The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?”
Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”
4 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? 5 Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:
“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”
6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. 7 Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”
8 “But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”
9 Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’ 10 Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”
11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
This seems to be one of the lowest points in David’s relationship with God. David goes willing into battle against his own people, in fact David said this in the build up to this passage when Achish told David that he would have to fight against his own people…David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.”
Up to this point we have looked at choice, our ability to choose and live with the consequences of those choices. This however, seems to be one of those places where God overrules David’s choice. The decision to send David back prevents him from killing his own people which would probably have made David and outcast in Israel for the rest of his life and the life of his family.
Think about the consequences of that, David would not be made king and forever stories would be told about the unfaithful David… what about the Messiah being a decedent of the root of Jesse? God seems to intervene at this point to change the course of history. This helps me understand how I think about my ability to make choice but at the same time believing that God is Sovereign and that despite our ability to choose…Gods will for His creation will be done. In the next few stories we can actually see what this one action does to restore David to who he is…the man after God’s own heart. Have a great weekend.