1 Samuel 27:4-11
4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. 5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” 6 So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7 David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months. 8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) 9 Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. 10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”
What may seem surprising to many is that when David first steps through the door of disobedience he doesn’t experience immediate disaster. In fact David’s compromise appears too ushered in a period of temporary peace and prosperity. Verse 4 says that Saul stopped searching for David, verses 5-6 record that David received his own village to live in. I Chronicles 12 informs us that during this period a great many of Saul’s soldiers defected to David side and verse 12 says that Achish king of Gath was very pleased with David. If we based things solely on circumstances it would seem that David’s choice to compromise was the cure, that his decision to disobey was a wise one. Disobedience can often result in a temporary lessening of pressure and problems, remember Hebrews 11 speaks to the pleasures of sin for a season. The front end of sin often seems satisfying and while compromise may feel exciting it only led David into further sin. The truth is that discouragement led to desperation which led to the decision to defect, but it did not stop there, disobedience led to deceit and death. In verses 8-11 we discover that David led regular raiding parties while he lived in Ziklag. David would take his men and raid the villages to the south and southwest of Ziklag yet when Achish would ask him, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would answer, “I’ve been to the Negev of Judah,” which was south and east. David made it seem as if he had been raiding his own people Israel when in fact he had actually been going in the opposite direction. Disobedience led to a life of deception, David compromised his character because it seemed to serve the purpose of convincing Achish that he was truly loyal to him. David’s compromise was based on short term results which actually led to long term ruin. Now to many deception may not seem like that big of a deal but when you read on you come to verse 11 and you see what it really led to: “He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory.” Deception ultimately led to death, David was caught in the terrible downward spiral of disobedience. When you first open the door of disobedience don’t be surprised if the Devil greets you with delight. Things may appear to go your way, but remember there is a lot more behind the door than you at first will see. Down the road you will discover deceit and death, and the father you step through the door of disobedience the more you will find that your delight is replaced by dreed. Just when everything seemed to be going great, and David may have even fooled himself into thinking that God was blessing him, we see the climax of his compromise. David is ordered to join with the enemy and fight against his own people. His ploy of deception is played out, what started as a convenient compromise now leads to him collaborating fully with the enemy. 1 Samuel 28:1 puts it this way: “In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, ‘You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.’” The chickens have come home to roost and to make matters worse David is named as the enemy king’s personal bodyguard. Which means that if the Philistines win David will be forced to do the one thing he has steadfastly refused to do, kill king Saul. David’s plan to solve his own problems has not only backfired but led to his backsliding. He never intended to get into this mess, I’m sure in his mind going to live with the Philistines was just a temporary maneuver to buy some time. But now he is faced with the foolish results of his compromise. Man’s attempts to solve his problems typically leads to sin not a solution. Look David’s plan didn’t lead to peace it led to more problems and unless God intervened, David would be forced to fight against his own people. When you open the door of disobedience it always leads to destruction, one seemingly small compromise opens a cavern of compromise and before long you find yourself in over your head. So now the scene is set, the Philistine army is gather at Aphek to war against Israel with David and his men bringing up the rear. But before the battle can begin Achish’s generals come and complain, they object to David’s presence so Achish sends them away. Once again David seems to be off the hook, living for self seems to bring success, but as David and his men are march back to Ziklag they smell smoke and suddenly realize that their village has been raided. While they were gone, the Amalekites came and took their wives, their children, and all their possessions, and burned the village to the ground. Nothing is left. Why did this happen, because the Amalekites were part of the villages David raided when he was playing that little game of pretending to attack Judah. David not only raided those villages but he also killed the people to keep them from talking. He used death as a way to deceive and now the Amalekites have returned the favor. What started as discouragement led to disaster, David’s departure from obedience led to the deaths of many and as David stands in the blackened, smoking ruins of his rebellion he finally comes to his senses. After 16 months of compromise and disobedience, David stopped running and returned to the Lord. The turning point comes so suddenly that may miss it, 1 Samuel 30:6 says that “David found strength in the LORD his God.” David finally stopped relying on his own strength and surrendered to the Lord’s. David’s biggest problem was turning and trusting in his own plan. The truth is that he needed those lonely times on the run to teach him not to rely on self but only in the strength of the Lord. As long as David leaned on the Lord he experienced success, but every time he leaned on his own strength he experienced disaster. Christians understand that compromise with the world never leads to winning. Don’t let discouragement drive you to the door of disobedience instead let it drive you to your knees. Let discouragement drive you closer to the Father not father away. If you have departed from God’s plan and taken the door of disobedience then repent and return to God. Confess your sin of striving in your own strength and close the door to disobedience.