But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.” 1 Samuel 27:1 (NIV)
Professional sports can be a funny thing. When you’re a long suffering fan of a perennial loser (in our case that would be the Cubs or the Vikings) you face the annual dilemma of who you are going to cheer for in the playoffs. All season long you’ve hated the other teams in your division for beating up on your boys of summer/winter. But, now it’s the playoffs and you know the other team well. Do you stay loyal to your division or league? Or, do you take alliance with some strange team from the other side of the country whom you’ve never watched with the hope that they will beat up on your local rivals?
I find it equally fascinating to watch players move from team to team and all of the machinations that go along with such moves. Financial considerations are, of course, the most common reasons I see for player moves. Nevertheless, there are loyalty considerations, political considerations, and personal considerations that all play into the decisions of coaches, managers, owners and players.
In David’s day, the region around Israel was made up of small towns who acted much like independent city states but were loosely tied to a larger national confederacy. It’s much like a league of teams that are part of larger divisions. David, the rabidly loyal star player and league MVP for team Israel, got cut by his headstrong coach, even though the team owner didn’t approve of the move. David is now a free agent and, in today’s chapter, he chooses to switch divisions. He negotiates a contract with the rival league to be a player/manager for team Ziklag which puts him in the Philistine division, but the remaining season schedule means he will only face teams from the Amalekite division. David doesn’t have to face his former team who is in a bitter pennant race with the other teams in his new division.
It was a shrewd move. David spends the rest of the season wiping up the new competition while biding his time. He’s guessing that his former team will lose big under it’s current manager and coach, Saul. David knows he’s a favorite of the team owner and the owner had once promised David that he would someday run the team. Nevertheless, Saul has been a fan favorite, a star in his own right, and he’s still under contract. David realizes he has to bide his time. If and when Saul goes down to defeat, David knows that the phone is going to ring and the owner will name him the new player/manager for his hometown team.
- Missing the Signs (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- A Mysterious Tension: Personal Initiative and Divine Timing (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- 1 Samuel 27 (dailydoseofdean.wordpress.com)
- Even a Future King is Not Perfect (christopherscottblog.typepad.com)
- The Bookend Monarchs (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- Striving Against Divine Design (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)