Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you ever done or said something foolish, even stupid, and you feared it might hurt someone else? And you hesitated to pray because you knew the fault was totally yours? The dear Lord has hidden in His word something that is a blessing to you in this particular circumstance.
David has been anointed by Samuel with the assurance that God would lead him to become king of Israel. But everything has gone against him. He knows King Saul is "the anointed of the Lord," by God's choice. But Saul has been violently opposing David, forcing him to hide in caves like a runaway criminal.
David has endured these trials for years, and prayed earnestly. But finally the strain proves too great even for his faith. In 1 Samuel 27 he gives in to unbelief: "And David said in his heart, 'Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand'" (vs. 1).
Sorry, David; that was raw unbelief. The great progenitor of the Messiah has stumbled. His faith was not perfect when he sought refuge among the enemies of God's people.
David made friends with Achish, their king. Then the problem became critical when Achish, determined to conquer Israel, "said to David, 'You assuredly know that you will go out with me to battle, you and your men'" (28:1).
David is now in a terrible predicament. How can he refuse to help Achish who has apparently saved his life? And how can he, anointed to someday be king of Israel, join in a war against his own people? If you have fought against your own people how can you someday become their shepherd?
We don't have any special psalm that expressed David's desperate prayer at this time. Psalm 34 is his prayer the first time he fled to Achish. But perhaps he found it difficult to pray this second time, when his mistake of unbelief landed him in the middle of the army attacking Israel, bent on killing "the anointed of the Lord."
But note how the dear Lord saved David out of this impossible trap: "The princes of the Philistines" didn't trust him and protested to Achish, "Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him [Ziklag], and do not let him go down with us to battle" (1 Sam. 29:3, 4). Had not these pagan "princes" delivered him, David could never have become king of Israel!
Yes, the Lord saves His people out of their stupid mistakes even when their faith falters. And don't say that David was more important than you; God's concern is the same for you. Cherish the faith of "the Son of David." He "lived" in David's psalms; you do the same.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 6, 2003.
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