 2:9. If you'd like to say that out loud with me, I appreciate the help. "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." That's a beautiful, beautiful verse. Now, we are all part of this royal priesthood.

Abiathar is an interesting character in the Bible because he was basically the priest during the reign of David. And it's interesting how he came into that position. We'll get to that in just a moment. The name, abiathar, it's a little bit of a conundrum. We know what it means, but there's different spins on it.

Some word studies tell us it means, "father of abundance," or "father of super excEllence," or "a father remains." Now here's the one that I prefer. And I think it's the most accurate. It's "father of abundance," but it almost means "father of overflowing." And what that translates into is "father of the remnant," or "father that remains." Now that's very important, 'cause when you look at the life of abiathar, it'll begin to make sense. It's interesting as we study abiathar, because he really is the last priest in the line of eli. You remember there was a curse pronounced on eli that God would remove his heritage from serving as priests.

And abiathar was the last of the line of eli. He's the eleventh high priest in succession from aaron. And now as we study today, abiathar, I have a unique challenge. Abiathar is mentioned 30 times in the Bible, but he never opens up his mouth and speaks. No, I take that back.

He speaks but there is no record of His Words, the wording of what he says. Mostly what we're studying is what he did. So it's interesting for that reason if for no other. Now as we talk about abiathar, and in our memory verse it's talking to us that we are all part of this royal priesthood, we're going to study the importance of priests in Bible times and how important this would be to David, okay? First verse is Exodus 19:5-6. Do I have someone that got that slip of paper, gonna read that for us? "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.

Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." Alright, so God says to the children of Israel, "you are to be to me." Did he call them out because he was going to select a few people to be a unique caste of priests, or did he say initially they are to be a nation of Kings and priests for the world. In the same way that within Israel the priest was to be an intermediary to bring the people to God. You know the priests make atonement. And the word "atonement," if you break that up in english, it's "at-one-ment.

" We've been separated from God by our sins. The priests help us to be at one with God. Well, the purpose of Israel, they were to be a nation of Kings and priests that would make the people of the world at one with God. That's why the Lord strategically set Israel where he did. Now there's another verse on that.

Isaiah 61:6, someone else willing to read that? "But you shall be named the priests of the Lord. They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast." Alright, so here's another verse. That goes along with our memory verse. It says they were to be a nation of priests, helping people to make-- be at one with God.

And so as we study the character and the life of abiathar, just want you to understand the importance of the Kings. There are some cases where the priests were responsible for deciding who was going to be king. It was a very important position. I don't want to put you on the spot, but how many of you played chess before? Okay. I was stuck on an airplane a little while ago, and on my phone it's got a computerized chess game.

It's free. I haven't played in years. I used to play a lot of chess. And matter of fact, little trivia, if any of you ever saw the movie, "gone with the wind," the sister of scarlet o'hara in that movie, her name was evelyn keyes. She was an actress.

She recently passed away. She taught me play chess. She lived upstairs from us and was a friend of my moms. And so I started years ago. And then I gave it up because it just takes up a lot of time.

But when you play chess, who is right beside the King and the queen? The bishop, church leader. So you got the church and the state, all through history you're gonna see they're pretty close together. It was that way even back in Israel. Now a couple of examples of that, who picked David to be king, abiathar? Well God did, but what priest anointed him? 1 Samuel 16:13, "then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David." Now who is it that anointed David's son Solomon to be king? Was it abiathar? No, it was actually--we'll get to that in a little bit. Abiathar went the wrong direction on that one.

It was zadok. And it says, 1 Kings 1:39, "then zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon." So you got the priest is really officiating. Any of you ever see like the--it was before my time actually, queen elizabeth ii has been queen a long time I forget how long it's been. Anyone remember what year that was? Fifty--you folks from australia, you should know that, because you're somewhat still under the monarchy, aren't you? But 53. So I don't know if any of you remember when that was on tv, but prominent in that whole ceremony was the archbishop, or it's the--not the archbishop, it's the--well it's the head of the church in england.

Yeah archbishop of canterbury. And so they're always very prominent in that. That's the one that sets the crown on the head of the monarch. You got again here 2 Kings 11:12. This is the high priest jehoiada.

You remember they tried to wipe out all the royal seed? And he brought about not a military coup, but sort of a religious coup you might say. "And he brought out the King's son, put the crown on him, gave him the testimony." He was to have the Word of God in his hand. "And they made him king and anointed him." That king was jehoiada. "And they clapped their hands." Then you read in verse 11, not only did jehoiada install joash as king, it says in verse 15, 2 Kings 11:15, "and jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds, and the officers of the army, and said, 'take her--'" athaliah-- "take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her." "Slay her and whoever follows her." How much power did the priest have? That's a lot of power. I mean they're installing the Kings and they're executing the enemies of the Kings.

The sanctuary also is a place where--that's where we get the word sanctuary. They would be protected if someone was fleeing. Who was it that told the person who was running from innocent blood, if someone was guilty of manslaughter, unintentional murder, and they would go to a city of refuge? It was ultimately the priests that would examine them, and it wasn't 'til the death of the high priest they were free to leave. So in this culture, that priest had a very important position. Now David was basically on the lamb for several years after he was chosen as priest.

And all the priests had been slain, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's go to that story. 1 Samuel 21, 1 Samuel 21 starting with verse--well, we can read verse 1. Now Saul has made several attempt on David's life. First David was hoping, "well, maybe he's just bipolar and he's going to get over it.

He may have been off his medication. He's throwing spears at him; he's threatening his life. David got jonathan to talk to his dad and calm him down a little bit, but then it just got worse. And he finally really had to escape for his life. And this was I think the last time that he really gave up on trying to remain in the palace, even though he had married the King's daughter, king wanted to kill him.

"And David-- "he's hiding. Not too many people in the Kingdom know that he's fleeing now from Saul. "Now David came to nob--" that's a town not too far from Bethlehem. It was a town of the priests-- "to ahimelech of the priests. And ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and he said to him, 'why are you alone, is no one with you?'" He thought this is unusual for the King's body guard to be traveling cross country so lean and mean.

What's wrong? Are you on some special mission? And David played into that. So the King-- "so David said to ahimelech the priest, 'the King has ordered me on some business, and said to me, 'do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.' And I have directed my young men to such and such a place." David says, "I know I've got a guard I usually lead into battle. They're not with me right now." It was unusual for David who was so high in the palace to be out by himself. And that kind of made ahimelech nervous. You know what it often meant when someone fled to a priest? They're looking for sanctuary, 'cause they were in trouble.

Or they had somehow been exposed to some uncleanness, and he was wondering what was up. Now did David tell the truth? This is under the section "lies and tragedy" in your lesson. Did he tell the truth? It depends. Now I'm not trying to--I'm not trying to confuse you. I'm just trying to make you think.

What king is David talking about when he said, "the King has sent me on some business?" Well, if he's talking about Saul, well he's lying. If he's talking about God, that's closer to the truth. Had he been chosen by God? Now he does this a couple of times. One time, I don't have my notes, so you'll have to look it up. I'll do it from memory.

When David was living with the philistines, there was a philistine king, abimelech, and he sort of had received David to live with him. And David and his men had been living in zicklag. Abimelech said, "you can live in our territory of zicklag." And finally they went into battle with Israel. David said, you know, "I'm with you." And abimelech said, you know, "are you going to go to battle with us?" And he says, "you know that I'm going to fight for my Lord the King." Well wasn't David going to fight with the philistines against his own people? What did he mean when he said, "you know I'm going to fight with my Lord the King." Which king is he talking about? And so David was very clever. Don't forget he was a poet and a songwriter.

He knew how to do plays on words. And I'm not sure--don't misunderstand, I think he was being deceptive. But I think in his mind he was also doing some plays on words in what he was saying. Do you see what I'm saying? Which king was he talking about when he tells the King of the philistines, "my Lord the King knows that I'll fight for him?" Well that king knew he was not going to fight against his own people. But David was deceptive.

You've got that other story. Someone read for me 1 Samuel 21:13. "So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard." So when David came to the philistines looking for refuge, I don't know what he was thinking. He was desperate. Here he is, he's Marching up the streets, and he's got a great, big iron sword that's so long it's probably dragging the ground that he took from Goliath.

And everyone knew that sword. So here he goes to the philistines, carrying this trophy from killing their best soldier and saying, "hey, you know, I'd like to flee and find refuge with you because Saul is mad at me." And the people are going, "this is the guy that killed our champion. What are we going to do giving him--" and David's hearing this. They understood enough of each other's language. David's hearing this and thinks, "oh, they may execute me.

" And he thinks, "my only chance is to try and get sympathy. Maybe if they think I'm insane they'll have pity on me." Who knows, philistines might have had some laws about protecting those that were handicapped. And so David says he scrabbled on the doors. And the way that it means he took something and began to write crazy writing, etching on their doors. And he's foaming at the mouth, and the saliva is going down his beard.

And it probably was quite a performance. And David is acting like he's crazy. And king abimelech says, "why'd you bring this crazy guy into my palace? Am I supposed to dwell with crazy people? Get him out of here." And so instead of hurting him, they just said he's crazy. He's harmless. That's what David wanted him to think.

"I am no longer a threat to you, because I'm handicapped. I'm harmless." And so they chased him away, and he went, "phew! That was a close one!" Was he really crazy or crazy like a fox? Was that deceptive? Did they use deception in Bible times, especially when it came to their enemies? Did rahab lie when she said, "oh, the men you're looking for, run fast! They just went out the gate!" That was a blatant lie. And you know what worries me is I hear church members say, "well a little deception is okay because after all rahab did it." Rahab was a harlot too. I mean, how far you going to take that? So the Bible records what people did. It doesn't justify it, right? And so the Bible gives a faithful history.

And so it's not telling us, "yeah, David was being deceptive." By the way, his faith was failing a little bit during this time. And God is not endorsing that. Let's see, I want to go back to 1 Samuel 22. So yes, he was being deceptive. Now David says, I'm in verse 3, David says to ahimelech the priests, remember he's running, he stops at the town of the priests.

And there was about 80 families that lived in that town, 80 men and their families. So there are a couple hundred people there. "Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found." "And the priest answered David, 'well there is no common bread on hand;'" all we got, you know, readily at hand is the "holy bread," that they--the shew bread that they put in the temple, they would replace it every day and keep it fresh. But because it was consecrated to God, they normally didn't give it away. And he says, "if your young men have kept themselves from women.

" Now, in Bible times, remember when they went to present themselves before the Lord, and they were about to hear the Ten Commandments, and God said, "I am going to speak to you," they were to purify themselves in a unique way. And among the things they did was--it says, "you are to wash your clothes and let every man keep himself from his wife." When you're fasting, or when you're trying to purify yourself, there are some things you did connected with a fast, and one was physical abstinence, and there could be food abstinence, cleaning your clothes. Paul talks about this. He says, "if you are going to fast and pray, let the husband and wife agree to abstain, not too long lest you be tempted by your inconsistency." But that was something they did. So the priest said, "well, are the men purified.

" And she said, "oh yeah, because often when they went to battle, they often restrained themselves from intimacy. You remember uriah? When they told uriah, "go on home." He said, "I'm not going back home. The men are still in the field. What are they going to think of me. We're fighting a battle.

" And so that was understood. Anyway, he said, "oh yeah, no problem." He said, "truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy. And the bread is in effect common even though it was sanctified in the vessel this day." In other words, the breads are already day-old bread, so it shouldn't make a big difference. "So the priest gave him holy bread; such as there was--" since there was only, "the shew bread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord." Now why he was detained the Bible doesn't say. But sometimes if a person had some evidence of some uncleanness, it could have been a rash and they wondered was it leprosy, you can to go watch, the priests had to watch you for 24 hours or something. And so doeg, this edomite, is there to be pronounced clean. And he's waiting, he's detained before the Lord, waiting for the priests to declare him clean. But David knew he worked for Saul and that he was going to tell Saul everything he saw, so he was a little worried about that.

"Doeg, an edomite, chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul. And David said to ahimelech, 'is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? 'Cause I have not brought my sword or my weapons with me, because the King's business required haste.' And the priest said, 'the sword of Goliath the philistine, who you killed in the valley of elah, it is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it--" you know, all the important national relics were there, 'cause they had the temple there. He said, "if you want to take it, take that one." And David said, "oh boy," "there is none like it." 'Cause it was an iron sword. You remember when jonathan and Saul went to battle with the philistines.

He says, "no one had swords but," jonathan and his son-- "Saul and his son." And so to have the sword of Goliath, that was pretty important. He said, "there's none like it; give it to me." Now all this is being observed by doeg. And now Saul is having a meeting, and he--he begins to pine and say, "how come none of you are standing up for me? How come someone is helping out David? He's escaped from me." You know, he sent his soldiers to kill David in his bed. And his wife put an idol in the bed. Makes you wonder what's an idol doing in David's house.

And he slips out the window. They said, "bring me David." Wife says, "he's sick." Saul says, "bring him to me on his bed that I can kill him." And they went to retrieve David, sick or not, and they found out it wasn't even him in his bed, it was some statue or something. I don't know what they had going on there. But anyway, so now Saul is fuming mad, 'cause David slipped through his fingers. And word may have reached Saul that Samuel the prophet had anointed him as king.

And so he's really threatened. Alright 1 Samuel 22:18-19, Saul is upset because David's escaped. Finally doeg the edomite says, "well I saw that he was with ahimelech the priest." And he says, "bring the priest to me." So the priest and all the priests are brought before him. the King gives an order they got to obey. He says, "how come you're for my enemies and you helped David?" He said, "oh, we don't understand.

He was on your business, king." They were totally innocent. And he says, "you've conspired with him." Remember the priests were so powerful; they thought that they had conspired with David to overthrow Saul. Saul gives the command that all the priests should be slain. Somebody want to read 1 Samuel 22:17, this is a very interesting verse. "Then the King said to the guards who stood about him, 'turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me.

' But the servants of the King would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord." It's one of the few times in the Bible when the King gives a direct order and his guard said, "we can't do that," because they felt like there'd be a curse on them if they raised their hand and shed the blood of the priest. They knew that Saul had episodes of depression. They expected the priests were probably innocent in telling the truth. And yet they were serving this maniac king. They said, "we won't do that.

" So that's unusual. They obeyed a direct order. But then, 1 Samuel 22:18-19, Saul had promised vineyards and lands to whoever would be on his side and help expose David, kind of a reward that you give to turn in a most wanted enemy. Doeg the edomite, he doesn't care about the priest. He's an edomite.

He says, "I'll do it." "And the King said to doeg, 'you turn and kill the priests!' So doeg the edomite, he turned and he struck the priests, on that day 85 men who wore a linen ephod." I said earlier 80, it's 85 men. "Also nob--" that wasn't enough that they killed the priests. Then they went to their town where the temple was. "Also nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep." Saul was more efficient in killing his own people. He had been told to annihilate the amalekites, and he didn't do it.

Now he annihilates the priests and their families the way he was supposed to annihilate the enemies. He does a better job killing his own people than he did the enemies. Isn't that interesting? But--now you go to 1 Samuel 22:20, and this is where abiathar is introduced. "Now one of The Sons of ahimelech The Son of ahitub, named abiathar, escaped and fled after David. And abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests.

So David said to abiathar, 'I knew that day, when doeg the edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your Father's house. Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you'll be safe.'" Well that's a very interesting statement. By the way, who was going to be David's ancestor that's very important? Jesus, right? Jesus is often called The Son of? David.

Saul was demon-possessed that day he commanded the death of all the priests. Are we a nation of Kings and priests? And he says, "he that seeks my life is seeking your life. He that seeks your life is seeking my life. Stay with me and you'll be safe." The devil really hates Jesus. He takes it out on us because he's mad at Jesus.

Isn't that right? And that's why he killed the priest, 'cause they were siding with David. And that's why he persecutes us. But there's good news in this. He says, "stay with me. He that seeks your life is seeking my life.

" Or "he that seeks my life is seeking your life, but with me you'll be safe." And so I think that's a promise there. I've got that underlined in my Bible. And now someone read for us Mark--here's where Jesus actually refers to abiathar by name. So this is a character that is spoken of by Christ. Mark 2:25-26, I gave that to somebody.

"And he said unto them, have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shew bread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?" So evidently David did have a couple soldiers that were with him that stayed outside the camp with the priests. He came in by himself. Furthermore, when Jesus talks about this, he's doing it in the context of--he's being accused of Sabbath-breaking. And he said, "you know, you haven't read the Bible. What about what David did?" Now you wonder, was the correlation here because David was breaking the Sabbath, or 'cause he was eating something that had been set aside as holy? It may be both.

You remember David was supposed to be at a dinner with Saul because it was the new moon Sabbath and he didn't show up. And so they used to have a feast around the first of the month during the new moon. And so it may have actually corresponded with a lunar Sabbath as well as he was eating the holy bread. And that could be another reason that ahimelech was wondering, "why is David fleeing like this?" So here you've got Jesus referring--oh by the way, some scholars have wondered who was the high priest when David showed up at the city of nob? Was it abiathar or was it his father ahimelech? It was actually his father, but here Jesus says, "in the days of abiathar the high priest," because as soon as all of the priests were killed, by default abiathar became the high priest right then. So it was in his days.

Some people have struggled over that and they thought maybe Jesus didn't know his Bible chronology. One more thing, and this is just for those of you that like the nuances in the Bible. You read through Chronicles, you're going to find that ahimelech is sometimes called abiathar, and abiathar had a son named ahimelech. You ever seen a family where they keep naming The Father and The Son with the same name like stephen's name is really george after my dad who was named after his father, george Abraham. And my brother was george falcon.

But it confused things to call everybody in my family george. And so no, no george foreman's in our family. Oh I know, he's got all georges. But sometimes it creates a confusion, doesn't it? And so in the same way there was ahimelech and abiathar's name may have been abiathar ahimelech, or something like that. And so it's not unusual for them to share names.

It just depends on which version they wanted to use at that time. Alright, let's move on here in the story. So he has now gone to David. From this point on, abiathar becomes the priest of David. And for everything we know, he is faithful during those years.

How long did David--between the time that David ran from Saul and he died, it's over 40 years because he reigned, and this is even before he began to reign. He reigned a total of 40 years. Now when he fled, 1 Samuel 23:6, when he fled from nob, he had the foresight because they would want to know what God said to grab the ephod, the breastplate of the high priest. They used to inquire of the Lord regarding his will with this ephod. And you can read that 1 Samuel 23:6, "now it happened, when abiathar The Son of ahimelech fled to David at keilah, that he went down with an ephod in his hand.

" On the shoulders of the breastplate, the ephod, they had two stones. They were referred to as the urim and the thummim. Now that's hard to sing those two words, they don't exactly roll off the tongue. But in Hebrew, that represents lights and perfections. Now there's still some discussion about what color they were and which stones they were, but evidently, they would inquire of the Lord, they would pray for God's guidance.

But they used to ask the Lord questions about yes or no, right or left kind of questions. And one stone as opposed to another would light up and give them direction. And so David often inquired of the Lord, through the urim and the thummim, through the ephod, and abiathar would be the priest that would pray for him and give him direction. You remember at the end of Saul's life, Saul prayed for direction, said God would not speak to him by priest or prophet or by the urim or thummim, the ephod. So God, the light just didn't come on.

God didn't give him any light. But David, he began to guide David. Now part of the inner cabinet of David, in his kingdom, let's read about that. 1 Chronicles 27:33, David had a counselor named ahithophel. By the way, that was the grandfather of bathsheba.

He was "the King's counselor, and hushai the archite was the King's companion," or his friend. "After ahithophel was jehoiada The Son of benaiah, then abiathar," who is the priest. "And the general of the King's army was joab." So there you've got the central cabinet. You've got the military. You've got his--what do you call it, chief of staff.

You've got his friend, his personal confidant. You've got the religion, the head of the church so to speak. And it's all listed there. Abiathar was in that inner circle as David's kingdom grew. He went running from pillar to post living in caves and out in the wilderness with David until he was installed with king--with him as king, and experienced all that.

Now at some point in David's life, after he sinned with bathsheba, a bunch of curses came on the family, David did not order his sons the way he should have. And he had one son named amnon, who basically raped his sister, tamar, half sister. Tamar happened to be the full sister of absalom. So to exact vengeance on absalom who had done this, or to exact vengeance on amnon, absalom had his servants kill him. Then absalom needed to flee.

That created a rift between David and his beautiful older son absalom. Another reason that amnon was killed is he was older than absalom. Absalom kind of thought, "well that will set me in line to reign." But he couldn't wait for his father to die. He rebelled against his father, and the Kingdom was really split. Most of the Kingdom followed absalom.

He stole their hearts, the Bible says. And just a few of David's faithful friends and his soldiers, his kind of honor guard, they fled from Jerusalem with him. Abiathar said, "I'll go with you." He said, "look, the Lord's been with you. I'm staying with you." And so abiathar fled with him. They were going out of the city, taking the ark with them.

Now maybe they thought, abiathar and zadok, they might have thought, if we've got the ark with us when absalom goes into battle, if we've got the ark, we'll be safe. Is that true? Did the Israelites have the ark with them in a battle that they lost? You remember when The Sons of eli brought the ark into battle and they were totally, not only were they beaten, but the ark was taken. And David wisely said, "bring the ark of God back into the city. It's more important than I am. And if God spares me, praise the Lord.

If not, let him do what he wants to do. Perhaps I'll see the ark again in peace someday." But he told basically abiathar and zadok, he says, "you can do me more good if you stay in the city and you spy for me and see what he's up to. If absalom thinks he's got the church on his side, then he'll be more confident, make some mistakes. You send your sons to bring me messages of what's going on in the city. And they did that, The Sons of zadok and abiathar were spiriting messages back and forth to him during that time.

Oh I read this. I had given this out, but I read it already. 2 Samuel 15:29, "therefore zadok and abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they reMained there." And then you can see where they made intercession. This is during absalom's revolt still.

2 Samuel 19:11, "so David sent zadok and abiathar the priest, saying, 'speak to the elders of judah, saying, 'why are you the last to bring the King back to his house, since the words of all Israel have come to the King, to his very house." So now you see where zadok and abiathar are interceding in behalf of the King. After absalom was slain, the King had had to flee Jerusalem with his soldiers. Nobody said, "you know, you need to come back. We really were too hasty in following your son. You have been chosen by God.

You should be king." And so the priests are saying, "don't you think you ought to bring David back? Obviously God was not with absalom. That whole rebellion ended in terrible tragedy. David even though outnumbered has survived. All these things David has survived. God is with him.

We've made a mistake. We need to tell David to come back." And so it was the priests and abiathar that interceded with the Kingdom to bring their king back. You can understand how awkward that would be for people as a nation to admit they made a mistake. The whole nation basically voted him out of office when they were all cheering when beautiful absalom came riding up the streets. They said, "oh we're tired of David too.

And you know you disgraced the Kingdom with bathsheba. We want a young king. We want someone new. We want change!" You heard that before? And they said--and then you know later on they had to say, "ah, absalom didn't end well. Maybe we should have you back.

" And it was the priests that had to reason with the leaders and say, "we need to invite the King back, 'cause God is with him." Now someone made a feeble attempt during that time. One of the ancestors of Saul, a guy named shimei. Do you remember this story? When David was fleeing, he thought, "oh good, the benjamites are going to be in charge of the Kingdom again. And he was cursing David and throwing rocks and trying to get even. They probably thought that maybe Benjamin would take the throne again, but no, it stayed with judah.

Now we've got abiathar's choice. It says abiathar followed David when he looked like an outcast and a rebel. But he made a bad decision when it came to--as David was getting old, David said Solomon should be king. And shortly after David had heart failure and everything, adonijah, the younger brother of absalom, keep in mind a few years had gone by, he thought, "Solomon?" Everybody's mumbling and saying David's chosen Solomon. "Nathan the prophet said it's supposed to be Solomon.

Solomon? He's the youngest. It's supposed to be the oldest. Solomon? He's a bookworm. He's a poet. Yeah, he's smart, but we need someone with strength.

And by the way, Solomon? He's The Son of bathsheba. That's that scandal in the Kingdom. The Son of the scandal is going to be king?" Can you understand the murmuring going on in the Kingdom? And adonijah now who is the younger brother of absalom, also very good looking, he said, "oh this is not good. People are not going to go for this. I should be king.

" So he started talking to joab. And joab, he said, "you know, I think you're right, the general." You have to get the military on your side. And then adonijah went to abiathar. He said, "you know, why would you--Solomon?" And abiathar--you know, I'm just speculating. Why did abiathar, all these years, he was loyal to David's decisions.

But here at the end of David's life, rather than go with Solomon, he said, "I think abiathar--" "I think that adonijah should be king." And so abiathar, who had been loyal, made this bad decision near the end of his life. But you got to keep in mind, he wasn't too pleased with the idea of Solomon, 'cause it had disgraced the Kingdom. He thought this is The Son of an illegitimate marriage. Why would God choose him? So keep in mind these things are going on in his head. And also, abiathar remembered following David when he was an underdog.

And he said, "you know, adonijah's the underdog now. Maybe, you know, maybe he's the one." It didn't look like David was chosen when he first started following him. So who knows what was going on in his mind, but abiathar chose to follow adonijah. 1 Kings 1:5, "then adonijah The Son of haggith exalted himself, saying, 'I will be king;' and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and 50 men to run before him." It's typically what the King did. It's also what his brother absalom had done.

"And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, 'why have you done so?' He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after absalom. Then he conferred with joab The Son of zeruiah and with abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped adonijah." They tried to affect this coup to install him as king before Solomon could be set up as king. David got word of this through bathsheba. And because zadok the priest was still loyal to David, and because benaiah, another military leader--joab's getting old--was loyal to David, David said, "well, we're going to have to preempt this.

While they're celebrating, we need to go to the temple. We're going to do it God's way. We're going to install Solomon. We're going to have the holy oil poured on his head. We're going to have the people shout.

We're going to do it at the temple. We're not going to do it at a banquet hall." David was very smart. Solomon got the majority vote. The people all began to shout and pronounce him king. Adonijah realized--you know, someone said, "if you're going to strike the King, you better not miss.

" You ever heard that before? If you're going to strike the King, don't miss, and he tried to make himself king and he didn't. He missed. Well, short version of it, Solomon when he was finally installed in power after David died, he had the good grace not to do it while his father was alive, adonijah was executed. Matter of fact, adonijah tried one more time by taking one of David's wives, abishag. And joab, the general, Solomon had him killed.

You remember joab? He's our study next week. Joab died clinging to the horns of the altar. Might even see him in the Kingdom, but anyway he was executed. But abiathar reMained. What Solomon said to abiathar-- and this is the last section.

I actually got through the lesson. "Abiathar's fate." And to abiathar--by the way, 1 Kings 2:26-27, "and to abiathar the priest the King said, 'go to anathoth, to your own fields--'" you've got a house there-- "for you are deserving of death; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord God before my father David, and because you were afflicted every time my father was afflicted.' So Solomon removed abiathar from being priest to the Lord, that he might fulfill the word of the Lord that he had spoken concerning the house of eli at shiloh." All the way back when this prophet came to eli and said, "because you have honored your sons instead of me, your family is going to removed in the fourth generation from being priests." This was the fulfillment of that. But you know, you still need to see the favor of God in abiathar in that look how much he survived. When 85 prophets are killed, abiathar survives. All the time that David fled and ran, abiathar was with him.

Abiathar survived. Furthermore, when joab and adonijah are slain because of a failed coup, abiathar survived. And what does the word abiathar mean? The one who remains, the remainder. It's very interesting. And he also is symbolic or emblematic of the truth.

By the way, this is the only time in the Bible where a high priest is deposed. It was abiathar. There was a king who got leprosy and he was deposed while his son reigned in his place. But this is the only time that a priest continued to live, but someone else took his office. They weren't like the supreme court Judges where you serve for life, but you can still retire if your health fails.

They used to serve until they died, kind of like a pope. You ever seen a pope retire? That doesn't happen. The way a pope retires is either someone retires him or he dies. We don't know exactly how it happens, but usually it's-- they die. You know, one reason Solomon probably didn't kill abiathar, he remembered when the rest of abiathar's family was killed by Saul.

Do you ever want the blood of a priest on your hands? Not God's priests. And so I think even Solomon was very reluctant because he was wise to know who is it going to look if you kill the high priest who had been so close to David and interceded for David. And God spoke to David through abiathar for 40 years. So how long did abiathar live? Well, we're not exactly sure. He lived--he reigned during the time of 1060-1012, but he may have lived way beyond that.

By the way, one of the longest living people in the Bible was jehoiada the priest. He lived longer than Moses. Did you know that? Jehoiada lived 130 years. Moses 120 years. Abiathar must have been at least 70 when he was deposed because he could not begin serving his priest until he was how old? What's the law say? Thirty.

And Jesus began his ministry at 30. He followed David for how long after he fled to David? Forty years David was on the throne. So he was over 70 when he was deposed. We don't know how long he lived after that. He just sort of disappears from history.

But interesting character, interesting background study. Abiathar was a survivor. Well listening friends, I think we've run out of time and lesson at the same time. We do have a free offer I forgot to mention at the beginning. And it's yours just for asking.

It's called, "the surrender of self." It's offer number 153. So when you call the number, ask for offer number 153. And dial that number: 866-788-3966. We will give it to you. God bless, and look forward to seeing you as we study the lesson together again next Sabbath.

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