Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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26 Discouraging Disobedience – Part 1

1 Samuel 27:1-3

“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.” 2 So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.

In I Samuel chapters 27-30 we find a little known passage of scripture that describes the downward spiral of discouragement. It is here that we see how David’s discouragement caused disobedience which led devastating disaster. The story begins in verse 1 with a seemingly innocent statement: “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.” These words reveal not only the way David was feeling but how his feelings influenced his thinking. The first thing we see is that discouragement destroyed David’s perspective. He started to focus on the problem and forgot about the promise. For nearly ten years he has been running from Saul and now he becomes overwhelmed by his situation. We have all experienced these “Saul’s situations” in our lives, problems that seem insurmountable and cause to take a detour down the dangerous road of discouragement. Are you focusing your attention on the adversity or on the Almighty? Ten years is a big chunk out of a man’s life, a decade of discouragement, and as David focuses on his situation he reaches a hopeless conclusion: “One of these days Saul is going to get me. I don’t know where, when, or how, but I can’t run like this forever.” It is in David’s words that we see the x-ray of a discouraged soul. The problem with David’s perspective is that he had forgotten God’s promise that he would be the next king. This was a promise not a prediction the way political pundits predict the next president. This promise meant that Saul would never kill him no matter how crazy his circumstances might get. Discouragement can cause us to dismiss God’s promises which is amazing considering that David had just experienced a string of spiritual victories. In chapter 24 he had spared Saul’s life in a cave at En Gedi, then in chapter 26 he had spared Saul’s life again when he crept into the camp and found Saul sleeping. Twice God had proved Himself faithful to His promise, yet David doubted because he started to focus on the situation instead of God’s spoken word. The second destructive response to discouragement is that David chose to focus on his own resources instead of rely on God. When we turn to our own reasoning it’s not long before we rely on our own resources. This leads to the impulsive and deadly decision of going to live with the Philistines, Israel’s enemy. David’s was so focus on his situation that instead of trusting in God’s strength he tried to solve things on his own. He sacrificed success for short term security. His plan seemed to make sense, in David’s mind it was the one thing that would get Saul to quit chasing him. It’s the failed and foolish thinking that our plan will be better than God’s. But what makes this situation even sadder is that this is not the first time David has lived with Goliath’s people. He tried this back in chapter 21, when he lied to Ahimelech to get bread for his men, and that episode ended in humiliation with David slobbering on his beard to make Achish think he had gone nuts. The sad fact is that David had not learned from his past mistakes and now he turns around and makes the same one all over again. Discouragement is a dangerous state to be in because it can cause us to make many mistakes. David chose to compromise as a way of coping with his circumstances. The great warning for us is that one act of spiritual compromise, no matter how small it may seem makes it easier to compromise the next time. God’s word was crystal clear, the children of Israel were not to mix with the surrounding nations. Yet despite the continual warning people kept compromising, they continually tried to cross over and cohabit with the enemy. Every time they tried it resulted in disaster, yet despite knowing better David did it anyway. I’m sure if you had asked David as he led his men toward Gath, “David why are you disobeying God, and turning your back on His promise? He would have said that he was not, he may have even been mad at such a suggestion. He would have probably protested and said, “no I am not deserting God, I still believe everything I have always believed, I know that these are not God’s people but it won’t affect me, and anyway it’s just for a little while until things get better. Look it’s not like it’s that big of a deal.” Somehow we always have a convenient excuse for compromise, don’t we? I mean some of us are doing it right now, we are choosing to compromise in our relationships or in our business arrangements, doing things that we know are not quite right. Yet we justify our disobedience, because we have taken our eyes of Jesus. We have become more focused on getting the right results than with our relationship with Him. We have traded his Will for a worldly way, it may seem to make sense but remember sin doesn’t solve it only separates and stirs up a bigger mess. Compromise leads to us walking away from Christ and cohabiting with the enemy. Have you taken the road of compromise, are you going along with things that would embarrass you if anyone else knew? Discouragement does that, it leads us slowly downward until we end up doing things we would never dreamed we would do. What starts as a fleeting thought becomes the foundation for our plan, and our plan pursued becomes our lifestyle. Notice that David’s choice to compromise didn’t just affect him, it also involved innocent people. Verse 2 says that: “David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maoch king of Gath.” If each man took his wife and children then we are talking about 600 family units that all went to live with the enemy because David focused on his feelings instead of his heavenly Father. Your decisions have a direct impact on the people around you, dads your decision of disobedience will have a direct impact on your family. When we chose to compromise we take others with us and our families suffer the consequences of compromise. Are you tempted to trust in your plan and depart from God’s promises? Are there any areas where you are tempted to compromising your Christian walk because you believe that it will be easier?  The truth is that no matter how desperate things are you don’t have to open the door to disobedience.