Nowhere Man

1 Samuel - Part 2  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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You may be familiar with the Beatles song “Nowhere Man”. Some of the lyrics say
“He's a real nowhere man Sitting in his nowhere land Making all his nowhere plans for nobody”
It falls into the type of Beatles song that doesn’t have a very clear message. It’s does however create a feel or a tone. One of loneliness, and even loss. It’s a man without a home, out of place.
This is precisely where David finds himself in 1 Samuel 29. He has, of his own accord, fled Israel out of continued fear of Saul, and run to the relative safety of the enemy, the Philistines.
Let’s read it now.
1 Samuel 29
1 Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring which is in Jezreel. 2 And the lords of the Philistines were proceeding on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were proceeding on in the rear with Achish.
3 Then the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or rather these years, and I have found no fault in him from the day he deserted to me to this day?”
4 But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him, and the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Make the man go back, that he may return to his place where you have assigned him, and do not let him go down to battle with us, or in the battle he may become an adversary to us. For with what could this man make himself acceptable to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of these men?
5 “Is this not David, of whom they sing in the dances, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?”
6 Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the Lord lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army are pleasing in my sight; for I have not found evil in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, you are not pleasing in the sight of the lords. 7 “Now therefore return and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” 8 David said to Achish, “But what have I done? And what have you found in your servant from the day when I came before you to this day, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”
9 But Achish replied to David, “I know that you are pleasing in my sight, like an angel of God; nevertheless the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He must not go up with us to the battle.’
10 “Now then arise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who have come with you, and as soon as you have arisen early in the morning and have light, depart.” 11 So David arose early, he and his men, to depart in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
1 Samuel 29:1–11
So David, having fled Isreal of his own accord and aligned with the enemy of his own people, is now booted out of the battle.
this is the second time that this song, sung about David way back in ch 18, has come back to haunt him.
The first time David fled from Saul, he made his way to this same Philistine king, King Achish. it was then that the kings servants brought up this song
1 Sam 21:11 “But the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?””
You might recall, that in response to this David started acting like he was insane so he would get kicked out instead of killed.
Now here we are again, except it’s been over a year that David has been with the Philistines at this point, and things seem to have been going alright.
However, this time it’s the commanders of the Philistines, in other words, the other kings of the other regions, who are wary of David. And rightfully so. David’s behavior has been disingenuous at best. He has convinced the king that he has been raiding his own people all this time. So much so that on top of the glowing recommendation the king gave David in todays passage, remember that in ch 27 the king also said 1 Samuel 27:12 “...“He has surely made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore he will become my servant forever.””
In his commentary on 1 Samuel, Richard Phillips makes this bleak and sobering comment on the relationship between David and the king.
5:12. The only reason Achish praised David was that the Philistine thought David had betrayed his own people, that he was wickedly serving as a piratical traitor in raiding the people of Israel, and that he therefore could never go home and was stuck in his service to the king of Gath. In other words, David’s praise from Achish resulted from his dishonest manipulations and from Achish’s approval of the wickedness that he thought David was performing. Praise like this is not the commendation that gains approval from God.
Yes, King Achish clearly believed David 100%, but i wonder if the other kings were not so trusting. Perhaps they were remembering the events from ch 14 when Johnathan and his armor bearer attacked them and then this happened.
1 Samuel 14:21 “Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.”
It certainly could have been that, or just a simple, common sense mistrusting of their enemy, and not wanting this former Israelite warrior marching into battle with them. Regardless, David and his men were sent packing. Not seemingly welcome or safe anywhere, David was indeed a nowhere man. Yet it wasn’t merely circumstance that brought this on was it? the question is

Why was David a nowhere man?

i’ve got 4 reasons for you this morning, and then i’m going to put it all together. the first reason D was a nowhere man was because

David Was Physically Displaced

most obvious: Far from his homeland and people and then sent away from his adopted group.
perhaps you’re familiar with this Lord of the Rings quote
Not all those who wander are lost
JRR Tolkien
Well, David was. Yes he may have still had Ziklag to go back to, but we all know that a home is more than a place to sleep. Feeling unwelcome, even in a comfortable place, is enough to remove any sense of comfort.
But it wasn’t merely his physical location that was off, David was a nowhere man because:

David’s Trust Was Misplaced

His actions show that he didn’t trust God to protect him from Saul, even though He had many times already
D was trusting his own wisdom
Made the choice on his own, similar to his choice to kill Nabal in ch 25

David’s Loyalty was Misplaced

We have to presume that if D wasn’t going to turn on the Philistines, he was going to fight alongside the Philistines against his own people, just to keep the ruse up and stay safe.
if true, this is a huge betrayal of not only his people but God as well.
speaking of God:

David’s Faith was Misplaced

D put his faith in himself to make the right call
D put his faith in man, and man turned on him yet again
God was, as much as we can see from Scripture, not a part of the choices he was making
David was completely out of sorts. Wrong path, wrong plan, wrong people. But what’s wonderful about this short pretty straight forward chapter is that under the surface there is some pretty remarkable stuff going on. I call this:

The Twist

The reality was that
God was at work the whole time!
This is not really a twist for any of us paying attention to the overall theme of scripture, but we can observe the life of David with the clarity of hindsight. He was living it, and as we all know, sometimes it’s difficult to see what God is doing in the moment. That is, if we’re even looking for it at all.
Though it seemed D was a nowhere man, scared to be where he belonged, not wanted where he was, and operating apart from God’s wisdom, God was watching over him. Think about it.
He had aligned himself with enemies of God
David made a choice, based on his own fear and wisdom
He lied to the king to get some space so he could raid the surrounding areas, and then lied about what he was doing.
This lie led to the king thinking D was fighting against his own people, and that he could make D his servant forever.
D on his way to fight against his own people
all of these things could bring catastrophic consequences!
What could have happened if D had gone to battle?
if he had marched against his people, as he was intending to do, how would that have effected his reputation?
God worked in this moment to preserve David, who could have died in battle, and preserve his reputation as a future king.
Two things were happening here. Things that each of us have struggled with or will struggle with at some point in our lives. David was

Running From God


Trying To Live In Two Different Worlds

Like i said, i’m sure most of us can relate in some way to these things, but there is extreme danger lurking here.
The undeniable truth is that:
we can’t run from God. When we do, and depending on why, God will respond in one of two ways, either justice of mercy.

Let’s consider Justice

We run from God in many different ways. Foolishly, we think we can hide our sin from God. But as he warned the Israelite was back in Numbers 32:23 ““But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”
purposefully hiding sin from God- Adam and eve, Judas’ Suicide
We also run from God by running from or denying his call in our life-Jonah and Gideon
But Scripture is very clear that this is pointless
Isaiah 29:15–16 “Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?”
Job 34:22There is no darkness or deep shadow Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.”
Jeremiah 16:17 ““For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.”
Jeremiah 23:24 ““Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.”
We can be thankful that as those called and chosen by God, even when we foolishly run from God and try to hide our sin, He will still forgive us. We may have justice and consequences for our sin on earth, but through Christ, we have eternal forgiveness and grace.
The other response when we run from God is :


He ignores our desire to be separate from Him, and watches over us anyway.
Though there are times we have to step up and face the consequences for our choices, there are also time when He protect’s us from harm, according to His will, even if we’re far form Him or disobedient. This is what we see with David. As i said before, think about the possible consequences had David marched against his own people!
A opposed to the sobering thought of God always finding out our sin, this idea of grace and God watching over us with care and protection, should bring comfort to us. Even in the times when we don’t feel that we need of want protecting, we often realize after the fact that we got through our ordeal unscathed ONLY by the grace of God.
David eventually recognized this precious protection of God, and surely had it firmly in mind when he wrote Psalm 139.
Psalm 139:7-16 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
Thinking we can run from our all seeing, all knowing God is ridiculous, but that doesn’t stop us at times does it
bad joke to tie in our sermon title: where can we hide from God? Nowhere, man,
What about the other issue though?

Trying to live in two worlds.

D was trying to live in two worlds: servant of God and servant of the philistines, enemies of God. This representative of what so many Christians do today.
At the most innocent, they hear the words of Paul saying that he tied to be “all things for all people”, and struggle to make that work.
But at it’s most dangerous, these Christians water down and/or hide their faith. They’re desperately afraid of of offending anyone, so they don’t take a stand for anything. They long to be like the world and liked by the world.
This is not how we are called to live! Jesus told us that we’re to be a city on a hill, a light in the darkness. Not hiding our light and shying away from our faith. What message does that send to those around us? While we try desperately to not offend with the gospel, and go with the flow, what we really do is deny the truth of our salvation, as if we are ashamed of God!
You’ll recall perhaps this tense moment between Jesus and Peter
Mark 8:31-38 “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
As well intentioned as Peter may have been, Jesus stated the truth plainly when he told him"you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” This call we have isn’t one to be taken lightly or to compromise. We can’t have it both ways. As Christ also said Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
Remember what is said in James 4:4-5 “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?”
I was always taught, that the more things i tried to give my love and attention to, the less of my focus each would have. When we try to live in two worlds, both get a half hearted attempt at truth. Jesus spoke of this double mindedness when he taught about greed in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
My friends, we’re living in a time when more and more our faith is looked upon as foolishness. A time when truth is no longer truth. A time when if we don’t stand up and proclaim the name of Jesus, who will?
As David attempted to go his own way, run from God and live in two worlds, it was only by the grace of God that he didn’t lose his reputation, his future throne or even his life. Ultimately David, in spite of his mistakes, loved the Lord and never truly turned away like Saul. He was very much just a fault ridden, sinful human, like each of us. But David saw the error of his ways time and again.
We’ve seen this morning how God protected David in spite of his sinful ignorance, even using the Philistines to do it. But we should never test the Lord. We don’t have a blank check to do as we wish, and God will always bail us out.
My challenge to you all this morning, and to myself, is to take a good honest look or yourself, and answer
whether or not you’re on the run from God, and whether or not you’re attempting to live in two worlds. David found himself a nowhere man, like the Israelites in the desert, wandering and lost. But God remained constant, vigilant and faithful.
No matter how far we may roam, how lost we may get, remember, our Good Shepherd was willing to leave the 99 to rescue us, and as Paul says, we are forever found in Christ.
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