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Cloudy Days . . . Dark Nights, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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June 22, 2022 7:05 am

Cloudy Days . . . Dark Nights, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 22, 2022 7:05 am

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny

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Have you ever been stuck in a season of rebellion? When you opt for a disobedient style of life, when you choose carnality rather than spirituality, you begin to serve an adversary cause. You see, you've got to pay the piper.

When you slump in the slew of despond, and rather than look up for the hand where help will lead you out, while you're down there, it is easy to think, well, it's better to live here. We want to believe that when we lead a life of obedience, the skies will be sunny and blue, but the Bible never promises fair weather conditions for those who follow God. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues our biographical series on David. As we review another season in David's life, we'll be reminded that even spiritual giants suffer the consequences of their poor choices. 1 Samuel 27 describes a period when the celebrated warrior paid a price for his rebellion and discouragement followed.

Chuck titled his message, Cloudy Days, Dark Nights. There is no way the Christian can go through this life en route to heaven without spending some time, unfortunately, in the slew of despond. If you think you can escape that bog, you are dreaming.

You are not facing facts. Now, our desire is not to chide David because he was despondent. Our concern is what he did when he fell in. There was a fork in the road, and he took the wrong way, and the result was predictable. It was misery, compromise, and in fact 16 long months of disobedience. David experienced it because of three things.

I'd like to have you see them with me. Notice the chapter begins, Then David said to himself, uh-oh, there's your first problem. It's important if you talk to yourself that you tell yourself the right thing. David didn't. So the very first cause for his experience in the slew of despond is what I would call humanistic viewpoint. He looked at life strictly from the horizontal. You won't find David praying once in this chapter. David never looked up until much further down the line as we end the message. You'll see him do that, but he is coming off a spiritual high, an emotional high. Remember, he could have slain Saul twice, but he didn't. He was about to kill Nabal, but Abigail stood in his way and said, don't do that. So he's experienced a great deal of victory.

He's come off the crest of victory, and that's a very vulnerable spot. The second thing that caused his problem was pessimistic reasoning. See what he says? Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. Well, that's wrong, David.

You know better than that. You notice that it's in the future. He says, I will perish. He doesn't know the future, but pessimists continually focus on the future and come out wrong. In their minds, the future is inevitably bleak.

A pessimistic reasoning surrounded David. I'll perish. You know, Samuel had said, you're going to be the king. God spoke through Abigail and said, you're going to be the king. God spoke through Jonathan and said, you'll be the next king. Even Saul, the enemy, had said, David, I realize I'm looking at my replacement, but David denied all of those promises that God had given, and he said, I'll perish. I'll never see the kingdom. There's a third reason that he was in this deep despondency, and that is rationalistic logic led him there.

Look at what he says. I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines. Can you believe that statement?

That's rationalism. That says, times are hard. God's left me. I thought I could be king, but I'll never be king. I'm going to die if I keep on the front edge of Saul's army. He's going to catch up with me. I'll have to escape. I'll go to Philistia. Well, for sure, Saul wouldn't look for him in the Philistine camp, because that's where the adversary lives, and I don't want this to be such an allegory.

You miss what we're saying. It's a beautiful picture of a Christian that opts for carnality. David is an illustration of a believer who is a believer on the inside, but on the outside he looks just like a non-believer.

It is like a non-Christian. He says, I'll go to Philistia, but he didn't go alone. He and the six hundred men who were with him. David is a commander. He's the commander-in-chief of the guerrilla troops, the Israeli troops.

He's trained these men in the cave of Adelum. They have done battle in the wilderness and among the border tribes, and he should have known when he went they would go with him. Not only they, verse three, David lived with Achish at Gath, but he and his men and their households. So now we have David plus 600 plus 600 households. Furthermore, it says in verse three that David's wives Ahinoam and Abigail went along as well. You do not simply live independently of everyone else. When you make a decision that is wrong, you take a course that is not God's plan. You take it rather extensively among those as well that trust you and count on you and look to you and believe in you.

Well, really the balance of the message is on the consequences of that poor decision, but let me point out a couple of three right now, and then we'll go further into the passage and show you the balance of them. Look at verse four. It was told Saul that David had fled to Gath. By the way, remember Gath? Remember a giant?

Remember his hometown? Goliath of Gath. And now that's David's home.

Can you believe it? Only a matter of years since he slew Goliath and in the valley of Elah, and yet after a number of years of running and now beginning to fade in the stretch, he runs back to Gath and decides he'll live there with Achish, the king, the arch enemy of the Israelites. It says it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he, that Saul, no longer searched for him.

The first consequence is that it created a false sense of security. Hey, I'm safe in Philistia. At last, I don't have to mess with those troops of Saul that had been on my back and following my steps, hunting and haunting me. The pressure's gone. What a relief.

Saul stopped following him. If you'll mark your margin of your Bible with a pencil, I'd appreciate your putting down a verse of scripture. You can read it later. It says in my notes Hebrews 11 25, and in it is a phrase that we have mouthed for years, the passing pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11 25 is a context of Moses, who rather than living in Egypt, he chose to live with the people of God, and it says in the decision he made, he chose to walk with God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. And don't you doubt it, sin has its pleasures. Disobedience has its exhilarating moments.

We're fools to deny it. There are times when we relax and enjoy disobedience because of the pleasures, but they are always passing. They are always in transition, and they never bring ultimate satisfaction.

Never. And here is a case in point. We often think those passing pleasures of sin are the overt pleasures. Sometimes it's just a release of pressure. When I'm under this this intensity, walking with God, and I opt for the other side of the road, suddenly there's a release of pressure, and I say this is great.

It pays off. Saul no longer sought him. It's kind of like what the New Testament says when they say peace, peace, peace. Watch out. Destruction is near.

Now there's another reason. There's another consequence. See verse 5. David said to Achish, here's the giant killer talking to the to the king, the king of Gath. He says, if now I have found favor in your sight, let them, them would be the citizens of Gath, let the citizens give me a place in one of the cities in the country that I may live there.

For why should your servant live in the royal city with you? The second consequence is submission to an adversary cause. When you opt for a disobedient style of life, when you choose carnality rather than spirituality, you begin to serve an adversary cause. And I can't believe David calls himself the servant of Achish, but that's what he is. You see, you got to pay the piper.

When you slump in the slew of despond, and rather than look up for the hand where help will lead you out, while you're down there, it is easy to think, well, it's better to live here. Which brings up the third, verses 6 and 7. Achish gave Ziklag to him that day.

Remember that name, by the way. It means nothing to you right now, but it's significant later on in the story. Achish talked it over with his troops, and they said, let's give him Ziklag. So it says, they gave him Ziklag, and Ziklag belonged to the kings of Judah this day, and the number of the days David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.

So the third consequence is it led to a lengthy period of compromise. You can say, oh, it won't hurt a day or two in this style. I can get back into the swing of things. It doesn't work like that. There is something magnetic about slumping into despondency and beginning a life style like the lost world.

You just don't snap out of it. Abraham, when he went down to Egypt, stayed for a while. His nephew Lot, when he went to Sodom, began to pitch his tent near there, and before long he was living there, and finally he became one of the elders that sat at the gate of the city of Sodom. He was identified with it, and David, now 16 months, this is the man who was the sweet singer of Israel. By the way, there's not one time you'll find a psalm attributed to those days when he was with Achish in Gath, or Ziklag. In other words, the sweet singer of Israel was mute. He wrote no songs when he was in this slump. You can mark it down for sure that the carnal Christian is not singing songs.

There is a lack of production and there is a lack of deep joy that marks the life of the carnal Christian. You don't find much happiness flowing out of the life of David. You think, maybe Achish didn't really take him seriously. Maybe he just said, well, we'll play along with him for a while.

Wait a minute, look at 29.3, just for a moment. Over at chapter 2, verse 3 of chapter 29, the commanders of the Philistines said, what are these Hebrews doing here? Achish said to the commanders, is this not David, the servant of Saul, the king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or rather these years? And I found no fault in him. Notice, from the day he deserted to me, to this day.

Achish didn't misunderstand. He saw it as desertion. It's a clear case of defection. David, who has walked with God, now defects and walks away from God.

And there are some here in that very state, I am sure. You have known the joys and ecstasies of walking with Christ, and the penetration of despondency has happened. And you've opted for the wrong fork in the road, and you're now in the camp of carnality. I have a pastor friend who calls it the carnal chorale, where many Christians choose to live. By the way, they are the ones that give trouble to the church, the local church. You have no trouble with the spiritual-minded Christian.

It's the carnal Christian that gives you grief. Now, the winds and storm begin to increase as David has opted for this style. Notice a rather rapid movement of events, and you, I think, will be interested in some insights, geographically, as to how it applies to David's style.

Let me show them to you. First of all, there is a duplicity that marks David's steps. Webster says that duplicity is deception by pretending. You pretend to entertain one set of feelings, but really you're operating from another entirely. Deep inside David, he was an Israelite. He would always be an Israelite, but he's trying to live like a Philistine on the outside. That's what happens when you spend your time in the carnal chorale. You're a believer down inside, but your lifestyle, you're wanting to make it look free from that bondage, quote-unquote. So you're in this miserable dilemma which creates the need to compromise, and that's precisely what David does here.

He's on the horns of a dilemma militarily. See verse 8? David and his men went up and raided the Gesherites and the Gerzites and the Amalekites, for they were the inhabitants of the land from ancient times.

Verse 9 says David attacked the land and didn't leave a man or a woman alive. Well, wait a minute. Let's get a little geography in our heads.

It'll help. If our life depended on it, probably none of us could even point out on a map where the Gesherites and Gerzites and Amalekites lived, or who they were, or why that guy up front's making such a big deal out of them. What's so important about those three groups? Well, what is important is to say where they were sort of neutral people. They were neither the... Well, they were the enemies of Israel, but they were not the allies of Philistia, sort of like Russia in the Second World War, the European theater. That's where we ran into trouble with Berlin, you see. They were the enemies of Nazi Germany, but they were not the allies of America.

Okay? They were in that quasi position that later on they tipped their hand and showed they were not our allies. And so David, when he's down in Ziklag, and by the way, that's the second most southern city in Palestine, way down there, just above Beersheba, he's in Ziklag and he's safe militarily. So he does some skirmishes, he fights with the border troops who are described as the Gerzites and the... The Gesherites and Gerzites and the Amalekites, they're safe people to slaughter.

They're border people, but they're not really Philistine enemies or allies. What I want to show you is that David begins to be very vague in reporting his actions. And I can hardly wait to make this point in its allegory, but just a second, look at the point here.

Look at what he says. Verse 9, he attacked the land. Notice he didn't leave a man or woman alive.

What did he do? Total extermination, nobody living to tell what really happened. Not a person was alive. The land was strewn with them on the hillside. He took the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothing.

That's a rather complete job of mopping up, I would say. And then he returned and came to Achish. Now look at this dialogue. Achish said, where have you been? Where have you made a raid today? Apparently David was responsible to report back, he was accountable to Achish. Achish says, where'd you make your raid today?

Look at the vagueness. David said, against the Negev of Judah. The Negev is a Hebrew word for south. Oh Achish, I was fighting in the southern part of Judah, implying I was killing those people of Judah, Israelites. But he wasn't killing the Israelites. He was killing the Amalekites and the Geshurites and all those otherites.

He wasn't killing the people of Israel. But he was vague. He veiled his answer in terms that couldn't be pinpointed.

There wasn't a clarity about his position. Ever talked to a carnal Christian about his life? Man, they are masters at this particular thing. We do it as kids, you know, back in those days when we covered it up with our folks. I'll never forget that Halloween day where I threw those eggs on that house of that teacher that I didn't like and two other guys who made me do it. And the three of us that night, I didn't know it, but the guy living inside, I didn't know he was in there. And he stepped out front and he shot, the shotgun went off. I set a record that day in a hundred yard dash.

I jumped a six foot fence that the next day I couldn't climb over. The night before I just went, then I walked in the house. My mother said, where have you been?

And I said, outside. That is a veiled answer. And we got pretty specific later on. Talk to a carnal Christian about where he's at.

He won't come to terms with you for love nor money. It's like, I was in the south fighting those people of Judah, implied, but not actually stated. Look at what else he does. He lies a little. And against the Geromilites and against the Kenites, a liar, he didn't fight those people.

That's why he wiped out those he did fight. So the word wouldn't get back to where his head really was. He was covering up the traces.

You see, he was, he's doing his homework. So nobody would really know where he was. And verse 11 drives it home. There's a secrecy here. See, David didn't leave a man or a woman alive to bring to Gath saying, lest they should tell about us, saying, so has David done and so has been his practice all the time.

He's lived in the country of the Philistines. We don't want anybody to say that. And so what do you do when you operate from the carnal corral? You, you operate in secrecy. You don't want to be accountable. You don't want anybody asking and you cover up. This is a season in David's life that's often overlooked.

We often picture Israel's king as a fearless warrior, but rarely as someone who covered up his carnal desires. You're going to hear the rest of the story on the next edition of Insight for Living. And if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. But please stay with us because we'll hear a personal comment from Chuck in just a moment. Right now, I'm pleased to remind you that Chuck wrote a biography that coincides with his teaching series on David, and it's available right now by giving us a call or visiting our online store. If you're looking for a book to read this summer, one that will remind you of God's unfailing love, even in our lowest moments, we highly recommend this one. It's called David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. To purchase a copy right now, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can go online to insight.org-slash-offer. Here's Chuck. Thanks, Bill. Lest you think your Bible teacher lives in a protective bubble devoid of any disappointments and unwanted surprises, let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. My world is no different than your world. The Swindalls are not immune from the travails and the trials of this life. Even so, my heart is revived because God has proven himself faithful over and over again. That's what we love about David, right?

In our current study, we're allowed a front row seat in the theater of David's extraordinary life. His humble career started on the dusty hillside where he was caring for his father's smelly sheep. You remember that. Later, he would bear arms. During one season, David slumped into depression, and ultimately, he occupied the highest office in the land. What contrasts he endured.

Before you're too impressed, remember this. David's trajectory to the top was punctuated with embarrassing missteps. He was far from perfect. And yet, God pointed to David and said this of him. There, that one right there.

He's a man after my own heart. Well here at Insight for Living Ministries, this is our hope-filled message to a generation that's struggling for survival. This is our grace-filled message to a world that's bogged down in guilt and in shame. This is our radical message to a culture that's dissatisfied with the status quo. And now, as we draw another season to a close, would you be among those who make it possible for us to share Insight for Living far and wide? God has been so good to this nonprofit ministry. And yet, our financial goal for June remains enormous. And he's allowing each of us to be a part of his master plan of provision.

That includes you. As God prompts you to give, please respond right away. You'll never regret following his lead. And please keep listening as we examine David's life in our lifelong pursuit of becoming a man or a woman after God's own heart. Thanks Chuck. As you're prepared to join with us in providing these daily programs, we invite you to give generously. Let me tell you how you can respond. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

That's 800-772-8888. Or you can give online at insight.org slash donate. Your gifts truly do make a difference. Let me share this comment from a grateful friend who said, Pastor Chuck, I started reading your books 25 years ago through our pastor in the Philippines. It was a great help in my spiritual growth. Then one day my stubborn and rebellious heart went astray. I hid from God for a number of years. I ignored him because I was enjoying and loving my sins.

And it was exactly a year ago that I ran back to his arms. I thank God for your life. Wow, that is beautiful. Once again, our web address is insight.org slash donate, and we look forward to hearing from you soon. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll portrays the darkness of David's discouragement and the path to recovery.

Thursday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Cloudy Days, Dark Nights, was copyrighted in 1978, 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-30 17:35:35 / 2023-03-30 17:45:07 / 10

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