1 Samuel 27:1-12 - Giving in to Doubt and Unbelief, to Deception and Lies

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Doubt, unbelief, deception, lies—how many people give in to these negative emotions or behaviors every day?  These weaknesses of human character cause all kinds of problems.  Now think about this:

·         David had been living under the most distressing circumstances imaginable: being a fugitive who was hunted down by a king determined to kill him. 

·         David never knew when the king would be coming around corner or hill with a battalion of soldiers to attack him.

·         Imagine all of that pressure that would be taking place in his mind, resulting in one of the most distressful, tension-filled lives imaginable.

·         Finally the strain took its toll and David became hopeless and discouraged.  He began to doubt the promises of God and was gripped by a spirit of unbelief.  And this distrust was to lead him into a year and a half of deceptive living.

·         David slipped into a period of critical weakness, a period when he failed to trust God's promises.  He should have walked in faith and patience, waiting long enough for God to strengthen and encourage his heart.

A.           Giving in to doubt and unbelief-not trusting God's promises (v.1-7)

1.            David came to two desperate conclusions (of unbelief) (v.1).

And note that these were conclusions of unbelief: (1) that Saul's relentless pursuit would succeed and he would be killed by the hand of Saul, (2) that he must flee for his life, flee the promised land, and live in the land of the enemy, the Philistines.

a)            “Now I should perish someday by the hand of Saul…”  (v.1a).

(1)           That Saul's relentless pursuit would succeed, kill him.  Keep in mind that the promises that God had already made to David:
(a)           That he was the anointed king of Israel and would eventually be given the power of the throne.
(b)           His wife Abigail had declared the fact (25:27-31) and so had his close friend Jonathan (20:13-15).
(c)           Even Saul himself had admitted that David would someday secure the throne (24:20-21; 26:25).   
(2)           But despite all of these promises, being pursued for 7 years by Saul took its toll.  Imagine what David had to bear day after day:
(a)           He was a fugitive, being hunted down by King Saul.
(b)           He was forced to live in the desert wilderness, having no permanent home.
(c)           He faced the threat of death every day, never knowing when Saul and his army would show up to attack, attempting to capture and kill him.
(d)           He was constantly having to break camp in order to escape the pursuit of his enemy, King Saul.
(e)           He had been under constant pressure to provide food and supplies for over 600 men and their families, which totaled over 2,000 people.
(f)            He no doubt suffered intense guilt and anxiety over the fact that his two wives had to live under such hardship with their own lives being continually threatened.

!!! 2.            David and his 600 men left the promised land and went to the capital of Philistia (v.2-3).

a)             “David arose and went…”  (v.2a).

(1)           David lacked the faith and patience to wait upon God.
(2)           I don’t see anywhere that David prayed to God about what to do.

b)            “David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men…”  (v.3). 

(1)           They were welcomed as mercenary soldiers by Achish. 
(a)           Remember that David had attempted to live among the Philistines right after becoming a fugitive.  But at that time King Achish and his officials felt that they could not trust David, not being aware that he had become a fugitive from Saul.
(b)           But this time David was a well-known fugitive, known to be a threat to the throne of Saul.  Being aware that David was a fugitive on the run, King Achish welcomed David and his men as mercenary soldiers.  (v.3)
(2)           They, their families, including David’s two wives, settled in Gath (the Philistine capital).

3.            David was no longer pursued by Saul (v.4)

a)            “So he (Saul) sought him (David) no more…”  (v.4).

(1)           Hearing of David's flight into Philistine territory, Saul backed off and no longer pursued David (1 Samuel 27:4).
(2)           I don’t think that Saul could risk facing the entire Philistine army, not even to capture David.

4.            David requested the right to leave the royal city of Gath to settle in a country town (v.5-6).

a)            “Let them give me a place in some town in the country that I may dwell there…”  (v.5a).  

(1)           The reason: To prevent any sense of a threat to King Achish (v.5).
(a)           Obviously, the 2,000 followers of David were a heavy burden upon the city of Gath.  I am sure they consumed the city's resources and causing a disruption in the life of its citizens.
(b)           An arrival of so many strangers would have caused grumbling, dissension, and division among the citizens.  Therefore, David's request to move elsewhere was a wise move.

b)            “So Achish gave him Ziklag that day…”  (v.6).         

(1)           Sensing the wisdom of the request, King Achish granted David's wish and gave the town of Ziklag to him and his followers.

c)            “David dwelt with the Philistines one full year and four months…”  (v.7).

(1)           David lived in Philistia for one year and four months (v.7)

!!!! d)            Application: far too often we allow circumstances to defeat us.

(1)           Some problem or difficulty, hardship or trial, stresses us out and defeats us. 
(2)           We begin to doubt the promises of God and even question the validity of the promises of God.
(3)           Unbelief sets in, grabs our hearts and we fail to rely upon God’s Word to us.
(4)           We turn away from the Lord and take matters in our own hands, failing to be patient and wait for the Lord to work out the circumstances.
(5)           Or we lack the faith of God’s power to overcome and conquer areas in our lives.  
(6)           If there is any one lesson we need to learn, it is the lesson of trust and patience, believing in the promises of God enough to wait upon God to meet our needs.  We must learn not to give in to doubt and unbelief, failing to trust God's promises.
(7)           Doubt and unbelief will keep us from entering the spiritual rest promised by God.  God's spiritual rest means:
(a)           Purpose, fulfillment, satisfaction, assurance, and confidence as we walk throughout life.
(b)           It means to have the wonderful, productive, and fruitful life that only God can provide.
(c)           It means to be victorious over all the enemies of life, conquering all that opposes us and attempts to defeat us in life.
(d)           To have spiritual rest means to have the power to overcome any and all distressing circumstances of life and to know that we will live eternally, conquering even death itself.
(8)           For these reasons, we must never give in to doubt and unbelief; never fail to believe God's promises.  Doubt, unbelief, and distrust stand against all the promises of God.
(9)           Matthew 14:31; Mark 4:40; John 20:25; Hebrews 3:12-19; 4:1-3, 11.

B.           Giving in to lies and deception (v.8-12).

Remember, David carried out some major military operations while living in Philistine territory, in the city of Ziklag.  But keep in mind that during these years David was living a life of doubt and unbelief, not trusting God's promises.  As a result, he was living outside the Promised Land.  

1.            David used this time wisely to conquer more of the Promised Land (v.8-9).

a)            “David and his men went up and raided…”  (v.8a).

(1)           The nations that were attacked: Because Ziklag was so isolated; David was able to conquer surrounding territory that was controlled by several Canaanite nations: the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites.
(2)           Under the leadership of Joshua, Ziklag had been assigned to the tribe of Simeon and Judah, but the city and its surrounding territory had never been conquered by the Israelites (Joshua 15:31; 19:5).  For decades it had been under Philistine control. 
(3)           But David was able to secure the city and its surrounding area with a simple request from King Achish.  From then on, the city would belong to the kings of Judah as long as they ruled upon the throne of Israel.  

b)            “Whenever David attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive…”  (v.9).

(1)           The policy that David pursued: Total Extermination (Deut.20:16-18).
(a)           David wanted to follow God's decree of judgment against the brutal, evil nations of Canaan.
(b)           This was the principle of judgment pronounced by God, a judgment of total extermination because a people had reached the point of never changing, of never repenting and turning from their brutal savagery.
(c)           To save the spoils (v.9)

!!! 2.            David reported his activities and paid tribute to Achish (v.10-12).

a)            “Where have you made a raid today… and David would say…”  (v.10).

(1)           He lied to and deceived Achish: Suggested he was raiding areas under Israel's control (v.10).
(2)           When David visited and reported his activities to King Achish, he gave much of the plunder as a tribute to the king just as any common warlord would do.  But when King Achish would ask what areas he had raided, David lied.

b)            “David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath…”  (v.11).

(1)           He was successful in deceiving King Achish: David's policy of extermination left no informant surviving who could tell the King the truth.

c)            “So Achish believed David…”  (v.12).

(1)           Achish was totally deceived by David's lies: Trusted David fully (v.12)
(2)           David was actually attacking territory or nations that were friendly with King Achish.  He was totally deceived by David's lies, trusting David fully (1 Samuel 27:12).  In fact, the king was so convinced of David's loyalty that he felt David would be a mercenary in his service forever.
(3)           Despite David's awful deception and lies, God was still working out events to fulfill His promises to David, just as He does for so many of us when we slip back and begin to doubt and distrust God's promises.
(4)           During all this time, word was trickling back to the Israelites that David was conquering some of their enemies.  Of course, this was good news to the Israelites, and David's popularity among the Israelite leaders and people grew even more.
(5)           Lies and deception arouse God to issue His most severe warnings, warnings that we must heed: (Romans 1:18, 29-32; Galatians 5:19-21; Rev.21:8; Ps.5:6; 63:11; Prov.12:22; 19:5; 


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