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Family Conflict Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
September 1, 2022 1:00 am

Family Conflict Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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September 1, 2022 1:00 am

It’s impossible to predict whom God is going to greatly use. God evaluated the shepherd boy, David, differently than his brothers did—without regard to appearance, personality, or intelligence. In this message, we follow David’s family tension through God’s selection of a new king. God used the conflicts of David’s early family life to prepare him to become king.

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Charles Stanley
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Runners in the race of life will not always have a clear track on a sunny day.

When clouds come, we need to know what to do. Today we begin a series to help us grow through conflict. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, you're embarking on a long journey with us on Running to Win.

Can you give us an overview of the teaching we'll be hearing? Well Dave, we're going to be talking about the life of David, and I'm going to be more honest than I would have to be, and I want to admit the fact that whenever I think of David, somehow in my soul I am conflicted. And the reason for that is, here's a man after God's own heart, who gave us most of our Psalms, and yet at the same time he was flawed in many different ways. We of course will be talking about his sin with Bathsheba, the killing of her husband, but more than that David actually was not a very good father.

His life does not end as well as we might have hoped it would. There was rebellion within the family, the whole bit. What is it that made David so special, a man who still blesses us?

It's because in the midst of all of that failure and conflict, he was always turning to God with his whole heart, and that's why we love the Psalms. So we're going to begin a series entitled Growing Through Conflict. It's really the life of David. We'll be talking about his conflict within the family.

As a matter of fact, we're beginning there today. His conflict with a giant, which of course we all know about, but also his conflict with Saul. There's so many lessons that we have to learn. Why is it that God allowed Saul to pursue David in the wilderness of Judea for ten full years? What was God's purpose? What is God's purpose in our lives for conflict?

I'm so glad that we're going to have the opportunity of exploring David's life. I think in the process we're going to be growing. We're going to be understanding the grace of God, even in the midst of failure, even in the midst of conflict.

So let's listen carefully as we begin this series of messages titled Growing Through Conflict. Did you know that it is practically impossible to predict whom God is going to greatly use? You look at a teenager, you look at a child in the nursery, and then you see them grow up and you see that they have gifts and abilities and you say to yourself, I know that they are gifted in a certain way, but you might not have any idea as to what God might choose to do through them.

It might be far greater than their abilities would ever let on. All that you need to do to be convinced is to ask the shepherd boy, David, who later became Israel's most famous king. This is the beginning of a series of messages on the life of David and what an interesting life it is that he led.

In a moment I'm going to ask you to turn to 1 Samuel chapter 16. In fact, you can turn there if you wish, but I do need to remind you, first of all, that there are usually two or three ways in which we evaluate people. One way is their appearance. James Dobson says that appearance is the gold coin of human worth. Those of you who are good-looking, those of you who are striking in your appearance, you have so many advantages over the rest of us. It's unbelievable.

You probably got all of the breaks in life. People gave you the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I was reading that they were trying to convict someone of some very terrible crimes, and the jury took one look at this young American boy, drop dead, good-looking, and they said there's no way in the world he could have done it, and they exonerated him despite the evidence.

If he had been average-looking, he probably would have been convicted of the crime even if the evidence might not have been that strong. It all has to do with appearance. Young women today, appearance is very important because we live in an age when beauty is so exaggerated and overemphasized, and oftentimes it turns out to be a curse, though, because they are pursued by young men, they are often misused because of their beauty. I said that on a college campus once. I said, you know, that you may think that beauty is a something favorable, I said, but it is actually a curse.

And I heard later that a young woman went into her room and prayed, oh, God, smite me with this curse, and may I never recover. Beauty, appealing personality, looks very important. The silver coin of human worth is intelligence.

You can get by looking very ordinary as long as you're a whiz kid, as long as you're good at computers, as long as you can play the trombone like nobody else can play it in music. As long as you have some gift that sets you apart, you're very fortunate because then you may get the recognition, you may get that sense of acceptance that you crave, but if you lack that and if you are brought up in a home where there was favoritism, and every home I think has favoritism, every home, even those of us who try to be so incredibly fair that when you pour juice in glasses, you measure it exactly, even those of us who wanted to be fair, we have our favorite children, and those who aren't our favorites, they know it. They feel unblest.

They feel unblest. I want you to know today that that's who I think David was. I believe that David was the unblest child in Jesse's family. And it is because of that he experienced some of the highs and lows. He had some emotional difficulties.

I don't think he ever really got over. David was always on a rollercoaster, some days very enthusiastic, sometimes even within the same psalm. He would go from a time of exhilaration and praise to the depths.

Usually it was the other way around. He spent a lot of time in the pit of depression, and in the midst of all of this, he was always looking for God. We're going to say that David was a very, very human individual. Unfortunately, many of us who are in the ministry, we have painted him to be extraordinary.

We have put him in a glass case. We've said that his life has been almost perfect, except for the fact that he committed adultery and murder, but that isn't true. David had so many failures. One day he joins the Philistine army and allows the spit to run down his beard, and he pretends he's insane.

This isn't very kingly. But I want you to know today that that's why we love David. It is because he is human, and because of all of his emotional turbulence, he kept pursuing God. He kept pursuing God. Sometimes we look at a life like David and we say, well, you know, God used him in spite of his weaknesses.

I would like to change that and say, God used him because of his weaknesses. And so we take our Bibles and we turn to 1 Samuel 16, where he was called out of the sheepfold, where he was a shepherd and has the responsibility now of carrying the burden of knowing that he is a king in waiting, a king in waiting. 1 Samuel 16, now the Lord said to Samuel, how long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go, and I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for myself among his sons. But Samuel said, how can I go when Saul hears of it?

He will kill me. The Lord said, take a heifer with you and say, I have come to sacrifice to the Lord and invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice, and I will show you what I will do, and I will anoint the one whom I have chosen for myself. Some people read the text and they say, well, was Samuel being dishonest? God says, you're going to get into trouble because Saul at this time, of course, was paranoid already.

And so Samuel says, I don't even want to be known as having gone to Bethlehem to try to find a king. And God says, well, then take a heifer with you and say that you're going to offer a sacrifice. Is that dishonest? Well, it wasn't dishonest because he did offer a sacrifice.

He did bring a heifer and he did offer it. And so far as the real purpose for his mission, that wasn't Saul's business. You know, there is such a thing as taking the truth and concealing it from those who have no business knowing the truth. If you can do so without fabrication, without lying. I have a friend who is so strict that he believes that no home should ever have an electronic timer.

Because the purpose of the timer is to have the lights on at a certain time during the evening to give the false impression that you're at home when you aren't. Well, my belief is that if some thief wants to think that I'm there because, even though I'm not, because the light is burning, that's his problem. That's not mine.

That's not mine. And so God here says, you conceal the truth. What you do is you go and you say that you're going to offer a heifer and you do offer the heifer so you're speaking truthfully and then you invite Jesse's sons and I will show you who is going to be the next king. So Jesse's sons come to Bethlehem. Verse 5, the congregation gathers there because remember Samuel was acting as a circuit judge and everyone was afraid.

They thought that they were perhaps in trouble. And so a congregation gathers and he says, I'm coming in peace. Verse 5, I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice. He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

And now the selection process begins. Then it came about when they entered, he looked at Elihab and thought, surely the Lord's anointed is before him. There are seven sons here, eight in all. One has not yet shown up for this interview but the first one was Elihab the first born. And he walks before Samuel and Samuel has no resume, no references, no interviews that he can conduct. All that he's doing is looking at his appearance which is really all that Samuel could do under the conditions and Elihab walks before him undoubtedly with a very pronounced step and with perhaps a big club and a huge spear and he looks very, very kingly. And of course Samuel says, surely this is the Lord's anointed.

You know the older I get the less I'm able to trust my ability to judge people because oftentimes you think that a person is going to be a certain way and then you get to know them and you discover that they have weaknesses and flaws and it's disappointing because you didn't see that at the beginning. And so here you have Samuel who's thinking that he's going to do God's will and says this is the anointed of the Lord. It would also make sense because Elihab was the first born. You first borns, I take pity on you.

Competitive, self-confident, strong-willed, suspicious oftentimes, driven, trying to prove something, laying down your life in your vocation so that somebody rises up and says you have it made and you're a self-made man. You know that those are some of the weaknesses of first borns but they have tremendous strengths. Most of the presidents of the United States were first borns. Most college presidents are first borns.

First borns make excellent leaders because of their strength and their drivenness. But in this instance the Lord says no. Verse 7, the Lord said to Samuel do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature because I have rejected him.

Ouch. I'm sure that Samuel was wise enough not to convey what he heard from the Lord. It was probably something internal and not external but Elihab knows that he has rejected. He's not going to be the one for whom Samuel has come in a search.

Well, what about Abinadab? Verse 8, Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel and he says neither has the Lord chosen this one. Second borns, usually much more compliant but God didn't want him either. And then apparently the third born, Shammah, he passes by. Third borns, usually very compliant and they're in the middle oftentimes struggling with their sense of identity but he says neither has the Lord chosen this one. And all seven sons pass by Samuel and each one is rejected of the Lord and Samuel, understandably, is confused.

He's confused. God told him, Samuel, in the sons of Jesse, one of his sons is going to be anointed for the next king. Seven sons show up after Jesse is told what this is all about and he can recruit all of his sons and not a one of them is selected by God for this very important position.

And so he says, are these all the children? Verse 11, and he said, well, there remains yet the youngest. This is the first hint that we have that David is not among the blessed children. He's not among the blessed. David struggled because of this.

You'll notice it says he is the youngest. Behold, he is tending the sheep, Samuel said to Jesse, send him and bring him for we will not sit down until he comes here. So he sent and brought him in and he was ruddy with a beautiful eyes and handsome appearance but apparently not very kingly and the Lord said, arise, anoint him. And Samuel took the oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers and the Spirit of God came mightily upon David from that day forward and Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

And that's the story. Well, how does his family treat him now that he is blessed? Did you notice what the text says in verse 13? Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, in the midst of his brothers. How did they accept the exaltation of their youngest brother? Well, can you imagine first of all what that ceremony must have been like?

Here is the runt of the family. Here is the one who is, as we shall see, really not well accepted by his brothers nor his father and he's the one who is brought and he's the one who receives the honor. We can understand how he was treated several ways. First of all, he was sent back to herding the sheep. Later on, he becomes Saul's armor bearer and he does some music for Saul because an evil spirit, verse 14, from the Lord departs from Saul and later on we shall have opportunity to discuss that text in detail as we shall see what David did when this spirit would seize the king and he became more paranoid and how the Lord used the playing of a harp in order to give Saul some rest in his spirit because Saul was struggling with this demon and a few others too because of some issues in his heart that he's not willing to take care of. But David always runs from taking care of the sheep to Saul's court and back again because if there is going to be any kingly pronouncements, if there is going to be any kingly honor, he certainly is not going to experience it from his own family. If you want to know what his brothers thought of him, let's fast forward it to four years later and look at chapter 17, verse 28. 17, verse 28, this is, you know, the story of Goliath as we shall be seeing in the next message. But David is running back and forth and he's taking care of the sheep and he says in verse 26, he says to the men who are standing by him, what will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God? And the people answered him in accord with this word saying, thus it will be done for the man who kills him. Now notice verse 28 of chapter 17, here it is. Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men and Eliab's anger burned against David and he says, why have you come down and with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart, for you have come down in order to see the battle.

Only if you are somewhere later in the birth order in your family, you know the power of an angry older brother and you know the hurt of these words and their pain. And David responds simply in verse 29 and says, what have I done now? Wasn't it just a question? You can see here Eliab's response to him. I want to venture to say that Eliab, who now passes off the scene and we never hear from him again in all of scripture, that's the end, that's the end of Eliab. I venture to believe that Eliab faced a tremendously important decision that day that David was anointed by Samuel. He did one of two things. Either he decided to repent and submit to God and say, God you've rejected me from being king, but that's fine. I'm willing to serve you in whatever capacity you want. All that I ask is that in my remaining days I be able to belong to you and that in itself is a great privilege. Here I am.

Do as seems good in your sight. He either did that or he died a bitter, angry, frustrated, unfulfilled, resentful man. He did one of those two. And it looks in chapter 17 as if it was the ladder. It was the ladder. It's very difficult sometimes, very difficult for those who have not been broken by God to accept success in the lives of others, particularly among their own family. The family is sometimes the last to recognize that there is greatness in their midst.

The family is the last to recognize that someone has been honored or that someone is worthy of honor because the family oftentimes with its own securities, its own dysfunctional relationships, it finds itself unable to support those whom God is greatly blessing because of resentment and anger and the totem pole and all of the other things. And what these brothers wanted to do, I believe, is to see David's crown taken and crushed into the dirt once for all. But isn't it refreshing to look at verse 7?

And this, by the way, is our key text for this message. Chapter 16, verse 7. Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature because I have rejected him, for God sees not as man sees. God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart. And here's David, the unblessed child. The unblessed child, if you've read Gary Smalley's book, The Blessing, you know that there are those within the family who sense that they are not blessed because they've never known the real warmth of unconditional acceptance. Here in the midst of this, God is saying, a man looks on the outward appearance. Parents judge their children one way or another, but God looks upon the heart.

Let me ask you a question. Do you feel accepted by your parents? Did you feel accepted by your parents? Just the other day, I was counseling a young man who is very bitter toward his father. Now, if you talk to the father, he says that he loves his son.

He cannot understand the kind of deep hurt that his son is experiencing. Families have conflict. David experienced that. And yet, in the midst of all of that conflict, you know he's the man that we talk most about. Ask the average Christian the name of some of David's brothers, they would not be able to give you any names, but we all remember David. That's why I've written a book entitled Growing Through Conflict, Lessons from the Life of David.

This book takes us through his life, shows us how conflict developed him, shows us how he continually depended upon God in the midst of his conflict, in the midst of his hurt, in the midst of his rejection and pain, and also shows God's grace in the midst of David's failures. I think that this book is going to be a tremendous blessing to you. We're making it available for a gift of any amount. And I want to thank you in advance for supporting the ministry of Running to Win.

Many of you have heard me say several times that Running to Win is in four different languages in 20 different countries, all because of people like you. For a gift of any amount, you can ask for Growing Through Conflict, Lessons from the Life of David. I hope that you have a pencil handy. Here's how you can do that. You can go to That's

Of course, rtwoffer is all one word. Or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Growing Through Conflict.

As a matter of fact, that's the only way we grow. And David's life illustrates that beautifully. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and invite your friends to join you as we continue this series of messages entitled Growing Through Conflict, Lessons from the Life of David. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Pastor Erwin Lutzer has brought part one of Family Conflict, the first message in a series on Growing Through Conflict, a journey through the life of King David. Next time, we learn more about King David's early life as Marked by Conflict. Plan to join us. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 06:59:53 / 2023-03-03 07:08:52 / 9

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