What’s the best prank you’ve ever played on someone? I love the mastery of devising the plan, having all the pieces fall in place, and then seeing the look on the person’s face when he realizes he’s been had. Candid Camera was a famous TV show many years ago that mastered capturing humorously deceived people in a well-crafted practical joke. It left both the audience and the one deceived in immense laughter.
1st Samuel 27 has David playing the master of disguise and deception, and this is unfortunately no laughing matter. He returns to Gath, and again seeks to deceive King Achish. Previously, David had played the part of one who had gone insane, even to the point of slobbering and drooling down his beard. But this time, the stakes are higher, and far from any sort of practical joke. David ups the ante by convincing Achish that he is willing to fight in his army, and against his own people for that matter. Achish falls for the ploy, hook, line and sinker. We are left to wonder whether David would have fought against the Israelites, or would have turned against the Philistines at the appropriate time. The Biblical writer gives clues, but leaves us guessing.
But the Bible as a whole doesn’t leave us guessing as to the danger in deceit. When our faith wavers, we can lose track of our own identity and deceive even ourselves. We effectively play right into the hands of the Deceiver. Is God really for you? Does God really care? Of course not, hisses Satan. Our only hope to resist the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13) rests in the One who remained faithful amidst the trinity of temptations of deceit hurled at him by the Devil in Matthew 4. He waited, He resisted, He trusted in His Father to deliver Him from all temptation so that we could have hope and deliverance through Him. May we be found faithful, brothers and sisters.
Rev. Darol Timberlake, Assistant Pastor