David was in full panic-mode when he left the priests in Nob: "That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath" (1 Samuel 21:10). Fear will cause people to do unusual, uncharacteristic things, and David, God's mighty warrior, was no exception. Armed only with Goliath's sword and a few loaves of bread, he fled west to the land of Philistia where he was captured by the very enemies he had conquered on more than a few occasions. Let's examine this week what happened when David arrived and how he escaped in this week's Memo titled "Go Crazy All the Way."
THE PRICE OF FAME
David had not gone looking for fame and notoriety, but he certainly had them as we learn by what even his enemies knew to be true about him: “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” (1 Samuel 21:11). The songs sung about David among his own people had gone viral and were bestsellers among the heathen. It's often the case that people see your purpose more clearly than you do and even when you know it but try to run from it, they will bring you back to reality.
Before we move on to the rest of the story, let's make a quick detour to look at Psalm 56, where the heading reads, "[A Psalm] of David when the Philistines had seized him in Gath." David didn't just venture into enemy territory, he was captured by his enemies. It's possible for God's servants not only to visit the sins of despair and hopelessness, they can also be incapacitated by them—as David clearly was. While David was a prisoner, we read about his spiritual journey and subsequent revelation in Psalm 56:
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life. Because of their wickedness do not let them escape; in your anger, God, bring the nations down (Psalm 56:3-7).
THE WAY OUT
David came to his senses and reminded himself that God had protected him thus far, which caused him to conclude "What can mere mortals do to me?" Yet David was outnumbered and surrounded, so there was no way he could fight his way out of his captivity, which was his usual response to trouble. That's when the Lord gave him another strategy that worked pretty well as we read:
David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?” (1 Samuel 21:13-15).
It's almost as if the Lord said, "David, you've been acting crazy lately, but don't stop now. That's what got you here in your own power, but now I'll combine your craziness with My power to get you out." The plan worked, for we read how "David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam" (1 Samuel 22:1). Only God could redeem David's worst and turn it into behavior that demonstrated God's best. What a God we serve, the God of crazy David!
Have you been acting crazy lately? Are you overrun with fear thoughts which have caused you to act out your fears? Have you been acting like you don't know what to do but in reality you do know, but are terrified, not of failure but of success? If so, i urge you to read Psalm 56 and Psalm 34 in their entirety, for David composed both of them during his crazy times in Gath. He did great creative work even while he was less than God's hero of faith and power.
When you read with journal close by, record what you hear from the Lord. Why? Because when you read those psalms, you see that even though David wrote them in the midst of his crazy act, God still used them along with the entire act for His purpose and glory. That's good news for us, for if God used David's nuttiness for His ends, then He will certainly do the same when we act the fool, too. Have a blessed week.