Monday, June 20, 2011

Gath II: on the wrong side

And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
1 Samuel 27:7

David made the same mistake twice. He is back in Gath, serving Achish and the Philistines, this time leading his own mercenary army of 600 troops. He has taken things into his own hands again, and taken to deceit with the Philistines again. Only this time people are dying.

Achish sends David and his men on raids, and David is reporting that he is raiding Israeli towns and cities. In reality, he is raiding outlying Philistine territories, but by instituting a total "slash and burn" order, no person ever survives his attacks, thus ensuring that the truth gets concealed. David is living a list of brutal lies right now. It is not a pretty situation.

The text says that he spent 16 months of his life in this condition. He was on the wrong side and he knew it. He kept up the charade because it kept him alive and out of reach of the fickle King Saul. It was an odd situation to be in, and I wonder how he felt.

When we make decisions to do things our own way, without considering God's will in the matter, we will live in less than ideal circumstances. It is only the grace of God that kept David alive during these days of spying and lying. He would emerge from these moments by God's grace to finally be led to the throne of Israel. But during this stage, David lived like a Philistine rather than a member of God's people. And he had to keep the lies up on both sides. He had to convince Achish that he had turned against his own people. He had to keep his troops informed that this was only temporary and that he really was not interested in a permanent alliance with the Philistine army. He was constantly sinning against his own loyal army and against Achish who was being deceived by David. You cannot live in such deception without paying the price. It never pays to be on the wrong side.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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