For a moment, there is peace between David and Saul. Saul has been humbled by David’s goodness towards him and gone weeping to his own house. Just when it seems that David might get a short reprieve from his troubles, another hardship comes upon him unexpectedly.
Now Samuel died. And all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah.
Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.~1 Samuel 25:1
Samuel dies. Samuel, the one who had instructed Israel so well. This was the good and godly prophet whom they had wholly rejected. Now, because of their own disobedience to God and selfish ambition, they were left with the choice to either follow the wicked Saul whom they had chosen, or become vagrants with David. Surely they know what they’ve done by now. Therefore, they mourn. The consequences of sin often involve tremendous grief and guilt.
David must have mourned the most. Losing not only a good and godly leader and elder, he was losing a close friend and trustworthy ally – of which he had no more than a scare few at best. David has no reprieve from suffering. When one trouble lets up, another crashes down. Such is the life of many a saint.
In the wake of Samuel’s death, we find David fleeing even further into the wilderness, now outside Israel altogether. Perhaps he had more to fear now that the little protection he had as a result of Samuel’s presence was gone. Or maybe he just wanted to mourn solemnly. We’re not really told, but the truth is that David really has no reason to stay there. He can’t live in his home safely. He can’t be seen openly. The common people fear Saul too much to associate with or cover for him and all who have dared to befriend him are already with him. Israel isn’t exactly the promise land for him. Then again, maybe it isn’t supposed to be.
The life of a sinner is fraught with pain. The consequences of sin often involve tremendous grief and guilt. The life of a saint often offers no reprieve from suffering. When one trouble lets up, another crashes down. Because we are both, there is no safe place on earth. The promise land is not here. We are in the wilderness. Heaven is our reprieve.
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. ~Hebrews 11:16