When Believers Don’t Believe
The path to the throne for David was not a straight course. It was filled with dark valleys, steep mountains, and lonely pathways. Think about it. No matter where David had gone, he met with difficulty. God was with him but that did not make life carefree and easy. David was secure in the Lord but it seems that everywhere David turned he found trouble.
David had two opportunities to take revenge upon Saul and did not. After the first opportunity to revenge, David was overcome with anger against Nabal. After the second opportunity, he is overcome with unbelief. Again, we are challenged to take heed when we are strong that we do not fall into two sins that our flesh is so prone toward: ANGER and UNBELIEF.
Jesus asked the disciples as they feared the wind and the waves, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?
Jesus asked Peter as he sunk in the waves, "Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt"?
In this chapter we see David fear the wind and waves of Saul’s constant harassment. David is sinking under the waves and he runs with fear once again to the Philistines.
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul?
1. The REASONS for David’s Unbelief
A. His PERSPECTIVE was wrong: His perspective was wrong because it was?
CONTRARY to PAST Experience. God had not delivered David into Saul’s hand. God’s hand of power and protection was greater than Saul’s hand of trembling fear.
Contrary to God’s Promise: God’s anointing was still upon David. David was losing hope that God would deal with Saul and remove him. David was getting old. But God’s mercies were new every morning and every one of his promises were ?yea and amen!? David was in the mighty hand of God, and he was one of God’s sheep that had the gift of eternal life, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.?
Contrary to what others were telling him: Samuel, Jonathan assured him he would be the king (23:17); Saul told him he would be king (24:20); Abigail told him he would be the king (25:30)
Are we not prone to not trust God in times of difficulty? How do you react when the fig tree does not blossom and though there were no flocks in the field and no herd in the stall? In other words, how do you react when there is no food in the fridge, when you get fired from your job, and when the bank account runs dry? Are you still able to rejoice with a believing heart in the goodness of God’s provision?
How are you when the rivers of trial swell all around you and your soul is greatly troubled, are you still able to rejoice with a believing heart in the faithfulness of God’s protection?
How are you in the darkness of loneliness and your soul is greatly troubled, are you still able to rejoice with a believing heart in the sweetness of God’s presence?
The clouds that you so greatly dread are great with mercies that shall break with showers of blessing upon your head!
B. His Patience was Worn
Does he have a friend? Yes, but he is separated from his best friend, Jonathan.
If he goes to the priests for help there is Doeg the Edomite to see him and report him to Saul who had killed all the priests.
Does Saul not call him, ?my son David? yes, but that does not stop him from continuing his chase of David later on.
Is David promised the throne? Yes, but his human link to the throne, Samuel, is dead.
Does he help others? Yes, but he is betrayed by the city of Keilah after saving them.
He is backstabbed by the Ziphites. He is mocked by Nabal. Lonliness in the Cave of Adullam. Yet he has tried to do right. He has two opportunities to take revenge upon Saul. After overcoming the temptation to kill Saul the first time, David snapped with anger and almost killed Nabal.
Through all of this David is safe but never really safe. He is safe because God is protecting him but he is ever persecuted and harassed. So what does David want with a patience worn out? RELIEF from the trial of running from Saul.
C. His Prayer was Wanting.
David consulted only with himself. Remember when David was going to help Keilah he consulted with God through the priest Abiathar asking, ?Bring hither the Ephod.? (23:9). Who did he consult with in this decision to leave the place God had commanded him to go? (1 Sam.22:4,5) His heart! Although God had never cancelled that order, David is off and running, doing his own thing.
David did not seek any counsellors, he had a prophet with him, Gad.
When we consult only our own heart we get a distorted sense of reality, become deluded ("there is nothing better for me than that I should escape speedily")
His delusion led to discouragement which led to disobedience:
When people become discouraged in their unbelief they often turn to places or activities that will not bring them any peace. Is using drugs, alcohol, or prostitution, adultery, strange delusion? To think you can take fire into your bosom and his clothes not be burned? To think you can give your honor to another and not have it result in ?reproach that shall not be wiped away.?
David’s delusion leads to DISOBEDIENCE.
Why, that is the most deceitful thing he could have found, for the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. When we do not pray we PANIC. David writes no psalm during this time in his life, and
2. The RESULTS of David’s Unbelief
A. He REPEATS SINFUL behavior:
David goes over to the Philistines?again. Remember when he did it the first time it ended up in pretending he was a madman? A little child who sticks their hand in the fire will no doubt have learned a hard lesson and will stay away from the fire. A wise man learns from his mistakes and does not repeat them, but David is not behaving in wisdom.
(Illus. I had a dog Sandy who loved to chase trucks?until one ran her over and she rolled for fifty feet. She survived the roll and learned one thing: don’t run after trucks!! Sometimes we are not so smart!)
Even though going to the Philistines ended in disaster the first time, he falls into the same sin again. David had already tried to go to the Philistines. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. DIDN’T WORK BEFORE, AND WON?T WORK NOW! You have done that, though?, have you not. You try something and it does not give you any satisfaction but then you fall into that same besetting sin again?
Hebrews 12:1b Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us?
When believers act like unbelievers we repeat old sins of the flesh. David repeats his deceptions, his
B. He ESTABLISHES New Sin in His life: 1 Samuel 27:3
After the trial with Nabal, and Nabal died, David for some reason thinks that he can take another wife. David has two wives. This will lead to the biggest sorrows of his life. Two wives disregards God’s plan for marriage. Two wives builds a foundation of mistrust and bitterness into a home. Two wives will lead ultimately to 7 Two wives will lead to adultery with Bathsheeba later on. Two wives will lead to the immorality of your children as Solomon took much more wives than David.
C. He SUCCEEDS in his plan:
David runs to the Philistines to get away from Saul, and his plan is working. ?Saul sought no more again for him? (v.4). David got his request, but his soul was not blessed. It seems that God was blessing David’s plan, but God is not.
Watch out for your selfish plans that you scheme within your own heart.
The Israelites desired flesh, and God gave them flesh. Psalm 78: So they did eat, and were well filled; for he gave them their own desire Psalm 106:15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
"You may get what you request but your soul will still not be blessed!" Sometimes God may give you the very thing you want to show you the emptiness of it all.
Not only that, but Achish gives David a whole city, Ziklag. Wow, David must be in the right place, right? No more caves for David. Sometimes the world can make you more comfortable than following the Lord’s path, but watch out, it is temporary relief. God is more interested in our character than our comfort.
Just because your schemes bring you greater comfort, do not interpret this as being in God’s will! God is more interested in our CHARACTER GROWTH and SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT than He is with our comfort.
D. He lives hypocritically, v.5-12
The following is a story of how David attacks some of the enemies of Israel and the friends of the Philistines, the Geshurites, Gezrites, and the Amalekites, and deceives Achish. Where have you been, David? Oh, attacking Judah David replies, rather than attacking the allies of the Philistines. This is a clear deception of David. Not only this, but he kills all the men and women in these battles so that none can live to tell what David was doing. Lying and bloodshed were David’s besetting sins.
Now as I read these verses my heart is very grieved by David’s actions and I see that the Holy Spirit does not hide David’s selfish sin. David is behaving like a con man. As long as David is in Philistine territory, he is a phoney, a sham, a trickster. He is a two faced hypocrite! He cannot be his true self as long as he is in the Philistine territory. He cannot worship God in the right way as long as he is in Ziklag.
Sometimes you read a Biography of some great Christian and you think they were so spiritual they prayed 25 hours a day. God shows us the sins as well as the successes of His people. Here David goes out and commits himself to the war that Saul should have engaged in. We might look at these verses and think, this is not fair or right. The Bible reveals a number of other exterminations, such as when Joshua first entered the Land of Promise. Remember that God had commanded Saul to do this very thing against Amalek. These were avowed, continual, unrepentant enemies of Israel. Their gross sins would cause death to many others. This was the ?fierce wrath? of God, 1 Sam.28:18. I will not water down the Scripture. God is just, God is right, and His judgment arises out of His absolute holiness. God is also very patient and merciful and He gave these Amalekites and all the other pagan nations in Israel 400 years to repent, for he said in Genesis 15:16, ?the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.? Remember that God also brought such fierce wrath upon His own chosen people by the Assyrians and Babylonians for their hardness of heart and unbelief. I am reminded that this life is brief no matter how we cut it. Let us not criticize the judgment of God that He either commands or permits.
E. He Fights for the WRONG CAUSE (on the wrong side!), 28:1-3; 29
What a tragedy in Israel! How the mighty have fallen! Samuel is dead. Saul is going to witches, and David is marching with the Philistines to go fight Israel! How sin confuses a life! What a lack of leadership in the land. David, who once cut off the head of a Philistine, is now GUARDING the head of the Philistine King Achish, v.3. David has become the Benedict Arnold of Israel. He has become a traitor. Do you remember the first spoken words of David in the Scripture?
As the Philistines go into the battle, some of the other Philistines ask Achish, ?What do these Hebrews here?? David goes over to the Philistines and actually strengthens these enemies of the promises of God to bring a Messiah into the world.
How many of God’s people are strengthening the enemies of God perhaps without knowing it. How, you ask? By being a member of some liberal church that denies the inspiration of the Scripture. By giving to a church that rejects the Deity of Christ, the Absolute sufficiency of His death to save all who call upon Him, and His bodily resurrection. What does a true Christian do who attends, gives, and even serves in a church that rejects fundamental Bible doctrines such as the virgin birth? He strengthens the avowed enemies of God who have rejected His Word. When a true Christian is in a church that has departed from the faith and become truly apostate, they will say as the Philistines said about David and his men, What do these Hebrews here? (29:3)
What does that Christian do in that apostate church? In that nightclub? In that immoral den of iniquity? Hebrew: The root word of ?Hebrew? means ?from the region beyond.?
The secret providence of God intervened for David and God used that song to deliver David from the Philistine army. Oh, that song followed David around! That song that caused Saul to envy (18:7) and hunt him, then caused the Philistines to earlier mistrust him (21:11), now comes to David’s aid so that Achish asks David to leave the army.
It is interesting the power of music, too, that through that song David became famous. Music does make people famous and well known even to this day.
What mercy of God to deliver David from fighting his own flesh and blood!
David had spoken to his heart and got only into worse trouble. He was better off running from Saul and living in a cave.
How many Christians are in the wrong place, fighting with the wrong side! Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord. ?But those Christians are so cliquish? No one is friendly in that church. I don’t like their music. So go to the enemy and serve with those who hate the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Go to the enemy where the music will appeal to your flesh and the teachings will be doctrines of devils. Go to the enemy and hear another Jesus, another Gospel, and another Spirit.
Where will you go? To the Roman Catholic church with all of its idols? To the Mormon Church with its false doctrine? To some apostate church that promotes homosexuality? To the Tunnel with all of its iniquity? To the nightclub with all of its immorality and darkness? Too many Christian people have not decided to separate themselves from the enemies of the cross and thereby compromise their convictions.
In light of David’s sin, let me challenge you to examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. A New Testament believer cannot commit the sins David commited and be saved: polygamy, murder, Examine yourself in this world, for can you afford to have your soul cast into hell? Examine well the foundation on which you rest your hopes of heaven, lest you discover your mistake too late.
Have you repented of your sin? Have you come to Jesus Christ and believed on Him that His blood can cleanse you of all your sin? You must receive a new nature as a gift of God and be justified by God. Has Jesus blood cleansed your sins away?
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's ways of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly! We NEED struggles!!!