Good By God’s Standard.
“Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.” – Psalm 52:7 NLT
Doeg the Edomite had done a good thing. At least he thought so. He had done exactly what the king of Israel had commanded him to do and he knew it was going to win him favor in the king’s eyes. The fact that he had personally killed 85 priests of God along with all their family members didn’t seem to bother him. The fact that the members of King Saul’s personal bodyguard had each refused to kill the Lord’s priests didn’t seem to concern him either. When King Saul turned to Doeg and presented him with the opportunity to prove his loyalty, he stepped up to the challenge. It all began when David was forced to run away from Saul in order to preserve his life. King Saul was out to kill him, because he was jealous of David’s fame and feared that he was going to take his place as king of Israel. He had already tried to kill David with his own hands, so David was forced to flee for his life. One of the first places David went was to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech gave David food and the sword of Goliath, which had been kept there ever since David had killed the Philistine champion in battle. Little did David know that Doeg the Edomite, one of King Saul’s chief herdsmen, was there in Nob and saw the whole exchange between David and Ahimelech. He went back to Saul and reported that the priest had aided and abetted David, a fugitive from justice.
As a result of Doeg’s news, King Saul commanded the slaughter of all 85 of the priests of God living in Nob, along with their families. When Saul’s bodyguard refused to do Saul’s bidding, Doeg, the herdsmen, was given a chance to improve his station in life by proving his loyalty and displaying his bravery to the king. And evidently, according to David, Doeg the Edomite even bragged about his brave “exploits” against the unarmed priests of God, trying to present himself as a mighty warrior. He had a knack for blowing the whole affair out of proportion, expanding the story with fanciful lies designed to justify his actions and boost his fame. David accused him of being “an expert at telling lies” (Psalm 52:3). David saw Doeg for what he really was: a man who loved evil more than good. He was a man who tried to distort reality by making evil appear as if it was good. At the end of the day, Doeg the Edomite cared more about himself than he did about God. He didn’t fear God or desire to do good. He was obsessed with his own well-being and self-gratification. No doubt Saul rewarded him well for his “brave” handling of the whole affair.
While David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), Doeg was a man after Saul’s own heart. Like Saul, he wasn’t interested in doing what God wanted done. He was a selfish, self-centered man who longed to make a name for himself. His destruction of God’s priests was probably well rewarded by Saul. More than likely, he was raised from chief herdsman to warrior status. He got a promotion out of the whole thing, a raise, and the praise of the king. But David warned Doeg about the reality of his situation. God was going to repay Doeg in full for what he had done. David says, “Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness” (Psalm 52:7 NLT). David sarcastically refers to Doeg as a “mighty warrior” and accuses him of trusting his new-found wealth instead of God. He had become addicted to his fame and fortune and become increasingly more wicked, looking for additional opportunities to pad his resume and expand his wealth.
But those who do “good” that is not based on God’s standards will never win in the end. They may receive rewards and recognition in this life, but they will always get what they really deserve when all is said and done. David preferred to trust in God. Rather than take matters into his own hands and do what appeared to be good by the world’s standards, he would do only what God would have him do. On two different occasions, David had the opportunity to murder King Saul, and had he done so, he could have put an end to his fugitive lifestyle. Even David’s companions encouraged him to kill Saul, seeing it as an opportunity provided by God Himself. But David refused, knowing that God had not given him permission to kill the king. He knew that God would take care of King Saul in His own time and according to His own terms. David would simply trust God. And God came through. Eventually, God eliminated Saul and elevated David to the throne. David trusted and God provided. Which is why David could say, “I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people” (Psalm 52:8-9 NLT).
Doeg trusted in himself. David trusted in God. Doeg was out for himself. David was out for God. Doeg looked successful, but would eventually fail. At one time David appeared abandoned by God and was an apparent failure in the world’s eyes. But He trusted God and was rewarded by Him for his faithfulness. David did good according to God’s standards and enjoyed true success. Doeg did good according to the world’s standards and failed in the end. We aren’t told what happened to Doeg the Edomite, but we can rest assured that God repaid him in full for what he had done – either in this life or in the next. David knew that God would deal with Doeg justly. “But God will strike you down once and for all. He will pull you from your home and uproot you from the land of the living” (Psalm 52:5 NLT). David trusted God.
Father, this world is constantly tempting us to live according to its standards. It wants us to do good on its terms, but You call us to trust You and to live according to Your standards. Keep reminding us Lord that Your way is the not only the best way, it is the only way. Your will trumps our will every time. Doing what is right in our own eyes or according to the world’s standards is never a profitable path to take. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men