“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.’” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Have you ever had a moment or even a whole season when your faith failed? I don’t mean you failed to keep faith, I mean it just like I said: Your faith failed. You had faith and things were rocking along fairly smoothly even in spite of the challenging season you were in, and then it was just gone. It was like you were driving a car down the highway, cruising down the road, and then all of a sudden it made a sharp turn off the road and headed out into the wilderness. This is what happened to David.
His life over the past few months certainly hadn’t been smooth, but God had been faithful. He had kept him out of Saul’s clutches, had provided for him, and had even given him a couple of opportunities to test and prove his faith that God would restore and promote him when the time was right. And in the wake of the second of these tests, when Saul had promised again to never go seeking after David a second time, David’s faith failed.
Have you experienced that before? He embraced the despair that had been gnawing at the edges of his mind for several months and ran with it. What followed was one of the darkest periods of his life. He went and lived with the Philistines and became a trusted warrior for Achish, their king. Now, he never gave up on his people and never once attacked them, but he was living a lie. It was a double lie, in fact. He was not ultimately faithful to the Philistines as Achish believed, and God had not abandoned him as he believed.
David almost lost himself to this season of his life too. Over the next two chapters we see David ready to join with the Philistines in an attack on Saul’s army. The only thing that stops him is the mistrust of the other Philistine tribal leaders who refuse to go into battle with David and his men at their backs for fear of his betrayal and attack on them from behind.
It isn’t until a personal tragedy strikes that David is finally roused from this spiritual slumber and seeks the Lord again. Indeed, when we get lost in a fog like this when our faith has failed, it often isn’t until tragedy strikes that we reach back out to the Lord again and set ourselves straight.
If you are in a place where your faith has failed, don’t wait that long. No matter what lie you have bought into believing, the Lord has not abandoned you. He has not moved at all in fact. You have. Come back. Return to the God of your salvation. Return to the Jesus who loves you more than anyone else. Return to the life that is truly life and away from the death you have otherwise embraced. He will receive you with open arms and strengthen you with His Spirit. You only need return.