Discouragement - 1 Samuel 27
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
In 1 Samuel 26, David is once again presented with an opportunity to take Saul’s life, but he refused to lift his hand against God’s anointed. When David confronted Saul, the king repented and referred to David as his son. Saul even promised to bring no harm to David and asked him to return home. He even stated that he believed David would go on to accomplish great things. The men departed in peace. David did not return home, nor did his men. It is important for us to be wise and discerning. Although Saul spoke words of peace, time would reveal his heart. Time and time again, Saul made promises only to break them in a fit of rage.
Following struggles which drain our emotions and strength, depression often sets in. Stress can take a toll on even the most powerful soldiers. What David and his men needed was rest and food. Weary from hiding out, emotionally exhausted, and no doubt, spiritually depleted, David decided once again to take his men with him to a Philistine territory, Gath (1 Samuel 27:1-2). Gath was the city where Goliath was from. David had fled there earlier and nearly lost his life at the hands of the Philistines. Many of the Philistines David fought against were from Gath. It was a dangerous thing for him to go to the enemy of the Lord for protection. Despair can cloud our vision. We must avoid making critical decisions when discouraged or depressed.
Even believers can be affected by discouragement and depression. Elijah suffered great depression following the defeat of the prophet of Baal at Mount Carmel. He even despaired of life following the incident and ran from Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). God provided Elijah with rest, food, exercise, and a helper named Elisha to overcome the discouragement.
• Discouragement is never an excuse to sin.
• Discouragement is never a justification for getting even.
• Discouragement is never a reason to give up.
• Discouragement is never something which should be allowed to come between you and God.
• Discouragement is never an issue to ignore. Address the reasons for the discouragement.
David moved his entire army of 600 men along with their families to Gath. There is no doubt that this created tension among the residents of the city. Nevertheless, the move to Philistine territory caused Saul to give up chasing after David. David soon asked Achish, the king of Gath, for a town or city of his own. This kept the conflicts between David’s men and the Philistines to a minimum, enabled David to keep control of his men, and provided him with breathing room. In Gath, the Philistines kept a careful watch over David. Achish gave David control of a town named Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:3-5). Ziklag was about 25 miles southwest of Gath. This area was originally promised to Judah and Simeon; however, they had never conquered the land or pushed the Canaanites out of the area. David stayed there for almost a year and a half.
During his time in Gath, David raided villages belonging to the Geshurites, Gezrites, and Amalekies in southern Judah (1 Samuel 27:8). Each time he raided a village, David reported back to King Achish (1 Samuel 27:9-11). Achish was pleased with him. From the understanding of Achish, David was making him rich and causing the Jewish people to utterly hate David. King Achish believed that David would be working for him forever (1 Samuel 27:12).
When you live a lie, sooner or later, you will be exposed. David was now put in a difficult position. He was called upon to fight against King Saul, the man he had refused to lift his hand against (1 Samuel 28:1-2). David was not just ordered to join forces with Achish, he was asked to be the King’s personal body guard. This would put David in the place to kill his own countrymen in battle. Compromise will always take us farther than we are willing to go. David was now in a difficult situation. He had thought in running to Gath that he would escape Saul and be free to do his own thing. Now it had caught up with him.
When believers choose to live like the world, sooner or later, they will be forced to take a stand for or against God. Although discouragement took a toll on David’s ability to discern right and wrong, he had become comfortable with his choice to be in the world. John 15:19: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” While we are on this earth, we are to reflect God in our lives.