God’s providence orders wisely and graciously for His children even when they have sadly erred.
Even the ill favor of men may turn out to be for our good that a door might be opened for deliverance out of straits our own folly have brought us into.
I Samuel 1
1 Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.
2 And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish.
3 Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?
4 And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
5 Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
6 ¶ Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not.
7 Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.
8 ¶ And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?
9 And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.
10 Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.
11 So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 29:1-11 – Under Just Suspicion
David was in a strait! To what a plight had eighteen months of deceit brought him! He had no alternative other than to follow King Achish to battle, but it must have been with a sinking heart. It looked as if he would be forced to fight Saul, the Lord’s anointed, and Jonathan, his friend, and the people whom he was one day to rule. Probably he turned in an agony of prayer to God, that he might be extricated from the net which his sins had woven. Read Deuteronomy 30:4.
An unexpected door opened in the valley of Achor. The Philistine lords took offense at David’s position in the rear with the king, and insisted on his returning with his men to Ziklag. In the end Achish had to yield, though with great reluctance. He little realized the profound sense of belief with which David heard the royal order. As David stole off in the gray dawn with his men on the homeward journey, he must have broken into the words of Psalm 124:7.
I Samuel 29:3—What do these Hebrews here?
It was a very natural remark. The Philistines were going into battle with the Hebrew king and his troops, and it was very anomalous that a strong body of Hebrews should be forming part of the Philistine array. They had no business to be there. The annoyance of the chief captains and lords that surrounded Achish was natural enough. For long, probably, it had been smoldering; now it broke out into flame.
It is very terrible when the children of the world have a higher sense of Christian propriety and fitness than Christians themselves, and say to one another, “What do these Hebrews here?” The word “Hebrew” means one that has passed over a separatist. The death of our Lord Jesus was intended to make all his followers separatists. Through Him they have passed from death unto life; they have been delivered out of the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. The appeal of his cross to us all (2 Corinthians 6:17) is, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” Too often, however, that call is unheeded; and, for fear of man, we mingle with the ranks of the enemies of our Lord.
If Christians attend the theatre; if Sunday school teachers, elders or deacons of a church, are found participating in the pleasures of the ungodly; if the young Christian man is found loosely consorting with the card players of the smoking room of an ocean steamer may not the sneer go round, “What do these Hebrews here? ” (1 Kings 19:9) “What doest thou here, Elijah?” is the remonstrance of God. “What do these Hebrews here?” that of the world, which not un-frequently has a truer sense of propriety than God’s professing followers.