Copy of Today's Readings: 1 Samuel 29 | Jeremiah 5 | Matthew 16
Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Samuel 29:1-4
"The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. The commanders of the Philistines asked, 'What about these Hebrews?' Achish replied, 'Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.' But the Philistine commanders were angry with him and said, 'Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master's favor than by taking the heads of our own men?' " (1Sa 29:1-4).
This is surely a possibility to consider: did David really hope to go into battle alongside the Philistines, and then turn against them -- making another show of loyalty to Saul? The Philistine commanders certainly thought so (v 4)!
If this were the case, then -- providentially -- God did not allow this, because He knew that Saul and his army were to be defeated, and it would not be good if David were to be associated with them in that day!
If Achish had allowed David to remain, can we suppose he would have been faithful to Achish (and the Philistines) and fight against Israel? Or would he have done -- as the lords of the Philistines said -- and joined with Saul against the Philistines in battle? I would guess that he would have used the occasion to turn against the Philistines and fight for Saul and Israel. But, either way, God prevented him from being in such a situation... in fact, He sees that David is sent far away from the battle, because either alternative was not the best for David: