Order of Worship
Sunday Service 2.10.2019
      • Psalm 34:1–3ESV

  • Receive The Glory
  • The Solid Rock
  • He Leadeth Me
  • Sovereign Over Us
  • You will never go wrong seeking to experience the goodness of the Lord, never go wrong trusting in him to be your refuge in difficulty. [scripture reading - Psalm 34:1-3,8]

    David’s Clay Feet - 1 Samuel 21:1-22:5

    Growth sometimes comes through costly and embarrassing mistakes that we have to take ownership of and do our best to rectify and move forward. - David’s training under pressure…
    David has a bad day at the office. I guess you can’t really call it an office since he’s now a fugitive of the state running for his life from Saul, seeking refuge anywhere it may be found. It’s no walk in the park to keep your head on straight when you’re an enemy of the state, when it feels like you’ve lost all your allies and don’t know where to turn next. This kind of persecution would make the best of us fear and falter—David is no exception. If we’re honest about this section, it’s not a high point for David. He embarrasses himself severely, and more than that, he makes a costly misstep.
    The mistake comes first in our text. David flees to Nob out of desperation for help, which is apparently where the priests now reside after the destruction of Shiloh.
    1 Samuel 21:1–9 ESV
    Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen. Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”

    David Gets Careless (21:1-9)

    Hunger, fear, sadness, and so on all converge on David in his flight from Saul. - Look, he’s desperate, he has next to nothing, not even food, and he apparently has some loyal men with him in the same boat. BUT… the guy who had faith in God regarding the giant should have faith in God regarding provision and refuge, etc. David isn’t thinking clearly because he isn’t pausing long enough to seek God and his direction. (He’ll do better later, but David learns a hard lesson here.)
    How is David careless (and faithless)?
    He doesn’t prioritize the safety of those from whom he seeks assistance. (overarching thing here)
    By lying, he doesn’t give them the option to willingly assist him. He’s also attempting to take God’s protection of him into his own hands. (like Abraham with a similarly named guy, Abimelech. I think God likes irony. After all, he invented it.)
    David isn’t careful enough to be subtle and secretive in his interaction with Ahimelech (doesn’t request private counsel apparently). Which is why Doeg seems to see and hear.
    He puts Ahimelech in the position of arming him with a weapon (Goliath’s sword), without knowing that he is assisting David (in what could be considered treason against Saul).
    Listen, couldn’t some of this have been avoided? Couldn’t David tell Ahimelech the truth, and the whole truth. Ahimelech probably doesn’t know two SUPER critical pieces of information: That David is fleeing for his life, and that David has in fact been anointed by Samuel to be future king. And Ahimelech seems FAMILIAR with David coming, most likely because David had previously sought the Lord’s leading. And he’s a commander of a thousand, but now he comes more or less alone.
    It might seem unfair to blame David at all, except that he does so himself. 1 Sam 22:22 - Granted, Saul is the ultimately guilty party in his actions against the priests of Nob (in ch. 22), but David accepts that he has a hand in it. Wow, yikes.
    Abraham, renowned as the father of faith, faltered (and honestly failed in faith) when he decided lying was the answer for his protection. David too, renowned as the man after God’s own heart, let deceit become a pattern that led him to likely think that he was helping/protecting the priests by lying to them. (and his own skin, no doubt) But such was not, and is not, the case.
    Let us take care, even in the hour of desperation, to entrust our protection into the sovereign hands of God.
    If this last episode could be called careless, then the next might be labeled disgraceful… at least embarrassing.
    1 Samuel 21:10–15 ESV
    And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

    David Embarrasses Himself (21:10-15)

    If the author were simply trying to paint David as amazing and unfailing, we wouldn’t have this chapter, and certainly not this section!
    To be sure, it wasn’t unheard of for a warrior to defect from his own countrymen and go over the the opposing side and subject himself in allegiance to another king/ruler as a mercenary. But David hasn’t thought this through enough. He has fled to the city where the champion Goliath was from, the champion that HE killed. David has underestimated his fame for this feat. Israel’s enemies have even heard the song. (The servants wrongly concluding that he must be a/the ruler.) - So for them to not know who David is would be like an opposing football team having never heard of Patrick Mahomes.
    Recognizing that he is now in very real danger with the Philistines, David decides to try to save his skin by behaving as a madman. He doodles and drools, and who knows what else. I’m telling you, this would be a funny scene in a David movie. Although humorous from outside observance, this is not a good look for David, far from flattering.
    At least David has a future in acting! No, probably not. Achish seems gullible, and later we know he takes a liking to David anyway, so maybe that’s a factor too. In fact, it seems far more likely that it is God who has generated in this enemy king a kindly disposition toward this David character. - In any case, Achish determines that David passes for crazy, and in the ancient world they apparently thought insanity was a sign, an evil omen, so they avoided harming them because they feared some calamity from the gods might befall the perpetrators.
    Anyway, here’s the real rub. Even David, when he’s thinking straight, doesn’t credit his acting ability for his deliverance. - Look with me at Psalm 34 briefly. It’s not the only Psalm from this context in David’s life, but it’s my favorite. Reading it with the background of this episode in mind, a couple of things will make you smile.
    Psalm 34 ESV
    Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
    David wrote that from a context of when he had faltered and really embarrassed himself. But he got his head together and learned from it too.
    Before we leave 1 Samuel today, let’s see David doing significantly better at regaining focus, caring for others, leading well, and listening to the Lord’s direction:
    1 Samuel 22:1–5 ESV
    David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.

    David Collects His Wits, His Family, & the Disillusioned (22:1-5)

    From the Psalm we just read, it’s clear that David regained his spiritual wits, he got his head back on straight. And we see evidence of that in these verse to begin chapter 22.
    From Gath David goes back east to Adullam in Judah, about half way between Gath and Bethlehem, where he uses a cave for refuge. His family, presumably also in danger from Saul, come to him there from Bethlehem, even his aged parents. [MAP]
    It isn’t just his family, however. All manner of outcasts and refugees of all sorts begin coming to David, making him their leader. (By the way, David turns this ragtag group of misfits into a band of decent warriors because the Lord is with him.) Anyway, they now number about 400 men (not to mention any women and children who are with them).
    David, who obviously has his head on straight again, probably now realizes a few issues with where this is going: 1. They’re probably becoming just a few too many to hide out well in caves and have provision for so many. 2. His parents are old and shouldn’t be trying to survive in the wilderness. 3. If so many are coming to him, surely there’s risk of their whereabouts becoming too well-known.
    So David takes action to get his parents somewhere safe, taking them all the way (and a long journey it is) to the other side of the dead sea, to Moab, the original homeland of Jesse’s grandmother Ruth. David and his men station themselves “in the stronghold” (which we don’t know for certain but may have been in the Masada region back on the western shore of the dead sea), some place that they could fortify and defend well against military attack.
    And I say David has his full wits about him again because when the prophet Gad instructs him not to remain but to go back into Judah, David has the spiritual sensitivity to follow God’s leading even though it requires faith to willingly head back toward the danger. And now he’s with his band of outlaws, in the forest of Hereth (somewhere in Judah), as if he were the original Robin Hood.

    Your Faith and Clay Feet

    Clay feet are common to all men. Doubts and disillusionment, sometimes faltering and failing…
    What do we do... when we are hard pressed? when we falter and fail?
    (, persecuted, beat up and beat down?)
    Everything hangs on our next move. - We take our cares to the Lord… again and again.
    We can stop trying to regain the control that we never had in the first place. - Nothing is within your control, but nothing is outside of God’s control.
    Don’t let external persecution, nor even your own failure and faltering, derail or distract you from clinging to faith. It is God who has made you his own. It is God who holds you. It is God who empowers you to keep serving him. It is God who bears fruit for his glory. - The end of Romans 8 should be a good reminder to us:
    Romans 8:31–39 ESV
    What then shall we say to these things? 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 with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    2 Cor. 4 - is another N.T. passage to look at, especially from v. 7ff.
    So you’ve got clay feet. David did too. So have countless believers before you. Stick to the plan. Stick to faith in Jesus. Your goal is to make sure your heart is fully his today and every day. One day soon you won’t have to strive for it anymore. When the grueling race is through, it will be worth it as you rest in the eternal care of God. No more failures, no more clay feet. But until then, these clay feet will have some missteps, but we make it our aim to run with sure footing on the righteous path God has laid out for us. It has obstacles, surprises, and pain, but it also has clear purpose and meaning that lasts eternally. So you’ve got clay feet? Clay feet won’t alter a firm foundation. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. […] Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
  • All I Have Is Christ
  • King Forevermore

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