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Every Crutch Removed, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2022 7:05 am

Every Crutch Removed, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 7, 2022 7:05 am

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny

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We'd be hard-pressed to recall a time in recent history when our society has felt more pressure than today. Financially, politically, and morally, our culture appears to be stretched to the breaking point, not to mention the deep divide that's so prevalent in our times. When the bottom drops out of our lives, it's as if God has removed every single crutch.

Maybe you've had that experience. Well, as we scan 1 Samuel chapters 18 through 21 today, we're going to see where that very thing happened in David's life. Following his success in slaying the giant Goliath, David experienced the most challenging and, I would even add, the most bewildering times in his entire life as every crutch was removed from him. In preparation for this very unusual section of Scripture, I'd like you to open your Bibles to 1 Samuel 18, beginning at verse 5 as we survey David's life during this most difficult period.

We will also read through randomly the next number of verses, so follow along with me. 1 Samuel 18.5 begins, 2 The women sang as they played, and said, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 2 Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him, and he said, They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands.

3 Now what more can he have but the kingdom? Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. 4 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual, and a spear was in Saul's hand. 5 Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, I will pin David to the wall.

But David escaped from his presence twice. 6 Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. 7 Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and appointed him as his commander of a thousand, and he went out and came in before the people. 8 David was prospering in all his ways, for the Lord was with him.

When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. 9 But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them. 10 Then Saul commanded his servants, Speak to David secretly, saying, Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you.

Now therefore become the king's son-in-law. 25 Saul then said, Thus you shall say to David, The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskin of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king's enemies. 26 Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David's enemy continually. 19 Now Saul told Jonathan his son, and all his servants, to put David to death.

But Jonathan, Saul's son, greatly delighted in David. 20 So Jonathan told David, saying, Saul, my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place, and hide yourself. 21 I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you.

If I find out anything, then I will tell you. 22 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. verse 9 Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul, as he was sitting in his house, with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the harp with his hand. verse 10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night. house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michael, David's wife, told him, saying, If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.

So Michael let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. Now, chapter 20, verse 1, Then David fled from Naoth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father that he is seeking my life? He said to him, Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing, either great or small, without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me?

It is not so. Yet David vowed again, saying, Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight. And he has said, Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved. But truly, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.

Now drop down to verse 30. Then Saul's anger burned against Jonathan, and he said to him, You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die. But Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, Why should he be put to death?

What has he done? Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down. So Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death. This is Insight for Living.

For resources designed to help you dig deeper into today's topic, go to insight.org. And now let's continue Chuck Swindoll's message titled, Every Crutch Removed. Well, we want David once again to minister to our lives in a very special visit as he steps inside where our heads are, and the Spirit of God uses him in a special way. I'm encouraged as we have reached the sixth message in the life of David with the relevance of this man and his experiences in our times.

There might be centuries between us and him, but there is no time, there is no difference as far as experiences are concerned. Tonight I want to survey 18, 19, 20, and a part of 21 of 1 Samuel with you, and you might open your Bible to the 18th chapter to start with. I have sort of a stack of notes that I want to use as a guideline to keep on target, but I really want to talk with you about the very familiar experience of leaning on others, other people, and other things besides leaning on the Lord. Now that has sort of a cliche ring about it that could cause you to miss the significance of it.

I really don't want you to miss it. I don't think there's a Christian who is not going through a time of having the crutches removed. Some of you are still in the process, others of you just have pretty well run out, and they're all gone. But God continually works to strip us of the things that we would put in His place and would lean on instead of leaning on Him.

He has a way of knowing which ones they are and touching them one by one. As we're children, we lean on our parents, and that's understandable. As we grow into school and into higher education, we lean on peers or the education itself.

We tend to be idealistic in school, and we tend to trip out or spin off into some ideal goal in our career or our future or when we finish, such and such. And that is sort of the crutch. We lean on the hope of some position. And then adulthood comes, and we begin to earn our own way, and we lean on our job, or we lean on our mate. We lean on a friend who might have a lot of bucks, or we lean on a person who takes the role of an adult parent to us. And that's the crutch. God knows it, and we come to see it more and more. And then when we come to terms with Him, we see how He's taking them away.

I've seen parents who begin to lean on their children, and I have seen adults who lean on some profession, some financial security. And I want you to know it's painful to have those crutches removed. David had five of them taken away from him. Before we look at David's, I want to give you some things about our crutches.

I've come up with three things that I find to be true. Number one, they become substitutes for the Lord. Hold your place here and look at Deuteronomy 33 17. Our crutches become substitutes for the Lord Himself. 33 17 of Deuteronomy reads, 33 27, excuse me, The eternal God is a dwelling place. The eternal God is a crutch, a refuge. And underneath are the everlasting arms. If you've walked with Christ very long, you've come across that verse.

If you haven't, that might be new input for you. And understand that the acceptable crutch that God wants to be in your life is revealed there in verse 27, the everlasting arms. You lean on Him. Isaiah 41 10 says, Do not fear, I am with you. Do not be dismayed or confused. I am your God. I will strengthen you.

I will help you. I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. I will uphold you.

Isaiah 41 10. I will be your crutch. Now as long as you lean on someone else, I can't be that crutch. As long as you lean on some other thing, I'm not that crutch. My right hand isn't upholding you. They are.

Okay? They become substitutes for the Lord. Secondly, they keep our focus horizontal. When you lean on another person or another thing, your focus is across this way, left to right, not up and down, vertical. You begin to focus on that other person or you rely on that thing, that nice secure account that's in the vault.

You can always fall back on that, that rich friend that you can go to when you really have a need or whatever. And those things keep our focus horizontal. Human crutches paralyze the faith walk. The third thing, they offer only temporary relief.

They offer only temporary relief. Martin Luther, by the way, was under the gun a lot of his life. In fact, his life was in danger. He had been threatened by the prelates of the church. He was for sure a marked man, and his friends, wanting to put him in a place of security, got him into a fortress high upon a mountain that overlooked the Rhine River. And while Luther was up there, he despaired. Even though everything around him was secure and he had no one to worry about, his needs were taken care of, he wrote his good friend Philip Melanchthon.

Philip Melanchthon was, in my opinion, the genius of the Reformation as far as Luther is concerned. And that tie between the two of them was so strong that Luther wrote Philip and he said, Philip, oh Philip, everything is lost. Everything is lost.

There is no hope even up here. And on his own he left the castle, the security of that place, and he went right back into the mainstream of life without any security, without any certainty. Knowing that he was in danger, he wrote the words, a mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.

Not the retreat hidden away in the stone of the mountains, right down in the shoe leather of daily living, the mighty fortress, the crutch is God, a bulwark never failing. That's what I want you to see and I admit to you and I will see from the life of David, it is a very painful thing to be stripped of the crutches. Now in 1 Samuel 18 verse 6 we begin the familiar story of David with Saul, his superior. And 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 with joy, with musical instruments. And the women sang as they played and said, Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands. Saul became very angry for this saying displeased him, verse 9, and Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

H.G. Wells has one of his historical characters as Mr. Polly. And in his book, The History of Mr. Polly, he writes this of that strange person. He was not so much a human being as he was a civil war. I think of Saul when I read that description. Saul became a living civil war, miserable, possessed of an evil spirit, mentally breaking, a suspicious, angry, resentful, jealous man. Saul struck out against the most trusted servant in his camp, David. In fact, we read that verse 11 says, verse 10, the next day an evil spirit came mightily on Saul and he raved in the midst of the house while David was playing the harp with his hands, as usual, and a spear was in Saul's hand and Saul hurled the spear for he thought, I will pin David to the wall. And here's David doing his thing and all of a sudden that spear comes right over on his side and his life's in danger and all of a sudden the bills come due. Suddenly reality strikes. Man, this guy's mad.

He's out of his head. Saul was afraid of David, verse 12. Isn't that interesting? The people who are out to get you are often afraid of you.

It's an interesting way of coping. The Lord was with him. But David prospered, verse 14. Verse 15, when Saul saw that David prospered greatly, he dreaded him. He couldn't put him together.

Any other person you throw a spear at, man, he's gone. David kept bouncing back, kept staying in the army, kept doing a job, and Saul couldn't put him together. Now, please understand that David has done nothing wrong, but God begins to pull the crutches away from David one by one. He takes five of them. Turn to page and look at chapter 19, verse 8.

We'll go down them rather swiftly so you can get the movement. You can feel it with the scene here. Here's David's life. He dreaded it. Saul dreaded him, verse 8. When there was war again, David went out and fought with the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter so that they fled before him. Now, David's position is an army officer in the Israeli army under Saul's command. David is an officer over a battalion or perhaps a division of men, and he went out, did the Philistine battle, and he defeated them. Verse 9. There was this evil spirit on Saul as he was sitting in his house, his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp, and Saul tried to pin David to the wall.

Here's the second time. But he slipped away out of Saul's presence so that he struck the spear into the wall, and David fled and escaped that night. Now, mark the words, David fled and escaped.

You're going to read them time after time tonight. David realized, first of all, he had lost the crutch of a good position. That's the first thing he lost. He had been brought into the army. He had proven himself a heroic, faithful soldier, and now it's all gone in the flash of a spear, and he's gone, and he runs. Never again is he in Saul's army. Some of you have lost your position.

Some of you are being threatened with the loss of a good position. It's a crutch upon which you have been leaning, perhaps, and God says, you lean on me. So he escaped and fled. Now, he fled to his home with his wife.

Now, we've dangled her before you a couple of Sunday nights. I want to go back and show you about his wife. Go to the chapter beforehand, chapter 18, verse 20.

Her name is Michael. Michael, verse 20, chapter 18. Saul's daughter loved David. When they told Saul the thing was agreeable to him, Saul thought, I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him.

That was nice of Saul, wasn't it? I'll give him my daughter. The Berkeley Bible says that she might let her be his undoing. I can't handle this girl, and I'll give her to David, and that'll be his undoing. And David marries Michael. Now, notice in chapter 19, this same girl, Michael, his wife, he comes home to her.

This is the next crutch that God removes, his wife. Notice that he fled and escaped that night, verse 10 closes, 19, 10, now 11. Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michael, David's wife, told him, saying, if you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be put to death.

Now, you think that's a very faithful expression, and it was so far. So Michael let David down through a window, and he went out, hear the words, and he fled and escaped. We've got a fugitive running from the authority. He is fleeing, and he is escaping to get away from Saul. But notice what happened afterwards. Saul said to Michael, why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go so that he has escaped?

I had to, Michael replied. He threatened to kill me if I didn't help him. So his wife's walked away from him. She deceived him and turned Saul further against him. In this study, Chuck Swindoll is citing five different crutches that God removed from David's life.

It caused him to hit rock bottom. But please keep listening to this message because Chuck will describe how God replaced David's crutches with something far better to lean on. This is Insight for Living.

Chuck titled today's message Every Crutch Removed. To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insightworld.org. And it's possible you're listening right now and thinking about the reliance you've developed on temporary crutches.

Maybe it's a relationship or a dream that's become shaky. At Insight for Living, we make it our mission to point people to Christ and His word, which is the only unshakable support we have. It wasn't long ago we heard from a gentleman who said, Chuck, I'm 51 years old and I've spent nearly half of my life in the Texas prison system. I was released from prison in September of 2020. For the last two years of my incarceration, I was a faithful listener to Insight for Living.

I couldn't wait for the broadcast daily at 8 a.m. and would usually listen again in the evening at 730. God put a hunger for His word in my heart and I'm so grateful for this ministry and still listen today. I am a life that was changed.

Well, we love hearing stories of redemption. And let me add, thank you for supporting Insight for Living as well. These daily programs are made possible because friends like you who value Chuck's teaching step forward and give. Along those lines, we're hoping you'll join us in making more of these redemptive stories possible.

Here's Chuck. If you're in the business world, you likely have some idea what it means to close the books on a financial year. Well, at Insight for Living, our nonprofit organization will close the financial year on June 30.

The day is coming soon. Fiscal year-end, we call it. Yes, it's an accounting term, a mile marker, an annual turning point for bookkeepers and accountants and ministries like ours. And Insight for Living is far more than any of those business terms.

We've set financial goals for June 30 that need to be met. That's the business part. But this is not a business.

You know this. It's a ministry. And so when I hear the deadline on June 30, I think about people, men and women like you, folks who rely on us to dispense and declare the truth of God's Word day in and day out.

Sure, we run Insight for Living like an efficient business behind the scenes because we know that's prudent and that's wise. We have a wonderful staff to help us do that. But we have never lost sight of those we reach.

And the one we serve. So now, can I count on you to help us? Your generous donation today will not only care for the business side of this ministry, but far more important, your donation will help us reach more people with Insight for Living. Today's the day.

I'm counting on you. Here's how to respond to Chuck Swindoll. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

That's 800-772-8888. Or you can simply give a gift online at insight.org slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues his message titled Every Crutch Removed.

That's tomorrow on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Every Crutch Removed, 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 16:24:49 / 2023-04-08 16:34:04 / 9

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