As I read and re-read the narrative of David’s life in these three chapters I was finally lead to one word to describe it: BIZARRE.
Here in the space of three chapters the anointed future king of Israel goes from dining with dignitaries and royalty at the king’s table to living in a cave surrounded by those who were in distress, were in debt, and were bitter in soul. In the midst of these circumstances, knowing that there is but a step between him and death, David departs from his best friend, Jonathan. He lies to Ahimelech, the priest, which results in the death of eighty-five priests. He flees to Gath, the home of the mighty warrior Goliath, whom he had killed, and where he is king of the land; but in fear he changes his behavior and feigns insanity. All of this seems an unusual, unexpected, and strange path to the throne of Israel.
Let’s go backstage of this narrative, behind the scenes, into the private world of David at this time in his life. We go there in the Book of Psalms. Here we find the prayer diary of David. The titles of Psalms 34, 52, 56, and 57 show us that David wrote these psalms during the time of the narrative of 1 Samuel 20-22. Here we see a man in relationship with his God: praying, crying out, worshiping; taking refuge, trusting, finding strength and courage in the truth he knows about God; repenting, crying out for mercy; acknowledging the sovereignty of God over all the circumstances of life.
Let us go to these Psalms, and read them. Better yet, pray them. Let’s use them in our relationship with God to find grace, forgiveness, strength, courage, and comfort when we find the circumstances of our lives bizarre.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God . . . ” (1 Pet. 3:18). This word brings us into a living, growing, sustaining, life-changing relationship with the living God.
The MacArthur Study Bible’s footnote for Psalm 57:1 reads: “When life becomes bizarre, only one’s relationship with his God calms the soul.”