Overwhelmed By Despair

David was a man after God’s own heart and God had promised to make him king, but David found himself constantly running for his life trying to evade Saul and his soldiers who were trying to kill him. Notice a turn in the story from 1 Sam 26:25-27:1,

“Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place. Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”

At the conclusion of chapter 26, David once again had spared Saul’s life. But when we get to the first verse of the next chapter David gives the impression that he is weary of hiding and decided himself to flee to the land of the Philistines so that Saul would not pursue him. Most likely, David was discouraged.

As Wiersbe has observed, “David won a great victory over Saul, only to be overwhelmed by despair. Such feelings are not unusual; you cannot have mountaintops without valleys. However, when you are feeling low, it is a dangerous thing to ‘talk to yourself’ and make important decisions. David should have talked to the Lord.”

David had wisely consulted the Lord on previous decisions, but here we are led to believe that David had lost heart and made the decision to flee without consulting the Lord. Why is that likely? First, David’s circumstances had caused him to doubt God’s promises. Samuel had told him twice that he would be king. He would not be killed by Saul even though circumstances were very difficult (18:4; 23:17). Second, the name of God is not even mentioned in this chapter implying David had finally taken things into his own hands.

I certainly cannot find fault with David because he was a great man of faith. He simply was tired, and had lost perspective. He made what probably was a bad decision even though God worked through it. This also shows the amazing grace and patience of God. He worked through David’s weaknesses to accomplish his ultimate will. God also continued to protect him even though he was in the midst of the hated enemies of Israel.

Father, thank you for the example of David here. He was a great man, but he was not perfect! Even so, your grace and protection were still with him because he was one of your men. May your grace and mercy be with me even when I am weak in faith. May I remember to seek your will before making significant decisions. May you also accomplish your will through me as you did with David even when he was imperfect.

Following Jesus with you,


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