A Crazy Person in the Making
by Tom Kraeuter, Hillsboro, Missouri
And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. And David... was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. (1 Samuel 21:10-13)
I find it odd that this is the same guy, David, who earlier faced the giant with just a sling and a stone. When the king of Israel had dared to suggest that David was no match for Goliath, David, responded, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:37).
In essence David was saying, "I'm not afraid of that big oaf. So what if he's three times my size? God is with me. I've seen the Lord deliver me in the past and I know He will do it again."
So here is David sometime later -- in Goliath's hometown, no less -- and he's scared. In fact, he is so afraid he acts like a crazy person in an attempt to save his life. What happened to "the Lord who delivered me"? Doesn't this scenario seem at least a bit strange?
Let me offer my perspective. When David faced Goliath, he was a young man who didn't have much. His possessions were meager. He had his sling and likely had a shepherd's crook. That may have been about it. He really doesn't even seem to have had any friends. He apparently spent the vast majority of his time with the sheep. More importantly, though, he did have an intimate relationship with his God. He knew the Lord well and trusted Him completely.
But fast forward into the future. David had attained a position of authority. He had a trusted mentor, the prophet Samuel. He had a wife. He had a treasured friend and close confidant in the king's son, Jonathan. Is it possible that David had begun to rely more on those things than on God?
In very short order, though, all those things were wrenched from him. Because of Saul's jealousy of him, David was forced to flee for his life. Suddenly he was without his position of authority in the army and without the three people to whom he was the closest. All of the props were pulled out. The things that David had begun to trust in were all taken away, and he had nothing left on which to rely.
When I began in worship ministry, I found it very easy to rely solely on God. I really didn't have anything else. I didn't know what I was doing. I really wasn't a very good musician. I certainly wasn't very confident in my abilities or knowledge. In all honesty, I had nowhere to turn except to the Lord.
Years later, I've learned a few things. I'm a bit more skilled on my instrument. I can easily be confident -- too much so -- in my abilities or knowledge. I actually find it easier to rely on those things than I do to rely on God.
Maybe David acting like a madman isn't such a far-fetched scenario after all. Isn't that like me -- and perhaps you -- when we rely on things other than the Lord? Aren't we -- in reality -- acting like crazy people by thinking that we can do anything without His aid? We trust in our talent or our skills or our preparation, and God is too often left out of the picture.
1. In your involvement in worship ministry, what do you find yourself relying on? (i.e., people or things or even giftedness, rather than on God?)
2. How can we -- on a regular basis -- tilt our reliance more in God's direction?