Monday 31 October, 2016
1 Samuel 29:1-11
29 The Philistines gathered their whole army together at Aphek. Israel’s army camped by the spring of water at Jezreel. 2 The Philistine rulers marched out in groups of hundreds and thousands. David and his men were marching with Achish behind the others. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, “Why are these Hebrews here?” Achish replied, “That’s David, isn’t it? Wasn’t he an officer of Saul, the king of Israel? He has already been with me for more than a year. I haven’t found any fault in him. That’s been true from the day he left Saul until now.” 4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish. They said, “Send David back. Let him return to the town you gave him. He must not go with us into battle. If he does, he’ll turn against us during the fighting. In fact, he might even cut off the heads of our own men. What better way could he choose to win back his master’s favor? 5 Isn’t David the one the Israelites sang about when they danced? They sang, “ ‘Saul has killed thousands of men. David has killed tens of thousands.’ ” 6 So Achish called David over to him. He said, “You have been faithful to me. And that’s just as sure as the Lord is alive. I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. I haven’t found any fault in you. That’s been true from the day you came to me until today. But the Philistine rulers aren’t pleased to have you come along. 7 So now go back home in peace. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t please the Philistine rulers.” 8 “But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against me from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against your enemies? After all, you are my king and master.” 9 Achish answered, “You have been as pleasing to me as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders have said, ‘We don’t want David to go up with us into battle.’ 10 So get up early in the morning. Take with you the men who used to serve Saul. Leave as soon as the sun begins to come up.” 11 So David and his men got up early in the morning. They went back to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
The philistines are preparing to go to war against Israel. Both sides are mobilising their forces. As David and his men are under the protection of Achish the Philistine and have been his servants for over a year, they must line up with him to attack Israel. But David’s reputation as a warrior goes before him and the philistine commanders demand that he be sent home. They are smart and know better than to allow a man with divided loyalties to go into battle with them. I don’t know from this story what David’s intentions were. He was caught between love for God and Israel, and fear of King Saul.
As Christians we are to be wholly devoted to God and to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This story shows that we can’t serve the world and rely on its rulers for our security or we, like David, will find ourselves compromising our Christian values. Likewise, there are those who profess Christian morality but are not truly walking with Jesus, in the important battles they are likely to let us down.
Dear Lord please help me to be only for you all the time. Not to hide from you when the going gets tough and not to compromise on anything you have written in the bible even when our culture disagrees with your commands for us. You are a loving God who knows what is best. The battle is yours- eternal victor.
Written by Dimity Milne
Thanks. As I reflect on this passage it looks like an example of the grace of God in my life as in David’s. When we may have done something really stupid but God intervened.
David was an impressive man he had protected his father’s sheep from bears and lions, he was the anointed by the profet Samuel as the next King of Isreal, he killed Goliath the Phillestine, then had multiple military victories (because of the Lords blessing). He was the warrior who killed 10,000s and they danced about it. Admittedly at this time David was being unfairly pursued by Saul so he took refuge in Phillestine territory and befriended the King Achish.
But in hindsight it would have looked very poor on his CV for David (the Annointed King of Israel to have killed 10,000 Israelites for Achish. Despite David’s righteous indignation (I can’t relate to that – who can question my loyalty? ). Not only does God save David from doing something really stupid, God knows that in the next chapter David has an even bigger issue to save his wives children and the whole community at Jesreel.
Thank you Lord that you even use Phillestines to prevent me from doing really stupid things!