Choices and Consequences (1Samuel 26-31)

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–        Choice to speak… or be silent… both have consequences

–        Choices reflect character.

–        You are almost always free to make choices, but we are not free from the consequences of every choice.

 

Final sermon in 1Samuel series will reflect upon summary choices and consequences of both Saul and David.

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EXAMINE           1Samuel 26-30          Choices and Consequences

1Samuel 26:13-25

Saul’s legacy was his foolishness (26:21) On the external, Saul was a great king. Saul was chosen by Israel’s leader Samuel. Saul had the right pedigree of the tribe of Benjamin. He was tall, handsome, winsome, strong, and a natural leader. But on the inside Saul lacked the character and wherewithal to be a great king. His external competency extended him beyond what his character could sustain.

Saul sought to destroy David because of selfishness. Selfish pride and envy controlled his choices and it would end in a legacy of foolishness. The Bible gives description for a fool in that they live careless and reckless, without thought of future consequences (cf. Prov 14:16). Saul’s confession is hopeful but condemning “I have sinned. Return my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake [shaw-gaw = wander astray, sometimes with intoxication (cf. same word in Prov 20:1; Isa 28:7) (1Sam 26:21).”
Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Saul believed in God but lived as if there wasn’t a God, and that’s what made him a fool. He had regret but without repentance. The devil and demons believe in God, but they have not chosen to change their lifestyle (James 2:19). Many people may claim with their lips to believe in God but their lives act out a contrasting faith. Saul’s life should teach and warn us not to treat faith in God too casually.   Saul’s casual faith

–        Saul isolated himself from Samuel (godly friends) and insulated himself with those who would not challenge his plans (1Sam 13).

–        Saul was impatient & insecure to lead others in trusting God and accomplishing tasks (1Sam 14). He made rash declarations, impulsive decisions, forceful directives, and was quick-tempered.

–        Saul ignored God’s commands, in both significant and small matters. “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1Sam 15:22).

–        Saul operated on envy rather than empathy for others, seeking to murder others who were accomplished and posed as a threat to his throne (1Sam 19-24).

–        Saul instigated God’s judgment by turning to a necromancy (1Sam 28; cf. Lev 20:6; 1Chron 10:13-14).

–        Saul dies by committing suicide and falling on his own sword due to his fear of the Philistine army overtaking Israel (1Sam 31).

o   Who killed Saul?

  • 1Sam 31:4 Saul commits suicide
  • 2Sam 1:9-10 Saul killed by an Amalekite (but it’s a lie)

o   Is suicide a biblical option?

  • No, “do not murder” (Ex 20:13);
  • No, called to love others as you love self (Mark 12:31)
  • No, “your body is God’s temple” (1Cor 6:19), Christ in you the hope of glory (Col 1:27); He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1John 4:4)

è Where are you tempted to compromise obedience to God?

o   Know you should engage with spiritual disciplines (Bible, prayer, etc.), but morning busyness and daily grind overtake time with God.

o   Know you should give of time, talents, and treasure to serve God but you withhold because you cannot see how giving results in gaining.

o   Know you should participate in FPU to learn and grow in financial stewardship but procrastination wins.

o   Know you should relate to others in biblical community and accountability, but you withhold because being known will likely mean life changes.

o   Know you should share the gospel and stop the silence about your faith with friends and co-workers/classmates but you fear social rejection more than God.

è Where are you tempted to rationalize disobedience to God?

o   Know you should stop cohabitating with person you’re not married but comfort and pleasure supersede obedience. Or knowing a relationship needs to end because its separating you from God and growth but you just cannot decide and take the next steps.

o   Know you should stop watching seductive images on tv, movies, cell, but you take God’s grace for granted and make a mockery of the cross presuming forgiveness.

o   Know you should stop stealing – financially, materially, or figuratively – from your job but your selfish pride keeps you thinking you’re entitled and deserving of more regardless if its stealing. Or maybe your stealing is in the fact that you owe a debt that you keep putting off repaying.

o   Know you should forgive and seek reconciliation with a person but bitterness is establishing home in your heart.

These and multiple other messages the Spirit is speaking to you/us to not have a casual faith, because we will end up the fool with regret and insincere repentance like Saul.

Illus[1]: And old legend tells of a merchant in Severna Park who one day sent his servant to the market. Before very long the servant returned troubled and trembling, and in great agitation said to his master: “Down in the market place I was jostled by a person in the crowd, and when I turned around I saw the Death Angel. Death looked at me in the eyes and made a threatening gesture. Master, please lend me your horse, for I must hasten away to avoid Death. I will ride to the Ocean and hide there so Death will not find me.” The merchant lent him his horse and the servant galloped away in great haste.

Later the merchant went down to the market place and also saw the Death Angel standing in the crowd. He couldn’t help but approach Death and ask, “Why did you frighten my servant this morning? Why did you make a threatening gesture?”

Death said, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was my motion of surprise. I was astonished to see your merchant in Severna Park, for I have an appointment with him tonight at the Ocean.”

My dear friends, each of us have an appointment at the Ocean. But that appointment should not be one of horror but of hope, provided that we have put our faith and trust in Christ who holds the keys of life and death.

David legacy was his faith, not his faithfulness.

Those who know their Bible know that David was described as a man after God’s heart (1Sam 13:14; 16:7; Acts 13:22). The reasons for this are likely many, but supremely for his faith in God. Yet, while David had a firm faith in God he was not always faithful to God.

David spared Saul’s life with humility and honor, yet he participated in polygamy (1Sam 25:42-43), behaved desperately as he fled and aligned with enemies (1Sam 27, 29), and was a warrior of much bloodshed (1Sam 18:7; 18:27; 23:5; 27:8-9; 30:17, etc.).

1Samuel 27:1-12

27:1 “David said in his heart” This phrase is David talking/thinking of self without including or inviting God’s perspective. David does not pray or pursue the Lord in any tangible way during this time in his life. Instead, David pushes the panic button after his second run-in with avoiding killing Saul – and previously almost killing Nabal – and runs toward his enemies rather than away from them. He flees to the Philistines in hopes of ever encountering Saul again.

David’s desperate pessimism “I will perish… there is nothing better for me than to escape…”

–        David had Samuel’s anointing and prophecy (16:13)

–        David had Jonathan’s prophetic encouragement (23:17)

–        David had Abigail’s prophetic blessing (25:28-31)

–        David even had Saul’s prophetic references (24:20; 26:25)

 

David’s pessimism caused him to make bad choices that resulted in even worse consequences. David’s choices not only influenced his own life but impacted the lives of others; no one is an island! David leads 600 troops with their families into Philistine land (27:2-3). He enters the land of Gath – Goliath’s hometown. David is finding favor and becomes a servant with Achish, the king of Gath (27:4-7; 29:3). This is friendship with the world (1John 2:15)!

 

◊      Our choices are communal. David’s choice to bring 600 troops and families into enemy territory would  result in their kidnapping (30:1-3). David and the people wept exhaustively (30:4). Our choices effect our families and those close to us, especially those who trust you, look up to you, depend on you, and ultimately love you. We must think beyond ourselves to understand how our actions will have impact on others.

o   à Would I be content if everyone else were following the example of my choices?

o   à Would everyone celebrate if they all knew my actions and choices?

◊      Pessimism is perilous. When we are pessimistic and tempted to emotional decisions, we need to stop & pray, and probably contact wise counsel before we create a problem we cannot undo.

◊      Carnality creeps. This season of David’s life is a picture of an indecisive Christian, if not an idolatrous and backslidden Christian. David is duplicitous in making alliances with the Philistines and earning enemy king favor (29:6-8) but knowing God has called him to be king of Israel. The duplicitous lifestyle has devastating consequences. David and his men end up weeping exhaustively at losing their families in a raid (30:1-6). The people even spoke of getting rid of David. Instead of an example of faith he is fickle and running away from God.

–        “Man is the only animal that runs faster when he has lost his way.”[2]

–        Sin is a slippery slope, always overstepping its welcome into our lives.

 

1Samuel 30:1-8

David’s only way out of his sinful wandering was to “strengthen himself in the Lord his God” (30:6). For the first time in over 16 months David returns to depending on the Lord for direction. He puts on the ephod (garment worn by priests who interceded for the people of Israel. Following David’s prayer was the Lord’s promise to provide rescue for David and his men’s families.

◊      Back to Basics. Our joy and answers to so many of life issues is returning to spiritual basics: prayer, Bible intake & application, Christian fellowship.

o   Vince Lombardi each season – “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

◊      Sin can be forgiven if repented, but that does not mean it will not sear or leave a scar for us to remember.

APPLY/THINK

Several years ago, I was driving with Danielle home from a church ministry night in Zebulon NC. We had recently purchased the vehicle we were driving and it was a rainy night so our driving was cautious. I approached a railroad crossing and drove slowly over the tracks but after we crossed another vehicle hit us from the rear. The vehicle did not have their lights on in the dark and we were uncertain of how this car hit us when our vehicles had to go so slow over the tracks. Nonetheless, we knew the rain likely caused the person to skid so we prepared to address the accident by getting out of the car to assess the other person and any damage to our vehicles.

The other person did not speak English and so our communication was challenging. I pulled out my license and insurance to point for the other young man to do the same. I discerned from our communication and his motioning with his hands and head that he did not have identification or insurance. We contacted the police and were informed correctly that the other driver was young, without driving identification or insurance.

The damage done to our vehicle was minor yet we still felt inconvenienced and wronged. At that moment we had a choice: Live in gloom because someone violated us, or Overlook the offense and move on with other life purposes.

David was bumped into by Saul’s evil. Saul was uninsured and would never truly correct his offense against David. For too long David chose to wander in gloom, despair, and darkness.

Many of us are living our lives with dents on the soul. Somebody has run into us, somebody has messed us over, or somebody has insulted us, and we’ve been driving our lives for years, waiting for their insurance to correct a wrong. But they are never going to pick up the tab. Because you refused to pick it up yourself, you are forever dented in your soul and wandering in gloom.

Today, God calls you to stop running away from Him and return – repent, and get moving in the right direction for the purposes He has for your life.

What’s your choice?

 

 

[1] Adapted from Peter Marshall, John Doe: Sermons for the Young in Spirit, ed. Catherine Marshall, 1963, pp.219-20.

 

[2]  Quote in Swindoll’s “David” p.110: Rollo May

 

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