David, a man after God's own heart, has seen God do tremendous acts protect him from the wrath of Saul. He even has the promise that He is to be the next King after Saul. Yet, after confirming with Jonathan that Saul is bent on seeing David dead, he flees for his life. On the run, he goes to Nob where he has an encounter with Ahimelech the priest. David lies about why he is there, claiming to be on a secret mission from Saul the King. David was in Saul's inner circle so Ahimelech had no reason to doubt. David even convinces Ahimelech to give him the showbread that was consecrated. David, a man of great faith and strong character wasn't afraid to take down Goliath, but Saul's wrath was a very different thing. David would face anyone who defamed God, but he did not defend himself against one who hated him. In fact, it was his respect for Saul and his position that made confrontation so difficult.
David could have told the truth. In fact the outcome might have even been better (more on that in the next chapter). He could have told Ahimelech that Saul was in pursuit and he desperately needed sanctuary. He could have asked Ahimelech to pray with him for God's protection, certainly God had done that in the past. But...he didn't. In the face of overwhelming circumstances, David placed his trust in the spear of his old foe Goliath and not only lied to the priest, but ran to Gath, the place of the Philistines hoping that Saul wouldn't chase him there. Yet, he was even afraid of the Philistines because of the reputation he had for being a man of war - he would certainly not be welcomed there. David then played the role of a madman hoping that no one would see him as a viable threat but would leave him alone.
As we read this chapter, we almost want to break out in prose, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." David lost his faith for a moment in God and tried to devise some clever plan to keep himself from his king and the enemies of Israel. We read this story and say to ourselves, David, David, David, couldn't you have held onto your faith just a little longer? You were with a priest! Certainly, if anyone would hear your case he would have! If anyone might have sought God for you and protected you, he would have. Yet, you lied in fear.
I would like to think that I too am a woman of faith. When I read this chapter, I see how quickly I might even do the same thing David did. We have seen God work in our lives if we have accepted the offer of salvation. We couldn't have even come to understand we needed a Savior if God hadn't done a work in our lives. But we also live in a world that can be hostile toward Christians. We live in a world where we may not be appreciated by those in power. We may feel that we need to devise some strategy for escaping notice or we will find ourselves the butt of jokes and mistreatment. How quickly our faith turns when we are faced with confrontation and hostility.
Compromise will always seem like a viable option when we are challenged to live our faith. The world doesn't see God for who he is and the world confronts our faith daily. David later found redemption, but he could never undo the compromise and the results of it. David is here in scripture as an example to us so that we can know that even the great men of faith have their moments. We are in good company, yet we need to press on and place our faith in the only power that saves. Our feeble efforts may work for a moment, but the compromise can have ripples that last a lifetime. God's glory and reputation here are at stake if we call ourselves Christian. Phillipians 3:14 reminds us ot press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us.
My dear Christian friend, when we are tempted to compromise, choose the acts of faith instead. There may be conflict and turmoil, but we will see God's hand of protection and blessing if we will choose him over our own devices.
May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.