David's faith fails
But David, after all, is
only a man; and immediately after this testimony that God
was with him (a testimony that even Saul acknowledged),
his faith fails, and he passes over into the midst of the
enemies of God's people. God, no doubt, makes use of this
means to remove David from peril. But at the same time,
he is tried and chastened, and is exposed to the dreadful
necessity of appearing ready to fight against Israel.
There is but One whose perfection and wisdom were His
safeguard in every trial.
We may remark that it was
immediately after an evident interposition of God (chap.
26: 12) that David's faith fails. It is the same with
Elijah (1 Kings 19). One would say that, in our hearts,
faith exhausts itself by an unusual effort. Faith may
carry us through the crisis; but the heart, which was the
vessel of faith, is terrified by it; whilst in Jesus we
find an equability of perfection altogether divine.
Philistines, in a false position
David removes to a
distance from the royal city. In the land of the
Philistines he gains their king's favour, not by faith,
but by a prudence inconsistent with truth. It is an
unhappy position; nevertheless, God does not forsake him.
He chastises him, and in a painful manner, but He spares
and preserves him. We have seen similar ways of the Lord
in the case of the fugitive Jacob.
Achish, who knows David,
wishes to employ him in his service, and David cannot
refuse; for when he who possesses the energy which the
Spirit of God imparts by faith, has placed himself in a
false position through unfaithfulness, he has no power
against the one under whose authority he has placed
himself; and if he does not use the energy with which he
is endowed in favour of his protector, he very naturally
excites his jealousy. He would have avoided all this by
going to Ziklag, but he could not. God in His mercy
preserved David, but he was now in a sad and false