Discerning God's Will

Following the Heart of God: Lessons from the Life of David  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Trust and patience are required for knowing God's Will


Principle #1 Be wary of going with the crowd when attempting to Discern God’s Will ()

Explanation: Saul has continued his pursuit of David. He has a force of 3,000 men and is hot on David’s trail. For his part, David has been moving from place to place in the wilderness to evade Saul. David’s latest temporary home was in the wilderness area of En Gedi. David and his men have taken refuge in another cave system and are laying low.
In the sovereignty of God, Saul and his company arrive in the nearby vicinity of their cave. Saul separates himself from his men to attend some personal needs. Unbeknownst to him, the cave that Saul chooses for his business is the very cave in which David and his men are hiding.
Blithely unaware of the dangers lurking in the dark recesses of the cave, Saul proceeds to take care of his personal business. Meanwhile, David’s men are viewing this as a sign from God. The man who is seeking to destroy is 1)in their cave; 2) he is alone, and 3) he is indisposed. What a clear sign from God Himself! God has delivered Saul to them
Illustrate: A group of young people all going to see a movie, but you know it is not a movie that honors God. [working at the dry cleaners and finding over $50 in a pocket. Co-workers saw it as a great opportunity for all of us to get ahead]
Argument: David exercises caution. He sees the same opportunity that his men see, but he is not willing to jump to the same conclusion. He does go forward with a knife, but he goes by himself. These actions can be seen as proceeding with caution. David doesn’t just agree with his men and shout, “come on guys, let’s get him!” By going alone, he gave himself some additional time to consider his course of action.

Principle #2 Be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 24b - 5)

Application: Use discernment in determining God’s will. Listen to the Voice of God, not necessarily people or circumstances. Remember that the Spirit of God will never lead you contrary to His Word
Principle #2 Be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 24b - 5)

Principle #2 Be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam 24b - 5)

Explanation: As David approaches Saul with the knife he realizes that he cannot kill him. He sees Saul’s royal robe laying where it had been laid when Saul removed it. Quickly and quietly, David cuts a corner from the robe and retreats back into the depths of the cave.
As he is moving away from Saul, David experiences a negative feeling resulting from his actions. The text states that his own “heart struck him,” which means that he was convicted about the wrongness of his actions. Even though David spared Saul’s life, he was convicted about removing a piece of the Royal robe.
Argument: David’s heart was to please God. Because he was sensitive to the things of God, David was more aware of how easy it was to displease God with his thoughts or actions. His men did not understand this, but David was more concerned about pleasing God than people.
The closer a person walks with God, the more sensitive he will be to sin. He or she will be more attuned to God’s settled hatred of sin and more open to knowing the reality that sin is present in the little things as well as the big things
Example: a believer who is walking close to God will see the sin in “small things” like taking something from the office, offending someone with words or attitudes, etc. He or she will not be thinking, “I am OK because I don’t drink, cuss, or cheat on my spouse.”
Application: What bothers you? What actions or thoughts do you have that bring conviction from the Holy Spirit? Sin is easily rationalized, but when the Spirit convicts, we are to repent and draw even closer.

Principle #3 Respect God’s previous actions ()

Explanation: When David returns with just a piece of Saul’s robe instead of his head, the men are not at all pleased. David quickly tells them that he could not kill Saul because God was the One who had put Saul in as King, and David had respect for God’s actions, not Saul’s character.
The men were not in favor of David’s explanation at all. They were upset at David for what they saw as wasting a “God-given” opportunity to rid themselves of the King who was hunting them. These men had a personal stake in this deal as well - David would not be the only one killed if Saul and the army was successful.
The English word persuaded does not give an adequate understanding of what actually took place. The Hebrew word literally means divide or cleave and has strong action. The Cornerstone commentary states “that David was forced to take strong measures in order to prevent them from taking things into their own hands.”
Argument: There was no question that Saul had disqualified himself for office. David had respect for God’s actions, not the man himself. David understood that he was not to act on his own, but instead he was willing to let God deal with Saul.
We are called to stand for what is right and honorable and biblical. When we stand firm, we may find that we stand alone. This is not an easy task, and many voices will be telling us that we are wrong. It is a test of character when we stand in spite of the pressures to cave in and go with the majority.
Application: In order to stand, one not only needs to know what one believes, but why one believes. It is possible for us to stand on God’s truth, but we must have a clear understanding of the importance of a belief. (Do you have an abortion if the tests show that the baby may have some type of defect? The doctors are almost always going to advise the procedure [murder] in those situations]
Additional Note: We can sometimes face similar situations in the Church when involving the pastor. While there are some situations where the decision is clear (embezzlement or sexual immorality), there are occasions when the church feels it is time for the pastor to leave. Such situations are difficult for all involved and they should be handled with as much grace and prayerful consideration as possible.
In relation to this message, both sides must be careful in applying David’s phrase “I will not put my hand against the Lord’s Anointed.” The pastor is not to use this as a blanket approval for his actions with the church being threatened by God if they take action against him. And the Church will be better served to pray and ask God to remove the pastor (if warranted) rather than to get into a divisive action. Respect for the office is important for both parties.

Principle #4 Trust God for the outcome

Explanation: After David gets his men calmed down he follows Saul out of the cave. From a distance, David calls out to Saul. He asks the King why he is chasing him, and he tells Saul not to believe the false reports. David declares that he is not trying to harm the King, and he proves it by showing Saul the corner of his robe.
David is letting Saul know that he could have killed him if he had wanted to. Saul knew that he had been in David’s power, and was allowed to come out unharmed and free. David is letting Saul know how foolish it is to chase after David; there is no need.
David then tells Saul that he is going to let God judge between the two of them. On his part, David promises not to pursue or harm the King. David is going to let God be God and let Him take vengeance upon Saul, if that is what God intends. But for his part, David will have cleans hands.
Saul is crushed in his spirit by this exchange. The reality of his narrow escape is unavoidable, and he realizes that David is not trying to undo him. Saul admits that David is a better man than himself, and he declares that this is a sign that God will indeed give David the kingdom. Saul does ask David to spare his family, something David has already promised Jonathan.
Argument: Just as David was going to let God handle things in His way and in His time, so we need to do the same. We are often impatient and we think we “know” what needs to happen clearly. The reality is that we are unable to see the big picture - only God has the Eternal Perspective.
The path for believers is clearly presented in the NT when Paul commands us to “never avenge ourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” ()
It is clear to understand, but not always easy to live out. We still have a flesh nature, and our natural reaction is to get even. That is why we are to rely on the supernatural. What we cannot do, the Holy Spirit does for us.
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