David once again discovered that enemies can be persistent in their opposition. In this chapter, the Ziphites, who had betrayed him before to Saul, do so once again. So Saul was again seeking for him, even although in the cave his life had been spared by David (as described in 1 Samuel 24).
David realised that his loyalty had to be retold to Saul. How could this be done since Saul had superior forces on his side? Normally, his forces would prevent David getting near to Saul. So before David did anything he went and assessed the situation. Such preparation is necessary whenever we engage in an important action.
The situation David saw could have told him not to get involved. Saul seemed impenetrable, surrounded by his army and protected personally by his commander Abner. But David saw a way whereby he could do what was right, and when there is such a way it is right to take it. Saul had to be retold about the loyalty of David.
David asked for a volunteer to accompany him. It is unlikely that David wanted the volunteer to fight against Saul’s army, so he probably wanted a witness to his actions because his plan bordered on the unbelievable. David and Abishai were to walk right into the middle of Saul’s army. Was this foolhardy or was it a plan of faith? It was the latter, and God honoured it by ensuring the army remained asleep.
Abishai interpreted their easy access to Saul as evidence from heaven that the king should be killed. Yet, as on the occasion in 1 Samuel 24, David knew that interpretations of divine providence do not override divine instructions, and he knew it would be wrong to kill the king. And if Abishai killed Saul, how would David’s loyalty be revealed? Instead David took Saul’s spear (with which Saul had frequently tried to kill David) and a water jar and left the camp.
David then stood on a hill-top and addressed Abner and Saul. Abner had failed to guard Saul and the king could easily have been killed. When Saul responded, David again asked him why he was pursuing a loyal subject without cause. What could Saul do but acknowledge once again that David had behaved in an appropriate manner.
The challenge that comes out of this incident is how far we will go in order to ensure that a person understands that we are serving the Lord. David did what he had to do, and the Lord helped him to do so. He will help us if we show similar determination, even if others think the effort is unnecessary and even foolhardy.