Today’s reading in 1 Samuel is a great example of how God spares us through what seem at the time to be negative events.
His plan is perfect.
While on the run from Saul, David attaches himself to King Achish of Gath. Achish provides sanctuary for David and his men in return for their service. At one point Achish and his men, accompanied by David and his men, go out to battle along with the Philistines.
The Philistines – long time enemies of Israel – are loathe to have David and his men serve with them. Could they be spies? Didn’t David kill Goliath?
So Achish tells David, “… I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the [Philistine] rulers don’t approve of you. Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease [them].” (1 Samuel 29: 6-7 NIV)
David is naturally concerned to have his character called into question: “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” (vs. 8)
Fortunately (for him), David backs off and leaves the battle.
As I continued to read, I saw the reason that God had David leave the battle:
Now the Philistines fought against Israel… The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically… 1 Samuel 31: 1-3
Shortly thereafter, Saul falls on his sword, taking his own life and avoiding torture and death at the hands of the Philistines.
Twice before, David went out of his way not to kill “God’s anointed” Saul.
And Jonathan was his best friend.
Had David gone into battle with the Philistines against Israel (probably not realizing that’s who they were going to fight), the legitimacy of his kingship might have been called into question. He might have been accused of killing the Lord’s anointed – of grasping power illegitimately.
It was bad enough that his best friend died in that battle. But how would David have felt if he had gone into battle with the Philistines and discovered that he had fought against his best friend who died in the battle?
God gave David short term discomfort about his reputation in order to give David long term protection for his throne and his heart.
His plan is perfect.
I need to remember that…
Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 29:1-31:13, Psalm 61:4-8, Proverbs 16:7-9, John 3:22-36. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).