“So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.” 1 Samuel 21:13.
David was hard pressed on every side. He was hotly pursued by king Saul, of his own home country, to be murdered. In 1 Samuel 20:3 David says, “truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Saul yet again, attempts to kill David so David runs, right into the hands of his enemy, the Philistines.
In case you are not familiar. David killed the giant Goliath, who was from the enemy camp of the Philistine’s. He killed the great Philistine hero. And now he is in enemy hands. In other words, David is in great danger here. Every direction he turns there is someone against him. The king from his own home country wants him dead and now he has found himself in the hands of yet another enemy. Look at what David wrote during this time:
“My enemies…hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me…” Psalm 56:2
“All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil.” Psalm 56:5
“My soul is among lions…and their tongue a sharp sword.” Psalm 57:4
It appears as if no one is on his side. No one has his back. No one has a good word to say about him. No one understands him. He finds no refuge, no safe place in man. He has no community of people he can trust. His friends are long gone and his enemies surround him from every direction.
David has a legitimate reason to go crazy here. He has no one. He is all alone and in grave danger. His mind is quite literally tormented because his very life is at stake. Yet, David does something incredible through his torment. In the midst of the war on his mind and life, look at what David says about God:
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3
“For You have delivered my soul from death…” Psalm 56:13
“I will praise You, O Lord, among the people…” Psalm 57:9
In the midst of David’s rightful mental torment, he chooses to trust God, to praise God. He chooses to believe that God will deliver his soul from this very real near death he was facing. And if I am honest, this kind of faith looks a little crazy. He has a man out to kill him and runs right into enemy camp, yet he chooses to have faith that God will deliver him.
God becomes his only hope.
David never gave himself the title of a madman. Other people spoke it of him. Other people twisted his words. Other people gave him the title of insane. Other people put the stigma and shame of a madman on him. And David took advantage of that and started to play the part of a madman for them. He appeared so crazy, none of his enemies wanted to touch him, be near him or harm him. So this perceived mental illness became a gift that God had given to save David’s life. A way out of danger.
Do you ever feel like David? Do you ever feel like no one is on your side? No one understands you? No one has a good thing to say about you? Does it feel as if there is no community of people you can trust? Does it feel as if everywhere you turn there is an enemy warring against you?
You are not alone. Our situations may not be as dire as David’s. Yet, I know that we can feel every bit as hard pressed as him. I am not sure what your bad days are like, but my bad days feel like this. My bad days feel as if I am surrounded by people who twist my words and use them against me. Even well meaning people, who I know love me. Life, can feel like that sometimes.
God has become my only hope, my only refuge during these times. The only one who I can trust. And yes, there are times when I know this looks crazy to some. For some people, this kind of faith seems insane. But for me, trusting God is the only way I can keep my sanity. Without God, I am a dead woman walking. If my own mind doesn’t kill me, life will, if I live it without God. Without God I am a broken mess.
This is my testimony of how God saves me, rescues me, every single day of my life. I know I have someone I can count on when I am hard pressed on every side. I know there is someone I can go to when there is no one else. I know there is someone I can pray and talk to, who will not twist my words and use them against me. God has become my hope, the one I trust.
Who do you go to when you are hard pressed on every side? When even your home, your home country, is no longer a refuge. Who do you turn to when there is no one else?
We have someone we can trust. We have someone who understands. We have someone who is on our side, even if the world calls our faith insane or crazy or mental. God is our refuge and our strength. God is our only hope.
“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11