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A Great Struggle

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A Great Struggle

1 Samuel 27

One of the great struggles believers in Christ will face is that of being a consistent Christian.  You probably recall the condemnation of the Lord on the people of Israel when He had these words to say:

Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.  David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he struggled mightily for consistency before the Lord.  If we were to take out a sheet of paper and have a little quiz on David’s life—how would you respond?  List all of the good and bad things you can think of pertaining to his life.  Goliath, Bathsheba, numbering  Israel, getting the Ark back to Jerusalem, etc.  It seems like he knows how to rely on God when the event is serious(lion, bear, giant, not to touch the Lord’s anointed).  It seems that David often found trouble when he went looking for trouble.  It also appears that he found trouble when his life was relatively quiet.  It was when David decided not to go to war with the rest of the army that he fell into adultery with another man’s wife.  Tonight we are going to look at this account of David going down to the land of the Philistines during another time of peace in his life.  Do you know what it comes down to when we are left alone and to ourselves?  Character.  Character is how a man behaves when no one else is around.  One man said, “Your reputation is what men think you are; and character is what God knows you to be.”  Character flaws can lead to inconsistent Christianity. Up and down… There may be some here tonight who might say if they were honest in their own soul; Right now I am down spiritually.  Let’s look at this point of David’s life and consider the struggle that he is facing.

1.  The destination.  He utilized the Dr. Phil method.  Just do what is in your heart.  Just do what you think is best.  David said in his heart.  We know the warnings about our heart from the Bible.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Mark 7:21-22 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

David had numerous reasons to trust in God rather in himself but he failed in that area.

Samuel anointed him, his friends confirmed that he would be king (Jonathan, Abigail).  God protected him (bundle of life).  He had been given 600 men to follow him.  His needs were continually met.  One man said there were times when David’s account was low, whenever it was time to write a check the funds were there.

When did God ever tell David that Saul was going to be the victor?  He never did.  This was all conjured up in his heart.  He had chosen to focus on the negative.  When we are focused on the negative, the last thing we want to have happen is to have someone tell us how good God has been.  He decided the best thing to do is to go down with the Philistines.  That is the best answer?  To dwell the enemies of God and his people?  They are pagans, they worship Dagon.  David had become disillusioned with his own people, and his heart was not right with God.  Saul, Keilah, Nabal, Ziphites betrayed me twice.  I cannot trust my own people so I will seek out those I can trust. 

2.  The draw.  The decisions we make always have an effect on other people.  It is not just our decision, its not just about us.  Eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked the US Air Force in the Philippines.  A few days later they invaded the islands with such force that General MacArthur had to withdraw the troops into an area called the Bataan Peninsula.  After 90 days of fighting, the supplies ran short and MacArthur was sent to Australia to oversee the war effort form there.  Most of you know what he said before he left, “I shall return.”  In less than 30 days the Japanese came with all they had against the US forces.  This led to the largest single surrender of Americans ever recorded in our history.  This resulted in the Bataan Death March.  55 miles without food, and only one or two sips of water a day.  Malaria killed off many of the soldiers.  Many were shot or run through because they were not going fast enough.  Some died of disease form drinking polluted waters.  At night the men were allowed to stop and sleep on the ground.  They were stuffed into railcars, and they made a 24 mile trip in the heat of the day, along with the stench form the vomiting and dysentery.  Many died standing up because there was not room to fall down.  Almost 1000 men died during the march.  2000 more were buried in mass graves because of the treatment they received.  At the camp, an unusual policy was put into place.  There was a single stand of barbed wire around the camp.  It was done to invite escape.  Two men tried and were captured.  The Japanese brought the 2 men back, blindfolded eight of their closest friends and executed them in front of the entire camp.  From that time the camp was divided into groups of 10 soldiers.  If any one of the ten was found missing, the other 9 were killed. One soldier said in an interview. It was the thought of the other lives being lost that kept me within the confines of the camp.  The selfish cause of personal freedom will be at the expense of those that love and trust you.  Every comment, decision, move you make has an impact on some one around you.  If people treat me right, then I am loyal to God.  If I feel mistreated then I am off to rub shoulders with the world. 

3.  The deception.  David has joined up with Achish, and asks for his own place to live.  He is given Ziklag.  David is busy attacking the allies of the Philistines, he kills everyone, so that there are no witnesses.  He is collecting the livestock.  Where did all of this come from?  From the south of Judah.  Achish is convinced that David is killing off Jews.  Truth does not matter much when you are identifying with the enemy. 

It looks like a good decision.  It looked good to Lot when he pitched his tent toward Sodom.  It looked good when Elimilech took his family to Moab.  Since I have got away from all that involvement in church, I have more time for myself.  I have more money to buy stuff.  Now we can just come to church and analyze things.  We see a lot of wrong going on than we did before. 

4.  The dilemma.  Now he is committed to attacking Israel with the Philistines.  Chapter 29.  Bringing up the rear for the enemy.  David is finally going to have pay up for his wrong behavior.  What do theses Hebrews here?  David and his men are trying to act like they belong there.  The Philistines recognize that they do not belong there.  Christians act like they can run with the world and still please God.  We are trying to fit in, and they are saying, what are you doing here?  What are you doing at the birthday party or the bridal shower on Sunday when you should be in church? Well. My family is not saved and they don’t’ know any better.  Then make a STATEMENT.    What are you doing in the bar?  What are watching?  What are you listening to?  What are you wearing?  It is the only grace of God that prevented David from going into battle against his own people.  The struggle to be consistent is one of the believer’s great struggles.

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