Hasty Decisions Cost

David in a hurry

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.” And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. (1 Samuel 21:8-10)

At some point in our lives, all of us will face desperate situations. When it happens, the circumstances may be so distressing that they cause unbearable suffering in some form or another, and there seems to be no way out. Cornered, trapped, with no immediate solution or answer. What will you do in such times? Panic leading to hasty decisions often leads to an even worse scenario, especially when God is left out of the equation. This is what happened to David, and yet when his faith was tested, he failed, it is then that we see the abounding grace of God in preserving and delivering him from all his problems. This is illustrated time and time again in the bible and is still how our gracious God deals with us.

So we see from this chapter on to the end of First Samuel, that David was to live a life of severe hardship and adversity. He was now a fugitive, fleeing for his life from the authorities. He was charged with a capital crime, and King Saul was hunting him down, determined to kill him.

It would seem that David's decision to flee to the house of the LORD was a good one. But why did he go there first? Was it to seek God's will? Did he enquire of the LORD what he should do? No. Even the high priest was startled by David's appearance and said to David "Why are you alone and no one with you?" David's presence unnerved him, so David sought to reassure Ahimelech with an outright lie: “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ That was David's first mistake, and one we can often make as well in such circumstances if we are honest with ourselves.

The cost and consequences of David's lie to obtain food were that Saul when he found out, wreaked vengeance by murdering eighty-five priests. So we too must learn that lying often leads to worse problems with those we have drawn into our own situation. How differently would have things turned out if he had sought and trusted in the LORD his God, and left matters to be sorted out by Him? We must learn that God is all-sufficient to supply all of our needs and to work things for our good far exceedingly above what we could imagine. God is never at a loss or caught out, or unable to help in times of need, even if we are!

Goliath's Sword

The next mistake David made was to seek a weapon for himself, for he was unarmed. After learning that only Goliath's sword was available, he took it. And David said, “there is none like that; give it to me.” (1 Sam 25:9) Why? What was David thinking? Earlier he showed great faith by facing Goliath armed with only a sling! Now fear had gripped him, and he trusted in Goliath's sword instead of God. Again, we are no different. In such circumstances, we often run to the world for answers, and cling to man-made objects and learning rather than put our trust in God's hands.

What could possibly happen next? David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. It is clear from what happens next that David hoped he wouldn't be recognised. And so this is what happens to the backsliding Christian in that they take refuge in the world. David hopes to mingle in with Israel's enemy and not be spotted. So too the backsliding Christian. David was quickly recognised. This is echoed in the New Testament when Peter was tested and failed, his speech and conduct gave him away. Jesus immediately knew of his lie, his denial, and in that instant looked straight across at Peter. As a result, Peter remembered Jesus words foretelling his denial, and wept bitter tears. (Luke 22:60-62)

Why did David seek refuge in Gath? Why did he run away? God soon caused events to arise which showed David his actions and decisions were not right in his sight. It is a wonder that God didn't teach him a lesson and punish him.

It is sad to read that David acted in such a manner. It should be a red flag to us. One minute David was fearless and out and out for the LORD, facing giants! The next minute he was fearful and fleeing for his life, without seeking God and trusting him for his protection and guidance. Unfortunately, pride comes before a fall. Jesus knows our feeble frame. Let us take warning, and take all of our problems to the LORD our God in humble prayer.

The next thing we read about David is that he acts like a raving lunatic in order to save his skin. Such is the depths of his humiliation, and that of every unrepentant backsliding Christian. They will never fit in with the world and unbelievers, and the situation will only get worse. May God deal with such situations in a gracious manner, like the prodigal son who came to his senses, and was then restored and forgiven, (Luke 15:11-52) and like David, who eventually was crowned King over Israel. Our God is a gracious God.

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