Red plastic cups and black Sharpie markers littered the counters. Ping pong balls bounced back and forth across the dining room table. Every now and again, one would send a splattering of beer onto the polished wood and a red cup would be snatched up. Loud, vulgar rap pounded through drywall, echoed down halls and up stairs. It could be heard anywhere in the house and out. Some teenagers meandered aimlessly like grazing cattle, others danced inside in the light, and more talked outside in the dark.
People left but were quickly replaced with new faces, carrying in new cases of beer. Some had parents who would buy. Others relied on the kindness of older siblings and a few invited some college guys so they’d bring something to drink. It wasn’t long before teenagers were stumbling around. Some fell asleep on couches or in empty bedrooms while others tottered through the front door to throw up in the flower bed.
Everything seemed to be going as it should when bright flashes of blue, white and red came in through the windows. Faces that had previously displayed alcohol-induced vapidity suddenly showed signs of awareness. Fear gripped most of us, and a panic hit the house. The living room and kitchen emptied as kids ran to hide under beds and in closets. A few guys pushed others over the fence in the back yard. We’d hide in flower beds and bushes for hours if we had to. Those of us who had landed a place to hide sat quietly and waited, watching as the police found our friends, one after another.
There are obvious consequences to breaking the law. Sometimes offenders are arrested, other times there’s a fine. Several perpetrators end up in jail or prison and have to share a cell with someone who’s larger and more violent than they are. Some laws are intended to keep us safe, so we don’t wreck our cars and accidentally kill ourselves, or accomplish something equally awful. God’s law isn’t any different, but perhaps the consequences aren’t as we imagined. Maybe the laws aren’t what we expected, either.
In Samuel 21, David and his compatriots are out playing a really scary game of hide-and-seek with Saul and his men. Hungry, they end up in a place called Nob, speaking with Ahimilech, a priest. The only bread that Ahimelech of Nob has has been consecrated to God, to be set on the table before the Lord. Deuteronomy states that after this bread has been before God, it’s to be eaten by the priests. Levitcal law indicated that that these men didn’t qualify for the bread (Lev. 24), but he allowed them to eat it anyway.
These people broke the law.
Somebody should have been worried about consequences here. Law enforcement could have showed up, and these dudes would have scattered like drunk teenagers at a party that just got busted. Ahimelech probably could have suffered some awful consequences like being consumed by fire or something similar, especially if God Almighty showed up and busted him. Strangely enough,
David knew that even though he wasn’t literally a priest, he was in God’s eyes. He understood that the men serving with him were just the same and so the consecrated bread really could be handed to them without a fear of repercussion. This didn’t change the law at all, but changed who they were in relation to the law, which made all the difference. David’s foresight into grace and understanding of God’s heart provided a freedom that some of us don’t even experience today.
Pray to Jesus and read His word. Examine the laws that you’ve been subject to and ask where you stand with them. I think you’ll find you’re freer than you know.
I’m going to be writing about freedom for a short while. Understanding our liberty is significant to fully enjoying the human experience. Keep checking back for more. . . . and as always, share your thoughts on freedom with me!