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Dan Augsburger
Hanging Out with the Enemy

Isa. 35:3,4 “Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
1 Sam. 29 finds David hanging out with the enemy and in the uncomfortable position of marching to battle against Saul's army—his own people! Immediately ahead of David was Achish, the pagan king who had taken David into his trust, and was believing that David had become his loyal subject. The Philistines were not as convinced of David’s loyalty, and insisted he return home. David loudly protested his dismissal, but I think he was also breathing a sigh of relief.
We’ve all had moments when we were hanging out with the enemy, and marching to his drumbeat more than God’s! Sometimes our plans haven’t worked out, regardless of how we justified our actions, and we’ve found ourselves mercifully dismissed. In spite of loud protestations otherwise, we have also been sighing in relief.
That’s where I was going to initially stop reading. Then I ventured to the first verses of 1 Sam 30 where I read of another enemy—the Amelakites—swooping in while David was away with Achish and not keeping a watch on his own family. Taking advantage of his absence, the marauders took David’s wives and children, those of his men, all of their possessions, and also burned their city. Nothing was left.

A lesser man might have thrown in the towel at that point. As it were, David and his men wept, and for good reason. It appeared they had lost everything near and dear, and there was no reason to believe anything would change—they were weeping over the consequences of their behavior. I wonder if they were also weeping over their foolish absence, something they were personally responsible for, when they were marching with the enemy? I wonder, do we grieve more over the consequences of our waywardness, than over our responsibility for that waywardness?

David more than mourned, however, the Bible says “He encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Sam. 30:6) In spite of his personal chaos, he recognized that God had once again intervened in rescuing him, perhaps so that he could go and rescue his own family.

Have miseries come into your family due to distracting forays with the enemy?
Are you too friendly with those who are opposed to God? Please don’t take my questions the wrong way, but it is possible, and important to consider. As a single parent with two daughters who don’t walk that closely with the Lord I confess it is a question I ask myself at times. I can point to many “reasons” for what is going on, but I know there is more below the surface and I seek to know God’s opinion on the question, regardless of how unsettling His response may be.

Fortunately there is hope! Like David we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord. Your life may be going to custard right now. Things may seem entirely out of control? But God is still working behind the scenes and He is working ALL things for your good (Rom. 8:28).

As we continue further through the story, we find David asking God very specific questions as to what he should do. He was having personal time with God and His Word. Fortunately he trusted God and obeyed in pursuing the captors.
So the question comes, are you spending time in God’s Word? Are you asking Him the hard questions? Are you asking in order to obey? Your families will thank you if you do.
In David’s case, the story concludes by telling how David attacked the marauders and how not even one of them survived the battle. The enemy was history. Praise God, enemies can become history when we are working according to God’s plan.
It also says David “recovered all that the Amelakites had carried away, and David recovered his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them. David recovered all!” (1 Sam. 30:18,19). Another huge praise God!

Let me say one more thing. Looking back I am convinced that the only safe way to go through life is to go forward in the center of ALL of God’s will. Jesus said under similar distressing conditions, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Living by less than “every” word was the great temptation then; it is still the great temptation in our day.

Father, again I come from Your word in awe that you don’t give up on wayward children. If you didn’t lose hope for David and walk away from his circumstances, than there is surely hope for those reading this and for me. Help us to take a hard look at our lives, to assess in what ways, and to what degree, we may be walking with the enemy. Help us to be sincere and open to your answer. Help us then to take decided steps back to you, and help us to do so today. Thank you that the same victory over the enemy won in David’s day can be won in our day. Thank you that the losses can be recovered somehow as well. I ask this in Jesus’ name, with much gratitude in advance, Amen.