Unbelief is a sin that besets those who have been undergoing long trials.
It is no advantage to us when we are in the dumps,
to cross over the borders into the world for comfort,
for we cannot expect God’s protection when we are out of His will.
I Samuel 1
1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.
2 And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
3 And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife.
4 And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.
5 ¶ And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?
6 Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day.
7 And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.
8 ¶ And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.
9 And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.
10 And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.
11 And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines.
12 And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 27:1-12 – Substituting Policy for Trust
David had every assurance that he would be king. From Samuel, Jonathan and Saul he had heard predictions of his coming exaltation; yet suddenly he seems to have had a fainting-fit and to have concluded that he would after all perish by the hand of Saul. It was thus with Elijah under the juniper bush, when he asked God to take away his life; and thus with the Baptist, when from prison he sent to ask whether Jesus was the Christ. Let us not sink into despair when the shadow of discouragement falls across our path. Let us believe that God’s word shall stand though the heavens fall. Let us especially beware of taking our own measures of self-defense. The caves of Adullam are safer for the child of God than the land of the Philistines. David was driven to ruthless cruelty; he went about under the constant fear of discovery, and lived a perpetual lie. It was a life of deceit that was wholly unworthy of a servant of the Most High, and must have had a fatal effect on David’s followers. And, in the end, Ziklag was destroyed, and the exile’s heart was well-nigh broken. See I Samuel 30:1-4. “The way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15)! No psalms can be traced to this period.
I Samuel 27:1—And David said, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.
What a fit of despondency and unbelief was here! We can hardly believe that this is he who in so many psalms had boasted of the shepherd care of God, who had so often insisted on the safety of God’s pavilion. It was a fainting fit, brought on by the bad air he had breathed amid the evil associations of Adullam’s cave. Had not God promised to take care of him? Was not his future already guaranteed by the promises that he should succeed to the kingdom? But nothing availed to check his precipitate flight into the land of the Philistines.
Bitterly he rued this mistake. The prevarication and deceit to which he was driven; the anguish of having to march with Achish against his own people; the sack and burning of Ziklag: these were the price he had to pay for his mistrust. Unbelief always brings many other bitter sorrows in its train, and leads the soul to cry,
“How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt Thou hide thy face from me?”
Let us beware of losing heart, as David did. Look not at Saul, but at God, who is omnipotent; not at the winds and waves, but at Him who walks across the water; not at what may come, but at that which is for the glorious Lord is round about thee to deliver thee. He shall deliver thy soul from death, thine eyes from tears, and thy feet from falling. He that has helped will help. What He has done, He will do. God always works from less to more, never from more to less. Dost thou not hear hast thou not heard his voice saying, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee? What, then, can man do unto thee? Every weapon used against thee shall go blunt on an invisible shield!