Today, on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. No matter how high the exaltation may be, we never are to lose our teachability. You will always find people who will be able to give you input that's valuable.
Don't turn it off. None of us reaches the level where we are above criticism. And let's continue to learn. Sometime our best lessons can be learned from our enemies. Ever noticed how some of our biggest battles occur not outside the camp, but often from within? Whether at the office, at home, or even in church, we're surprised when the toughest relational conflict occurs between those we care about most.
Well today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll concludes a message introduced last week. Just off the heels of victory when David slew the giant Goliath, we watch an ugly tension grow between David and his predecessor. We're in 1 Samuel chapter 18.
Chuck titled this message, Aftermath of a Giant Killing. God knew that David needed an intimate friend to go through the valley that was ahead of him. And that's true in our lives as well. And there's something about an intimate friend that allows you to knit your soul with him or with her. See how it's rendered in verse 1?
The soul of Jonathan was knit. There is an interweaving of soul with soul. It's what I call a kindred spirit. I want to share with you four characteristics of an intimate friend from the passage we're looking at and a couple of chapters before us.
Okay, here they are. Number one, an intimate friend is characterized by a voluntary willingness to sacrifice. You don't have to beg of close friend for a favor. He is voluntarily or she is voluntarily willing to sacrifice. See verse 4? Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. He wanted to give David something that belonged to him and was meaningful to him. Friends do that.
Let me give you another one. Chapter 19, verses 4 and 5, an intimate friend is a loyal defense before others. He won't talk against you when you're not around. See, 19-4, Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul, his father.
Hey, now listen, that was significant. Saul was not only his father, Saul was the enemy of David and Jonathan stood up to his father and said, Dad, you're wrong about David. It says he spoke well of David to Saul. He said, do not let the king sin against his servant David since he has not sinned against you since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel and you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?
That's a defense. Here's the third one, 20 verse 41. We're talking about an intimate friendship that Jonathan had with David. We've talked about how there's a voluntary willingness to sacrifice, a loyal defense before others.
The third one is a complete freedom to be yourself. When you've got a friend, you don't have to explain why you do what you do, you just do it. When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. He wasn't worshiping, he was in anguish.
He just fell over and he fell over and he fell again and they kissed each other and wept together but David more. When you've got an intimate friend and your heart is broken, you can bleed all over that friend and that person will understand. He'll say, that's fine. You got a good friend and he's hurting, let him hurt. Good friend feels like weeping, let him weep. Let him complain a little. He knows it's wrong. You want somebody to hear him.
Isn't it true that those kind of people are rare? When you've got an intimate friend, he hangs with you. Even when you're to the point of cursing, he stays right there. And there's a fourth characteristic and that is he's a source of constant encouragement.
23, 15, 16. David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life. Think of that and look at Jonathan. Verse 16, Jonathan, Saul's son arose and went to David at Horesh and encouraged him in God. Wow, that's the kind of friend I want.
Some friends come and tell you the seven bad things that could happen when he gets a hold of you. But others come and say, look, let me tell you what God's gonna do. Isn't it important when you have a friend like this and you see them in a low tide, you're there and wherever you can, you bring encouragement. Sometime an encouragement is nothing more than, I understand how that feels. You have every right to have those feelings. I support you in them. I stand with you.
There will be a brighter day someday, but right now it seems like the end. Okay, that was affection. Now let's read on. The plot thickens in chapter 18, verse 5, 18, 5, David went out wherever Saul sent him and he prospered. Here's our word, he prospered. Not only before Saul, but it says Saul set him over the men of war and he prospered there.
He had never served over troops, but he did and he did it well. It was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also the sight of Saul's servants. David knew how to conduct himself with the servants in the court.
What a man. Young shepherd lad came into the court and when he was with the servants, they liked him. When he served over the troops, he was fair. When he served in Saul's presence, Saul loved him. It says in verse 6, it happened as they were coming when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines and joy and musical instruments, sort of an operetta in the street. They were singing and dancing and banging around those crazy tambourines and doing their Israeli dances and they were saying this, Saul has slain his thousands and David is ten thousands.
What a great day the champion really lives in our ranks. God has exalted himself in the life of David. Now you would think Saul stood there and thought, may that young man get the honor. That's a rare, rare response. Here is the king who is standing next to a nobody who is being exalted and how great it would have been if that king had said, stand alone, Dave.
You deserve that honor, man. Listen to him. But he didn't.
As a matter of fact, he hated David. Before I look at that relationship, I want to show you something about a person who is wise. When it says he prospered four times in this passage, turn to Proverbs. I found three very insightful things about a person who is wise.
Proverbs chapter 10 verse 19 reveals the first thing. It's revealing. 10 19, when there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise. So one of the characteristics of being a person who is wise is you know how to restrain your lips. You know how to keep your mouth shut. You can keep confidences when people say, look, don't share that. That's a characteristic of a good friend, by the way. He knows enough to ruin you, but he never tells.
You've let your life be open and vulnerable before him, but you trust him with the dirty details because you've got to share him with somebody. And he keeps his mouth closed. Furthermore, when he opens his mouth, he opens it with discretion. The living Bible says, don't talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible.
Turn off the flow. That's a sign of a wise person. When he talks, it's sensible and he keeps the flow down on low. Doesn't tell everything he knows. You always know there's more behind the counter than he is displaying.
That was David. Look at another one in chapter of Proverbs 1621. The wise in heart will be called discerning.
Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. 1621 tells us that the person who is wise is discerning. He isn't gullible. He sees through the phony. He sees the situation for what it really is and he acts accordingly. He is not irresponsible in his behavior. Wise. David had that ability. One more.
2111. Oh, may this one never be forgotten. When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise, but when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. He's teachable. No matter how high the exaltation may be, we never are to lose our teachability. You will always find people who will be able to give you input that's valuable.
Don't turn it off. None of us reaches the level where we are above criticism. And let's continue to learn. Sometime our best lessons can be learned from our enemies. That's the kind of man David was. He was discerning. He guarded his lips and he's kept a teachable spirit. Oh, may his tribe increase.
Back to 18 and we'll wrap it up with this fourth relationship, which is opposition. It's unfair now. I want you to realize it. David has done nothing to deserve the treatment Saul gave him. Just like some of you have done nothing to deserve the treatment you're getting at work or at school or in your home.
Or from another member of the family of God. Your motive was right, your action was right, but it's been misunderstood. Or out of just sheer jealousy, the person is making it hard for you. Stuart Briscoe writes in his book, What Works When Life Doesn't, a chapter on when being good doesn't seem to pay.
Listen to his first comments. Few things are more infuriating than seeing rogues go free while honest men suffer. There is nothing more disturbing than knowing that the hard hit will get hit harder while the protected will get more protection. This is particularly true if you're trying to do the right thing and it goes sour. While people around you are not even trying to do right, life is sweet for them. The unfairness and injustice of life is one of the hardest things to take. We may even get so envious of the people who go their merry way of irresponsibility and illegitimacy that we feel our struggle for right and justice is futile. Others seem to get away with murder and you can't even get away with thinking about it. You try to do an honest day's work. You endeavor to be honest and frugal and the more you try to do the things right, the more you find you are not appreciated.
You may even be ridiculed while the other people get all the gravy. When you look at some of the people in high places, you know they got there by shady means and they are there by, they stay there by even shadier tactics and nothing can be done about it. You know your boss is adjusting quote unquote his tax returns but he gets away with it. He has a plush office and a pleasure secretary.
While your office is so small you have to go outside to turn a page and you answer your own phone. Hey, all of this is true, isn't it? Just change a few details and that's life. I'll tell you life is not fair.
It's not just. The wicked prosper and the good and righteous are crushed and afflicted. God knows what he's doing. The cheater gets the great grades. It's remarkable.
The studious often wind up with a C and they're grateful for that and all the people said, amen. Hey, now here's David standing with Saul. He's done nothing more than kill a giant. You don't do that very often and he's walked back in the city and all the women are doing their dance and singing their songs and suddenly it hits Saul wrong just like it hit your boss wrong when you did the right thing and he took it the wrong way or your prof or your mate or your mom or your child. Verse 8, Saul became very angry. The Hebrew is vivid. Kara means to burn within. He did a slow burn. He didn't like that for the saying displeased him. The Hebrew word means inner turmoil. His stomach turned. He did a slow burn and his stomach sort of gripped him. Notice how fear and worry stepped in.
He said, they've ascribed to David ten thousands but to me they've ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom? He's paranoid.
See it? Hey man, I got a problem on my hands. I got a giant killer that's gonna become a king killer.
What am I gonna do about that? All of a sudden it says in verse 9, he looked at David with suspicion from that day on. David, he's our hero. He's done nothing to deserve that kind of treatment except serve God, kill giants and behave properly. In fact, verse 15 says, when Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him.
Wow, it's eloquent. Why did he dread him? He saw that God was on his side. He saw that he didn't have that kind of power and there's more he could handle.
Boy, the Bible is practical, isn't it? You rub shoulders with a jealous individual, he could be a roommate, he could be a boss, he could be a friend, he could be a mate. You got a hell on earth to live with. I was so jealous the younger years of our marriage, I can't believe it. Man, I kept my wife in a box. I don't know why I did that. You do dumb things when you're newly married. The only difference, I did a lot of dumb things.
Most people do a few, I did a lot of them. It hasn't been until just rather recently that I've seen the value of releasing her to a lot of people that could get the benefits that have been mine to enjoy all these days, all these years. She's got a lot to offer, but I've held her in, haven't released her. Do I talk to a jealous mate tonight?
You know, your mate has a lot of things to offer, a lot of people. You'll keep what you release, you'll lose what you try to hang on to. He is no fool who gets what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Let her go. Let her bless a whole world of people. That's the kind of generosity God will honor.
Who knows? He may have a plan for her that doesn't completely include you. You know, he's infallible, you're not. He's irreplaceable, you're not.
He's going to be glorified. So I've gotten to where in my premarital counseling I talk directly with couples about helping that individual reach complete fulfillment and they'll adore you for it. You won't lose them.
They'll absolutely adore you. That's real love. When God saves us, does he box us in? He unlocks the cage and says, you're free to be all that you could have been, but you had no power before and I give it to you. And there's David shackled with the suspicion of Saul.
Let me lay three things on you and we'll go home. Number one, not knowing the future forces us to take one day at a time. He gave David one day at a time and that's how David lived his life. When you don't know the future, that's how you live and that's a beautiful way to live. Not knowing the future forces us to live a day at a time, Moses wrote, sufficient unto each day is its own evil.
Jesus reiterated it in the in the Gospel of Matthew. Second, having a friend helps us face whatever comes our way. If you don't have a friend, I really pity you.
I would ask you to make that a regular prayer that God would give you, an intimate friend, so you can really know what it is to relate, to cultivate that part of you that needs it, make a better you. Okay, here's the third, being positive and wise is the best reaction to an enemy. You're not careful when you see your enemy coming, you'll start rolling up your mental sleeves thinking which jab you're gonna throw. And David is a beautiful illustration of how to handle an enemy. He just kept prospering, just kept behaving himself wisely. You know, I'm convinced that God has said one thing to one person and something altogether different to somebody sitting right next to you. He has a beautiful way of communicating truth so that it's just a beautiful pattern that strikes one person in an area, another person in another area, altogether different. And often he says the most that has never even been stated from the pulpit.
He's shared something within the word itself or between the lines that says to you, this is what I want you to hear. I think if we could learn one great truth from every message and put it into action, we would be remarkable in our maturity in a very brief period of time. One thing that God has said to you tonight, that's worth it all. Isn't it neat to live for Christ? Isn't it the most exciting adventure in the world? But it's hard, isn't it?
G. K. Chesterton has said, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It's been found difficult and not tried. It is tough. It's a lot easier to punch your enemy's lights out. It's a lot easier to get even because that satisfies your flesh. It's a lot easier to keep because that comes natural. It's hard to give.
It's a lot easier to work up your own suspicion and when he's not looking, get in your stroke. But that's not godly and that's not best. Lord, begin to show us in our study of the scriptures the difference between what pleases us and what pleases you. Start developing within us, our Father, such a sheer desire for obedience that will less and less even consider the options of disobedience. Bless in a very special way those Davids that hear this message, both here and beyond here, encouraging to stand fast, to do what is right without tiring of it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Maybe you've been listening to Chuck Swindoll talk about David and you're among those who are running out of strength and energy. We hope today's message has provided just the motivation you need to stay the course and keep doing what's right. You're listening to Insight for Living.
To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insightworld.org. In this teaching series on David, we've heard Chuck remind us that when we become a Christian, we're entering a battleground, not a playground. Plus, the real battles we face aren't only physical ones, but spiritual ones too.
We were reminded of this truth when we received a comment from one of your fellow listeners. She's a schoolteacher who described the gut-wrenching spiritual battle. Her son at age 20 fell into a deep depression.
He lost his will to live. She said, Chuck, although we've never met, your voice and words have brought me comfort in some of my darkest days. Through your sermons, I've learned ways to handle so many life issues with grace and dignity, including the mental health of my son. Gratefully, her son is on a road to recovery. She added, Chuck, I hope you see these words and realize what a blessing Insight for Living is to so many.
Well, I can assure you we see every comment and every letter. In fact, you're the reason that Insight for Living exists. Our mission is to help you understand how the Bible applies to every aspect of your life.
Here's Chuck. Whenever I have the privilege of meeting a radio listener, I hear the most amazing stories, stories of life change and dramatic transformation. When a man or a woman begins to embrace the truth of God's Word, when he or she has a genuine encounter with Christ, life is never the same. As you've listened to Insight for Living over the years, I would suspect you have your own story. God has done a magnificent work through Insight for Living to his credit and his glory alone. Intertwined in this work is your story and also my story.
Most importantly, it's his story. God has used the proclamation of his Word on Insight for Living to encourage and equip, to convert and transform lives. It's happened one year at a time. In fact, one life at a time. So with June 30th coming, let's make sure we keep this critical work of God moving ahead into the future with strength. Yes, Insight for Living is my story, it's your story and it's his story.
Let's make sure it's someone else's story too. Thanks so much. Thanks, Chuck. Here's how to respond to the need. If you're listening in the United States, you can give your donation by calling this number 800-772-8888. Or it may be quicker and more efficient to simply give a gift online at insight.org slash donate. Once again, that's insight.org slash donate. And thank you for your generous support of Insight for Living Ministries. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll describes what to do when we've run out of options.
That's our topic Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Aftermath of a Giant Killing, was copyrighted in 1977, 1988, 1997, and 2009. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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