The Faithfulness of God to His Unfaithful Servant David – 1 Samuel 27
David doubts God and loses his identity. Who am I? Where is my true allegiance? What's life all about anyhow? Long, hard trials can lead believers to doubt and unbelief and it led David to scheme, kill and lie. Heed Galatians 6 :9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." (Heb. 6:10)
David's big mistake: "David thought to himself" (v.1) instead of praying to God. He had just acted in great faith by once again sparing Saul's life because he trusted God to defend him and deal with Saul: "As surely as the LORD lives," he said, "the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish." (1 Sam. 26:10) Now just after this he says: "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul." (1 Sam 27:1)
The Lord had spoken to David through Samuel, Jonathan, Abigail and even his arch enemy king Saul that he would be king. When in doubt let God's Word have the final say. And let us remember God's Word in our trials. "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:31-32)
Bob Dylan and Scripture proclaims, "You're gonna serve somebody – Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody." (Rom. 6:16) David trusted Israel's greatest enemy, the Philistines, for protection more than He trusted God. "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:4, 7) As we'll see, it took God's heavy discipline before David finally submitted to the Lord.
David's duplicity leads to compromise and now he begins to lie and kill. Maybe he was God's instrument of judgment against the Amalekites and others but he was also afraid of being found out (v. 11) so he killed women along with the men.
Then he lied to king Achish by being vague about where he and his men were fighting, saying it was "Against the Negev of Judah" (Israelites) when it was really the Amalekites nearby. (vv. 8-10)
One sin leads to another. David almost went to battle against his own people (Chapter 29) but God seemingly intervened and he and his men were dismissed. It is not clear from Scripture if David would have actually fought against his people or not, but sin can drastically affect your thinking.
Chapter 30 – If Saul had killed all the Amalekites as God had commanded him to do and if David had not compromised his faith and ended up in Ziklag, this tragedy would have never occurred. The Amalekites attacked Ziklag and captured all the women and children. David's men were so mad with him they wanted to stone him. (v.6) We never sin in a vacuum but hurt those around us. The Lord disciplines his those He loves to turn them back to Him. David finally hit bottom and at last we see him do what he knew so well to do but in unbelief had failed to do for 16 months. He turned to the Lord and prayed for His counsel. (vv. 6-8)
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy " (Eph. 2:4) rescues David and his people and gave them much plunder from the Amalekites. These problems all began with, "David thought to himself" – now they are about to come to an end because, "David inquired of the Lord." (30:8)
"And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons." (Heb. 12: 5-7)
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb. 4: 15-16) God is full of mercy and grace but it is never our due. We are not to presume on it.
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
Discuss a time when you were tempted to (or did) doubt God and take matters in your own hand due to a long, hard trial. Does Gal. 6:9 and Heb. 6:10 help? Are there other Scriptures that help you stay faithful to God in trials? Share them with your friends.
All of mankind since the Fall (and it must have been true for Adam and Eve as well) want autonomy or independence from God. Yet Scripture makes it clear that there is no such thing as independence. We are either submitting to and serving God or serving sin. "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16) Where do you still battle with God for "freedom"?
God lovingly disciplined His son David and it turned him back to seeking and obeying Him. Share a time when God's loving discipline turned you back to Him.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25) It is in doing God's Word, not in just hearing it, that we are blessed. What action will you take to apply these truths to your life?
Scripture memory verse: "David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God." (1 Samuel 30:6)