“That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?” 1 Samuel 21.10-15
This was not David’s finest moment. I understand why he did it, self preservation always wins the day, but to truly act like a madman so that Achish king of Gath would not harm him is not honorable.
David was on the run now. The country of Israel is pretty small so that just over the next hill could be another settlement, another “kingdom,” another enemy. David left Nob as he was fleeing from Saul and ended up in Gath where he was hoping not to be recognized. But being a national hero, he was also known to his enemies.
The servants identify him as the king of Israel, the one to whom they sing about in their dances, “Saul has slain thousands, but David his tens of thousands.” And David was afraid. The warrior, the man after God’s own heart, out numbered, ostracized from his country, thrust into the heart of the enemy. So what could he do? Deny it, although he was carrying Goliaths’ sword, or act crazy like a mad man? And that’s what he did by making random “marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”
Was this honorable or foolish? Whatever we might think, it probably saved his life because the king said, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”
Sometimes desperate times leads to desperate measures. David was desperate and this course of action allowed him to go free and continue fleeing from Saul. But what if David had trusted the Lord to rescue him and just told the king of Gath who he was? Would God have protected this future king of Israel or would this be the end to David’s story?
Sometimes it‘s hard, when under pressure and facing impossible odds, to trust the Lord. Our nation, who my friend the Rev. Ryan Barnett says is “going through a national nervous breakdown,” to turn to God. When faced with a global pandemic and a presidential election that leaves half the country grieving, is not easy. So how can we trust God in the middle of the storm? Should we act like madmen or turn to the Lord Almighty who commands the winds and seas?
Regardless of your difficulties today, why not trust the Lord? Put your hope in a God whose love never fails, never lets go, never gives up on his people.
“O Lord God, you are good. When I flounder, you pick me up. When I question, you quicken your step toward me. When I doubt, you doubled down on your grace. Come now, Holy Spirit, guide my steps. Help me walk in this life according to your way and your will. Help me fulfill my purpose to bring you honor, glory and fame. I love you Lord and praise you. Thank you for how you have blessed. Help me to trust you no matter what. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen