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Sin's hallmark.

1 Samuel 21:10–15

Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying:

‘Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands’?”

Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

The whole Old Testament points to Christ. A major part of that is how the whole Old Testament portrays our sinful nature in such vivid detail.

Here we see one of the hallmarks of sin—inconsistency. David is nothing if not courageous. It’s his signature feature. He battles lions, bears, and Goliath without fear. Lately, he even seems to know that his destiny as a future king means he won’t be killed in the meantime. He’s not reckless, but he’s fearless.

Suddenly, that’s all gone. David’s backbone turns to Jell-O. He panics in fear of Achish. Why? Sure, people recognize him, but their recognition seems honorable. They call him a king and reference his mighty deeds. Why would that cause his courage to fail?

We can’t know the details, but something out of character takes over inside David’s head. That’s the stupidity of sin in action. So David embarrasses himself by turning himself into a drooling idiot madman.

Little does he realize how apt that is; sin is a madness of a special kind.

Achish drives David out of his house. Then David pens Psalm 34.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the LORD, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
— Psalm 34:1–3

The LORD delivered him from his fears—even though the fears were sinful. That’s profound.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to the DEEP click here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, can be downloaded here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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