Sermon One, Series "Overcomers: David"
1 Samuel 24:1-22
Life isn’t always easy, is it? In fact, sometimes life gives us more than we can handle on our own... we can’t do it alone!
Life knocks us down... or pushes us against the ropes. In those moments we can feel like we’ve lost the fight - like we’ve failed. That we’re beyond a comeback!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at how important it is, in those down and out moments in life, to rely on the power of God to bounce back from those difficult - often life altering - situations. We’ll be looking specifically at 3 Old Testament examples... David, Daniel, and Joseph... as we see how we, too, can go from underdogs to overcomers.
So first-up... is David.
Now when we think of David, we usually think... the shepherd-boy, musician... who became a giant-killing king, and ancestor of Jesus. In other words, David is one of the greatest men of the Old Testament. But... along with that wonderful list of attributes, we can also add... betrayer, liar, adulterer, murderer. David was far from perfect.
And the amazing thing about God’s Word is, the Bible makes no effort to hide or whitewash David’s failures. It’s all there for us to see... yet, despite that fact, David is remembered most, and respected most, for his godliness.
The truth is... IF David had allowed his failings... his shortcomings... his circumstances... and sins, to define him - he would have never reached the heights of God’s blessings.
David, more than anything else, had a steadfast belief in the faithfulness of God. He lived life “peddle to the floor!” He sinned many, many times... but was quick to confess his sins - and seek God’s face.
His confessions were heartfelt... his repentance was genuine. David didn’t take God’s faithfulness (and forgiveness) lightly or his blessings for granted.
And in return, God never held back from David; God never withheld his forgiveness NOR did he spare David from the consequences of his actions. David experienced the joy of forgiveness even when he had to suffer the consequences of his sin.
When we encounter David in our scripture today... David had been running for his life! At this point, David had received a promise from God that he would eventually replace Saul as king over Israel. But Saul’s jealousy and animosity towards David was obvious... he even tried to kill David unsuccessfully on several occasions.
Which is to say... if anyone had a good reason to strike back, it was David… He could surely claim self-defense if he’d killed Saul… and his friends and companions had even tried to talk him into taking Saul’s life... they saw the cave scenario as a divinely inspired opportunity for David‘s benefit.
But David’s restraint came straight from his relationship with God... and his conviction to wait on God, to be patient, and allow God to carry out his own judgments... was crucial to David’s thinking - and actions. David decided to wait for God to fulfill his promise, instead of taking matters into his own hands.
Have you ever watched anyone trip all over their own feet while playing on their telephone? I was watching a video (that was making its way across social media), it showed a woman busily “texting” right before she stumbles and falls into a fountain! How many times have we done something clumsy while looking at our phones?
The fact is if we’re not paying attention, we can easily trip, easily stumble, easily get off track and get ourselves into trouble. In the same way, if we don’t stop to seek God‘s guidance... God’s will... God‘s direction... in life... and allow ourselves to get lost in the moment, in our own will our own desires, our own wants and wishes, we can circumvent God’s plan and purposes for our lives.
It takes discernment, patience, and wisdom to know if we should act, or wait, when an opportunity presents itself in this life.
As the story of David teaches us, well-meaning people may try to persuade us one way, but they ultimately are not the ones that will be held responsible for our decisions, are they? We are responsible for our decisions. We need to maintain a direct line to God, through prayer, listening closely… In order to know what he wants us to do, and what he’s instructing us to do at the various corners and turns of life.
Sometimes we say, “IF God opens a door I’ll walk through it!” Which is great! But... how do we know it’s God who opened the door? We’re pretty good door openers, ourselves...
We tend to make a mess of things, when we fail to wait on God… When we take matters into our own hands.
Of course a lot of people don’t understand: waiting on God does not mean passively doing nothing! David was actively seeking the Lord‘s will during this whole time. His earnest and intimate prayers during what had to be one of the most difficult seasons of his life, are recorded in the book of Psalms for us. David’s prayers give us some insight into what he was thinking and how he was feeling. It was because of David‘s pursuit of God‘s presence that he was sustained and empowered to keep believing in God‘s promise, that he would in fact become Israel’s next king.
Psalm 59 is one of the songs that’s accredited to David... to having been written by David, while he was being attacked by Saul! In verse 10, David says, “[God] You are my strength, I watch for you; you God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Watching, in this context, is an active, wide-eyed attentiveness, like a guard or a watchman waits for the morning (as we see in our Call to Worship today). David’s prayer life was a key component in his ability to wait for God to do his process… And to bring about his will in David’s life.
The question is... What about us? Are we patiently waiting on God to accomplish his will for our lives... for our church... for our country and world?
I attended an event in LaGrange this past Tuesday, where the speaker reminded us: that, ultimately, what we want most - what we really want - are instant blessings - we want God to bless us, and bless us NOW! He said we want “micro-wave” blessings, when what we really need, are “crock-pot” blessings. Food cooked in a crock-pot’s always better than something reheated in a microwave!
Are we patiently waiting on God, to bless us... in his timing?
It doesn’t mean that we’re doing nothing! It means that we’re facing this life in faith - our eyes wide open - following Christ... refusing to give into fear and hopelessness... because we know that God is our fortress, and in his presence we’re safe and secure.
And like David... and countless others before us... we can overcome our own sin... and the pitfalls of this life... if we learn to patiently trust in the unchanging faithfulness of our Lord.