Achish summoned David and told him, “As Yahweh lives, you are an honorable man. I think it is good to have you fighting in this unit with me, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today. But the leaders don’t think you are reliable.” (1 Samuel 29:6)
When we’re reading Old Testament stories, it’s important to remember that the Bible faithfully records what did happen, not necessarily what should have happened. David has been flailing around with no apparent long-term strategy, working to save his own skin while trying to stay somewhat faithful to God and his people. The guy who’s supposed to be a man after God’s own heart seems to be making it up as he goes along, trusting his own wisdom rather than God’s wisdom.
David has joined forces with Israel’s enemy the Philistines, but at the same time has continued attacking Philistine villages. He’s lied to the Philistine king about his activities, convincing him that he is actually attacking Israelite towns. He’s sold himself as “honorable” and “reliable” when he’s actually anything but.
It’s telling that the only mention of God (even specifically identified by his covenant name “Yahweh”) in this chapter comes from a pagan king who has fought many battles to eradicate Yahweh’s people. And this seems to awaken David’s conscience: in the next chapter we’ll find him seeking God’s wisdom and strength once again (30:6).
How often do you find yourself going through your day without seeking God? Celebrating a victory as if you alone won it? Worrying about the future as if you alone can influence it? God will do what he needs to do to remind you who’s really in charge. He’ll use anything he wants — even pagans opposed to him — in order to bring you back to him.