Spiritual warfare is a constant activity that is rarely detected by the average Christian. It’s signs are subtle. In order to detect its existence, one must pay attention to things like fear, anger, and irrational behavior. One way to know for sure you are under attack is that you want to run, to get away from whatever circumstances are causing the attack.
“And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath” (1 Samuel 21:10). The problem with running when you come under spiritual attack is that you can’t see the real enemy, Satan, and will likely end up in a worst circumstance than the one you started with.
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 has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. (1 Samuel 21:11-12).
In order to escape Achish, David changed his behavior “and feigned himself mad in their hands” (1 Samuel 21:13). David’s reputation as a valiant warrior was something he should have been proud of and yet when he found himself in a situation where he was alone and at the mercy of his enemy, he decided to trash his reputation and make himself out to be a crazy person. In one sense, it may seem as if David was being shrewd and that his ability to disguise himself as a madman was a great way to avoid being killed, but when you look at it from a spiritual perspective, David was running away from his responsibility and trying to avoid his calling to be king of Israel.
As a result of David’s action, the enemy, Satan gained ground and launched an all out attack on God’s consecrated servants by inciting king Saul to seek revenge on Ahimelech because he helped David escape. “And the king said to Doeg, Turn then, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear the linen ephod” (1 Samuel 22:18).
David learned the hard way that the consequences of his wrong actions did not always end up harming him, but doing damage to God’s kingdom. When he hears what has happened to the priests, he takes responsibility and acknowledges that he is being guarded by the LORD’s army.
And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house. Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard. (1 Samuel 22:22-23)