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Cloudy Days . . . Dark Nights, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2022 7:05 am

Cloudy Days . . . Dark Nights, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Today on Insight for Living. Because he opted for the wrong fork in the road, David bought a style of life that resulted in an incredible sense of turmoil. He became a displaced person. Life in the pits is a sense of being displaced.

Battle of identity. It's seen at 1 Samuel chapter 27. After a season of rebellion, David was feeling sorry for himself. And in his self-pity, David slipped into a state of depression. His story, and therefore our story, needn't end here. When we follow the prescribed steps toward recovery, our rebellion can rise to redemption. 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, where many Christians choose to live. 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 corral. 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. What's so important about those three groups? Well, what is important is that 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. 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 Gershites and the Gesherites and the 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 did 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 other rights. He wasn't killing the people of Israel. But he veiled his answer in terms that couldn't be pinpointed. There wasn't a clarity about his position. Talk to a carnal Christian about where he's at.

He won't come to terms with you for love nor money. 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 Jeromilites 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'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 and we don't want anybody to say that. And so what do you do when you operate from the carnal corral? You operate in secrecy. You don't want to be accountable. You don't want anybody asking.

And you cover up. It says in verse 12 that Achish believed him. In fact, he said, he has surely made himself odious among his people Israel, therefore he will become my servant forever. Now, we're not through.

We're almost, but we're not through. I want you to track with me now quickly to see the injury and the devastation that happened inside David like in no one else, not even Achish. Because he opted for the wrong fork in the road, David bought a style of life that resulted in an incredible sense of turmoil. I want you to think in these last points in stair steps down, okay, like this. Four steps down until he came to a point of despair, altogether despair. The first one is this.

He became a displaced person. And why would I say that? Look at 29 6.

29 6. Let me tell you the background. Achish has had some flack from the people of Philistia. Why in the world are all those Israelites living down in Ziklag? They were getting a little antsy about what was going on down there, and Achish was defending him, saying everything's clean, everything's clear, David's our guy. They said, no, we don't want him down there. We don't want him up fighting for us.

We don't believe him. And so there's this flack back and forth, and so Achish has come to David to face him that they can no longer tolerate having him around. Look at this, verse 6. Achish called David and said, as the Lord lives, you've been upright, you're going out, you're coming in with me, with the army, are pleasing in my sight.

I have not found evil in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, you're not pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Now therefore return and go in peace that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines. In the words of the Philistines, David said, what have I done?

What I want you to see is that he now becomes a man without a country. You know what the trouble now David wrestles with? His identity.

That's the first wrestling of carnality. Who am I? What is my mission? Where am I going?

What's all of this about, this stuff that I've believed all my life? Where is my allegiance? There's an identity crisis that happens inside David. He's a displaced person. They don't want him around. He's neither fish nor fowl.

He's neither Philistine nor Israelite. Like the carnal Christian, he doesn't feel comfortable in the things of God, but he doesn't feel comfortable fully with his life in the pits. And all that stuff, there's a sense of being displaced, battle of identity. Second, there's a battle of satisfaction.

Notice what he says. There's disillusionment. That's the next step down, disillusionment. David said, what have I done? And what have you found in me from the day when I came before you that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my Lord the King?

Achish answered and says, I know that, you're pleasing, all that good stuff, but you've got to leave. So David is wrestling now with disillusionment. By and by, the benefits of carnality are eclipsed by the liabilities. There are times when one walks away from God and it feels pleasurable and relieving and delightful, but after a while the bills come due and you've got to pay the piper.

And when you start paying the piper, there's disillusionment. I don't know of anybody in our day that's done a better job of addressing this issue than Francis Schaeffer in his book, How Should We Then Live? Some criticize his book because he sweeps over great eras rather rapidly and succinctly. Nevertheless, he's done yeoman's work for us as Christians. He has shown us how the concept of secular humanism as it has stretched itself over our lifestyle has now taken its toll on the youth of our day.

And what's happened? The things they believed in didn't pay off, whether it was drugs or booze or free love or just plain old empiricism or rationalism or humanism. They put their stock in those things and it paid rotten dividends. They got hung out to dry. And what happened to the youth was disillusionment. They dropped out, they tuned in and they turned off and they lost. You talk to the youth of that generation, he'll tell you that's true.

Some of the tragic scenes in that book by Schaeffer will just blow your mind. That's what happened to David. That's what happens to you or me.

It doesn't satisfy. Third is distrust. The people who once trusted me now turn against me and I'm on an island and now I have a battle with self-respect.

Are you following it? First there is a displacement and then there is disillusionment and then there is distrust. People who look to me as a guide and as a friend and as a leader now turn me off and they're not looking to me.

They are in fact embittered against me. See verse 1 of chapter 30. It happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, chapter 30 now. That the Amalekites, the ones that he had raided earlier, had raided his city and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire. Put yourself in David's sandals. Coming up over the hill on horseback, coming from this disillusioning experience, he looks out over the city of Ziklag and it is burned to the ground just like you're driving home tonight and your neighborhood has been burned with fire.

And there's a series of cement slabs and a driveway that runs up to nothing but a flat slab. It's burned to the ground. That's what David saw. Verse 2, they took captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great, without killing anyone, carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, behold it was burned with fire and their wives and sons and daughters had been taken captive.

Can't imagine that awesome sense of depression. David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept, for there was no strength in them to weep, until there was no strength in them to weep. They wept until they were cried out. If you've cried that long, then you know the depth of that depression. Now look at what happened.

Look. Verse 6, David was greatly distressed. The Hebrew word is depressed.

That's the fourth step down. Depression. He was greatly depressed because the people spoke of stoning him. There's that distrust. The guys he trained in the cave, his crack troops from the wilderness of Paran, these guys are saying, we don't trust David anymore. It says they were embittered against him, each one because of the sons and the daughters.

Hey, let me have your attention. It's at that juncture that a Christian thinks about taking his life. When it comes to that place, there has been a loss of trust in him and now in the disillusionment of it all, there is depression. And the only way to cope, save turning back to God and claiming his forgiveness, is to take your life. I don't know of an exception that I've dealt with in which individuals have not gone down virtually the precise path I've drawn from this passage.

It's tragic. Now will you notice that he opted for the right road at this point? God never gives up on his children. Verse 6 closes, and I close, but David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Now you're talking. That's the way to handle the slew and to spawn, David. Reach up! Help is there! Notice no one is there to counsel. There's no one there to give the crutches and the strength. He's alone. All his guys have turned against him.

They've ridden off in all different directions. And alone in the ruins of Ziklag, David looks up for the first time in 16 months. And he says, oh God, help me. I come to this timeless truth that's woven all the way through the passage. Dark days call for right thinking and vertical focus.

That's what I learned from David. I wish he had done it 16 months earlier, but he didn't, did he? Finally, he finds that the slew of the spawn isn't designed to throw him on his back.

It's designed to bring him to his knees. Does this seem strange to you as it does a little bit to me that John Bunyan wrote the greatest work in the slew of the spawn? His greatest work, he turned the prison into a pulpit. He left a legacy. Over 12 years in prison, thrown back in that third time, and he thought, God, there's something that I can do rather than just end it all.

He did it. Let me level with you tonight. I think that some of our visitors and friends came for reasons you can't really explain. You just sort of slipped in, maybe heard about the church. And I have assumed, perhaps unwisely, all the way through this message that we are Christians. Not people who come to church, but people who have given our lives to Jesus Christ by faith.

And that is not true of everyone here, I'm convinced. It might be that the slew of the spawn has come your way to bring you to Jesus Christ. Not to church, but to Christ. He who died for our sins and took our place on the cross, which we as sinners deserve, death itself.

He opened the way to heaven where man and mankind might know God personally. And I'd like to close by addressing you especially. Will you bow your heads, please?

Close your eyes. I won't linger long at this, I just feel like it needs to be said. I offer you a gift, my friend. In a congregation this large, I know there are some who have never accepted the gift. There's nothing magical, there's nothing complicated.

There's really nothing that tangibly remarkable, where you hear things and see things and feel things. But there is an offer, where God says to you, my son died for you, Jesus paid it all for your sins. And right this moment, take him, believe in him, receive that gift that I offer you. It doesn't come because you have paid money or attended a church or tried to give up your sins. None of those things open my heart to you. But just believe in Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Change your mind concerning him, receive him now. We've been talking about leaning on him alone.

I offer you that choice right now. Our Father, we thank you for speaking to us in relevant terms and tones about our lives from the life of a man who lived centuries ago. We appreciate so very much that when you put your book into print, you didn't write a riddle and you didn't play games with us. You found no joy in mocking us.

You came to us like we are and you talked to us in words that we could understand and you made the offer crystal clear. And you never paint your saints as perfect. You show us these men and women with all the cracks of humanity. So that we might never get our eyes on the Davids or the Moses or the Abigails, but only on Christ. Tonight, thank you for showing us Christ through David and forgiveness through his failure. In Jesus' name, Amen. Maybe you identify with John Bunyan's character Pilgrim, who spent far too much time trudging through the slew of despond. Carnality woos us away from God and the outcome of our rebellion is devastating.

How much better to find our satisfaction in God's goodness and grace? You're listening to Insight for Living. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, Cloudy Days, Dark Nights.

To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insightworld.org. First, I'll remind you that Chuck wrote a full length biography on David. It's called David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. In the early days, David was known for his integrity and courage. But as we heard in today's message, David made some regrettable mistakes.

Even so, God maintained his affection for David. It's a beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. In fact, redemption is the overarching theme that's woven throughout Chuck's biography on David. It's a great choice for your summertime reading. To purchase a copy, give us a call.

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. Perhaps it goes without saying that we're living in chaotic times. The headlines are filled with alarming news about inflation rates, innocent families threatened by rogue nations, and the unsettling aftermath of a global pandemic. Amidst these distractions, my hope and my prayer is that Insight for Living has become a calming oasis for you and for many others. By design, this is a place that dispenses the life-changing truth of the Bible. Our daily focus is vertical, not horizontal. We look upward for our answers, not outward. This is a place where God's wisdom, not human wisdom, reigns supreme. And it's all made possible because people just like you give voluntary donations. That's the truth. People just like you make it happen.

On June the 30th, Insight for Living Ministries will close the accounting books on another financial year. The goal we need to reach for June is enormous, but we know that our God is great. He will supply our every need, and he will do that through his people who give generously.

People, again, just like you. So please, as we give our contact information, take a note and then give us a call. Or perhaps you wish to go online or even address a letter. As someone who gives to Insight for Living Ministries, you personally play a major role in providing a calming oasis in chaotic times. So ahead of time, even before your gift comes, I want to say thank you so much. Thanks Chuck.

And here's how to respond. You can give online at insight.org slash donate. Or if you prefer, give us a call. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888.

That's 800-772-8888. Rest assured that your gift, no matter the size, truly makes a difference. You can be encouraged by this brief note from a grateful listener who said, I was headed in the wrong direction before following Jesus, arrested twice and participating in all the vices. But thanks to Insight for Living, I changed my family tree for at least this generation and the next. Thank you for all you've done for millions around the world.

Isn't that great? It's your contributions that make comments like these possible. Once again, you can give us a call. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888. Or you can give online at insight.org slash donate.

I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his biographical series on David, Friday 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 09:49:14 / 2023-03-30 09:58:20 / 9

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