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1 Samuel 23:1-29 - The Believers Deliverance From All His Enemies

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Many times throughout life we are in need of deliverance.  Some misfortune, hardship, or trial has happened, and we need to be rescued.  The misfortune may be as serious as almost drowning while swimming or being seriously injured in an accident.  It may even be an assault or some other act of violence against us.

            Other hardships confront us such as disease, financial difficulties, the loss of a loved one, depression, or any number of other emotional or mental illnesses.

            Whatever misfortune, hardship, or trial confronts us; God will protect us and help us through the circumstance if we turn to Him.  And nothing is too hard for the Lord to conquer and overcome.  If we turn to the Lord in repentance, He will deliver us from all distress and from all enemies who confront us.

            God's power to deliver is the subject of the present passage of Scripture.  David was being pursued by King Saul who was attempting to kill him.  But in every instance, even when Saul was closing in and the crucial moment of capture was immediately at hand, the Lord delivered David.

A.           Deliverance through courage (v.1-6)

1.            David heard about the Philistine's attack (v.1-2).

a)            Philistines were robbing the threshing floor.

(1)           QUESTION: Why did they bring this plea for help to David, and not to King SaulBecause Saul was not fulfilling his role as king over Israel.  It was Saul’s job to protect Keliah, it was Saul’s job to fight against the Philistines, but Saul wasn’t doing his job, he was to busy with his flesh in trying to kill David, so the LORD called David to do it.  If Saul wasn’t up to the task, God would raise up a man who was, and David was the one.  God directed David to act like a king even if he was not the king yet.  David was willing to spend himself (2Cor.12:15), to endanger himself, so that he obey the command of God, and meet the need of the people.
(2)           THRESHING FLOOR: Threshing floors were open, circular areas where the grain kernels were separated from their husks.  (In order to separate the grain from the husk, farmers would toss their grain into the air.  The wind would blow the husks away, leaving only the grain.  This process is called winnowing. Just a side note: the Bible likens the ungodly like chaff which the wind drives away Ps.1:4-6).  By looting the threshing floors, the Philistines were robbing Keilah’s citizens of all their food supplies.  David was courageous in that he went to help those in Keilah.  The Scriptures have a lot to say about courage:

The writer of Proverbs says "The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion."  (Proverbs 28:1, NASB95)

As Paul was writing to those in Corinth, he said to "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."  (1 Corinthians 16:13, NASB95)

b)            David inquired of the Lord (prayed) (v.2a):

(1)           As soon as the Philistines attacked Keilah, David heard about their attack.  Immediately David went to prayer, asking the LORD if he should attempt to defend and deliver the city.   
(2)           The Lord answered, telling David to go and save Keilah.
(3)           I believe this shows David’s wisdom and godliness.
(a)           Some might have immediately said, “This isn’t my responsibility, it is Saul’s.  Let him deal with it.”  But David was wise because he inquired of the LORD

There are those who ‘profess to be wise, but are fools (Rom.1:22)

However, even though David lacked wisdom, he “asked of God who gives to all generously without reproach” (James 1:5). 

!!!! c)            Solomon’s Request for Wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-15).

(1)           Even though Solomon requested wisdom, he is an object lesson about the danger of inconsistency.  We need to teach our children wisdom with consistency.
(2)           Solomon was, in intellectual terms, the wisest man who ever lived.

1 Kings 4 says that God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. (1 Kings 4:29 NKJV)

God Himself told Solomon, “I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. (1 Kings 3:12 NKJV)

(3)           His instructions were wise, but he failed miserably by way of example.
(a)           Solomon included several warnings about the dangers of being seduced by the wrong kind of women (Prov.2:16-19, 5:3-13, 20; 6:23-29, 7:5-27; 22:14; 31:30).
(b)           But Scripture says this about Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-2, 9-14)

1 Kings 11 says that he "loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love." (1 Kings 11:1-2)

It goes on to say "Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord…that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.” (1 Kings 11:9-14, NASB95)

(4)           Christ is the embodiment of all true wisdom according to (Colossians 2:3), therefore, as parents our tasks boil down to teaching our kids about Jesus Christ.
(5)           Whether I am teaching them the gospel, or teaching them wisdom for life in general, the proper focus of all my instruction is Jesus Christ! 
(6)           Let the words of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16)
(7)           Back to 1 Samuel 23, When David inquired of the LORD, he was willing to do just as the LORD commanded.  Sometimes we inquire of the LORD, but our minds are already made up - we will do this or we will not do that.  That isn’t really inquiring of the LORD at all!
(8)           We will talk more about inquiring of the Lord later in this study.

!!! 2.            David's men opposed the defense of the city (v.3-4).

a)            David’s men feared.

(1)           Here we have the Philistine army that was far superior in both troops and weapons & to begin fighting the Philistine army meant that David's men could be caught between two armies, Saul's and the Philistines'.
(2)           Their excuse for not fighting was fear.  They already lived in constant fear of Saul's army.  Why should they endanger their lives even more by attacking the Philistine’s?
(3)           As leader of these men, David was responsible for their lives, and keeping their loyalty was essential.  But David knew that the Lord had given him the command to defend the city of Keilah.  What could he do, for the Lord said go, but his men stood opposed?  He did the only thing he could do.

b)            David prayed again, seeking assurance of God's will (v.4).

(1)           David’s men stand opposed, but may be right.
(2)           David takes into consideration that he might be wrong.
(3)           Wisely, David took the words from his men into great account.  A leader, no matter how great, will always take into account the words of his men:

Proverbs says that "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel" (Proverbs 1:5, NASB95)

David was no fool for "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel."  (Proverbs 12:15, NASB95)

Things can go wrong without having proper advice, again Proverbs says "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”  (Proverbs 15:22, NASB95)

Having good counsel will lead to success, Proverbs 20:18 reads "Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance.”  (Proverbs 20:18, NASB95)

And Proverbs 24:6 says it all for David "For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”  (Proverbs 24:6, NASB95)

(4)           He wrestled with their advice, and saw that in many ways it made a lot of sense. At the same time, he knew this was an issue that had to be decided before the LORD.
(a)           David was not a man pleaser & ultimately made the final decision.
(b)           David’s decision was not based on fear but of God’ Word.
(5)           David Sought for Assurance: David took it to the Lord in prayer again, and the Lord confirmed his answer.
(6)           Today, we have the assurance of the Lords Word for all of our trials and needs.
(7)           David obeyed the Word of the Lord.  Not like Jonah who did not.  

3.            David led his men in battle against the Philistines (v.5)

a)            God kept His promise – God is Faithful

(1)           This is part of His Character

We have fellowship with One who is Faithful; Paul said "God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."  (1 Corinthians 1:9, NASB95)

When God promises something, He will bring it to pass: "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."  (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NASB95)

The Lord is also faithful in correcting His children: The Psalmist wrote "Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word…”  He goes on to say that "I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me."  (Psalm 119:67, 75, NASB95)

The Lord is Faithful in forgiving us; John writes that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (1 John 1:9, NASB95)

!!! 4.             David was joined by the priest Abiathar at Keilah:

a)            David now had the ephod (used in prayer to seek God's will) (v.6)

(1)           It was here at Keilah where Abiathar the priest joined David (1 Samuel 23:6).
(2)           Remember that Abiathar had been the only person to escape the slaughter of the priests by Saul (22:6-23, esp. 22:20).  When Abiathar escaped the slaughter, he was able to save the ephod and take it with him.  
(3)           Ephods, long sleeveless vests made of plain linen, were worn by all priests.  The high priest’s ephod carried special significance.
(a)           It was embroidered with a variety of bright colors.  Attached to it was the breastplate, a bib-like garment with gold embroidered shoulder straps.
(b)           Twelve precious gemstones were attached to the breastplate, each stone representing one of the tribes of Israel.
(c)           A pouch on the ephod held the Urim and the Thummim, two small objects used to determine God’s will in certain national matters.
(4)           Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” 
(a)           We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used.  Most think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. 
(b)           The idea is that High Priest would ask God a question that could be answered with a “yes” or a “no,” reach into the breastplate, and pull out the stone indicating God’s answer.
(c)           This ephod, with the Urim and Thummim, was more helpful to David than a thousand soldiers, because it helped him discern the will of God.

!!!! b)            Discerning the Will of God.

Let's begin with the assumption that God has a will for us, if so, then He must want us to know it.  For us to know it then we could expect Him to communicate it to us in the most obvious way.  How would that be?  Through the Bible, His revelation to us.  Therefore, I believe that God's will can be found in the pages of His Holy Scriptures, the Word of God.  God's will is in fact, very explicit in Scripture.  In the end finding God's will comes down to living out what you read in the Bible and then living by faith.

(1)           You Must Be Saved

God "is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).  This is the first thing about God's will- He wants men to be saved

Paul said, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

These two verses give both the negative and the positive, and together they assure us that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked: "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live? "For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, “says the Lord God, "Therefore turn and live!" —-"As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!  For why should you die?”  (Ezekiel 18:23, 32: 33:11).

(2)           You Must Be Spirit Filled.

As people in God’s family, if we don’t know what God’s will is, that makes us unwise, Paul said "be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:15-18, NASB95)

(3)           The Priority of Purity.

Abstaining from fornication, controlling your body, & subduing your passions, is God’s will.  "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification."  (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, NASB95)

(4)           The Importance of Submission.

Peter writes saying to "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men."  (1 Peter 2:13-15, NASB95)

What kind of submission is He talking about?  The kind of submission that makes you the best possible citizen in the society in which we live. Why? Because we are ambassadors, representatives of Jesus Christ: It is our responsibility to advertise God's virtues:

Peter wrote: "you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).

Jesus said in Acts 1:8: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

The only time a believer is ever to violate the law of the land is when the law either forbids him to do what he has been told to do by direct command from God or commands him to do what God forbids.

(5)           The Importance of Suffering.

If you are a Christian who is living a godly life in an ungodly world, you will suffer.  Paul wrote to Timothy saying, "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12).

Let us consider the words of Paul as recorded in Philippians 1:29: "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."

Here is something shocking - Suffering is linked with faith!  Paul tells us that this conflict is "granted" to us-it is a gift!  Paul calls this -"the fellowship of His sufferings"- (Phil. 3:10).

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul rejoiced about his suffering (Colossians 1:24)

!! B.           Deliverance through prayer (v.7-15)

1.            Saul heard that David was in Keilah, a walled, gated city (v.7-8).

a)            He felt David could be trapped (v.7).

(1)           Saul must be deceived in thinking this.  He called for war against a man who has done nothing wrong to him, but would not go to Keliah to save the people of Keliah against the philistines, which was his kingly duty.  Saul is totally motivated by self-interest.
(2)           Saul is in no place to discern the will of God.  You remember back in (1 Samuel 14) where Saul wanted to go down after the Philistines and plunder them, well he sought the counsel of God but the Lord did not answer.  This passage does not say why, but other Scriptures do:    

Disobedience — "When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets."  (1 Samuel 28:6, NASB95)

Secret Sin — Saul's carnal, selfish, distrustful heart had separated him from God.  “If a person regards or holds iniquity in his heart, the Lord will not hear him” (Psalms 66:18).

Neglect of Mercy — Proverbs says that "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered."  (Proverbs 21:13, NASB95)

Iniquity — Isaiah says that "your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear." (Isaiah 59:2).  "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen.  Your hands are covered with blood."  (Isaiah 1:15, NASB95)

2.            David learned about the plot and prayed, consulting the LORD (v.9-12)

a)            First, David wanted the Ephod brought to him (v.9).

(1)           David was in a bad place, and he was in a bad place because the LORD led him there (see Matt.14:22; Mark 6:45 – immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat).  
(2)           A very important point: Saul continues to sit on the throne.  David was just a teenager when God anointed him in that house in Bethlehem (16:12) and buy the time that David slays Goliath in chapter 17 and including the events in chapter 18 David is probably no more than 20 years of age.  Now we know from (2 Samuel 5:4) that David would be 30 years old before he would ever sit on the throne of Israel and reign.  So there is a period of ten years between the time the promise and the fulfillment of the promise that he would be the king of Israel and sit on the throne. 
(3)           I ask the question: Why would God wait ten years?  Why doesn’t God just wipe Saul out and make David king right away? 
(a)           God is not done with Saul yet.  Saul has an important part to play in the development of David’s character.  Before David is fit to wear a crown he will go through ten years of preparation.  The greater the call on our life the longer and harder the preparation from God.     
(b)           God used King Saul to get rid of the Saul in David.  God will allow you to be put under someone who just might be a King Saul.
(c)           David probably would have grown up to become King Saul II, except that God cut away the Saul inside David’s heart.  That operation took years and was a brutalizing experience that almost killed the patient.
(d)           And what were the scalpel and tongs God used to remove this inner Saul?  God used the outer Saul
(e)           King Saul sought to destroy David, but his only success was that he became the instrument of God to put to death the Saul who roamed about in the caverns of David’s own soul.  This had to happen or the Saul in David would have survived.    
(4)           Getting back to inquiring: Some might be angry with the LORD, and even give an “I told You this would happen!” to God.  Instead, David did the right thing - he inquired of the LORD again!

!!!! b)            Second, he shared what he had heard with the LORD (v.10).

(1)           Think about this: if you had been the one who had delivered the people of Keilah from their enemy who was harassing them, you would think that “the people will appreciate what I have done and they will help protect me.” 
(2)           It’s even possible to think, ‘There’s no need to even pray about this.  It’s obvious what the answer is; I don’t have to ask the LORD about this situation.’  And that’s always a dangerous assumption to make.  It’s always wise to seek the council of God even when things seem to be quite obvious. 
(3)           Consult God First & Foremost In All Matters.  To inquire is to ask, and to continue to ask until an answer is received.  We do this when we shut ourselves away with God and His Word, and as we read God’s Word, we continually ask or inquire of the Lord (2 Kings 22:13).

Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."  (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB95)

David gave his son wise counsel by saying "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind…If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever."  (1 Chronicles 28:9).

This is a fascinating passage about Uzziah: "And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah.  He built Eloth and restored it to Judah after the king slept with his fathers.  Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Jechiliah of Jerusalem.  He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done.  He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him."  (2 Chronicles 26:1-5 see also Prov.16:3; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 26:5; 1 Samuel; 30:8; 2 Samuel 2:1; 5:19-20, 22-25; 21:1).

c)            The consequences of not inquiring of the Lord (Joshua 9:14):

(1)           God had promised that He would give His people the Promised Land.  The believers also had an obligation as well and that was to live a life of total separation from unbelievers.  They were to be totally different from their unbelieving neighbors.      
(2)           God had specifically instructed Israel to make no treaties with the inhabitants of Canaan (Exodus 23:31-33; Exodus 34:12; Numbers 33:55; Deut. 7:2; Deut. 20:17-18).
(3)           The reason being was the unbelievers would influence them to worship false gods, thereby becoming a snare to them.                                   
(4)           Thought 1.  God demands a life of separation, a life of sanctification: we are to separate ourselves as much as possible from the sin and evil of this world and live a life of sanctification before God.

Paul said that we are to present our bodies "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  (Romans 12:1-2)

He exhorts those in Corinth to "be separate… & Do not touch what is unclean…”  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."  (2Cor.6:17-18; Eph.5:10-11)

Then he goes as far as to command those in Thessalonica to "withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

(5)           Now, When the leaders in (Joshua 9:14) sampled these men’s provisions, they saw that the bread was dry and moldy, the wineskins were cracked, and the clothes and sandals worn out.  But they did not see through the deception.  After the promise had been made and the treaty ratified, the facts came out—Israel’s leaders had been deceived. 
(7)           Joshua knew enough to talk to God before leading his troops into battle.  But the peace treaty seemed innocent enough, so Joshua and the leaders made this decision on their own.  By failing to seek God’s guidance and rushing ahead with their own plans, they had to deal with angry people and an awkward alliance.

!!!! d)            God has given clear instructions on how to avoid making a covenant with an unbeliever.

(1)           The believer is not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly.

Psalm 1 says "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1, NKJV)

(2)           The believer is not to walk in the path of the wicked.

The writer of Proverbs says to "not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil."  (Proverbs 4:14, NKJV)

(3)           The believer is not to keep company with a brother who is living a life of sin and rebellion.

Paul writing to the Corinthians says "not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner— not even to eat with such a person."  (1 Corinthians 5:11, NKJV)

(4)           The believer is not to be associated with evil talk.

The Lord says "Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits…" and to not any "corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”  (1Cor.15:33; Eph.4:29)

(5)           The believer is not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

It is imperative that we are not "unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?”  (2 Corinthians 6:14)

(6)           The best way to avoid falling into temptation is to avoid temptation in the first place.

Back to (1 Samuel 23:11-12)

e)            Third, he asked the LORD two questions (v.11-12a).

(1)           Would Saul attack Keilah in an attempt to arrest him?  (v.11)
(2)           Would the citizens of Keilah betray him and his men, give them over to Saul?  (v.12a)

f)             Fourth, the LORD answered "yes" to both questions (v.12b).

(1)           The Scriptures say that God is the one “who is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16), and “knows everything” (1 John 3:20).                      
(2)           See, not only does God know “all things actual” which means all things that exist and all things that happen, but he also knows “all things possible”, this is because there are some instances in Scripture where God gives information about events that might happen but that do not actually come to pass, like our passage here.

This applies to creation, for God is the one before whom “no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13; cf. 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 28:24; Matt. 10:29–30).

God also knows the future, for he is the one who can say, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done” (Isa.46:9–10; cf. 42:8–9 and frequent passages in the Old Testament prophets).

He knows the tiny details of every one of our lives, for Jesus tells us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8), and, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30).

3.            David quickly mobilized his men and left Keilah (v.13-14a).

a)            The Wilderness of Ziph:

(1)           This was an essential time for God’s work in David’s life.  He became a man after God’s heart in the shepherd’s field, but he became a king in the wilderness.
(2)           Saul was a determined enemy, and unrelenting in pursuit of David.  We have an enemy that is determined and unrelenting in his pursuit after us (John 10:10).

!!!! b)            But God did not deliver him into his hand:

(1)           Saul can be as determined as he pleases, but he is not dictating these events - God is (Isaiah 46:9-11; Romans 8:31; 2Tim.3:11; 4:17-18).

As Paul was instructing Timothy he said "Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!"  (2 Timothy 3:10-11, NASB95)

Paul God on to say in Chapter 4 "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen " (2 Timothy 4:17-18, NASB95)

C.           Deliverance through encouragement (v.16-18)

1.            Jonathan strengthened David (v.16).

a)            Being an encouragement to God’s people.

(1)           We need encouragement in our lives on a daily basis.  We need someone to build us up and help us see our value and worth before the Lord.  The devil and the world’s systems grind us down and wear us out.  We need others in the body of Christ to remind us that we are God’s unique and irreplaceable creations, called to unique and irreplaceable places of ministry.
(2)           Paul addressed this need for encouragement in his letter to the Corinthians (1Cor.12:15-26)
(3)           Luke writes of someone who’s name literally means (son of encouragement Acts 4:36-37; 11:19-26). 
(4)           Hebrews 12:12-13 – These verses resumes the race metaphor from (v.1-2). 
(a)           The first thing that happens to a runner when he starts to tire is that his arms drop.  The position and motion of the arms are extremely important in running, to maintain proper body coordination and rhythm.  Your arms actually help you pull through your stride, and they are the first parts of the body to show fatigue.
(b)           The second to go are the knees.  First the arms begin to droop and then the knees begin to wobble.  But if you concentrate on the drooping or the wobbling, you are finished.  The only way you can hope to continue is by focusing on the goal (Heb.12:2)
(c)           We are not told to strengthen our hands or our weak and feeble knees, but the hands and the knees of other Christians. 
(d)           One of the surest ways to be encouraged ourselves is to give encouragement to someone else, “encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25).  One of the best ways to keep continuing is to encourage others to continue.
(e)           ‘Path’ in (Heb.12:13) refers to the tracks left by the wheels of a cart or chariot, which later travelers follow.  When we run, we leave a track behind us, which will either lead or mislead others.  We should take great care that the tracks we leave are straight.  The only way we will leave a straight track is to live right and run a straight course.

The writer of Proverbs says to “Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.  Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.  Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil,” we are told in Proverbs (4:25–27).

(5)           Quote: Encouragement is like a peanut butter sandwich—the more you spread it around, the better things stick together.

I saw them tearing a building down, a gang of men in a dusty town.  With a “yo heave ho” and a lusty yell,

They swung a beam and the sidewall fell.  I asked the foreman if these men were as skilled

As the men he’d hire, if he were to build.  He laughed and said, “Oh, no indeed.  Common labor is all I need.”

For those men can wreck in a day or two, what builders had taken years to do.  I asked myself as I went my way, which kind of role am I to play?  Am I the builder, who builds with care, measuring life by the rule and square?

Or am I the wrecker, who walks the town, Content with the role of tearing down?

b)            How can we get encouragement?

(1)           Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past (Deut.7:9; 1Ki.8:56; Ps.89:1; 1Cor.1:9; 1Pe 4:19).
(2)           We can be encouraged by the example of others (1Thess.3:6-13).
(3)           We gain encouragement by the words of others:
(a)           Paul mentions this (1Thess.5:1-28 esp.v.11)
(b)           Daniel was strengthened by an angel (Daniel 10:19) as well as Jesus (Luke 2:43)
(c)           Jesus told Peter that after he returned to go and strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32).
(d)           Notice here how faithful and true Jonathan is to his friend David and the things he says to him (1Sam.23:16). 
(4)           Allowing the Spirit of God who is the God of Comfort to comfort us (Acts 9:31; John 14:16-18).

2.            Jonathan reminded David of the LORD's promise (v.17),

a)            David would someday be king: He should not fear Saul (v.17)

(1)           Notice how Jonathan encouraged David: he reminded David of the Lord's promise that he would someday be king.  Therefore he should not fear his father Saul, for the Lord would keep Saul from capturing and harming David.  Because of the Lord's promise, David was assured of becoming king.
(2)           In this wonderful encouragement, Jonathan would be proved mostly correct, but not completely correct. 
(a)           God had promised that David would be the next king when Samuel anointed David (1 Samuel 16:1-13).  Based on that, Jonathan could know that my father will not find you, and that David would be king over Israel.  Jonathan had known these things for a long time (1 Samuel 18:4), and could say them confidently in the LORD. 
(b)           But then Jonathan added his own desire and goal: I shall be next to you.  Because of their great friendship, David and Jonathan looked forward to the day when David would be king and Jonathan would support him and help him.  But it would never come to pass, because Jonathan would die before David came to the throne.  We see in Jonathan’s encouragement a mix of a word from God and an expression of hope and desire. 

3.            Jonathan and David renewed their covenant before the LORD (v.18).

a)            Committed friendship.

(1)           Before Jonathan left, he and David renewed their covenant of friendship before the Lord.  They had already made a covenant (1 Samuel 18:3, 20:16), but now they confirm it again.  They were committed to remain friends and to guard each other's welfare as long as they lived. 
(2)           Having renewed their friendship covenant, each went his way.  Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.  This is the last time Jonathan and David would ever see each other on this earth.  Jonathan is not mentioned again until his death upon the battlefield along with his father (1 Samuel 31:2).

b)            What are the marks of real friendship?

(1)           Real friendship involves face-to-face honesty (Exodus 33:7-11)God and Moses talked face to face in the Tent of Meeting, just as friends do.  Friendship with God was a true privilege for Moses, out of reach for the other Hebrews. But it is not out of reach for us today.  Jesus called his disciples—and, by extension, all of his followers—his friends (John 15:15).  He has called you to be his friend. Will you trust him as Moses did?
(2)           Real friendship involves loyalty (Proverbs 17:17) – What kind of friend are you?  The greatest evidence of genuine friendship is loyalty ("always loyal," 1Cor.13:7)—being available to help in times of distress or personal struggles.

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