God Will Make a Way/Caught in a Catch-22

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 29:4-5 (NIV)
But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”

1 Samuel 29:4-5 (MSG)
Angry with Achish, the Philistine officers said, “Send this man back to where he came from. Let him stick to his normal duties. He’s not going into battle with us. He’d switch sides in the middle of the fight! What better chance to get back in favor with his master than by stabbing us in the back! Isn’t this the same David they celebrate at their parties, singing, Saul kills by the thousand, David by the ten thousand!”
“But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and they said to him, “Make this man return, so that he may go back to his place where you have assigned him, and do not let him go down to battle with us, or in the battle he may [turn and] become our adversary. For how could David reconcile himself to his lord [Saul]? Would it not be with the heads of these [Philistine] men? Is this not David, of whom they used to sing in dances, ‘Saul killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” -AMPLIFIED

Once again the focus turns away from Saul, who quietly left the witch of Endor on the night when his imminent death was prophesied, and it turns back to David. We find David caught in a difficult situation; a catch-22, if you will. A catch-22 would be an impossible or frustrating situation in which a person is trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions. It would be any illogical or paradoxical situation or problem. In 1 Samuel 29 David definitely finds himself in an impossible situation.

The problem was this; David was living in Philistine territory; in order to keep out of the clutches of Saul. The Philistines were going to war against the Israelites. As the Philistine armies troops were coming together to go to battle against Israel, Achish’s officers protested David’s inclusion with their troops. Their worry? That David would turn against them in the middle of the battle. (Achish’s officers were much smarter than he was, it appears.)

Achish protested, “Don’t you recognize David, ex-servant of King Saul of Israel? He’s been with me a long time. I’ve found nothing to be suspicious of, nothing to complain about, from the day he defected from Saul until now.” -1 Samuel 29:3 (MSG)

Still, Achish’s offenders stood their ground. “NO! David was not to go with them.”

“Send David back to the place you have appointed for him. Don’t let him go into battle with us—we might find him an enemy instead of an ally. Do you know how he could be reconciled with his former master? By handing him our heads! Isn’t this the same David about whom the Israelites sang war songs while they danced and celebrated? Saul has slain his thousands and David, his tens of thousands.” -1 Samuel 29:4-5 (VOICE)

All of this back and forth with David caught in the middle must have been quite stressful. One must wonder if David was concerned over the outcome of this argument over his involvement. Thankfully, the way things turned out were actually in his favor. David could have never gone to do battle against his own people; not in good conscience. Once again, God comes through for him; even though it appears to happen at the last possible moment.

We find Achish apologizing to David for the decision of his officers. “As the Eternal One lives, you have been honest with me, and I wish you could march into battle and back at my side. I have found no fault in you before. But the generals—the leaders of my troops—will not have you go with us. Go home now, and go in peace. Don’t do anything to upset them further.” -1 Samuel 29:6-7 (VOICE)

Through all of this David acts as if he were highly offended. (In his heart he must have been thanking God.) His response to Achish was, “What have I done to deserve this? Has your servant done anything since he entered your service to prevent him going out and fighting against my lord the king’s enemies?” -1 Samuel 29:8 (VOICE)

Once again we find Achish apologizing to David, “As I see it, you are no more to blame than a messenger of God, but the commanders of my troops have said they will not allow you to go into battle with us. Get up early tomorrow morning with your lord’s servants, and return to the home I have given you in Ziklag. Rise early tomorrow, and go as soon as it is light.” -1 Samuel 29:9-10 (VOICE)

So the next morning David and his men packed up and headed south to the land of the Philistines. The Philistine army packed up and went north to Jezreel; where the army of Israel was camped out.

* “Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages.” Isaiah 49: 8(NKJV)

* “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” -2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT

* “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11

At just the right time God came through for David. His redemption was not too early and not too late, but right on time.

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to trust you in every instance. I should know by now that you will always make a way for me; even when there does not appear to be a way. You have this uncanny way of working things out at just the right moment. Sometimes your aid arrives at the very last moment, but you are always faithful. Help me to trust you more and worry about circumstances less. You have never failed me before and I know you are not going to start now. Lord, in faith I want to always trust you.


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