By moving from fear to faith-11/23/15

 

Message: ‘By moving from fear to faith

Text: 1 Samuel 21-22:5

Introduction: A plane was flying across the Atlantic when a voice came on the intercom: “We are now flying at 35,000 feet. If you will look out the right window, the two engines on that side are on fire, and the engines on the left had to be turned off. If you look directly below, you will see a small yellow sea recovery raft with six small dots on it. The dots are the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator, and two flight attendants… This is a recording.” (Steve Shepherd)

Fear. What is it that you fear? Everyone deal’s with fear from time to time. It’s a part of the fabric of life. So our fear is no surprise to God.

Did you know that one of the most repeated phrases, commands in Scripture, is ‘Fear not!’?

And why does God tell us so often to ‘Fear not’?

I think it’s because He wants to spare us the emotional pain fear can bring. But more importantly, when we’re afraid,

  • We rarely do what God tells us to do.
  • Instead, we do what we think we need to do.

Background: That’s what happens to David in our text this morning. We’ll find him slipping into the pit of fear.

Remember King Saul put David on the top of the Most Wanted list with a command to kill him upon sight.

We’ll find that what David does in chapter 21 is motivated by his fear. BUT, God is still working in David’s life, as we’ll see in ch. 22:1-5, where he returns to a life of faith.

Transition: So, open your Bibles to 1 Samuel 21:1. For it’s there we’ll find we become people after God’s own heart, by moving from fear to faith.

  1. 1 Samuel 21:1-15 Living in fear
  2. 1 Samuel 21:1-6

Read: 1 Samuel 21:1-6

When David left Jonathan at the end of ch. 20 he traveled to Nob, a secluded village a few miles away. It was the hometown of Ahimelech, the High Priest of Israel. Since Saul was not very spiritual, he left the priests to themselves. David knew this and thought it would be a safe place for him.

Ahimelech sees that there’s something not right with David. He asks David why he’s alone.

Fear has begun to change David.

Rather than trust in God’s provision and protection as he did with Goliath, he now begins to make decisions based on fear. And he initiates what will be a set of lies to protect himself from harm.

  • Have you ever done that? In the face of fear, you take your eyes off of God and stare at the giant in your life?
  • Have you ever forgotten God’s promises?
  • Have you ever done what you know was not God’s will because you thought He wasn’t around, able to help or cared?
  • Have you ever moved from faith…to fear?

That’s exactly what David did here and his first step was lying to the High Priest. He said he was on a secret mission from the King.

He then asked the High Priest if he had anything to eat. But was told there was only holy bread.

Sidebar: Here’s Ahimelech’s problem.

  • It was the Sabbath and it was against God’s Law to travel on the Sabbath.
  • The Holy Bread/The Bread of Presence was placed in the Holy Place in the Tabernacle for 7 days and was dedicated to God.
  • After the 7 days the priests could eat the bread. But David was not a priest.

Ahimelech was in a bit of a predicament. He asks David if he and his men had kept themselves from women so they would be considered holy/clean. David replied yes.

Ahimelech, puts physical need above ceremonial regulation and gives David the bread.

  • By the way, in Matthew 12:3-4 we read that Jesus uses this as an example of the Sabbath being made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

One last thing before we move on. Why didn’t David just tell the truth? Why didn’t he say:

  • Look, King Saul wants me dead. Saul’s own family trusts me and finds no fault in me.
  • I’m trusting God to protect and show me what to do. But I’m getting a bit scared.
  • Can you pray for me? Will you help me?

Well, we are not told. But, by lying, I think it’s clear, David feared Ahimelech telling Saul. But it wouldn’t be Ahimelech who would tell Saul about David being there.

  1. 1 Samuel 21:7

Read: 1 Samuel 21:7

This seems like an insignificant addition to the situation. But we would be wrong.

Doeg was the chief of Saul’s herdsmen. But the Hebrew for herdsmen literally means strong man. In other words, Doeg was one of King Saul’s goon squad, a thug and David knew it.

David sinned by lying to the High Priest and there would be consequences. This is an important lesson for us. We need to beware of the consequences of our sin.

  • While we can be forgiven.
  • While God can restore us as He did David.
  • He may not always remove the consequences of our sin.

Doeg will tell King Saul and Saul will have Ahimelech and his family killed.

Doeg was there, at that specific time and place, to impress upon David the incredible lesson of what can happen when you take your eyes off God and allow fear to guide your actions. There will be consequences.

Well, David’s slip from faith to fear takes another downward spiral in verses 8-9.

  1. 1 Samuel 21:8-9

Read: 1 Samuel 21:8-9

When David left Jonathan, evidently he took nothing with him. So he asked Ahimelech if there were any weapons he could have. (Kind of odd for a man who said he was on a secret mission from the King not to have a weapon.)

Needing to take care of the obvious discrepancy, David lies again by saying the kings business required haste.

Ahimelech said Goliaths sword was there and that David could have it. David not only takes it but says There is none like that.

  • It seems a sling, 5 smooth stones and God’s presence were no longer adequate protection for David.

Fear has caused David to lose confidence in God’s presence and ability to protect him.

Transition: David has food and a weapon. And because he knows Doeg is going to tell Saul he’s with the High Priest, (1 Samuel 22:22) he leaves town.

  1. 1 Samuel 21:10-15

Read: 1 Samuel 21:10-15

I am sorry. David didn’t leave town, the text says he FLED, rushed, ran out of town to get a head start on Saul’s goon squad.

And where does he go? 35 miles south to the one place he knows Saul and his goons would never go… to the Philistine city… of Gath.

  • Hey wait. Wasn’t that the city Goliath came from? Yes!
  • Wasn’t it a Philistine stronghold where the King of the Philistines lived? Yes.

Instead of fleeing to God, David fled to God’s enemies…remember David had called them uncircumcised Philistines?

Folks, when you were afraid and took your eyes off of God, did you ever do something that turned out to be really stupid, a huge mistake? That’s exactly what David does here.

When David realizes that he’s been recognized, his fear goes off the charts. He’s desperate and figures the only thing he can do is pretend to be crazy and perhaps they will let him go.

Oddly enough, and I think it was a great surprise to David …it works.

  • But it wasn’t because David’s fear caused him to come up with a great idea.
  • It was because, and only because, God was not finished with David.

And I think David began to realize that, as he humiliated himself in front of the Philistines and they let him go.

Transition: David leaves Gath, a humbled man, and goes to the Cave of Adullam, where he begins to get back into fellowship with God.

  1. 1 Samuel 22:1-5 Living by faith
  2. 1 Samuel 22:1-2

Read: 1 Samuel 21:1-2

Every time I read that passage my heart melts, because I see a picture of God’s Church in that cave.

ILL: The story is told of a desperate man sitting in the corner of the church service. Dry mouth, moist palms. He scarcely moves. He feels out of place in a room of Christians, but where else can he go?

  • He just violated every belief he cherishes.
  • Hurt every person he loves.
  • Spent a night doing what he swore he’d never do.

And now, on Sunday, he sits and stares. He doesn’t speak but thinks to himself… If these people knew what I did…

  • He could be an addict, a thief, an adulterer.
  • He could be a woman who was single, pregnant, and confused.
  • They could be anyone who come to the church often feeling broken, hopeless and afraid.

They wonder how will the congregation react?

  • With criticism or compassion?
  • With rejection or acceptance?
  • With raised eyebrows or extended hands. (Max Lucado)

They come to the church, because they believe it to be a place where

  • no matter what they have done,
  • no matter how they may have lived,
  • no matter what it is they are afraid of,

The church is the place God uses to change people lives; by offering forgiveness, hope, strength and acceptance.

When David saw who came to him; the broken, the bitter, the distressed, the fearful, I believe it deeply touched his heart.

David saw that he wasn’t alone. His family comes to him. Then others, many others who were lost and hurting.

I believe he began to once again see God’s purpose for his life and he falls on his knees and repents. How do I know that? Because of Psalm 56.

Read: Psalm 56

Folks, God used the people in the cave to help move David from fear to faith.

  • When you are afraid.
  • When you have done something really stupid.
  • When you are distressed, hurting, broken hopeless, afraid

Don’t stay away from the place God has chosen to use; to bring forgiveness, hope, strength and acceptance. Let us help you move from fear to faith!

Transition: Well the cave gets kind of crowded and they have to leave.

  1. 1 Samuel 22:3-4

Read: 1 Samuel 21:3-4

No lies to the King of Moab. David says Please let my father and my mother stay with you till I know what God will do for me. David knew that God had called him to be king but he wasn’t sure how God was going to get him there. David had to give his fear to God and trust that He will be with him and obey God when He speaks.

David put his eyes back on God and God provided for him and his parents.

Transition: David wouldn’t have to wait long for God to speak and to take that step of obedience.

  1. 1 Samuel 22:5

Read: 1 Samuel 21:5

The prophet Gad comes to Moab and tells David to leave and go to Judah. David didn’t ask any questions, he just obeyed. David has moved from fear to faith!

Conclusion

Read: Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

  • What is it that you are afraid of?
  • Is that fear holding you back from trusting, obeying and serving God in a deeper way?
  • What is it you are afraid of?

Take a moment right now. Close your eyes. Ask God to show you your fears. Then admit confess, them to God.

Now, keeping your eyes closed, listen to God’s Word and let it penetrate your heart and mind.

Read: Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Now, thank God for His promises and trust Him to keep them.

Open your eyes.

We become people after God’s own heart by moving from fear to faith.