The Portrait Hall: The Slobbering Soldier
Have you ever had a really embarrassing moment? God showed the story of his greatest men, with all their faults, embarrassments, “warts and all”! David learned to move from pride and panic to power and praise by experiences that readied him to be used of God later. Did you ever feel like you were alone and needed to protect yourself? How can you get back to the place where you trust the Lord for your life? Let’s follow David into one of his most embarrassing moments, so that we can learn the “secret” of the lesson. (Read 1 Samuel 20:1-8; 20:42-21:1-6, 10-22:2)
Key Principle: When our focus is on us and our abilities or problems, we fail. When our focus on pleasing our Master, we succeed!
David was on a downward course for some time before he ended up on the porch of his enemy acting like a lunatic! How did a man of character and conviction end up in such a state? The process was retained in the record for our learning:
- Problem Focus: It began, as it often does, with focusing on the circumstances and trying to make sense of what he was incapable of explaining. This led to confusion and assumptions of coming evil that were the engine behind panic (1 Sam. 20:1-2).
- Panic: The mind runs to the things that might happen, but not to the Lord that alone can aid us. Note: David mentions the Lord, but doesn’t ADDRESS the Lord in the troubles 1 Sam. 20:3a).
- Depression: Though a real problem existed, the feeling about the problem took over, making it hard to concentrate on real solutions (1 Sam. 20:3b). Dear friends stand ready to help and will do almost anything to help (1 Sam. 20:4).
- Enlistment to sin among friends: Misery thrives on company! Instead of stopping to consult God for real solutions, he moved to enlisting others into sin. Gossip often begins here in the hurt and confusion zone. In this case, a lie was produced. Note: Mentioning God is not the same as acting in accord with God’s principles! (1 Sam. 20:5-8). Note how David passed on extreme desperation and blocked any other options but his death from view (20:8b).
- Overt sin among God’s people: When you start down the path of “looking out for number one” and believe that God is not going to care for you if you don’t, the ends of protection justifies in your mind the means (telling more lies to cover yourself!) David stands before a priest of the Most High God, lies about his mission while claiming he is caring for other men that are walking in purity! (1 Sam. 20:42- 21:5). Then sin was further increased by abusing the gifts of God, using them in ways God has specifically said NOT to! (21:6)
- Projecting Motives: When we are walking away from God, we may find it easy to project corrupt motives on those around us. We see in them what is in us and often misread them! (1 Sam. 21:7-8).
- Hypocrisy: David walked into the Philistine camp ironically carrying the sword of the dead Philistine champion that God gave him is a great victory, yet he appears as a beggar, acting out a lie! When we slide into sin, the outcome is another opportunity to defame our King a Savior! (1 Sam. 21:9-22:1)
- Accumulating others: When we aren’t walking with God, we will gather the others who have issues to surround us! (1 Sam. 22:2-3). The key to change is the end of verse 3!
Remember, when our focus is on us and our abilities or problems, we fail. When our focus on pleasing our Master, we succeed!
Psalm 34: A Psalm of David when he acted like an idiot in front of Achish and was sent away
34:1) God Focus: It is your choice to focus on the problems and not on the goodness of God in so many areas of your life! David said he began to do three things: I will bless the Lord all the time; My lips will continually praise Him; 2) My life will be a loud testimony that the crushed and poor will observe and be encouraged by!
3) Effort: Do not praise as a chore, but take some time and be creative in your desire to express God’s greatness! David said: Show His greatness (gadlu: make large) by lifting him (room: cause to grow as a child adorned as adult) up with me!
4) Tenacity: Fight the fight with fear and don’t let it overtake you, rather let God’s goodness rescue you. It may not happen at first, but it will happen! David said: I sought repeatedly (darashti) the Lord, and He listened to me and answered me (awnaw: answer or testify as witness). He delivered me (nawtsar: plucked me, snatched; hatsilu is a form!) from the “storehouse of fear” (megaroti: used3x, 2 as fear and one as a barn in Hag. 2:19) that was driving my actions.
5) Understanding: God didn’t make it easy for a purpose. He wants to use your victories as a testimony to reveal His goodness to others who have been defeated! David said: The poor and crushed gazed hard (nawbat: carefully considered) at this restored fool and their experiences flowed into simplicity (nawhar: used 6x in OT, usually as “flow” as in Isaiah 60:5, here translated ‘lightened’) and their faces became peaceful (khawfare: unconfounded). 6) They saw that I was a wretch and the Lord delivered me, saving (yesha) from all my disgrace (tsawraw).
7) Priority: When you concern for how the King feels about every aspect of your life is the consuming factor of direction, every other consideration with fade. With that stedfast priority, God will send unseen help! David said: The angel of the Lord sets up an encampment around those who reverence (yawray: find the deepest regard for above any fear, love or other compulsion) the Lord, and they are armed and equipped to be victorious (khawlats: “remove danger by cavalry providing the needed weaponry”). 8) Happiness comes from seeking shelter (khawtsar) in the camp of concern for God’s happiness with your choices! 9) He will keep you from lacking any essential thing (makh: sore lack).
When our focus is on us and our abilities or problems, we fail. When our focus on pleasing our Master, we succeed!