1 Samuel Bible

You Do Not Need a Title or Power to do Good

Continuing our study of the life of David as he faithfully follows a poor leader (which is Saul) we pick up the story with David leaving the city of Gath. While in Gath David barely escapes the king there by acting insane and drooling down his beard (1 Samuel 21:13).

In 1 Samuel chapter 22 David escapes to a cave where his brothers, relatives, and other men gather with him. The men who gathered with David are in some type of trouble or in debt or just unhappy with their life situation so they run to David to be with him. These men are not the perfect type of followers you want to have in your corner, but that is who David has.

David realizes that he is in danger and that his family might also be in danger so he travels to Mizpeh with his family to keep them safe there. When arriving at the city of Mizpeh he asks the king, “Please allow my father and mother to live here with you until I know what God is going to do for me” (1 Samuel 22:3). The king allows David’s parents to stay in Mizpeh while David hides from Saul.

At the end of chapter 22, we see a terrible tragedy take place because of David’s actions. Back in chapter 21 David had visited Ahimelech the priest claiming to be on a “private matter.” While there David was spotted by Doeg the Edomite who tells Saul that David met with Ahimelech. Saul’s horrible response is to kill Ahimelech and all the priests (a total of 85 priests were killed that day). This is another example of Saul’s hatred for David and his unreasonable leadership.

At the end of this chapter we learn that Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech escapes from Saul and flees to David. When Abiathar reaches David he tells David about how Doeg the Edomite and Saul have just killed 85 of the priests. This greatly troubles David because he realizes he is partially responsible for what happened.

With that said, from this passage of scripture we can see that David shows us that you do not need a title or power to do good because David takes care both his family and Abiathar. Because David was in so much danger himself it would have been sensible for him to do everything he could to stay safe from Saul. However, he takes a risk and does good by protecting Abaithar and moving his family to keep them safe.


Our actions set into motion events we are helpless to change, for good or for bad,

and the lives of others are affected.[1]

3 Interesting Insights about David:

  1. David attracts 400 men, but he does not take any action to overthrow Saul.
  2. David does the best he can while in the place he is with the people he has.
  3. David’s great grandmother Ruth was a Moabite, so David led his family to Moab to keep them safe.
David has no title or power.
David is running in the wilderness and hiding from King Saul who wants to kill him. Previously David had power and influence from being the best commander the king had and from his courage to fight, as evidenced in the story of Goliath in chapter 17. Now that David is no longer a member of the Israelite army or serving in Saul’s court, he has been has stripped David of all of his title, power, and influence.
We can learn a lot about David’s character from how he cares for his parents and Abiathar.
It is encouraging to see that David still cares for his parents. Much like people do today, when David is in trouble he works to make sure his family is safe financially and physically.If you think back to chapter 16 of 1 Samuel you will remember that David was the last son to be presented to Samuel to be anointed as the next king of Israel. David’s father had presented every other son in front of the prophet Samuel (who was there to anoint the next king of Israel), and when no sons were left, David’s father had to go get David and bring him to Samuel. David was not even considered as a potential king of Israel until there was no one left.It is not easy for David to take his family to the city of Mizpeh (inside of Moab) for protection. David has to travel about 60 miles from Adullam to Mizpeh, which is a difficult journey back then. This shows David is committed to keeping his family safe even though they have to travel 60 miles on foot.

And finally, we see here that David risks himself to protect those who are close to him. He risks his life to make sure his family is safe.

Question: Regardless of the title or power we have, how can we do good?

[1] Kenneth L. Chafin, The Communicator’s Commentary: 1, 2 Samuel (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1989), 181.

Much thanks goes to Mark Sanborn who wrote an entire book that helped to form some of my thinking on this Bible lesson. His book is titled, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader.

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at