Escaping Evil

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–        There’s a lot of evil in the world.

o   Politicians accuse each other of being evil but this only underrates real evil

  • Violence against innocent people
  • Tragic events and happenings
  • Life paths that end in unwanted circumstances

 

è When evil occurs and life circumstances do not go our way, how do we respond?

o   When driving our GPS re-calculates, but when living we either re-calculate with God or we steamroll our path away from God.

1Samuel logo

This Bible passage reveals the life of David experiencing evil to the fullest in King Saul.

– – – > How does David respond to undesirable evil?

– – – > How do we escape evil?

 

EXAMINE           1Samuel 21-24          How To Escape Evil

21:1-9 We escape evil through finding refuge in what God provides.

–        David departed alone (20:42-21:1). – – – side note: Bible minimally mentions David’s victories & slain tens of thousands but devotes much emphasis (~10 chapters) to David’s fleeing in dark & desperate life season. Frequently God wants to remind us our growth of character and competency occur greater in seasons of challenge & conflict.

Saul has been violent and attempting to murder David, not to mention also his own son Jonathan. These chapters and the ones following show that Saul is on a journey of selfish pride, which will not only destroy his own life but bring down a nation. Always be cautious of a leader who is prideful and unwilling to admit flaws. Saul’s contrast was David, who knew his sins but did not glory in them; the key to leadership is both integrity & accountability. After David & Jonathan’s farewell, David leaves on the run from Saul and his army. David was uncertain of whom he could trust. Sometimes solitude is the best solution to our problems until we can identify God’s next steps for us.

o   Most of world does not value alone time.

  • Praise for extroverts but little for introverts.
  • Most avoid singlehood.
  • Social media seek to balance isolation and community.
  • Need for noise (background music, ambient sounds) and aversion of silence.
  • Movie Castaway… secluded on island was undesirable but in end realized it had its advantages
  • My experience
  • Retreat

o   Took 30+ minutes before settling

o   “Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment.”[1]

o   Countless “little solitudes” fill each day to find satisfaction in Him alone.

  • vacation consisted of family & friends
  • being alone helps me to analyze inwardly and prioritize outwardly

Discipline of Solitude

You need a plan. If you do not plan your solitude, then you do not plan to have solitude. Life has too many distractions. Jesus once told His disciples, “’Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure to even eat” (Mark 6:31). The principle is to come away with Jesus or to come apart from busyness: divert daily, withdraw weekly, and respite regularly.

You need a place. We need to have a better theology of place. As in real estate, location is significant. The disciples often knew the place Jesus was alone – because it was a habit for Him to withdraw and spend time with the Father. Your place may be a room or location in a room…
–        David found refuge in God’s provision of food & warfare (21:3-9). The realness of David’s circumstances is his needs for shelter, food, and protection. David asks for bread and the priest Ahimelech responds with the fact he only has “holy bread” in the temple, which was dedicated to the priests (cf. Lev 24:5-9). However, Ahimelech gives the bread to David believing that he too was pure (cf. Deut 23:14). Likewise, David asks for a weapon (spear or sword), and Ahimelech gives David the sword of Goliath, “for there is none like it!”

Ahimelech and all the 85 priests would pay the consequences for supporting David, rather than Saul (1Sam 22:6-19). Without these provisions David would have been very limited and perhaps not have survived. David has some level of hope and certainty that he would receive support from the temple priests. Some may note that David was being coy or cunning to receive these provisions, and is responsible for the murder of these priests at Nob. Ultimately, David’s provisions were from God’s sovereignty to place along his journey. Further, David was not responsible for the evil actions of Saul. God’s sovereignty permits and includes the real actions – for good or evil – of humanity.

è David found refuge at the temple with the priests of God. Do you turn to God’s people in time of challenge or conflict? To whom do you listen when you struggle and considering escape?

o   – – – > Is prayer a first resort or a last ditch effort?

o   – – – > Is your counsel from godly wisdom or worldly advice?

Psalm 1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous, for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

–        David found refuge in God’s provision of an army (22:1-5).

David continues his dark and desperate journey to dwell in a cave. Rather than stay alone, people hear of David’s destination and are drawn to him. He receives his family along with others who are in distress, debt, and are discontent.

o   3 descriptions:

distress (māsôq) = under stress, trouble, anguish

debt (nāshâ) = lend on interest, to have creditors

discontented (maar nephesh) = bitterness and angry of soul, to have been wronged or mistreated

The land was aching under the rule of Saul. People were overtaxed and mistreated. So, David ended up on the run in escape with a group of malcontents and misfits. A cave that started as a place of hiding turned into a place of training for “David’s mighty men of valor.” A motley crew turned into mighty men. While Saul had Israel’s soldiers masquerading in the light, Israel’s true troops were being trained with competency and courage in the darkness of a cave.

◊      The darkness of life is one of God’s means for our development.  

◊      Alone but Together. God has designed us that we need solitude and social.

o   Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together: “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…Let him who is not in community beware of being alone…Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.”

v  SPBC, God has brought each of us together not as an audience but as an army. Each of you will stand accountable to God on your own, but also we will stand together in the fellowship of the saints as those bought with the blood of our Savior and with the burden of reaching our community with the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us stand in unity and urgency for eternity.

 

–        David found refuge in God’s provision of reckoning (24:1-22).

Saul continued to track down David and his army. Saul searched for David in the wilderness of Engedi – where David was actually encamped. Ironically, Saul enters into a cave to sit on the throne – not a royal one – to relieve himself. This cave was the very one with David and his mighty men. David’s men exhorted him to take out Saul, but instead David refused and only cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. When Saul finished – a royal flush – and left the cave, David exited as well and called out to Saul holding up the torn fabric of his robe. “Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’” (1Sam 24:10).

David’s circumstances were saying that God’s promises were unreliable and untrue. Yet, David trusted the Lord was unwavering in His faithfulness. David believed he was in God’s hands and that God held his future. Rather than seek revenge against Saul, he continued working toward reconciliation. Humanly speaking, killing Saul would have solved David’s problems; but spiritually speaking David valued character over comfort. Faith is not feelings or comfortable circumstances, but is a fixed hope in the glory and graciousness of God.  

è Do we trust God with our burdens much as our blessings?

è Do we seek revenge or reconciliation with those you offended?

Saul was humbled at David’s integrity and was moved to contrition. Saul knew the Lord would make David king of Israel and only requested that David not cut off his offspring (24:21). David’s commitment to Saul would have impact for generations to come.

APPLY/THINK

3 summary applications

1)   Faith is not just starting but sustaining, it’s a long obedience in the same direction. Are you persevering to  trust and treasure God in all things?

2)   Little sins still have big consequences. Saul’s sin continued like a snowball downslope. David’s view of sin was both actions and attitudes and he sought to honor God in all his ways (Psalm 139:23-24). Are you compromising your faith in small or significant ways?

3)    Revenge or Reconciliation? David’s faith maturity showed when he did not seek revenge but pointed Saul toward the Lord. His view of life had an eternal mindset rather than earthly. Do you have an eternal mindset to forgive someone who has wronged you and entrust that person to God? Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

 

[1] Foster, 96.

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