Read 1 Samuel 27-29, 1 Chronicles 12:1-22
But David thought to himself, “One of these days, I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is escape to the land of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 27: 1
‘David thought to himself…’ – I don’t see him inquiring of God here. I see a man tired of running for his life, tired of reasoning with an unreasonable king, tired of having no place to settle. I can’t blame him for any of that. I would have felt those things long before this. But I do wonder if this plan is really the ‘best thing’ he can do.
It worked (27:3) but at what cost? Saul no longer chased him. Achish – the king of Gath welcomed him and gave him Ziklag to live in. All good things. But David lived a lie and I imagine that to be even more exhausting. He and his men would raid the neighboring peoples but they would lie about it and tell Achish they had raided against the Israelites. To keep this lie going, they had to kill everyone in an area they raided. No exceptions (27:11). I don’t see that it was at God’s direction.
Then David ends up in the position of being asked by Achish to accompany him in his fight against Israel (28:1). Once again, he has to lie – voicing loyalty to this king and to the Philistine rulers gathering to fight against David’s own people – the ones God said he would rule as king (28:2, 29:8).
Ironically, Saul does ‘inquire of the Lord’ when he sees the Philistine army gathering against him (28:6). But he receives no answer from God. He longs for his friend – the one who led him in God’s way in the past, the one who could be trusted to tell him the truth no matter how difficult. The problem is that Samuel the prophet is dead (28:3). Saul is in such great distress that he goes against his own ruling and seeks out a medium to call Samuel up from the grave so he can talk to him. [This story is so unique, it perhaps merits it’s own study…another time maybe. :)]
Sometimes we are in such great distress that we somehow think some awful idea is the ‘best thing’ we can do. And God knows our human needs and failures and He redeems situations. Case in point – He sends amazing warriors to join David while he is in Ziklag. “Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.” (1 Chr 12:22) God has our paths mapped out. He knows the true ‘best thing.’ He doesn’t forget us when we struggle forward in what seems good to us but, Lord, I’d rather walk forward on YOUR path.