I came across a gem of a passage the other day, 1 Samuel 21:10-22:1a.  This passage cracks me up.  Every time I come across it, I can’t help but laugh.  When we come to the passage, David is in a pretty tight spot.  By this point Saul has tried to kill him two or three times, which, by the way, if somebody tried to impale you with a spear, why would you hang around to give him another chance to do it?  That doesn’t make any sense to me, but I digress.  David finds himself in this spot, and he flees.  He ends up going to Gath.  It’s not clear, but it seems like he was just trying to blend in, then people figured out who he was and brought him to Achish, the king of Gath.  And this is what I love: David goes nuts.

The text says that he “pretended to be insane.”  He’s drooling down his beard and starts just acting crazy.  He does this because he’s afraid that the king is going to have him killed because he poses such a dangerous threat by being a mighty warrior for an enemy nation.  And it works.  But what also cracks me up about this passage is the king’s response.  The New Living Translation (NLT) puts it this way: “Must you bring me a madman?  We already have enough of them around here!”  Apparently, there was no shortage of crazy in Gath, and the king had seen enough.  But, apart from giving me a good laugh, what does this passage have to say to us?

Fear can cause us to do some strange things. Basically, what started all of this was David’s fear.  He was afraid that Saul was going to kill him (rightfully so, I might mention).  Then he became afraid that Achish would kill him (again, probably rightfully so).  Running from one fear put him into this situation, but the other fear got him out of it.  When we are afraid of things in this life, we tend to instigate a “flight or fight” response.  Sometimes, we need to run away.  Other times we need to stand our ground.  And then there’s the rare occasion when we have to do something drastic to get us out of the situation.

We can only handle so much crazy in our lives. There’s a limit to the craziness that we can handle.  We are all like cups in a way.  Once we’ve reached our limit, everything else just starts to spill out.  If we have too much crazy in our lives, then we start to lose some of the things that we are trying to hold onto – things that we actually need to hold onto.  Take a look at your life.  Determine where the crazy is, and see if there’s some of it you can cut out.  We can only take so much.

Be careful where you go for help. For some reason, David thought that he could go to Gath to escape Saul.  That was a bad move.  Apparently the people at Gath knew who David was, and wasn’t about to let him hang around their town for very long.  Instead of finding a refuge, David found himself in another tight spot.  If we aren’t careful about who we approach for help, we may find that we are in it deeper than we were before.

People aren’t always who they appear to be. David wasn’t crazy.  It was his last resort.  The people that you meet in this life… they may not be as bad as you think either.  Of course, the flip side works just as easily, but I’m trying to stay positive here.  Don’t immediately turn somebody away.  We don’t always make the best first impressions in this life.

What are some other lessons that we can learn from this passage?

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