A Way Out
1 Samuel 29:1-11 (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. This chapter still finds David amongst the Philistines where he has found both refuge and favor. It is a curious work of the providence of God whereby His righteous saint is sometimes better off in the company of heathen than that of his own people. So Joseph fared well in Egypt when his own brethren sought to destroy him (GEN 45:1-8). Elijah was made safe, full and honored in Zidon when his own king in Israel despised him (1KI 17:1-24). Jesus "...came unto his own, and his own received him not" (JOH 1:11), even from his birth (MAT 2:1-3) but he found refuge in Egypt and there remained until the death of Israel's monarch (MAT 2:13-21). Prophets indeed tend to have no honor in their own country, among their own kin, or in their own house (MAR 6:4). Saints do well to not forsake the assembling of themselves with their own brethren (HEB 10:25) but where there is gross disorder in the camp of the saints there comes a time to "...withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly..." (2TH 3:6) and if necessary live amongst heathen, or Mormons. But now David is in a pickle. Achish, the Philistine king had put such stock in David that he had recently approved him to join him in the coming battle against Israel (1SAM 28:1-2) as part of the rear guard (1SAM 29:2). So David was thus in a great "...strait betwixt [at least] two..." (PHIL 1:23), so to speak, for if he were to join with Achish in this battle it would mean: 1) fighting against the covenant nation of which he was anointed to be king, or 2) abandoning Achish in the field of battle which would expose his benefactor to peril and so earn for himself labels of deserter and coward, or 3) betray Achish in battle by fighting with Israel against him---a repulsive, reproachful action that would also have likely scuttled any hope of civil dialogue with the Philistines once David came to the throne. How ever could David get out of this with his life or integrity intact? The answer is simple: God. Our Lord is the God of many salvations for His people; He commands "...deliverances for Jacob" (PSA 44:4) and when there seemed to be no way out for David in a situation where he might have been tempted to do something desperate or sinful, God was faithful and made "...a way to escape..." (1CO 10:13). The hearts of princes as well as kings are in God's hand to be turned at His will (PRO 21:1), thus (per our text) the will of God worked the princes' wills to outwill the will of the king and give David an out, if you will. Sometimes we are found in such pickles where either our sour choices or God's pleasure leaves us "troubled on every side.....perplexed...." (2CO 4:8), with no seeming way out of what could be for us a snare of temptation. But "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations..." (2PE 2:9) and so a ready answer awaits those who pray, "...lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..." (MAT 6:13). His amazing grace fits us to fill in the ellipses of the above citation of 2CO 4:8, "troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;." The hymn writer said it well, "Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; 'Tis grace has led me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."