Thursday, June 9, 2011
And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath.
1 Samuel 21:10
David's life as a fugitive from Saul begins with a sad note. He runs in desperation. He deceives people to protect his own skin. The matter is not one that I enjoy reading. The first person that David deceives is Ahimelech, the high priest. David talks him into providing the very sacrificial bread reserved for the priests to him for his flight from Saul. David outright lies to the priest, telling him he is on a secret matter for the King. Given his reputation, he is basically convincing the priest he is a covert operative on a military mission.
He uses the same ruse to arm himself with the sword of Goliath. It is not clear how he got permission, but it appears to have been kept as a memorial trophy. David talked one of Saul's servants into giving it to him so that he could go on "the king's business" with it. And then David heads off with Goliath's sword straight into Goliath's home town, Gath.
There, David somehow gains the permission of Achish, king of Gath, to stay among the Philistines. It is such an insane idea, that the only way David could pull it off was to appear to be crazy himself. It worked. Achish knew David by reputation. He knows this is the man that slew his champion. He lets David hang out at the city gates as he pretends to be a madman. This buys just enough protection for David to get by and strategize. But again, this is a desperate lie.
The Bible does not condone David's actions. In fact, we will see that eventually God brings sovereign consequences on these actions that really do get David's attention as to the sins he has done. But for now, God in His forbearance is saving David in spite of his actions, not because of them. David strung together lies and self-serving choices in a period when he was on the run, not thinking at his best, and maybe not as close to God as he could have been. God was merciful to him in spite of this.
And that is where I really take heart. I think many times God forbears what I do and shows me mercy despite what I do, not because I do anything good at all. In fact, that is the reality with every sinner, redeemed and lost. God is merciful, even in our worst sins. And I thank Him that is true! I would not be here if God was not that way.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13