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In Harm's Way


Some television drama series involve multiple storylines. These complex narratives weave in and out but are usually all part of one larger story. The same is true of biblical narratives. As storm clouds gathered for Saul, David was facing a different kind of jeopardy when the Philistine forces gathered at Aphek in preparation for battle. If this were a movie, the events depicted in these verses would be a brief flashback to the previous day.

When the Philistine armies massed to attack Israel, some of the commanders questioned David’s presence. Although Achish defended David’s loyalty, the king’s leaders pointed out that betrayal might be a way for David to earn his way back into Saul’s good graces. After all, since he had rebelled against one king, what would keep him from betraying another? Perhaps this was David’s plan all along. What is clear is that David’s role as Achish’s bodyguard placed him in an awkward position. Defending himself against Saul’s pursuit was one thing. Taking the side of the Philistines in their attempt to destroy Israel was something else. It does not seem likely that David would have gone to war against Israel. His position in the rear as Achish’s bodyguard would have been the perfect trap.

Was David’s protest in verse 8 genuine or merely an act? Either way, it seems likely that the suspicion of the Philistine commanders endangered his life. If David was truly a threat to the Philistines, what would stop him from attacking from another direction? The more strategic choice would have been to make David a prisoner or perhaps even to kill him. God used David’s enemies to rescue him from this impossible situation. But we will see tomorrow that David’s troubles are far from over.

>> God’s intervention in our lives is not always direct. He often uses circumstances and unlikely people to protect us. In what ways have you seen God direct your life?

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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