Now the Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, while the Israelites were encamped by the fountain that is in Jezreel. 2 As the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear with Achish, 3 the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of King Saul of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years? Since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day.” 4 But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him; and the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, so that he may return to the place that you have assigned to him; he shall not go down with us to battle, or else he may become an adversary to us in the battle. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? 5 Is this not David, of whom they sing to one another in dances,
‘Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”
6 Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the LORD lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign; for I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me until today. Nevertheless the lords do not approve of you. 7 So go back now; and go peaceably; do nothing to displease the lords of the Philistines.”
I have read this story many times and it’s always seemed strange to me that David appeared itching to go to war with the Philistines against Israel. Were David to have openly warred against his own people, there is no way he could then have served as their sovereign. Such a betrayal would never have been forgiven. For this reason alone it makes perfect sense that God would not allow David to go with Achish to war.
However today, maybe for the first time, I began to see why David would want to go. After all, King Saul was still at the head of the armies of Israel and had been pursuing David relentlessly for some time. Without cause! I imagine David was tired of running, tired of hiding, tired of being kept from his homeland and his people. Enough was enough. Time to take him out! Fortunately God intervened, saving David from his worst impulses.
God saved David from himself.
Dear Lord, as I read about David this morning I feel like I’m reading about myself, and the many times you have intervened to save me from my worst impulses. Continue to watch over me, Lord. Save me from… me. Amen.