Read – 1 Samuel 27
Focus v. 10-11
The Lord calls David a man who has a heart after God. Am I wrong then to expect David to be this totally righteous, never tell a lie kind of guy? Each time I read this account of David’s life I am more amazed not at David’s righteousness but at what a sneaky conniving liar he is at times. This is no exception. He successfully deceives Achish into believing that he is raiding Judean villages and towns, when he in fact is not.
When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’ ” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. (v.10-11)
The chapter concludes with the statement, “And Achish trusted David…” Achish had no idea that David was actually raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites.
So as I contemplate this I am reminded that God never lies, and that Satan is called the father of lies. This further begs the question, “would God ever instruct or sanction one of His followers to lie?” If God is to be consistent in His own character, the answer must be “no He would not”. While one might get that impression in this case with David here in today’s reading, it becomes theologically problematic. A better way to resolve the issue might be to suggest that this is yet another case of God redeeming the broken, sinful human impulses of humanity and using them to move His plan forward.
There is no way of knowing what the outcome might have been if David had chosen to be truthful, and to trust God with the results. We do have other instances in the Old Testament where God fearing people like Daniel, and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to take the high road of honesty in the face of death and trusted God with the results. Either way, what becomes evident is the consistency of God’s faithfulness in either case. When we are faithful — He is faithful. When we fail — He is still faithful, which reinforces the idea that the real hero in this story is not so much David, as it is God.