Into the Enemy’s Camp

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 21:10(NIV)
That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.

1 Samuel 21:10 (MSG)
And at that, David shot out of there, running for his life from Saul. He went to Achish, king of Gath.
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“Then David arose and fled from Saul that day, and went to Achish king of Gath.”

When we left David yesterday he had accepted back from Ahimelech the sword of Goliath with thanks. David welcomed this token of remembrance; for with this sword he had cut off the head of the Philistine’s mighty warrior. It would have been a reminder to him that with God all things are possible; even a child defeating a giant.

We are told that David then left Ahimelech and once again was running for his life from Saul. Where he went next would be the last place that many of us would have gone to. David went to Achish, the king of Gath. Gath was a Philistine kingdom. It was in fact, the former home of that mighty giant Goliath.

Going to Gath was very dangerous. David had been fighting the Philistines for many years now and he was surely to be recognized. Maybe he was thinking; here in the Enemy’s camp was probably the safest place for him in order to hide from Saul. Seeking sanctuary and political asylum among the very ones that he once sought to destroy. At this moment in time though David’s thinking ran along these lines, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This is an ancient proverb which suggests that two opposing parties can or should work together against the common enemy.

As should have been expected there were those within the court of Achish who recognized David and this filled him with fear. In fact, it was Achish’s close servants who identified him for whom he was. “When the servants of Achish saw him, they said, “Can this be David, the famous David? Is this the one they sing of at their dances? Saul kills by the thousand, David by the ten thousand!” -1 Samuel 21:11 (MSG)

Their words give us the impression they were not too impressed with the appearance of this run-away vagabond. Something he had in his possession surely helped identify him for who he truly was, David the giant killer. Could it have been the sword of Goliath? I imagine it probably was.

David came seeking sanctuary, but there would be no safety or haven found in Gath. We are told that when David realized that he was recognized and known he was afraid. “When David realized that he had been recognized, he panicked, fearing the worst from Achish, king of Gath. So right there, while they were looking at him, he pretended to go crazy, pounding his head on the city gate and foaming at the mouth, spit dripping from his beard. Achish took one look at him and said to his servants, “Can’t you see he’s crazy? Why did you let him in here? Don’t you think I have enough crazy people to put up with as it is without adding another? Get him out of here!” -1 Samuel 21:12-15 (MSG)

Whatever reasons David had for going to Gath, it was quite obvious that God did not want him there; for these Philistines were the Enemy of His people. God used the servants of the king, Achish, to take David as a serious threat to Philistine national security. In order to save himself David had to act quickly; so he decided to act like a crazy man until he could safely make his get-away.

It was during this time, while he was undercover in Gath, that David penned the words we find in Psalm 56. In fact, the title tells us this, “A Mikhtam of David. [A record of memorable thoughts] when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
Psalm 56 – Supplication for Rescue and Grateful Trust in God.
“Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around,
stomped on every day.
Not a day goes by
but somebody beats me up;
They make it their duty
to beat me up.
When I get really afraid
I come to you in trust.
I’m proud to praise God;
fearless now, I trust in God.
What can mere mortals do?
They don’t let up—
they smear my reputation
and huddle to plot my collapse.
They gang up,
sneak together through the alleys
To take me by surprise,
wait their chance to get me.
Pay them back in evil!
Get angry, God!
Down with these people!
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.
If my enemies run away,
turn tail when I yell at them,
Then I’ll know
that God is on my side.
I’m proud to praise God,
proud to praise God.
Fearless now, I trust in God;
what can mere mortals do to me?
God, you did everything you promised,
and I’m thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
Now I stroll at leisure with God
in the sunlit fields of life.” -(MESSAGE VERSION)

Notice the echo that happens three times within this Psalm, “I’m proud to praise God…” No matter what David was going through we see that his focus continued to be on God; exactly where it needed to be. He also trusted God and he knew that his life was totally dependent on the Almighty One.

In those impossible times of life can you say that you are proud to praise God? Take a moment and do a spiritual check-up; what has your focus been on these days? If it has not been on God it may be time to make some changes.

My Prayer,
God, I look to you to be my All-in-All. In those impossible situations of life I will not be overwhelmed; for you are always with me. It is you who leads and guides me. You are my Rock and Salvation. You are my Jehovah Jireh; my El Shaddai. In every situation God, you are reign; even in the enemy’s camp. Help me to always remember that fact. God I am trusting in you!

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