Would you have thought to hide amidst the enemy? I don’t think I would have. But it’s an interesting strategy to be sure. For all the time he lived in Gath with the Philistines, Saul left him alone. The strategy worked. But, David took quite a gamble with his own reputation and future of being King of Israel.
Was the memory of his anointing fading or did David think of it regularly? I try to put myself in David’s place. I’m afraid I would be more impatient than he seems to be. God will move in God’s time. That’s a good reminder for us, too.
King Achish seems very willing to welcome David and even gives him his own town! I suppose with an army of 600 men, plus his own households it would take a small village to hold such a throng of people. The king of Gath surely knew David to be a brilliant warrior and felt a sense of accomplishment having him living in his land.
But David was not aligning himself with the Philistines. His location was simply putting him into a safe place while he continued his rogue efforts to rid the surrounding areas of the enemies of Judah. Achish remained oblivious to the true outcomes of David’s escapades.
David has chosen to deceive the king about the actual raids taking place. It was working. The king was beginning to believe David’s presence in Gath would surely benefit the Philistines. “Achish believed David and thought to himself, “By now the people of Israel must hate him bitterly. Now he will have to stay here and serve me forever!” Achish trusts David. Everyone trusts David.
What do we take from today’s reading? I suppose that even though we don’t see God, he is there. While God isn’t mentioned at all, some might even say this passage has no theology at all. But I see him in the fact that Achish accepted David into his land without fear or worry that David was “undercover” for Saul, putting himself in enemy territory only to conquer. I would picture a Philistine king to be more wary in such a situation. God was there to provide David this opportunity. Just like God is in our lives, working behind the scenes, giving us rest.
The question then becomes, do we accept that? Do we take our rest in the Lord and seek his face to grow closer to him? Can we do better?
Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for the peace that comes from resting in your arms of mercy. I am so grateful for all the battles you are fighting on my behalf that I will never know about. Give me wisdom to live my life strategically positioned to be your servant. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.