Devotional on 1 Samuel

2015 – Sand Point Lighthouse – Escanaba, MI

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.

Devotional on Genesis

2013 – Shenandoah National Park, VA – Skyline Drive

That’s just the way I am
Genesis 25: The children tumbled and kicked inside her.
If there has ever been a set of fraternal twins it’s Jacob and Esau. These boys don’t look anything alike and their personalities are clearly different one from one another. It’s no surprise that their mother Rebekah knows something’s wrong. And no wonder: her body is a sort of war zone! Her babies don’t get along and they’re yet to see the light of day! Their story is, to say the least, a thought provoking one. Here are two babies being born to the same parents, sharing a womb, and sibling rivalry is already full blown. We’ve all said, at one time or another, “That’s just the way I am.” Most often that’s an excuse for failing to practice self-discipline in some area. However, I’m reminded in this passage that there’s truth to that statement. We aren’t born as blank slates ready to be shaped by the events of our lives. Some stuff about us is hard wired from the start. In this case, Jacob and his brother are hard wired for conflict. Their parents, who will play favorites with their sons, won’t help matters any. So what, if anything, can be done about the undesirable tendencies with which we’re born? To some extent, parents can teach their children self-discipline and thus help them learn to deal with their natural dispositions. I’m glad, though, to report that there’s a greater remedy. As we read this story we see God at work, especially in Jacob’s life. As God’s grace unfolds, we see a man who’s changed as only God can change him.
Take away: God can do for us that which we could never do for ourselves.