A Change of Perception
In 1 Samual 21 David is fleeing from King Saul. This is the start of a long journey for David. Here David flees to Nob, the city of priests, and speaks to Abimelech. He tells a lie in order to secure food for him and his men (Matt 12:3, affirms that he was not lying about the men) but while he is there is sees Doeg the Edomite, a servant of Saul. It seems this may have further unsettled David for the next thing David does is ask for a sword, and then flees to King Achish of Gath. When he comes to Gath, the servants of the king recognise him and David becomes now greatly afraid of king Achish. David then changes his “behavior” and acts like a man insane before the king. Achish believes David’s acting and in the next chapter we see that David was able to leave Gath and escape to the cave of Adullam, where his family came to him.
All throughout this chapter we are seeing David respond to his fears. And it seems that we are given a rather disappointing picture of David here. More of a negative lesson… fear will cause you to do stupid things that you’ll regret later… But there is something interesting. Psalm 34 is David’s reflection on the events that happened here. Look at his words;
4 I sought the LORD’s help and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help are happy; their faces are not ashamed.
6 This oppressed man cried out and the LORD heard; he saved him from all his troubles.
7 The LORD’s angel camps around the LORD’s loyal followers and delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the one who takes shelter in him
15 The LORD pays attention to the godly and hears their cry for help.
16 But the LORD opposes evildoers and wipes out all memory of them from the earth.
17 The godly cry out and the LORD hears; he saves them from all their troubles.
22 The LORD rescues his servants; all who take shelter in him escape punishment.
David learnt from this time to call upon the Lord for help. He learnt through time of fears the blessings of taking refuge in the Lord. But when did we see David crying out to the LORD before king Achish? 1 Sam21:13 might be the occasion.
1 Samual 21:13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.
“Behavior” seems to be actually “perception”. David change his perception before them and pretended to be insane… This could be the point where David sees how foolish he has been, being lead by his fears, and changes his perception, instead of looking for men to help, he looks up to God for help.
There are many times when we are being led by our fears that situations seem to be going from bad to worse, to worse… We need to change what we perceive. Our fears cause us to look to men for help, to look around us for the closest way out, but we need to instead look up. There is shelter in the Lord. May we learn to say with David “I sought the LORD’s help and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help are happy; their faces are not ashamed.”