Devotional on 1 Samuel

Strategic insanity

1 Samuel 21: He pretended to go crazy.
It’s been confirmed that Saul intends to kill David, so David’s desperately on the run. He has no provisions and doesn’t have so much as a sword for self-defense. He temporarily remedies that by stopping at the place of worship at Nob where he’s given bread and the sword of Goliath that’s been stored there. Now what? He decides to seek refuge at Gath. His intention is to go there incognito, but he’s immediately recognized. King Achish will almost certainly turn him over to Saul. So, what can he do? We’re told that he pretends to go crazy. Apparently, he put on a pretty good act; good enough that Achish wants nothing to do with him and sends him on his way. Now David is a skilled fighter and he has an excellent weapon, so maybe he could have fought his way out. Or, he might have been able to play “let’s make a deal” with old king Achish. In fact, he’ll do just that with the king of Moab. In this case, though, he fakes insanity. I wonder why he did that. Maybe, as he has entered Gath he’s seen a number of poor, demented people, so insanity is on his mind (pun intended). King Achish alludes to that when he says, “Don’t you think I have enough crazy people to put up with as it is without adding another?” Anyway, I’m thinking about the value of “strategic insanity” here. Sometimes it’s better to simply not notice an offense than it is to force a confrontation. It can be better to be blissfully ignorant of what people are saying or thinking and using “strategic insanity” to just go on loving them as though they’ve never said or done anything negative about us. I know that this isn’t always true, but on this day David saved himself a fight and walked away because the king thought he was so crazy that he wouldn’t be of any use to him. There are probably situations in my life in which “strategic insanity” is the best response too.
Take Away: Sometimes ignorance is, indeed, bliss.

Leave a Reply