“David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.” The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”” 1 Samuel 21:8-9 NIV
It is possible to over-spiritualize a Scripture passage, and make every detail about something else. To re-purpose Freud’s famous quote about dreams (“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”), sometimes a sword is just a sword. The plain meaning of the text above is that David needed a weapon, the priest at Nob had one, and David took it. “There is none like it” could have simply been David’s way of saying, “Yeah, that’ll work.”
Nevertheless, Spurgeon brings out an important principle from this text: the conviction of excellence leads us to desire possession. “There’s none like it” is the conviction that this sword is to be preferred above all others. “Give it to me” is the desire to have it at all costs.
From a worldly perspective, this sounds a lot like greed or coveting. You might be convicted that a Porsche is the most excellent car ever made, and your desire to possess could lead you to workaholism or even dishonesty. That’s why 1 John cautions,
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 ESV
From a spiritual perspective however, the conviction of excellence can lead us into a deeper desire for the things of God. Spurgeon gives several examples:
- The salvation provided in Jesus Christ. Salvation happens at the moment we say “There is nothing else like this. I want it.” This was Jesus’ point in the parable of the merchant seeking after fine pearls (see Matthew 13:45-46)
- God’s word. There is truly no other book like it in the world. I want it.
- God’s presence: “One thing I ask, and that would I seek after, that I would dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 27:4)
- God’s fame: “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (Isaiah 26:8)
Beloved, God’s name, His word, His promises, His presence, His salvation— there is nothing else like these gifts. Today, let your prayer be “There is nothing like this. Give it to me!”
I am using the Spurgeon Study Bible for my Bible Read Through in 2023. All of the study notes are quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and writing. For more on Charles Spurgeon, click here. The Spurgeon Study Bible is available from Lifeway, Christianbook.com, and Amazon.