by: Allen Domelle
1 Samuel 27:1
“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.”
The verse above brings several thoughts and emotions to me. I look at how David fled to the Philistines, and I think to myself that there is never a good excuse to compromise. I see how David was driven to a point in his life when for a few months he took his eyes off God and placed them on his circumstances. His faith wavered for a short amount of time because he dwelt on the adverse circumstances of another’s treatment towards him.
On the other hand, I completely understand why David fled to the enemy. He fled to the enemy because Saul was trying to kill him. There comes a point in self-preservation when you go to where you know you are going to be safe. There comes a point in one’s life when you get tired of the attacks, and you go to the only place where you think you are welcome. Whether or not it was right for David to flee to the Philistines is not the point, what else is the man to do when his own flesh and blood, his own countrymen, attacked him and tried to kill him? He went to the Philistines because Saul drove him away.
I’m afraid that in the Christian life we often drive people away because of our hateful and spiteful actions. We can criticize people who are driven away, but it could be our actions that drove them away. There are a few thoughts we should learn from this story.
First, selfish leadership eventually drives people away. Saul made his leadership all about himself. It was not about serving those whom he was supposed to lead, but it was about preserving his kingdom. Anytime the Christian life becomes about a personality, whether it is your own or anothers, people will be driven away. Personality driven Christianity is repelling and hurtful. Instead of making your Christianity about a personality, you should be sure to stay focused on Christ. Christ is the only personality we should serve and stay focused on.
Second, when someone is driven away, your response should be reflective and not condemnatory. Instead of condemning the person who has been driven away, you should consider your actions to see if there is something you have done that may have pushed them away. Having a critical attitude towards those who have gone away is easy, but being honest with yourself and finding what your fault could have been is the only thing that can correct the improper actions so as to keep from driving others away.
Third, be prayerful and reach out to the person who has been driven away so that you can attempt to bring them back. The person who is driven away is still a good person, so instead of forgetting about them, pray that the LORD will work on their heart and do what you can to bring them back to where they should be. They can still contribute greatly to the LORD’s work if they are brought back.
Friend, don’t let your actions be what drives others away. We need as many people as we can in the LORD’s work. Do your best to reconcile these situations instead of inflaming them to the point where a person never comes back.