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Life's Most Subtle Temptation, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 13, 2022 7:05 am

Life's Most Subtle Temptation, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 13, 2022 7:05 am

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny

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Never feel tempted to get even.

Today from Chuck Swindoll. Never take your own revenge, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. In the flesh I lie in wait for him or her to be in a vulnerable spot, so in that vulnerability my depravity can go to work and I get back. It's the nature of the beast unless God takes charge. When we picture King David, we're prone to see him as a fearless warrior who conquered massive armies.

But the Bible paints a true portrait, warts and all. In 1 Samuel 24, we discover a flaw in David's character. He was tempted, as we are, to get even with his enemies. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll recreates a volatile moment when David could have taken down the king.

Maybe you're dealing with a villain who's offended you and you're ready to fight. Let's listen as Chuck describes how to handle life's most subtle temptation. Have you ever given thought to life's most subtle temptation? Have you thought about what that might be?

Do that right now. I'd like to think about that question today as we continue our study in the life of David out of 1 Samuel 24. As I read the chapter that describes another instance of David running for his life from the murderous hand of King Saul, take a moment and try to guess what life's most subtle temptation might be. Please turn with me to 1 Samuel 24, beginning at verse 1 and continuing to the end of the chapter.

Don't let your mind drift. It's a narrative worth remembering. As Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men in front of the rock of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave. And Saul went in to relieve himself.

Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. The men of David said to him, Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, Behold, I'm about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you. Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul's robe secretly. It came about afterward that David's conscience bothered him, because he had cut off the edge of Saul's robe.

So he said to his men, Far be it from me, because of the Lord, that I should do this thing to my Lord, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord's anointed. David persuaded his men with these words, and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way. Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, saying, My lord the king.

And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and prostrated himself. David said to Saul, Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, Behold, David seeks to harm you. Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord has given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you. But my eye had pity on you, and I said, I will not stretch out my hand against my Lord, for he is the Lord's anointed. Now, my father, see, indeed see the edge of your robe in my hand. For in that I cut off the edge of your robe, and did not kill you. Know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you, but my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness, but my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog?

A single flea? The Lord therefore be judge, and decide between you and me. And may he see and plead my cause, and deliver me from your hand. When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David?

Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, You are more righteous than I, for you have dealt well with me while I have dealt wickedly with you. You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand, and yet you did not kill me.

For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. Now behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. So now, swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name after my father's household. And David swore to Saul. And Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. 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, Life's Most Subtle Temptation. If I had the ability to do something miraculous, I think a scandal would quickly spread in this church. If I could flash on the wall behind me the picture of you this evening who entertain feelings of revenge, it would probably embarrass a number.

If I could show you on one side and a doll with pins in it, with the face of your enemy on the other side, we probably would empty the church, or at least almost, as some would be running to the telephone, others would be running out in embarrassment, and maybe a few who have nothing to fear by way of exposure would just enjoy staying right on through this time. Because you have learned the secret of vengeance. It's the most subtle temptation in all of life to get even. It might be with an employer who promised you something and didn't come through. It might be with a mate who walked away when you needed him or her the most. It might be with your mom or dad who failed, frankly.

And you live today in the backwash. You have been, as it were, done wrong, and you're waiting for the moment to get even. It could be with a friend with whom you trusted some very intimate information, and the friend not only turned against you and revealed it, but is telling lies on you. Or maybe a coach who took you off the first string and benched you with faulty information, and you really are first string material.

Or a teacher who refused to hear you out and graded you down. Shall I keep going, or is that enough? We all have our own world, huh? Now, we call this two different things. First of all, we call this my rights, don't we? I have my rights.

I'm not a doormat. I refuse to lie down and let him run his tracks over me anymore. I have my rights. If you're a little more educated, you say, this is justified retaliation.

That's the other thing we call it. Which is saying the same thing as the first. I'm justified in retaliating. I did right. He's done me wrong.

I'm going to get back. Now, God calls it vengeance. Let's see what he says about it. Before you look at 1 Samuel 24, check Romans 12, beginning at verse 17. It is nothing more than plain, hardcore revenge.

That's what it is. And look at the word that God uses in Romans 12, 17, the very first word to describe the times you're to get back. Never. Now, he wrote this, I didn't. Had I written it, it wouldn't be never.

It would be usually. But he says never. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. God doesn't usually in his word give us such extreme statements as never anyone.

But he does here. And we're not talking about national defense. We're not talking about defending our shores when the enemy comes. We're not talking about standing up for what is right when such right is ours as a nation. We're talking about a personal offense where evil was done to us, and we didn't like it. He says, respect what is right in the sight of all men.

And Paul, being a realist, puts it better in verse 18 if possible. So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. In other words, you can't change the other person. You can handle you through God's power. And he says, if there's to be any blame, leave it with him. Don't you live with it. You do all you can to be at peace.

Now, maybe you won't have a track without hurdles. But as far as your path is concerned, nothing stands between you and that person. Then verse 19 says it again, never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God. For it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. That is what God has written. Everything I have to offer from this message has to do with verses 17, 18, and 19 of Romans 12. And we have a classic case in point with an individual named David who had been wronged by his superior named Saul.

Before we look at it, you can find your way back there to chapter 24, 1 Samuel. I want to give you the process that we go through in doing revenge. Give you three words to put down.

They kind of have a ring to them. First, injury. Second, vulnerability. Third, depravity. When you mix the three together, you get revenge.

If you're running the show. I have had a personal offense. I have been hurt individually from another individual. I have personally been injured. In the flesh, I lie in wait for him or her to be in a vulnerable spot so in that vulnerability, my depravity can go to work and I get back.

It's the nature of the beast. You see it in traffic. I saw the most incredible thing this last week. A guy in a brand new Porsche was right in front of me. I was behind him going, you know. And a great big double trailer truck was tooling down along the left lane and cut in front, too close admittedly, of this Porsche. And this guy driving the Porsche showers down on it. He cuts in front of the truck.

That's the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life. Sacrificing this beautiful car in front of this great big beast that's on the highway. Why did he do it? Because he has his rights. Now, it goes all the way back to Cain who brought his offering to God. And God says, I don't accept that. Cain looked over his brother's shoulder and God said to Abel, I accept that. And he didn't like that. He was injured. So when his brother was in a vulnerable spot, one on one, with Cain, he killed him. The Hebrew word is to cut the throat. He cut his brother's throat.

He murdered him. That's the nature of the beast. We can sit in this neat place tonight, well dressed and under control, almost. We can think, wow, that's no problem. I've got a handle on that. And before you're home, it can happen.

You suffer a personal injury and you wait in the flesh for him to be in a vulnerable spot. And you're going to get in your licks. Unless God takes charge. Now, that's what this passage is all about. And don't forget where we've been with David. What a great guy.

Somebody did their homework with young David. He was promoted to a place as an officer in the Israeli army. Just before this promotion, he killed a giant. Remember Goliath?

Certainly we remember. And the people began to sing his praises. The women in the street sang, Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands. Saul wasn't a big enough man to watch the man his junior promoted above him in popularity. So Saul viewed him with suspicion.

Remember what happened? He tried to take his life more than once. And finally, he demoted him from the army.

He stripped him of his rank. And David became a fugitive in the wilderness of Judah. He lost his home, lost his wife. He lost his counselor friend. He lost his closest friend, Jonathan. And finally, his own self-respect as he dribbled in his beard like a madman in front of the king of Gath. And he crawled in a cave wanting to die.

Just as soon as I finished this message this evening in the first service, a guy came up to me and he says, I just heard the neatest story. It reminded me a little bit about what you were talking about tonight. He said it was about this fellow who had this heavy, heavy pack in life. And he was trudging along with this heavy bag. And the road was rough and the pack got heavy and heavier and finally just dropped it down. And he said, I'm ready to die. And suddenly, the death angel appeared and said, did you call for me? And the guy said, yeah, would you help me get this pack back up on my back here?

When you look at the alternatives, it really isn't as bad as you think. Now David came to the end. David had nothing to look forward to in the cave of Adullam. And of all things, God sent to him 400 malcontents. And David began to give his life to the training of those fellows. And it grew 200 more until there were 600 and they became kind of a band of gorillas.

Kind of in Robin Hood fashion, they became the mavericks as we're going to see next time in chapter 25. They sort of maintained right away from the law of the land. And God was preparing David for a new kind of role on the throne of Israel. But all the time over these years, not months, but years, Saul has been dogging his steps, waiting for his enemy to be vulnerable so he can kill him.

I doubt that there are many here, probably safe to say none, that have ever had a contract out on their lives. But David did. And not just from Saul, but the army of Israel was committed to the death of David. If you look at verse 28 of chapter 23, you'll see that they returned from pursuing David, the whole army, 23, 28, and went to meet the Philistines.

Therefore, they called the place the Rock of Escape. So they came to a place and they realized they got to go back and do battle because the Philistines were moving in, and Saul said, leave off this job, we'll come back to it later, and he went to do the Philistine number. Verse 29, David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.

It means nothing to us tonight unless you do a little geographical homework. You'll find that Engedi is 600 feet above sea level, far above the Dead Sea, and there is what is called a fountain of the goats that pours over this beautiful stream that sort of falls 600 feet and splashes off the rocks and down into the region we know today as the Dead Sea. And to get up to that area, you have to take it very gingerly because the rocks are quite threatening, and only the sure-footed animals could make it. Well, David and his men got up into Engedi in the strongholds. That's why in the next chapter we read, verse 2, of the rock of the wild goats. Laced in the hillside of Engedi are these caves.

I read that they are limestone hillsides mixed with flint, and there are cool caves in this upper area, perfect place for camouflage. If you know anything about battle, the higher location is far superior to the lower, and that's where he was, so he could watch out for the army that was looking for him. And here is David, safe and secure in one of the caves in Engedi, just checking from day to day with a bountiful water supply.

They can eat the animals they kill, so they are supplied with what they need, just safe and secure. Now remember, David has been injured by a madman named Saul who is hunting for him. Now, so much for the situation. Verse 1, it came about when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines. He was told, behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Ah, Saul's mine. Let's go get him. Verse 3, and he, that Saul, came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave. Now hang on. And Saul went in to relieve himself.

Now what would you say if you were in my shoes tonight? The Bible is a real book, friends. I read this to one of the staff members, and their response was, I bet David said to him, smile, you're on candid camera. Okay, he answered the call of nature, and Saul found a cave, but not just any cave.

Talk about vulnerability. Look at verse 3. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of that cave.

Oh no. Bad enough to be seen, but to be in the cave of the enemy, oh man. Now if you ever want to test the carnality of man, ask your close friends what you should do when your enemy is vulnerable. Oh, they'll tell you to go for it every time.

Unless they're men or women of God. It was an awkward moment for both David and Saul, but God would use this encounter in the cave to determine David's destiny. Be sure to be listening when Chuck Swindoll tells the rest of the story. And please stay with us because we save the closing moments of today's Insight for Living to hear a closing illustration from Chuck.

But first, if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. In this series on David, Chuck presented a message called Every Crutch Removed. He showed us how God sometimes takes away the things we lean on, such as people or even our personal freedom, in order to teach us how to rely fully on Him. Along those lines, we received an encouraging note from one of your fellow listeners. He said, Chuck, I'm 51 years old and have spent nearly half of my life in the prison system. 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. 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 like that. It bolsters our confidence in the power of God's Word.

And let me add, thank you for supporting Insight for Living as well. This former inmate heard the truth of God's Word because friends like you gave voluntary contributions. Here's Chuck.

Thanks, Bill. Okay, for a moment, picture this. Imagine walking on a pair of crutches down an open sidewalk. All of a sudden, someone kicks your crutches, making you fall to the ground. Somewhat miffed, you look back at the perpetrator, and to your surprise, it's none other than God.

All right, all right, I realize that's an unpleasant picture. Nevertheless, that's really how God works at times. All of us rely on crutches.

We are leaners by design. But in reality, only one crutch can give us the true support we need. So, why does God remove our crutches? Well, David gives us a clue, remember? One by one, God kicked his crutches away.

Good position? Gone. His wife? Gone. Homeland? Gone. His friend, Jonathan?

Gone. Here's the point. David needed to feel the pain of leaning on anything other than God. So he could then feel the stability of leaning on nothing other than God.

It saddens me that so many of us lean on shaky crutches. And for that reason, day after day, Insight for a Living invites our global audience to take God's hand and lean wholly on Him. So, as we approach the end of another ministry year, will you join me in helping others depend on the stabilizing support of Jesus Christ alone? The Lord has been generous to us this year. And we believe He will continue to bless our efforts through the generosity of people just like you.

So, let me hear from you today, okay? Together, let's help others lean on Jesus. He's all sufficient.

Jesus Christ is all we need. Thanks, Chuck. And here's how to respond. You can give your donation by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

Or it may be quicker and more efficient to simply give a gift online at Insight.org slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe what he calls life's most subtle temptation.

Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, life's most subtle temptation, 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 / 2023-04-06 01:18:59 / 2023-04-06 01:30:11 / 11

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