How we react in times of crisis speaks of the strength of our faith. Some rise to the challenge, others succumb to the challenge, while others plod along as if nothing has changed. Some emotionally overreact while others don’t register the impact of the crisis at all!
The crisis David faces is one of faith and is of his own making but we can learn from him. He does a foolish thing and joins the Philistines.
Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.” 1 Samuel 27:1
Being on the run from Saul has taken its toll. He has become weary and despite all that God has done he says to himself, Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.
We have to be wary of becoming weary, it pulls us into unbelief.
He starts to lean on his own understanding There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. It’s so easy when the crisis extends from hours to days and from days to weeks to resort to our own ideas and get lost in our own thoughts.
What happens when we get weary in times of crisis is we can pull others down with us.
So David arose and went over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 1 Samuel 27:2-3
David’s loss of faith in a time of crisis had wide ranging consequences. It affected, his men and his family. A good question to ask is, in times of crisis do I build faith or tear down the faith of others?
David then begins to live this double life. A follower of God, now living in Gath betraying Israel by destroying local villages and towns leaving no survivors to cover up his deceit (vs 5-10)
Crisis does test our integrity, we can portray one thing and be another.
Eventually David drops even lower to the point where David’s friend Aschish did not know if he would attack Israel.
In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.” 1 Samuel 28:1
All of this seems awful to us but we have to not be the one to cast the first stone. Our faith is also tested in trials. David later found that there was a consequence to his actions, when he wanted to build the temple he would be told no.
But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. 1 Chronicles 22:8
Trials and crisis test the genuine nature of our faith. God often puts us though these things so we can see the level of our faith. How would you describe your faith in this period of lockdown? Not the faith you portray or let others see but the faith in your heart.
David was a giant of faith, defending his sheep against lions and bears and defeating Goliath, yet David’s faith could still fail him when he was under pressure. Our faith is faith in God, it’s not a faith in our own faith.
I know this a drum I keep beating but I feel I need to speak to myself continually as trials, pressures and crisis call for a reaction. That reaction is foundational to everything else. God had a purpose for David, he could have approached the Lord asking Him to reveal his plans, to show his will and to speak into a desperate situation, but he didn’t. We can act as if God is not able to deliver us.
Hebrews puts this challenge before us
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. Hebrews 3:12
David’s own son would later write
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
God in his sovereignty allows things to occur to draw our attention back to Him. We have to ask the question that David didn’t want to ask “what am I doing wrong” and “what do you want me to do differently.” We do have to acknowledge the depth of the crisis we are in and be honest where our faith is at.
We will come out of this with stronger faith if we trust in the Lord. Don’t try and work things out for ourselves acknowledge him by asking him to show us the new path we as a church should be on. I believe exciting days are ahead but it will be on a path that has not yet been trodden on.