Summary: This is the tenth sermon in a series on the life of David. It covers the time when he fled to Gath and faked madness in front of Achish.

1 Samuel 21:10-22:1 KJV And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. [11] And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? [12] And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. [13] And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. [14] Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? [15] Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house? [22:1] David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.


-Fear is a very real human reality and emotion that the fallen condition of man has dropped all of us into. Furthermore, it would appear from the Bible that there are times that fear can actually be a spirit that takes on a form that we contend with (2 Tim. 1:7).

-Time magazine covered the results of a survey by Chapman University. This survey was done in October 2015. The researchers asked a random sample of 1,541 adults to rate the level of fear for 88 different fear options across a variety of domains (like crime and natural disasters). Based on their findings, here were the top 10 fears for 2015:

• Corruption of government officials (58.0%)

• Cyber-terrorism (44.8%)

• Corporate tracking of personal information (44.6%)

• Terrorist attacks (44.4%)

• Government tracking of personal information (41.4%)

• Bio-warfare (40.9%)

• Identity theft (39.6%)

• Economic collapse (39.2%)

• Running out of money in the future (37.4%)

• Credit card fraud (36.9%)

-Interestingly, the researchers also found that half of all Americans believe in something paranormal, with 40% reporting they believe places are haunted by spirits, and over one fourth believing the living and dead can communicate. Also in the survey, 20% of people reported that aliens visited Earth in the past and that dreams can predict the future.

-There are a variety of fears that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Most of them come to nothing but we still have to deal with them.


-I started to give this message a title of “Crazy as a Bedbug.” That is an expression that I have heard over the years but after digging into the heart of this story, I thought that it simply did not fit David’s actions. David was actually putting on a show of deception to save his life.

A. The Dilemma of Fear

-The predominant theme in this portion of Scripture would be David’s fear. In 1 Samuel 21:10 he fled because of the fear of Saul. But the deadliest thing that he had to contend with was his actions that are recorded in 1 Samuel 21:12. . . He laid up these words in his heart and was sore afraid of Achish. . . Fear can make you crazy and that is what was operating in the life of David.

Ecclesiastes 7:7 KJV Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad. . .

-Oppression was very much a factor in David’s life at this point. Earlier in this same chapter, 1 Samuel 21, we can read of the terrible story where that David is on the run from Saul and he goes to Nob and finds some relief there. Ahimelech supplies him with some bread and Goliath’s sword but soon he is on the run again from Doeg, who is one of Saul’s wicked warriors.

-Here is what fear will do to you. . . It will make you run!

• From Saul—Even though David had received strength in the house of the Lord.

• From Achish—Even though David had been supplied with a weapon (Goliath’s sword) that was more than enough to help him to defeat Achish.

-Saul has the eighty priests at Nob killed at the hand of Doeg and David is once again on the run from Saul. That fear is compounded and he ends up leaving the country for the first time but it is to flee to enemy territory.

-David’s flight from Saul will take him to three places over the next several months and years in his life.

• Gath—In Philistia—21:10-15

• Adullam—In Judah—22:1-2

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