Saul has just confessed his sin against David…again. Again, because of David’s meekness, humility, and wisdom, Saul is defeated by his own wickedness and shame. But is his confession indicative of true repentance?
Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.” 2 So David arose and went over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 4 And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought him. ~1 Samuel 27:1-4
Clearly, David doesn’t buy it. How can he? This isn’t the first time Saul’s promised something to David. Every promise Saul has made he’s reneged on – always to David’s detriment. David didn’t believe Saul’s empty promises any longer. That’s very naturally understandable, however, his very justified lack of faith in this mortal man whom God was allowing to continuously afflict him led David to doubt God’s word and God’s faithfulness.
God had chosen and anointed David as king (1 Samuel 16:12-13.) God’s prophet had told him to go to the land of Judah (1 Samuel 22:5.) But he had been through a lot since then. He has families following him (1 Samuel 27:3.) He was afraid of Saul’s ceaseless rage (1 Samuel 27:1.) His faith was weak and tired. He was becoming impatient with God’s timing. Oh, David, I can totally relate. Long-lasting, repetitive trials tend to have these kind of effects on the best of men (and women.)
What David did here is what many of us err doing when hard-pressed. He began to focus on his problem rather than his solution. (This, by the way, is also why modern psychology doesn’t work.) He began to allow his circumstances to dictate his faith. He chose to forget all of the miracles God had done to protect, preserve, and provide for him when he least could have expected it. He began to believe the grass was greener in the enemy’s camp than in God’s perfect will. And that’s exactly where he went.
There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines.
David’s justified lack of faith in this mortal man led him to feel as though he was safer in the enemy’s land than in God’s will. So let’s just get this straight, for the record. He didn’t trust his earthly authority and it caused him to doubt, fear, and disobey God. As a result, he began to trust his mortal enemies more than God. The bottom line: he began to trust himself more than God.
David, we aren’t supposed to trust in man. Lori, we aren’t supposed to trust in man. (Insert name here)_______, we aren’t supposed to trust in man. They will always disappoint and fail us. Friends, enemies, and even our own selves will disappoint us again and again. And yes, God allows and orchestrates these repeated disappointments in our lives. It doesn’t make him untrustworthy, it makes us learn how to trust him alone.
When people break promises repeatedly and seek to destroy us by their unfaithfulness to us and to God, it’s imperative that we remember God’s everlasting faithfulness to us. We must not forget how faithful he is. We must not doubt his goodness or his Word, no matter how tempting it seems to be to do so. We cannot allow ourselves to focus on our problems in place of our solution – Jesus Christ. The enemy’s camp is no place for a Christian to live. God help us not to go there in frustration or impatience! Help us resist temptation and learn how to trust God against all odds.