Last week we saw David fighting Goliath and defeating the giant with a single stone and a sling. Everybody was shouting his praises, what a colossal victory. Even today some 3000 years later, everybody seems to know the story. David is riding high, living the dream, just having a rainbow day, life is great, He’s going to be king someday.
Then something happened, and it wasn’t David’s doing, he didn’t do anything wrong.
When David is coming back from fighting Goliath, he’s returning to Saul’s palace in Gibeah just 3 miles north of Jerusalem, his life is just about to go downhill in a hurry. He soon will become a fugitive in his own country.
1 Samuel 18:6-11 (NIV)
6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
10 The next day a disturbing spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
Have you heard of Murphy’s law? Murphy's law is a popular adage that states, "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."
There are some variants to Murphy’s law: If it can happen, it will happen. "If anything can go wrong, it will", Anything That Can Possibly Go Wrong, Does.
Well MURPHY’s law happened to David and it happens to us too. We’re going along in our life, life is good and then ‘whammo’, it starts to unravel. Now sometimes we’re not to blame, we didn’t do anything wrong that we know of. And sometimes we are to blame, we’ve triggered an avalanche of difficulties. Then end result is the same. We are up to our neck in difficulties and problems.
How did David handle this? Did you know that the Bible tells of David’s life as a fugitive in 1 Samuel 18 to 31, 14 chapters in total and it spans a timeline of approximately 8 years when David was approximately 22 years of age until he was 30. It’s one difficult situation after another, it goes on and on, life and death.
Here is what I’ve learned from David during this time and it signals to us how we should handle life when it’s gone downhill.
1) Go to God in each & every situation and ask for guidance & receive that guidance.
2) Do not try to get out of your difficulty by doing something wrong, or by trying to circumvent the problem or trying to extract yourself from it. Realize God knows your circumstance and He will help you.
You must be patient and endure.
With David, Saul’s jealousy and fear turned him against David for the rest of his life.
1 Samuel 18:29 (NIV)
29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.
David used to eat at the King’s table, but no more. He’s being chased all over Israel by Saul who is determined to kill him. David can’t stay in 1 place very long. As soon as Saul hears of it he pursues him, relentlessly with 3000 men. David had 600 men. Like a dog on a bone Saul pursues David to kill him, he wouldn’t go away or stop.
That’s like us too, sometimes our problems our difficulties just won’t go, won’t fade, won’t disappear. They wear you down, you feel weary, defeated, hope fades.
David’s bad dream life lasted 8 years, it went on and on. DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE DAVID RAN TO OR FLED FROM?
It STARTED at David’s own house, he ran from there out the back window when Saul’s soldiers came for him. Then to Ramah (where Samuel was), Naioth, Nob, Gath, Cave of Adullam, Mizpah, Keilah, Desert in Ziph, Horesh, Cave in Engidi, Maon , Hill of Hakilah , Philistine, Jezreel & Ziklag.
I want to look at 2 incidents during this time of flight that best illustrate how David handled this difficult period of his life, these 8 years. But know this first, David’s difficulties didn’t end after 8 years, nor do ours. We may have times of intense difficulties but they never really fade away to nothing. Our lives are a series of peaks and valleys until we reach heaven. Difficulties are unrelenting. So what we need to discover is how handle the ups and downs the highs and lows, the intense and not so intense periods of our lives and remain consistent in our response and in our dealing with life and consistent with our God.
#1 Go to God in each & every situation and ask for guidance & receive that guidance.
1 Samuel 23:1-4 (NIV)
23 When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” 2 he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”
The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”
3 But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”
4 Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord
answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.”
David inquired of the Lord in 1 Samuel 22 and 23, 4 times in just 2 chapters.
It was his habit, ask God, ask God, every day, and in every way, ask God
AND SO SHOULD WE, ASK EVERY DAY, FOR EVERY SITUATION. ASK GOD
Do you have a difficulty going on in your life today? Ask God to help. And then receive God’s guidance David knew firsthand that God should and would lead him.
Psalm 32:8 (NIV)
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV)
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Don’t try it on your own, solve it by yourself, ask God and receive His guidance.
#2 Do not try to get out of your difficulty by doing something wrong, or by trying to circumvent the problem or by trying to extract yourself from it. Realize God knows your circumstance and He will help you. You must be patient and endure.
1 Samuel 24:3-7 (NIV)
3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said[a] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
We have a tendency to try to take matters into our hands, to lead ourselves out of our difficulties and often it may involve doing something wrong, or harsh, or hurtful to others. This is not the way. We should fix our eyes on Him, let God lead you, let God guide you. But don’t rush in, stay true to God’s principles, do good by letting God lead.
Do not try to get out of your difficulty by doing something wrong, or by trying to circumvent the problem or by trying to extract yourself from it. Realize God knows your circumstance and He will help you. You must be patient and endure.
Psalm 142: 6 & 7 A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.
6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
When life goes downhill, goes into a valley, ask God for guidance and don’t try to get out of your difficulty by taking it into your hands, don’t do some wrong to get out of tension, the situation. Trust God, Ask God, Follow God. Amen.