The Bread of Presence | 1 Samuel 21:1-15

1 Samuel 21:1-15 (NLT) - David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. “Why are you alone?” he asked. “Why is no one with you?” 2 “The king has sent me on a private matter,” David said. “He told me not to tell anyone why I am here. I have told my men where to meet me later. 3 Now, what is there to eat? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.” 4 “We don’t have any regular bread,” the priest replied. “But there is the holy bread, which you can have if your young men have not slept with any women recently.” 5 “Don’t worry,” David replied. “I never allow my men to be with women when we are on a campaign. And since they stay clean even on ordinary trips, how much more on this one!” 6 Since there was no other food available, the priest gave him the holy bread—the Bread of the Presence that was placed before the Lord in the Tabernacle. It had just been replaced that day with fresh bread. 7 Now Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief herdsman, was there that day, having been detained before the Lord. 8 David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword? The king’s business was so urgent that I didn’t even have time to grab a weapon!” 9 “I only have the sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah,” the priest replied. “It is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. Take that if you want it, for there is nothing else here.” “There is nothing like it!” David replied. “Give it to me!” 10 So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. 11 But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands,     and David his ten thousands’?” 12 David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. 13 So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. 14 Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? 15 We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

I. The Bread of Presence

A. David ask for food and the only thing the priest had was Holy Bread.

  • David ask for 5 loaves.
Matthew 14:19 - Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people.

I think God was trying to tell him something about the holy bread. The bread of presence.

B. What is the Bread of Presence

Leviticus 24:5-9 - “You must bake twelve flat loaves of bread from choice flour, using four quarts of flour for each loaf. 6 Place the bread before the Lord on the pure gold table, and arrange the loaves in two stacks, with six loaves in each stack. 7 Put some pure frankincense near each stack to serve as a representative offering, a special gift presented to the Lord. 8 Every Sabbath day this bread must be laid out before the Lord as a gift from the Israelites; it is an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant. 9 The loaves of bread will belong to Aaron and his descendants, who must eat them in a sacred place, for they are most holy. It is the permanent right of the priests to claim this portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord.”

The bread was a gift from the Israelites to God as an expression of the everlasting covenant between them.

Isaiah 55:3 - “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

C. The significance of the word.

Psalm 22:22 - For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

The word face is "Paneh". It is the same word as the word presence.

Psalm 31:16 - Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

This psalm was written by David calling for God’s presence in his life.

>>> Wait God is everywhere right? Why all this talk about presence. Is presence something we should be trying to attain? Could it be the presence of God is not a passive thing?

II. Seeking the Presence of God

A. Lets go into His presence

Hebrews 10:19-22 - 19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

In these verses there is one main, straightforward command, come right into the presence of God. The NIV says "Draw near!" That is what this writer wants you to do. Draw near.

Draw near a favorite phrase for this writer. Take just three of its seven occurrences:

Hebrews 4:16 NASB - Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 7:25 NASB - He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV - Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who draws near to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

The great passion of this writer is that we draw near to God.
This is not a passive, god is everywhere thing. This is actionable.

When you enter His presence with praise He enters your circumstances with power.

C. How do we draw near?

Drawing near is not moving from one place to another. It is a directing of the heart into the presence of God.  

>>> He is commanding us to come. To approach Him. To draw near to Him. Has there been a time in your life where God felt distant? He is calling to you like He did David. I know you are scared and overwhelmed but I am here.

III. The blessings of His presence

Psalm 16:11 (ESV) - You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

A. What does it mean to be joyful? Full of joy in this life?

2 Corinthians 6:10 - Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”

Heart ach and joy are not side by side. They are contemporaneous. They are simultaneous. But the joy is real.

B. What does it look like? 3 things:

  1. It outweighs all other competing emotions and overflows in love to others.
    • In a severe test of affliction, the Macedonians abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:2).
  2. Joy in God is so full that we know contentment.
    • We call that, "Wholeness" -- A contentment based on Christ being sufficient for every area of life.
    • I want the presence of God himself or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion… I want all that God has or I don’t want any. -Tozer
  3. It rises to Actions
    • Overflowing gladness in song or witnessing or other forms of action.
    • Ephesians 5:18–19 where he says, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”

>>> The fullness of joy is the blessings of His presence in your life. You know when it out weighs other emotions of loss and pain in your life, that we know contentment, and when we overflow into joyous action.


If your joy isn’t full you are not seeking His presence. You need the Bread of Presence. He is the bread of abundant life.