Fear Drives People To Do Crazy Things
10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:
“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”
12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.
14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”
Compromise has a tendency to lead to our ruination. In David’s case, it saw him descend into such low depths that he went and camped out in enemy territory, even acting insane because he feared for his life. It didn’t help that Saul was looking to kill him. But it bears looking at the life of David to remember why compromise can ruin our lives.
Sometimes difficultly will find its way into our lives. Saul had sent out the equivalent of the Airborne Rangers and the Navy Seals to go find and eliminate David. When the best of the best is out to kill you, it can drive a person to fear. And when we act in fear, we begin to compromise.
Embedded in the Enemy
In an effort to be free of the constant hounding by Saul, the king of Israel, David went to Gath. The first sign that you are “off the rails” in compromise is when you believe that it is safer in enemy territory than where God has planted you (apart from direct revelation from God that it is time to flee). Any time we begin to compromise, we set ourselves up to be placed in a situation that will require even GREATER compromise. Upon hearing that he was recognized, and rightly so for his prowess in battle, David begins to act counter to his heroic nature. Instead of hiding in caves, he does something worse – he hides in plain sight.
David begins to act insane. He knows that he will most likely be left alone if he appears to be a non-threatening, drooling idiot. Rather than inquire of God for what he should do, David takes it upon himself to try to provide his own protection through compromise. And while it surely saddened God that David was acting this way, David looked to himself first and took matters into his own hands.
We compromise any and every time that we believe we have a better chance at success than God does. And while most of us are certainly are in no position to criticize David, God was gracious enough to give us his example so that we could learn from it. God had successfully hid other people from harm many times in the past:
- Obadiah hid one hundred prophets in two caves, fifty to a cave, while Jezebel was killing off the prophets of God, providing them with food and water.
- God hid Elijah at the Kerith Ravine while the drought that he declared was slowly causing distress in Israel.
- Rahab hid Joshua’s advance scouting party from the leaders of Jericho.
Every time that we take a step in compromise, it leads us down a dark path. As we walk farther away from the truth, it becomes more murky, and we find that it becomes easier to do things that, under normal circumstances, we would never even consider doing. People in desperate times have eaten their own children during sieges to stay alive.
So what can we do when we are faced with compromise?
- Turn our eyes upon Jesus. He is the one who is our strength and shield. Not every encounter with the enemy allowed the righteous to live (read the second half of Hebrews Chapter Eleven), but they faced death with dignity and brought great glory and honor to God in how they handled themselves.
- Pray to God for wisdom. Oftentimes, we are blind-sided with great difficulty that demands swift and immediate action. Sometimes, we are so emotionally overwhelmed, that our first instinct is to act and not to ask. That is when it is most dangerous. There is certainly a time to act before asking (YES, pull the little girl out of the burning car first…)
- Pray to God, asking for strength to do what is right. There will be times when our enemies have backed us into a corner. They have maneuvered us into what appears to be a no-win situation. But when we hold steadfast to God, and refuse to compromise, God may yet deliver us from our difficulties. And when we refuse to compromise (do what is evil in the sight of The Lord God Almighty), no matter the consequences, God is greatly honored and glorified.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: When faced with compromise, and possibly terrible consequences, what is my first reaction?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, there is no evil in You. You do not compromise Your goodness in any way for any reason. Give me strength as I face the consequences for doing what is right in Your eyes. Uphold me before my enemies, and let them know that I fear and revere You more than I do anything that they can do to me. Give me a steadfast heart that always seeks You, Lord God. Help me to overcome any fear that the enemy is trying to place in my heart, and to boldly step out in faith. I may not survive, Lord, but I know in my heart that You will be honored and glorified in this. Help me to have great peace as I face difficulty, and I know, Father, that You will reward faithfulness to You, if not in this life, in the next. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?