Archive for the ‘David Discipleship’ Category


Quit hanging on to the handrails . . . Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it every day. (Melody Beattie, “Finding Your Way Home”)

Sometimes it is great fun to go for the ride of your life, such as skydiving, bungee-jumping or zip-lining. The thrill is exhilarating. There is a ride that is much more important, much more exhilarating, but much too frightening for most. It is the RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE! Your very life depends upon it. It is the Gospel ride, the ride that depends entirely on an invisible Savior. Let’s discover the Gospel and see that it truly is the “RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE.”

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

Matthew – the Gospel of the Kingdom. (Matthew 4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.)

 Mark – the Gospel of God. (Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”)

 Luke – the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Luke 8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

 Philip – the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 Peter – the Good News of Peace through Jesus Christ.  Acts 10:36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)

 Paul – the Gospel of the Grace of God.  Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The Gospel – Good News that Brings a Reward

Gospel: εὐαγγέλιον, (euangelion) originally denoted a reward for good tidings; later, the idea of reward dropped, and the word stood for “the good news” itself.(1)

2 Samuel 18:19-22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?

The Gospel is the good news (+ )!The Plus is the Reward of Life with God!
God promises this reward. In fact, we must believe in His reward if we are to please God!

  • Heb 11:6 – You must believe that God is a rewarder of those that earnestly seek Him
  • Heb 12:1 – Jesus endured the shame and suffering of the cross for the reward (joy) that was set before Him

PAUL EXPLAINS THE GOSPEL

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

A. The SCOPE of the Gospel

1. The Plan 1 Corinthians 15:3 … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (mentioned twice).

2. Event in History 1 Corinthians 15:4-6 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…

3. Achievement (between the Father and the Son) Philippians 2:8-11 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

4. Free Offer Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. Application of the Achievement by Faith (forgiveness, justification, life). Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

The application is not the end. Forgiveness and freedom from guilt is great, but God’s purpose does not end with our being born again. The Gospel is given simply for us, it is given to accomplish the Purpose and Pleasure of God. THE GOSPEL …

6. Brings us to God 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, Ephesians 2:12-13 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Finally, the Gospel accomplishes what God is all about…

7. Accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him…

B. The SIGHT of the Gospel

The Gospel Achieves the Purpose and Pleasure of God

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

  1.  God Exercises [ʿāśāh] – “conveys the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view”(2)
  2. God Delights [ āp a ]: to incline to; figurative to be pleased with, desire(3); A verb meaning to delight in, to have pleasure, to have favor, to be pleased(4)

The Gospel Accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God.

We see this in 1 COR 15:1: “the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…”

  • You receive the unfailing love of God (hesed)
  • You stand in the Justice of God secured on the Cross (mishpat)
  • You are continually being saved through the Righteousness of Christ (tsedaqah)

(For definition of hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah and an understanding of their importance in discipleship…)

David made a decision to seek the Heart of God. In His seeking he discovered the ways of God, that those ways are always working to accomplish hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. David grew as a man of God when he reacted the right way to what God was trying to accomplish in his life. God worked in David’s life these three things: hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

C. The SUCCESS of the Gospel

Provides the Vehicle and the Highway

It is important that we see the Gospel as a driving force in our life. The Gospel is much more than a story that you believe in when you are a child and then forget about when you are older. The Gospel is the driving purpose and pleasure of God that is to be with us at Work, at Rest, at family gatherings, at the movies, at the restaurant, when we are dealing with pressures, dealing with physical problems. The Gospel is to be on our minds and in our hearts! The Gospel is the core belief of a child of God. It is the Vehicle that God has provided for us to bring peace, hope, faith, love, justice, righteousness and grace. It is the vehicle that will bring us to Him!

1.  The Gospel is the Death Burial & Resurrection (Vehicle)

a) Christ’s Death proved the Power of God’s Love over our Sin
b) Christ’s Burial proved the Power of God’s Justice over the Flesh
c) Christ’s Resurrection proved the Power of God’s Righteousness over the World

The Gospel Unites Us With God Himself

Not only is the Gospel the vehicle that we are to ride in, it provides the way, the roadway, the highway for our journey.

2. The Gospel is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Highway)

a) The Way to hesed (God’s Steadfast Love)
b) The Truth of mishpat (God’s Justice)
c) The Life of tsedaqah (God’s Righteousness)

The Gospel Unites Us With the Heart Of God - It is according to His Purpose & Pleasure

THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO GOD

Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. To know the way we have to by faith receive the mercy and unfailing love of Jesus Christ. Then we stand in the Truth of Jesus Words, the mishpat. Then we have Life as we abide in the Righteousness (tsedaqah) of Jesus Christ.

So the Elements of Discipleship which we found operating in David as he sought after the Heart of God are here in the Gospel.

3. The Gospel Lights the Way

a) The Gospel is the Lamp shining in a dark place. It that shines in your heart… 2 Peter 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

b) The Gospel is the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ… 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4. The Gospel Reaches the Destination – the Heart of God is revealed and made available to us in the Gospel.

The Gospel accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God, and therefore is the means of developing us into Disciples of Jesus Christ. This is the basis for Gospel Driven Discipleship.

Gospel driven discipleship realizes the Power of the Gospel to transform our lives, and propel us to the Heart of God. Gospel Driven Discipleship realizes that Discipleship is not about your own abilities or efforts, but it is about relying on the Power of Jesus Christ! You must be willing to give up everything or the Gospel will have no power in your life! It will cause the car to slow down and lose power, even stall out.

POP THE HOOD – TAKE A LOOK AT THE ENGINE of the GOSPEL!

My brother Mike bought a Mercedes that cost $197,000. He took me for a ride, but I said it didn’t seem that much better than my Mercedes that cost $60,000. But all he had to do was push the accelerator down. That car literally took off like a rocket. Not a hurky jerky rocket, but a smooth take your breath away rocket. The engine was a V12 that could rocket to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With his car, the engine was the star! And so it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lets pop the hood and see what drives the Gospel.

I Corinthians 15: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

A. The Love of the Gospel is Incomprehensible

Christ died for our Sins…Mercy and Love Incomprehensible. The Gospel is the visible expression of the unfailing love and mercy of Holy God for sinful man. God literally died and experienced the wrath of hell that we deserved because of our sin and disobedience. His love drove Him to pursue us by going to the cross, humbling himself to a horrible death, and drinking the wrath of God against sin.

While Jesus pleased His Father, and satisfied the demands of His justice and righteousness, we must receive this love by faith. We must humble ourselves before God and confess our sin and disobedience. We must need the salvation Jesus has provided. We must accept this gift as the perfect and total sacrifice for our sins. There cannot be one iota of dependence upon self for salvation. It is either all of Christ or it has no power to Bring us to God!

As Paul writes, we receive this loving gift bought with the Holy blood of God’s Son. His love is what we rest upon. There is no looking over your shoulder, no wondering why He is doing this to you, no thinking you have to do something to make Him love you. His love comes from the strength of His Name and His character. It does not depend upon how lovely you are. His love is steadfast, strong, unfailing, based upon His death for you. His love is incomprehensible. His desire is to bring you to Him. His desire is to live in your everyday life.
When the Light of the Gospel applies the Mercy of God to our heart, we are born again. Then the Word of God is applied to our soul and our lives are justified before God. We are made right with God through the application of His justice. Then daily we must lean entirely upon the Word of God for our righteousness, for our victory over this world. It can never be anything of our flesh, or it was belief (eike) without purpose. It was in vain.

Counterfeit Salvation is dependent upon self, upon the strength of your will and your flesh. It is false salvation based upon your interests and concerns. It is a false hope that somehow you can please God enough to allow you into His heaven. It is a belief that sets its eyes on yourself, and not on the Purpose and Pleasure of God alone. That belief is counterfeit, it is vanity and you will spend eternity in Hell. That is the belief that is in vain that Paul talks about.

B. The Truth of the Gospel is Impenetrable

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

  • Jesus acted according to the Truth of God’s Word.
  • Jesus died for our sins-the visible expression of the hesed of God.
  • Jesus body was buried-the justice of God was applied to this world through the broken body of His Son.

His body was anointed before His death… Mark 14:8-9 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

We often ignore the burial, and jump to the resurrection. But the burial was dealing with the body, with this flesh. Sin had corrupted this world, our flesh, and Jesus needed to bring Justice to this corrupt world. He had to make it right so that God could once again say “it is good!” The preparation and burial of His body was significant in that it represented the application of mishpat to this world.

God’s Word is triumphant over this flesh-power over sin, over addiction, over disease!

  • The Truth of the Gospel has application for every area of our lives.

Jesus rose again in victory over sin and Satan and the grave. That victory can be experienced by us each and every day of our lives. That victory came because of His righteousness. His righteousness can be ours. His victory can be ours!

C. The Victory of the Gospel is Inexplicable

that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

His righteousness is ours because of the Victory of the Gospel. All it takes is seeing Jesus for who He really is, our Savior, our Lord, our God!

  • The Gospel transformed a cowardly fisherman into a mighty voice for God.
  • The Gospel transformed a cheating tax collector into a mighty witness to those he had cheated.
  • The Gospel transformed a hateful murderer into a witness before Kings.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful, that to know and experience the Gospel, all you must do is see and recognize Jesus as the Christ for who He truly is.

You can know all the verses we talked about today. You can go to church, you can give money. You may have been raised in a Christian home. You may have done tremendous things on His behalf. The question is this: Has Jesus appeared to you? Has the Light of the Gospel shone in your heart? Has the light of the Gospel shone you your sin, your disobedience. Has the light of the Gospel shown you the steadfast love of God?

THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL HAS POWER TO TRANSFORM

Charles Bradlaugh, a famous Atheist and contemporary with Charles Darwin, once challenged the Rev. H.P. Hughes to a debate. The preacher, who was head of a rescue mission in London, England, accepted the challenge with the condition that he could bring with him 100 men and women who would tell what had happened in their lives since trusting Christ as their Savior. They would be people who once lived in deep sin, some having come from poverty-stricken homes caused by the vices of their parents. Hughes said they would not only tell of their conversion, but would submit to cross-examination by any who doubted their stories. Furthermore, the minister invited his opponent to bring a group of non-believers who could tell how they were helped by their lack of faith. When the appointed day arrived, the preacher came, accompanied by 100 transformed persons. But Bradlaugh never showed up. The result? The meeting turned into a testimony time and many sinners who had gathered to hear the scheduled debate were converted.

I love this Quote about the Gospel:

A.B. Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel “Tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner cancelled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone. (5)

Will you let the Light shine in your life?

A couple who took their son, 11, and daughter, 7, to Carlsbad Caverns. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately was heard the voice of her brother: “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”(6)

In a real sense, that is the message of the gospel: light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. Everyday God shines the Light of the Gospel upon your life. The light is on, but you will not see it if your focus is upon yourself. Focus upon Jesus Christ. You can say yes to the light this very day. If you have backslidden away from the light you can get back to God by simply getting in the car and clinging to the wonderful power of the Gospel. What are your sights set upon.

What are you counting on for success in your life? What are you counting on to take you to God?

(1) William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Gospel”.
(2) Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “ʿāśāh“.
(3) James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2654″.
(4) Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 364.
(5) M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 29
(6) Bob Woods, Pulpit Digest

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Are you ready to Give up and Grab Hold? The plow is sitting out in the field. It needs someone to grab hold and help steer. God provides the power, but He needs faithful disciples to grab hold. The decision to become a Disciple of Jesus Christ is not a decision you make lightly. Nor is it a decision you can forget about and go on your merry way. David had made a decision to follow God, follow so closely that God’s Heart would become David’s heart. God never let David forget that decision. God used test after test to reveal those things in David’s heart and life that were getting in the way of his Discipleship decision. If you make such a decision, God will do the same to you.

God seeks to accomplish three things in the life of a Disciple. Those three things are revealed in Jer 9:24. They are “hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah”. He delights in these three things. These three things are His “good pleasure.”  As Paul wrote: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.(Phil 2:12b-13). If a disciple is to understand anything about God, it is that He will constantly be working in your life to accomplish these three things, for they are His “good pleasure.” If we are to boast in anything, it is only that we know and understand God, that He delights in these three things.

God used every test that David faced to grow and develop these three things in his life. These three things are the very foundation of God’s Kingdom here on Earth, of Jesus’ Kingdom during the millennium, of the Kingdom that the Church has been charged to usher into this world.

You may doubt the significance of these three things. I hope not. Ever since the Holy Spirit revealed this to me, the Word of God has shouted at me with LIFE! 40 years I have been in the Word, and I just last year saw this. I don’t find anyone teaching this on the internet or in writings. I believe it is truth God wants for our age.

David revealed their importance in Psalm 106.

Psalm 106:1-5 “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting. Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, Or can show forth all His praise? How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times! Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation, That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.”

A. They are the Grounds for Praise and Thanksgiving!

1.  Give thanks for His ‘hesed’ (loving-kindness, unfailing love)– it is everlasting
    • His hesed is the basis of His mighty deeds and bountiful praise. We do nothing to earn it or deserve it.
    • Justice is something we must covet, guard, desire, submit to. It is not of us but of God.
    • Requires commitment of heart, soul and strength. 24/7 diligence.
2.  Keep mishpat (Justice) and you will enjoy blessing
3.  Practice (accomplish) tsedaqah (Righteousness) at all times

B. They are the Grounds for Favor and Salvation!

God’s Steadfast Love (hesed), Justice (mishpat) and Righteousness (tsedaqah), when embraced and exercised, will empower disciples to:

1.  See the prosperity (well-being) of the chosen (Result of hesed changing our Heart’s Desire)
2.  Joy in the gladness of Your Nation (Result of mishpat bringing God’s design into our House and Dependants)
3.  Glory with Your Inheritance (Result of the Victory of Righteousness that produces the Hope of a Godly inheritance)

The rest of Psalms 106 is a revelation of what happens when we resist hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

Psalm 106:6-48 We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.

Psalm 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

God saved them for the sake of His Name.Yet look at how they resisted Him:

  • They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert.
  • Thus they exchanged their glory For the image of an ox that eats grass.
  • They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, Wonders in the land of Ham And awesome things by the Red Sea.
  • Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word, But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the LORD.
  • Therefore He swore to them That He would cast them down in the wilderness, And that He would cast their seed among the nations And scatter them in the lands.
  • They joined themselves also to Baal-peor, And ate sacrifices offered to the dead. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, And the plague broke out among them.
  • They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah, So that it went hard with Moses on their account; Because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips.
  • They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them.
  • They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood.
  • Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds.
  • Many times He would deliver them; They, however, were rebellious in their counsel, And so sank down in their iniquity.

Nevertheless He looked upon their distress When He heard their cry; And He remembered His covenant for their sake, And relented according to the greatness of His loving-kindness.

Even in Judgment He Loved them because of His Name! Discipleship is simply the following of God’s Name with all our heart, soul and strength!

He also made them objects of compassion In the presence of all their captors. Save us, O LORD our God, And gather us from among the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name And glory in Your praise. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the LORD!

The Journey through the Wilderness provides us everything we need to learn about what will prevent us from becoming Disciple’s of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew’s being led by Moses constantly resisted God, and so refused to advance in hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. 

But before we look at their example, we must see what God did when David humbled himself and cried out to God amidst the ashes of Ziklag…

David Hasaq’d himself in Jehovah Elohim

Last week we left David “hasaq(ing)” himself in Yahweh Elohim. Instead of becoming angry at God because of what had happened, David humbled himself, confessed his sins, and reached up to God, counting on His hesed, committing himself to following His justice and claiming His righteousness!

1 Samuel 30:7

David then called for the Priest, Abiathar, to enquire of the Lord with the Ephod. God gae instruction to pursue the raiders, and God assured David he would overtake them and rescue all of their families. God then led them to find an Egyptian slave who had been left behind due to a divinely appointed sickness. He gave David the intel they needed. They pursued and found the Amelikites scattered and revelling in their good fortune. They were easily defeated by David and his men. And as God had promised, nothing was lost, not even one toe nail of their families and possessions. In fact there was great spoil taken over and above what they had lost.

David and his men, their wives and children returned to Ziklag, and even divided things evenly, even with the men who had been too discouraged to pursue. (This represents a principle of Victory-it benefits everyone, especially those disciples who are weak with discouragement, or are simply feeding or working in the nursery, teaching the kids) Following the Lord in victory brings strength and bounty to all.

I want us to realize (as we’ll see), that with God, Victory results in Righteousness. Righteousness results in Victory. When even a few stand in Righteousness, the whole is benefited. When no one stands in Righteousness, the whole suffers terribly. However, only one kind of Righteousness is truly Victory. That is the Righteousness that comes from God alone. Righteousness which is by Faith alone. There is no room for self-righteousness or self-effort.

David also shared the Victory with all those who had strengthened him along the way.

1 Samuel 30:26-31 Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, …and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to go… saying, “Behold, a gift for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD “

David was back and battling against the enemies of the Lord! He wanted Judah to know it, that they could count on him when it came to battles against the enemies of the Lord. David was also showing his thankfulness to God and the people who had been a source of encouragement all those years.

When we are zealous for the Lord, we will be zealous in our gratitude for those who encourage us.

Unto the elders of Judah—These were the persons among whom he sojourned during his exile, and who had given him shelter and protection. Gratitude required these presents.[1]

1 Samuel 31

Meanwhile, a real battle was raging on Mt Gilboa, between the forces of Saul and the Philistines. The Philistines prevailed. Saul’s sons, including Jonathon, were killed. Saul was mortally wounded, and fearing what the Philistines would do to his body, fell on his own sword after his armor bearer refused. When the Israelites saw their King dead, they knew the battle was lost, and fled. The Philistines took over the area, and

The Philistines, finding Saul and his three sons among the slain, strip them of their armor, which they put in the house of Ashtoreth, cut off their heads, send the news to all the houses of their idols, and fasten the bodies of Saul and his three sons to the walls of Beth-shan, vv. 8-10. Valiant men of Jabesh-gilead go by night, and take away the bodies; burn them at Jabesh; bury their bones under a tamarisk tree; and fast seven days, vv. 11-13.[2]

2 Samuel 1

An Amalekite comes to David, and informs him that the Philistines had routed the Israelites; and that Saul and his sons were slain, vv. 1-4. And pretends that he himself had despatched Saul, finding him ready to fall alive into the hands of the Philistines, and had brought his crown and bracelets to David, vv. 5-10. David and his men mourn for Saul and his sons, vv. 11, 12. He orders the Amalekite, who professed that he had killed Saul, to be slain, vv. 13-16. David’s funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, vv. 17-27.[3] Look how David honored Saul and Jonathan:

2 Samuel 1:23-27 “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. “How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. “How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!”

Here is David, expressing a heart that holds no bitterness for the way he had been treated. Here is a grateful heart, a heart that is submissive to God, and so he can praise King Saul with an upright heart. God’s hesed was certainly at work in David’s heart!

2 Samuel 2

David, by the direction of God, goes up to Hebron, and is there anointed king over the house of Judah, vv. 1-4. He congratulates the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead on their kindness in rescuing the bodies of Saul and his sons from the Philistines, vv. 5-7. Abner anoints Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel; over whom he reigned two years, vv. 8-10. David reigns over Judah, in Hebron, seven years and six months, v. 11. Account of a battle between Abner, captain of the Israelites, and Joab, captain of the men of Judah; in which the former are routed with the loss of three hundred and sixty men: but Asahel, the brother of Joab, is killed by Abner, vv. 12-32.[4]

After 10 years of being on the run, going through every test a disciple could imagine, David is ready to reign as King. The Kingdom is still divided. Abner has put one of Saul’s sons as King over the Northern tribes. But for the next 7 years, Saul’s house will decline, while David’s will increase.

Why did David Succeed where Saul Failed?

It began as a young shepherd who fell in love with God and His Law. As he meditated on the Law, God brought all these wonderful insights into his life. He observed and learned the Ways of God.  The Law became the Psalms. The statutes became testimonies of God’s Word in David’s life! David saw the importance of hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah!

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

David’s very life became a testimony to God Law and the mishpat that it contains. “The mishpat of the Lord is true and righteous, more to be desired than honey, or even fine Gold. In keeping His mishpat there is great reward,” and Victory!

Have you made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as His Disciple?

I am not talking about your decision to ask Him into your heart. I am talking about your decision to abandon everything this world offers, and cling totally to Jesus Christ.

  • NASB Luke 14:33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
  • NLT Luke 14:33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
  • ESV Luke 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

You say “I need to hang on to my possessions to use them for the Lord. After all, who is going to provide clothes for the naked, food for the hungry and water for the thirsty?”

  • Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

If that is the reason you place such great store on your possessions, you are sadly mistaken. God knows the motives of your heart. He sees the greed, the lack of trust that is revealed by what you cling to. Whatever you do for the Lord, the test will be “did you do it because you are a disciple, or did you do it because you feel guilty?, or you feel it helps you, or it makes you feel good?” If you do anything for the Lord while clinging to your possessions, you have already lost your reward. The only way to keep the reward of Jesus Christ is to be a Disciple, and serve because He is Lord!

  • Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

That was the reason He told that group of ‘do-gooders’ to “depart, I never knew you!” They were doing good, they were saying “Jesus things”, but they had never given themselves completely to Him.

Are You Ready To Give Up and Grab Hold?

Understand the Lessons of the Tabernacle and the Wilderness Journey:

A. God’s Hesed is in the Centrality of the Ark

1.  Ark of the Covenant.-Law was added as a witness against them.

Deuteronomy 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

2.  Covered with the golden lid- kappōret – the mercy-seat.

Exodus 25:21-22 And you shall put the mercy-seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

The Ark was the testimony of God’s Covenant with His people, symbolic of His protection, provision, and blessing. Through the mercy-seat God could have a personal relationship with sinful man. It symbolized His unfailing love to a very fallible and failed man.

God made a covenant with His people. He was building a Nation, centered around the theme of REDEMPTION, bringing them into a Promised land, a land of milk and honey, a land where He would be their God, their King, their protector, and provider. It represented a victorious land, a land where the enemies of the Lord would be vanquished. Those enemies represented the flesh, sin and Satan.

B. God’s Mishpat is in the Centrality of the Tabernacle

1.  Wherever the Hebrews would go, God’s Justice was to reign as the Law of the land.
    • His justice would guide everything
    • Tent of Meeting became the Tabernacle located in the very heart of the Hebrews.
2.  Justice was centered around the Word and Worship of God.
    • Justice is not Political but Moral.
    • Morality comes through a change within, not from without. True Morality is not legislated.
3. The Tabernacle represented the mishpat of God. It was in the center of the 12 tribes.

As the Lord lays out in detail his design for the Tabernacle, he says, “Set up this Tabernacle according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain” (26:30). The word translated here as “pattern” is, in Hebrew, mishpat, which ordinarily means “justice” or “ordinance.” The unusual use of mishpat in this verse underscores the authority of God’s design. Moses and the Israelites were to be guided by the divine pattern when they set up the Tabernacle[5].

4.  The Temple was designed and built according to the “mishpat” of God.

1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

 The high priest wore a pouch called the breast piece of justice, containing the Urim and Thummim by which decisions were obtained from the Lord (Ex. 28:30). Doing what was right and just in the Lord’s eyes was far more important than presenting sacrifices to Him (Gen. 18:19; Prov. 21:3, 15).[6]

  • He executes justice [mishpat] for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146:7–9
  • The LORD your God . . . defends the cause [mishpat]of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the immigrant, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17–18
  • Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

C.  God’s Righteousness is Seen in His Victories!

Deuteronomy 6:24-25 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’

God promised His people Victory in everything they did, if they followed His mishpat. He termed this victory “Blessing” He assured them that Blessings would pursue them, the image being of a linebacker pursuing the quarterback, only in a good way.

1.  Righteousness is Victory from the Lord, from His Strength

The oldest meaning of tsedaqah, as judged by its use in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:1-31), appears to be ‘victory’.

Judges 5:11 To the sound of musicians at the watering places, there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the LORD, the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel. “Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD.

1 Samuel 12:7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.

When God and Israel mutually fulfill their covenant obligations to each other, a state of righteousness can be said to exist – that is, things are saddiq, ‘as they should be’.

2. Israel’s triumphant victories over her enemies were seen as proofs of the sidqot ’adonay (Victories of God)

In other words, God has bound himself by covenant to ‘make things right’ for his people, and to do so by acting unilaterally on their behalf. It’s true, the “range of meaning” of the word tsedaqah incorporates other meanings, but this meaning is particularly stressed in the Old Testament. .[7]

3.  Righteousness was Promised in Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute mishpat and tsedaqah in the earth.

The strongly soteriological overtones of the term tsedaqah can be illustrated from a number of passages in which ‘righteousness’ and ‘salvation’ are practically equated, particularly in many passages within Isaiah:

I will bring my tsedaqah near, it is not far away, And my salvation will not be delayed. (Isaiah 46:13)

How Then Should We Pray?

Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment (mishpāṭ), but behold oppression (miśpāḥ), for righteousness (ṣedāqâ), but behold a cry (seʾāqâ)[8]

We should be as the widow woman who came everyday to the unjust judge. She cried out for JUSTICE! In Isaiah 5, God looks for justice (mishpat) but sees only mispah or oppression. God looked for righteousness (tsedaqah) but found people crying (tseaqa). It is a play on words, for God sees the opposite of what He desires on earth. The word for “cry” is the same word in Genesis 19:13, which depicts the outcry against the sin of Sodom against the Lord. God is searching our country, hoping to find justice and righteousness, but instead He hears the cry of the oppressed and the sinful.

Genesis 19:13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”

What Should be our Response to Jesus’ plea for Disciples?

We should literally transfer ownership of everything we own, every dream we have, every hope in our heart, and lay it all at the foot of Jesus Christ. He is Lord, and we should hold nothing back. We should then cry out to Him to see Justice and Righteousness here on earth as it is in heaven! We must confess our fleshly attitudes, our bitterness, our temporal values and our moral impurity. We must get rid of every ‘besetting’ sin or habit or item that will hinder us from pursuing hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah!

Lift up the Name of God in your Life, You House and your World!

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

When we resist the Grace of God, we hinder God’s hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah from working in our lives. When we resist the Grace of God, we are being like the Jews in the wilderness, who were overcome in the wilderness, because they failed to believe God’s Word, failed to trust completely in God, and failed to obey God. They failed the Discipleship Test. The following chart illustrates how the Father of Lies works through our stubbornness and sinful resistance of God. Satan even has counterfeit hesed, mishpat & tsedaqah, based upon man’s wisdom and man’s self-effort. Satan does not want us to Honor the Name of God!

Our only decision should be to join the battle of the Name of the Lord! He needs our full and undivided support! He needs us to join Him in fighting the Father of Lies. He needs warrior who are Mighty in Spirit, exercising hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah!


[1] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 Samuel 30″.

[2] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 Samuel 31″.

[3] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “The Second Book of Samuel”.

[4] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2 Samuel 2″.

[6] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 687.

[8] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “6818″.


Our media seems to be fascinated with “Fallen Angels”. There have been movies about them. They have even been in commercials.

Here is a neat commercial featuring “falling angels”

I was curious what our culture thinks about Fallen Angels. If you want to know what Americans think of something, go to Answers dot com, which is “Wiki Answers.” Here are some interesting thoughts:

From Answers.com (Wiki answers)

  • Do fallen angels lose their wings?

Yes and no. The wings may shrivel and fall off. Or the wings may turn demonic and resemble bat wings. Do not hate bats because of this similarity.

  • Do fallen angels get their wings stripped?

Yes, for their sins fallen angels get their wings stripped. They get them back when they save someone’s life.

  • Can a fallen angel get back their wings?

No. Actually, it is said that if a fallen angle saves a human life they can become a guardian angel[1]

I wonder where this book is that says this. It is not the Bible. I am not going to talk about “fallen angels” the ones who rebelled with Lucifer and now serve Satan as demonic beings. They may still have wings, if they had wings, and the Bible says that cherubim and seraphim have wings. They may even look like bat wings (please do not let that prejudice you against those lovable creatures). I want to talk about David, and relate to you how this (I believe fallen) Angel (as he is described) learns to soar in a moment when other Disciples would have fallen on their sword.

1 Samuel 29:2-11 As the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear with Achish, the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years, and since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day.” But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? Is not this David, of whom they sing to one another in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” Then Achish called David and said to him, As the LORD lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you. So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” And David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” And Achish answered David and said, “I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’ Now then rise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who came with you, and start early in the morning, and depart as soon as you have light.” So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David was living a comfortable, compromised life, in bed with the world, loving the enemies of God. His men were happy, growing fat and having children. They were raiding the ancient enemies of God and living off their spoils, while enjoying the protection of the Philistines who were convinced that David had become a stench to his own people. Why? Because David and his men had been lying to Achish for over a year about whom they were warring against. Achish believed David and thought his men were killing fellow Jews in the Negev. But David was killing the warriors and the innocents from the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites.

American Christians Relish Respectability

The world loves a sweet Jesus. We do not want to offend anyone, so often we preach a ‘respectable’ Jesus. The church in America relishes our ‘respectability’. We want the world to see us as good Samaritans, food bearers, and love givers. The world does not want to hear about their sin, their rebellion from God, their pride and neglect of God. The world says you cannot judge, who are you to say whom God loves. Who are you to say who gets into heaven?

So most of us do not really press the point with our good Catholic friends, our good Lutheran friends, our good friends who do not think church is necessary. No, we do not want to disrespect them. We do not want them to dislike us. We would rather be ‘an Angel’, good in their sight. Maybe our Christianity will rub off on them. Maybe it transfers like a cold or a virus.

God is not pleased with David.

God is not pleased with Compromising Christians.

God is not pleased with compromising David. But look how much Achish loves him! Surely, Achish has become a Christian because of David’s influence.

I will repeat, God is not pleased with David. If the World loves you, God is probably not pleased.

David is living a settled, compromised life, and God is about to move him off that fence. You know the fence. It is the same fence many “Joe Christians” straddle. One eye on the entire world has to offer, the other eye on God and all he has to offer. However, what does God say about Joe Christian, the fence straddler? God says “I will vomit you out!”

Look at the Compromises of David:

1. Verse 6: you have been honest (Compromised God’s Unfailing Love)
                The word is “straight” (upright in KJ)

  • Had David been honest? No, he had lied directly to his face. He had fooled Achish into believing he had shot straight with him.
  • When you lie to win the favor of the world, you deny God’s unfailing jealous Love. (Hesed)

2. Verse 6: “I have found nothing wrong in you” (Compromised God’s Righteousness)

  • Had David done anything wrong? Yes, for he had murderedurdering innocent women and children To the world, anything you do is right as long as it is not offensive to whatever standards the world has. The standard for wrong is not God’s Moral Law, it is man’s.
  • When the world is saying you are upright and you murder and compromise to win their approval, you are not depending on the Righteousness of God. (Tsedaqah)

3. Verse 9: You have been as an “angel of God” (Compromised God’s Justice)

  • Being an “angel” to the world requires living outside God’s design and justice.
  • They may view you as an angel, but you are fallen to God
  • An angel of God obeys God’s will and works to establish His will on earth. Angels are messengers of God and alert the world to the Justice of God.
  • David was following anything but God by allying himself with the enemy of Israel. The Justice of God was not guiding his life.

The world is often kind to compromised Christians. They respect them; they regard them as people of ‘character’. Often a compromised Christian is seen as better than the heathens around him. He can even be seen as an “angel,” especially if he is generous. Achish saw David as an upright man, even an Angel of Jehovah!

Had David been an Angel of God? It does appear that Achish may have embraced Jehovah as God.

As an angel of God—There is some reason to think that Achish had actually embraced or was favorably disposed towards the Jewish religion. He speaks here of the angels of God, as a Jew might be expected to speak; and in 1 Samuel 29:6 he appeals to, and swears by Jehovah; which, perhaps, no Philistine ever did. It is possible that he might have learned many important truths from David, during the time he sojourned with him.[2]

Achish probably worshipped his other gods

Three Philistine gods are mentioned in the Old Testament—Dagon, Ashtoreth, and Baalzebub. Two of them were adopted from the people around them, and reflect an attitude of syncretism (combining different – often contadictory beliefs).

  • Dagon appears to be the chief god of the Philistines. He was the fish God, father of Baal.
  • They also adopted Ashtoreth, the fertility goddess of the Canaanites, as one of their gods. The Philistines had Ashtoreth temples at Beth-Shan (1 Samuel 31:10 NIV) and, according to Herodotus, at Ashkelon (Herodotus I. 105).
  • Baalzebub, the Philistine god whose name means “lord of the flies,” was the god of Ekron (2 Kings 1:1-16). Most likely, the Philistines worshiped Baalzebub as a god who averted pestilence or plagues.[3]
COMPROMISE = ANYTHING GOES JESUS

The danger of compromised, world loving Christians hanging with and sharing with the lost, is the adoption of an ‘anything goes’ Jesus. He is more of a good buddy, a Jesus Claus, who loves me in MY world. A compromised Christian will father other compromised Christians, people who are more comfortable in the world than they are in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. These will be those who believe there are many ways to God. Jesus is merely a way to God, not the only way.

David needed to learn that God wanted him to be King over a separate Kingdom, a Kingdom with distinct laws and distinct worship. This Throne would establish the Kingdom for God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who would one day reign as King over the entire world.

Christians are to realize that Jesus is Lord of a Kingdom that is entirely different from this world, and is actually opposed to this world. It is a Kingdom of the Cross-a Kingdom of self-denial, and a Kingdom that is foreign to the ways of this world.

Jesus needs His disciples to work to establish this Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus must be Lord over all, not just part. We are to be subject to His commands and His direction all of the time, not just part of the time. We cannot worship Jesus on Sunday and then worship the Dollar on Monday, my Possessions on Wednesday…Jesus is Lord of all or He is Lord of None. Jesus does not crouch in the corner of your life hoping you throw him a bone now and then. He is Lord, and He tolerates no others in our life.

 The Power of a Transformed Life

Our witness is made powerful from a transformed life. If your life has not been changed, you have no power to touch someone else for Christ. If Christ has not been allowed to break habits in your life, you will have no power to touch someone with the sin overcoming power of Jesus Christ.

Do you want to know why many Christians have never led someone to life changing faith in Jesus Christ? It is not fear, it is not apathy, and it is not a lack of knowledge. It is because they do not know the life transforming power of Jesus Christ. If your life is truly transformed, if you truly know the power of Christ over sin, you will not be sitting around stewing at things you do not like; you will be out touching others with the power of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is first about reconciling people to God. If we are unwilling to follow God and be reconciled to our brothers and sisters, check your heart and make sure Jesus is Lord of all your life.

Being a Disciple of Christ means we have “Powerful Touch”

John 17:18-19 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. Wuest translates literally: “And on behalf of them I am setting myself apart, in order that they themselves also, having been set apart for God in the sphere of the truth, may continually be in that state of consecration.”

Jesus set Himself apart to God, in effect touching God, so that we might be set apart and able to touch God, and continually touch God. Furthermore, our touch of God brings His Glory into our lives, and gives us “Powerful Touch!”

John 17:22-23 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

We have a glory about us that comes from Jesus Christ. That glory is the basis of our unity, and the reason the world knows the love of Jesus Christ. Does this sound as if Jesus was sending us out into the world to act like the world and be like the world? No! That would be no witness to the power and Divine Love of Jesus Christ.

I have heard many, many times that people are sick of the Republican primary process. There is too much fighting and personal attacks. The ads are 97% negative. The fear is that this will not stop soon, but continue for five or six more months. However, I know the most amazing thing will happen, no matter how bloody the battle. Come the primary, every Republican will be holding hands and singing “Kum Ba Yah my Lord, Kum ba Yah!” They will be the most lovey-dovey group on the earth. Why? Because they have to work out their disagreements to defeat their enemy Obama.

Why Can’t Christians Get Along?

I also hear why do Christians have so much discord. Why do they have to talk against one another? Why can’t we just get along?  The reason is three-fold:

  1. They have lost sight of Jesus Christ.
  2. They put their own interests before lifting the name of the Lord
  3. They don’t care if the enemy wins and people die and go to hell.

It takes only one person to erect a barricade based on a fleshly judgment or fleshly power struggle. Self is always the focus when barricades are erected. However, Jesus wants us to be “Bridge-Builders.” As an individual Jesus built the greatest bridge between Holy God and sinful man. Now he wants “His Team” to be “Bridge-Builders” with Him. With the Lost and within His Body. There are times to erect barriers, but only when the purpose of the Body is threatened.
When Christians focus on defeating the enemy, claiming the lost, helping people find Salvation, helping people discover the transforming power of Jesus Christ (BUILDING BRIDGES), they don’t have time to get upset when something doesn’t go their way. In fact, they would start seeking the transforming power of the Lord in every difficult thing they face, even their own bitterness.

FOCUS ON KINGDOM BATTLES

Even the princes advising King Achish knew that Christians must focus on defeating the adversary and not each other:

Verse 4: But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here?

They told King Achish that David could not go fight with them. They probably told Achish, if you want our support in this battle, do not take David. Otherwise, you will fight alone. They could not figure out why David was being so friendly to them, after all, he had been a mighty warrior. Therefore, they did not want to take the chance that he would turn on them and rally the Jewish army against them.

He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us.

God was using these heathen leaders to get David off the fence and focus on the real battle. I thought you were a Christian. You are not supposed to fight with us. You are supposed to be our enemy. So David was forced to leave for his home at Ziklag. Meanwhile the Philistine armies went to Jezreel.

Jezreel: The name of a fertile valley in northern Israel (Hos. 2:22[24]). Its name means, “God sows.” Hosea mentioned it as a place where God will judge Israel.[4]

  • King Saul was about to face God’s Judgment.
  • However, David was spared that, because God had one more lesson for David.
David is pushed to the breaking point.

God is about to call David out and expose the dangers of his compromise and trusting in himself rather than God. David is going to face the ultimate Test for a Disciple, the Pressure of God’s Reproof.

Let’s see if David “spits the dummy”

1 Samuel 30:1-6 Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag, burned it with fire, and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

You try to hide things, and somehow they come out. David had been lying to Achish about his raids on the Jewish settlements in the Negev. Instead, he had been raiding the Amalekites. (Oh, by the way, King Saul was supposed to destroy all the Amalekites, but he disobeyed). Well, the Amalekites decided to take revenge. They raided the Negeb and got to the city of Ziklag. For some reason (God), they did not kill anyone. They took everyone captive and burnt the city to the ground. Ziklag was totally wiped out.

David STRENGTHENED HIMSELF IN the LORD his God!

1 Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

What Did David Do?

Everything they had worked for over the last 10 years was gone. His wives, his children, his possessions. Here he thought he had found a place of comfort and relative safety, and now it was all gone, reduced to ashes. For all he knew the families could have been taken somewhere and abused or worse. The lies and compromises of the last 16 months came weighing down upon him, the accuser was screaming at him through his men and through his own conscience. This is all your fault. You deserved this. God is judging you because you left Him and sought refuge in the arms of the enemy.

Try to imagine what was going on in his heart and mind. Everything that he had hoped for and worked for was suddenly stripped away, and now the men, his loyal men were circling him and holding large stones.

Wow, I have pictured that scene over and over in my mind for over 40 years, and I am still in awe of what happened next. David was facing the ultimate test for any disciple. So what did he do?

David “way·yiṯ·ḥaz·zêq Yahweh Elohim”

Hāzaq: A verb meaning to be strong, to strengthen, to be courageous, to overpower. It speaks of tremendous Moral/Physical strength in the face of impossible situations. This verb is widely used to express the strength of various phenomena, such as the severity of famine (2 Ki. 25:3; Jer. 52:6); the strength of humans to overpower each other: the condition of Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 7:13); David and Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50); Amnon and Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14); a battle situation (2 Chr. 8:3); Samson’s strength for his last superhuman performance (Judg. 16:28). This word occurs in the commonly known charge, “Be strong and of good courage!” (Josh. 1:9). Moses urges Joshua (Deut. 31:6, 7) to be strong.[5]

Hazaq – When Moses & God spoke to Joshua

 Deuteronomy 31:6-7 Be strong (hāzaq) and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.

 Joshua 1:6-7 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Hazaq – God toward those whose heart is upright

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong (hāzaq) in the behalf of them [nasb, "to strongly support them"] whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron. 16:9).

Hazaq – God to His Son (I WILL HOLD YOUR HAND!)

To His Servant, the Messiah, God said: “I … will hold (hāzaq) thine hand …” (Isa. 42:6);

Let’s peek into David’s heart now and see how he strengthened himself in Jehovah Elohim.

He Turned Back to Yahweh Elohim by Delighting in God’s Hesed, Mishpat & Tsedeqah

All we need do is look at the Psalms David wrote during this 10 year period of Discipleship Development. We know these came back to him at this precise moment.

Psalm written when David was Hiding in the Cave

Psalm 142:1-7 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me. (HESED/RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm David wrote when he changed his behavior before Achish (the first time)

Psalm 34:17-22 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (HESED)

Psalm he wrote when Doeg told Saul that David had been helped at the Tabernacle

Psalm 52:7-9 “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. (HESED& RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm he wrote when the Ziphites told Saul where he was hiding

Psalm 54:4-7 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. (JUSTICE)

Psalm he wrote when the Philistines first seized him and were going to kill him until he pretended to be crazy

Psalm 56:9-13 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (HESED/RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm when Saul sent men to watch David’s house to kill him

Psalm 59:16-17 But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. (HESED JUSTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm written while David hid in the wilderness

Psalm 63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (RIGHTEOUSNESS)

I believe this is what he said in his closing prayer. He literally could feel the “Hand of God” grabbing his hand, lifting him up and ‘hazaq’ his heart. David’s Divine wings came out and he started to soar! David was soaring over the rubble of Ziklag, he could see clearly what must be done. What happens over the next few days show what God can do when we rely totally upon Him!

Disciples can soar in Ziklag moments

We must focus on allowing what God Delights in to develop and grow in our lives -”hesed, mishpat and tsedeqah”:

  1. Fix your heart upon the Covenant Keeping God – His Steadfast Love
  2. Appeal to God to establish His justice in your heart and over your enemies.
  3. Rely totally upon God for His Strength and Righteousness He is your only hope

Wrong Response to Bad Situations (Difficulties)

  1. Deny His Hesed-God doesn’t love me, he has brought this on me to punish me.
  2. Rebel against His Mishpat-this is unjust, God made a mistake, I do not deserve this, only I can make this right, seek vengeance.
  3. Resist His Tsedaqah-I can go my own way, do what I want, I don’t need God. I will rely on _______ to get me through this. My hope is in ___________.

How Do Disciples Fail this Ultimate Test?

1. Hasaq can turn into Strength Against God

The strong form of the verb is used in Exod. 4:21: “…I will harden his [Pharaoh's] heart….” This statement is found 8 times. Four times we read: “Pharaoh’s heart was hard” (Exod. 7:13, 22; Exod. 8:19; Exod. 9:35, niv; kjv, rsv, nasb, “was hardened”). In Exod. 9:34 Pharaoh’s responsibility is made clear by the statement “he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart….”

A Disciple Must Chose:

Jeremiah 17:5-9 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

  • Do not allow your heart to rely on its own strength and become hard.
2. Bitterness turns Hardness into Stubbornness

Do not allow bitterness to find a foothold. It will eat at your heart until it is hardened and resistant to God and His Word.

  • God can give great strength to men when they turn to Him.
  • Men may turn their strength into stubbornness against God.[6]

David had gone full circle in his Discipleship Journey.

He started by conquering Goliath through the ‘Hāzaq‘ of God.

1 Samuel 17:50 So David prevailed (hazaq) over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.

He now conquered the fleshly fears that had prompted him to compromise and doubt God’s Name over his life through the ‘hazaq’ of Yahweh Elohim!

Does God Hāzaq your Hand?

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

  • When David went through this final test of this phase of his Journey, things started to move very fast.
  • David was not a fallen angel. However, whatever happened at that dark moment of his life, all of a sudden, David sprouted Wings and Soared!
Pressures provide Opportunities for God’s Kingdom to Grow and God’s Power to Provide
Pressures Provide Opportunities for You to Soar on the Wings of God!

[2] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 Samuel 29″.

[4] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” yizre‘e’l”.

[5] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ḥāzaq”.

[6] William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Strong (To Be)”.


Pressures work to develop us as a Disciple of Jesus Christ. How you respond to pressure says a lot about your character, but more than anything, it allows the virtue of Jesus Christ to be your virtue. None of us is born for crisis, or pressure. None of us can naturally handle pressure. If you think you can handle pressure, then you have a wrong attitude toward discipleship. Discipleship is not about building you up so you can handle pressure; it is about humbling you into total dependence upon the one who can handle all pressures, even the ones that are most damaging to us, the Reproofs of God.

Pressure refines the Dross from our life, revealing the Gold

God always designs Pressure to produce His Righteousness in us. The key is HIS righteousness! He has placed Gold in our veins, in our Spirit, and in our Soul. Our fleshly wisdom and ideas, our wrong friends, our wrong habits, our pride, our foolishness, all get in the way of that GOLD shining! He wants us to be GOLDEN, and gold requires the refining process to reveal it. You are already GOLD if Jesus lives in you; God simply wants to reveal him. Moreover, that requires the pressure of the refiner’s fire.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Pressures Reveal our True Hope

More than anything Pressure reveals what are real hope is. And hope is the reason for faith.

JB Phillips translates Hebrews 11:1 this way: “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see.”

Discipleship is all about living a life in total dependence and hope in Jesus Christ.

  • God designs pressures to test what we are hoping in.
  • God designs pressures to reveal that we are hoping in the wrong things.
Health Pressures.
  • You can place your hope and trust in Doctors, but what happens when they make a mistake, or make a wrong diagnosis.
  • You can place your hope in drugs, prescriptive or otherwise, but they can cause problems, or lead to dependence and abuse.
Financial Pressures
  • You can place your hope in the banking system-credit cards, home equity loans, line of credit, but what happens when they fail, or tighten their standards, or the home value is falling?
  • You can place your hope in friends, charity of churches or neighbors, but you can’t keep going to them for a handout.
  • You can place your hope in the Government and its “safety nets,” but what if there are cutbacks?

Relational Pressures - Job Pressures - Church Pressures …All are designed by God to reveal true hope or false hope, real faith or pretend. Most of all, Pressures are designed to Develop you as a Disciple of Jesus Christ and cause you to rely on Jesus Christ.

God’s Way is Enlargement through Pressure

Many Christians do not see God’s purpose for Pressure. Some Christians go out of their way to avoid pressure in their life. “Not good for my health, etc…”

That is not God’s Way. God uses pressure to develop us as Disciples. Psalm 25:4 “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.” Discipleship is about knowing the ways of God and allowing Him to teach you His paths for your life. We will not learn the paths for our life if we do not pay close attention to the lessons He has for us.

For example, what happened in the fiery furnace that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were forced into? Three became four. Pressure brought enlargement. Some would find a furnace too confining, so they try to escape. They do not respond to fire, pressure, and limitations. Others accept the pressure, the limitations, and by accepting, make room for a Fourth.

  • Enlargement through Pressure happens when we do not allow difficulties to shut us out from God.
  • Enlargement through pressure happens when we allow them to shut us INTO God.

Either pressure will cause you to reach God’s goal, or Pressure can put an end to your discipleship journey. When the way is too straight, the pressure too great, some escape, give up, commit suicide, while others find fullness and growth. When trials are too tough, some murmur, seeing only their limitations. Others praise God for the trials, and in so doing discover the pathways to enlargement, liberation and abundance of life. On your discipleship journey, is your spiritual vitality being enlarged or is it shrinking? How have you responded to pressures?

The Way of Man often leads to “Spittin the Dummy”

The Way of Man is Losing it – go to pieces, run away, drown your troubles, get high, get low, strike back, kick the dog, hit the wife, lash out. Australians have a saying, you are “Spittin the Dummy” — a “dummy” is Australian for a child’s pacifier. You lost your cool, you spit the pacifier out and now you are crying like a Baby.[1]

The Contrast of David and Saul

In 1 Samuel 28-31, we find both David and Saul under tremendous pressure, overwhelming pressure. One becomes enlarged; the other becomes smaller and dies. One spits the dummy, the other admits he is a dummy and turns to God. When you resist the pressure of God and try to escape in your own way or through your own means, you die spiritually. You become a disciple who “shrinks back,” who takes his hand from the plow, who looks back and turns into a pillar of salt. You become a Dummy “spittin the dummy.”

We often quote Proverbs 3:5 & 6, but we need to go on to 7 & 8.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Lean not on your own understanding means not being wise in your own eyes. Walking in straight paths means turning away from evil. Trusting in the Lord brings healing to this body and strength to our bones. It will enlarge our life if we acknowledge Him even in the midst of great pressure. Accepting limitations and pressures in total dependence upon God will always allow for an addition in your life.

One becomes Two. Three become Four. Pressure enlarges our Life.

David & Saul Face the Ultimate Test for a Disciple

David is Close to Losing it

God is about to force David off the fence.

1 Samuel 28:1-2 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.” David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.” And Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”.

David doesn’t back down, but affirms that he is going to impress Achish as they battle David’s brother’s, the Jews. Achish is so impressed, that he makes David his personal bodyguard for life. David will be fighting right along Achish. David’s pride is dangerously close to causing a fatal error in his discipleship journey.

The Settler, the Skewer, the Stinker was about to be forced into fighting against his own people. God was about to reveal the compromising hypocrisy of a Disciple who had taken his eyes off His Promises. David is days away from facing God’s Ultimate Test for His discipleship.

When a believer compromises his walk with God, it will not only place you in harm’s way, but your pride will cause you to defend the very things that are an abomination to God. David was now defending Achish, a sworn enemy of God and His people.

King Saul is Definitely Losing it

Meanwhile, back in Israel, King Saul is getting desperate. Samuel the Prophet was dead. The Priests were all dead, killed by Doeg at Saul’s command. King Saul had tried to get direction from God, but God was ignoring him.

1 Samuel 28:3-6 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.

Saul is at the end of himself. He is so frightened that his heart is racing (the Hebrew implies). I believe he is experiencing arrhythmia:

  • Palpitations (a feeling of skipped heartbeats, fluttering or “flip-flops,” or feeling that your heart is “running away”).
  • Pounding in your chest.
  • Dizziness or feeling light-headed.
  • Fainting.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest discomfort.
  • Weakness or fatigue (feeling very tired).

Was Saul fearful because of what could happen to his people, his nation? I believe the evidence suggests his fear was entirely self-centered. He feared for his life, he was not reacting as a true leader should. As with God, Saul’s focus was upon his needs and concerns, rather than God and His people.

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

1 Samuel 15:26-28 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. And Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.

Samuel made an interesting statement… Samuel told Saul that his neighbor was better than he was.

Does God play favorites??  

What makes one SINFUL MAN better than another SINFUL MAN?

Look at David. He is compromising, he has distanced himself from God, he has disobeyed God, and he has bloodied his sword with innocent blood. Why is he any better than Saul? Why should David be blessed and Saul cursed? Why should David rise to be King and Saul fall in battle?

The Ultimate Test for a Disciple is How You Respond to the Pressure of God’s Reproofs.

This is the key to intimacy with God and knowing and enjoying His Blessing. This will make you better than your neighbor who responds to pressure with a self-focused response.

Proverbs 1:22-33 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

To Reprove: To voice or convey disapproval of; rebuke

How do you handle the Pressure of Reproof?

Hebrews 12:5-7 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

King Saul Despises the Pressure of Reproof because his focus is upon himself.

No appeal to God on behalf of the Nation; No appeal to God on behalf of His Name. No appeal to God to deal with the Enemy. No appeal to God for mercy, justice or righteousness. Saul NEVER learned the ways of God. So what does self-focused Saul do?

1 Samuel 28:7-14 Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.” So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men. “I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?” “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?” But Saul took an oath in the name of the LORD and promised, “As surely as the LORD lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.” Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?” “Call up Samuel,” Saul replied. When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!” “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?” “I see a god coming up out of the earth,” she said. “What does he look like?” Saul asked. “He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him.

Saul is not only “spittin the dummy,” He is “crackin a fruity” (More Aussie slang for ‘Go crazy, insane, weird.’[2] He is so desperate he is acting insane. He needs some guidance and he wants to conjure up Samuel! He goes to a “witch” to do so! 

Saul presses full speed ahead and violates God’s Law, violates his own law, endangers the life of the medium, lies to the medium, and disturbs eternity in the process. If this were a science fiction movie, we would start to see a fissure crack between the two universes.

God had said this: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22, 18). What used to happen was if a person was found to be a witch or a man was found to be practicing as a wizard, God said they must be put to death – capital punishment was carried out.

Now Why Did Saul seek out this Witch contrary to God’s Word and his own command?

  1. Unconverted?: He was never converted to trusting Faith in God. (Some would disagree) Many professed Christians use astrology and even consult ‘psychics’ (Nancy Regan). However, why would God anoint a heathen as the first King of Israel, the throne His Son would later sit upon?
  2. Fear: Fear causes us to do and say things we normally would not do. Lawyers use the term ‘duress’ as a means of showing their clients were not acting in their right mind.
  3. Trusted in Man rather than God: He thought if he could just get Samuel’s blessing, he could prevail against the Philistines. He was hoping in man, just as he had done all his reign as King. He knew the Philistines had him outnumbered. He hoped that Samuel could appeal to God on his behalf.

The Hebrew phrase for find a woman of familiar spirit is “ʾishshâ baʿalâ ʾôb”. She literally is “mother to spirit” or “container to a spirit”. She is able to conjure up a spirit because she is a container/channel of the “spirit world.”

Job (32:19) uses ‘obe’ as a bottle that may burst under pressure. They were searching for a woman who was a container of a conjured spirit. She was a necromancer, able to speak with dead spirits. Often these were people skilled at ventriloquism, able to throw their voice as if someone else was speaking in a room.

ʾôb̠: A masculine noun meaning a conjured spirit, a medium or necromancer; or a leather bottle. The primary use of the word is connected to the occult practice of necromancy or consulting the dead. It is used to signify a conjurer who professes to call up the dead by means of magic, especially to give revelation about future uncertainties (1 Sam. 28:7; Isa. 8:19); a man or woman who has a familiar spirit (Lev. 20:27; 1 Chr. 10:13; Isa. 29:4); the conjured spirit itself, particularly when speaking through the medium (1 Sam. 28:8; 2 Kgs 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6). The Israelites were strictly forbidden from engaging in such practices or consulting mediums (Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:10-12). Interestingly, the word is used once to signify a leather bottle that may burst under pressure (Job 32:19). There is no convincing evidence that this particular reference has any occult connotations. Rather, the connection between the two divergent meanings of this Hebrew word is probably that a medium was seen as a “container” for a conjured spirit.[3]

I think it is so telling of God that a man blowing his top in a pressure situation is looking for a woman who contains an ‘obe’, for this ‘obe’ is about to ‘crack a fruity’ all over Saul’s head.

Here are my thoughts on what happened:

Saul disguises himself and asks this medium to conjure up Samuel. She goes into the back room where she does her mumbo-jumbo thing. I think she is about to throw her voice to pretend its Samuel when the real Samuel appears.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament says:

The woman then commenced her conjuring arts. She cried aloud at the form which appeared to her so unexpectedly. These words imply most unquestionably that the woman saw an apparition which she did not anticipate, and therefore that she was not really able to conjure up departed spirits or persons who had died, but that she merely pretended to do so…

Now some people think it was a demonic spirit in disguise, that God doesn’t allow things like this:

The early church Fathers typically took one of two views: (1) Either God Himself raised Samuel from the dead and sent him to Saul (they simply could not abide the view that a “witch” could raise the righteous from the dead), or (2) this was “just demonic deceit, and what appeared was not really Samuel, but a demon in his guise” (Origen and the Witch of Endor: Toward an Iconoclastic Typology)

I do believe there is a powerful unseen world of demons. I do believe that Satan is actively at work in this world. I do believe Christians need not fear as long as they abide in Jesus Christ. That is why I believe it is so important for you to daily lift up the Name of the Lord upon your House, you spouse, your children and grand-children.

  • Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
  • Zephaniah 3:12 But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD,

When you resist the grace of God in your life, when you rebel against the authorities God has put in your life, when you willingly consult astrology or psychics, even Ouija boards, you are opening yourself to this unseen spiritual world of demonic influence.

Jesus says in Luke 11:20 “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

If we are obeying the King and following His designs and laws, the Kingdom of God will protect us against this demonic world. However, if we are not following the King, not being subject to His laws, then we leave His Kingdom and are subject to the demonic kingdom.

That is why there is so great a need for righteous men to join together in binding the evil one from their community. We can unite in prayer to cast his influence out.

I happen to think this was really Samuel. I believe God allowed him to appear, to give Saul one more chance to show he cared for his people. Look at what he says:

1 Samuel 28:15-25 “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul. “Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.” However, Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the LORD has left you and has become your enemy? The LORD has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David. The LORD has done this to you today because you refused to carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites. What’s more, the LORD will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The LORD will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.”

Does that sound like an imitator or an evil spirit? Sounds like a perturbed Samuel speaking to a whimpering King who has spit his dummy out, cracked a fruity and is crying “WOEME.” Saul just never learned. He never obeyed, he never responded to pressure correctly and he never reacted to reproof’s acceptably. His desperation never led to humility, to ask God to intervene for the sake of His people and His name. (Refer to the prayers of Moses, Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel and many others)

When Saul heard Samuel’s message, there was no humility, no turning to God, no repentance, just fear! Saul fell full length on the ground, paralyzed with fright because of Samuel’s words. He was also faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.

This is the picture of an ungodly man whose roots are shallow and based upon himself. This is not the picture of a man whose trust is in God, and in His word meditates day and night, whose leave’s does not wither, even in the heat of fire and pressure. There is nothing left for Saul but to go on his way and face life the best he can. He has lost his cool, spit his dummy and cracked his fruity. Even the witch has pity in him and makes him eat some food.

When the woman saw how distraught he was, she said, “Sir, I obeyed your command at the risk of my life. Now do what I say, and let me give you a little something to eat so you can regain your strength for the trip back.” But Saul refused. The men who were with him also urged him to eat, so he finally yielded and got up from the ground and sat on the couch. The woman had been fattening a calf, so she hurried out and killed it. She took some flour, kneaded it into dough and baked unleavened bread. She brought the meal to Saul and his men, and they ate it. Then they went out into the night.

After they ate, they went out into the night.

It is an awful thing to go out into the dark, knowing your enemies are about to attack you, that God has abandoned you, and you must face this tragedy alone…

Saul walked out into the night and grew smaller and smaller, until things got so bad, the only way out for him was to commit suicide. The pressure was too great, God too distant. Saul failed the pressure test of a Disciple.

1 Samuel 31:1-6 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons. The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. So Saul, his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men died together that same day.

Saul killed himself, because he was more concerned for how his dead body would be treated than how his live body fought the Battles of the Lord. This reveals the Heart of the matter of any Disciple who fails the Pressure Test and spits the dummy or cracks the fruity or simply walks away from the Lord.

He is more concerned about himself than he is about Battling for the Name of the Lord!

Discipleship means you join yourself with the Lord, and you partner with Him in battling against the devil and the world. To battle for the Name of the Lord means you must abandon your self, your comfort, your reputation, for the sake of His Name and His Cause!

Matthew 6:9-13 Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]

We must fight to bring the Kingdom of God to bear here on earth as it is in heaven. We must strive earnestly to lift up the Name of God! In every cause that Saul was given – to wait for Samuel, to destroy all of the Amalekites, to not consult with mediums, he put himself first, just as he did in his dying.

To understand God’s Ways join another Group of Men going into the night…

Centuries later, another group of men had their last meal together, and then after singing a hymn, head off into the dark night to the Mount of Olives. Their leader knows the enemy will soon surround them, knows that terror await him, but He is not afraid. It is for this pressure test that He was born. Sure his disciples would fall asleep as he sweat drops of blood, but soon He knew they would be wide awake. Sure, his disciples would run away and shrink back, but He knew they would benefit from what he is about to go through. He knew they would be transformed into mighty Apostles of Christ.

Therefore, Jesus willingly goes to Calvary, enduring the shame, the pain, the suffering. He did not shrink back. He did not turn away; he even refused the sedative on the cross. He took the cup of God’s wrath and drank every drop, turned the cup over and slammed it down, declaring “It is Finished.”

Jesus took the greatest pressure test ever devised by man or Satan, and instead of being just one, He was enlarged to become Many! The Church was born! His Sons and Daughters now live in the Power of the Cross-because that fateful day He did not shrink from the pressure.

Discipleship welcomes pressure!

Luke reveals it in his Gospel when he quotes Jesus as saying, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24). This puts an important perspective on this command of Christ. We do not just open up the strait gate and walk in unopposed. There is a battle that goes on within our souls, because our enemy does not want us to find the way of life. Disciples are going to be in constant battles involving their trust in the Name of the Lord! Paul stated, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

In Scripture, the gate is used as a symbol of decision-making and of managing internal affairs.

One Greek word translated strive is agonizomai. From it we get the English word agonize. The word entails contending for victory in public games, fighting, or making warfare. It involves pain in the struggle for a public prize. To strive is to make every effort to achieve the goal, as Paul described in Colossians 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

The word STRIVING implies that there are hindrances in the development of a walk of faith and that there is a need for intense determination on our part to win the prize. Paul explained this:  1 Corinthians 9:25-Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Paul goes on to explain:

“So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:26–27).

In the Christian life, “striving” is not our performance of God’s will, but it is our surrender to God so that He can carry out His will in us. Striving grows from the Disciple’s Heart of Dependence.

One of the disciples asked, “Lord, are there just a few who are being be saved?” 

Jesus’ answer was that few would find the way of life.

Luke 13:23-27 And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’

We are concerned with people being saved, but Jesus was more concerned with people finding the way of LIFE. Salvation is not a prayer, it is a way of living, and that living means we must not run away from pressure, nor seek our own comfort, our own way, we must not spit a dummy or crack a fruity. We must willingly submit to the Pressures of Life and Reproofs that we might be enlarged as a Disciple.

A Disciple must become disciplined to respond to Pressures in the Name of the Lord, Sword in Hand, ready to do Battle for the Lord!

Pressures, even the pressures designed to reprove us, provide Opportunities for God’s Kingdom to Grow and God’s Power to Provide. Is your heart and love for God and His people growing? Perhaps you have stiffened your neck to His reproofs in the past. Perhaps it is time to repent and focus upon the great needs of God’s Kingdom. Are you actively partnering with God to bring His Kingdom to bear on this world? Or is your tiny heart focused upon your own kingdom? 


[3] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “ôb̠”.


I don’t believe we fully understand how bad off Job was. I have been with many people who were suffering from the pain of cancer, of burns, and it is horrible. Thank God they were always on morphine or some other drug to keep them comfortable. Most of us know what pain is, even constant pain, but Job experienced something that I don’t think we can begin to relate to.

Job 2:7-8 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

Most people think he had some skin disease that resulted in pussy sores or boils (Hebrew word sehiyn). But I believe it was much more painful and deadlier than that. Hezekiah had šehiyn’s and he nearly died from just one. The Lord told the physician to put figs on the šehiyn and he was healed[1].

If Satan is given permission to mess with your body, I don’t think he throws any punches. He had a whole arsenal of diseases, and I think he picked one we call MRSA. Have you ever had MRSA. It’s a horrible bacterial infection. MRSA not only attacks your skin, it can get into your bloodstream, heart or lungs, even your urinary tract It can produce:

Chest pain, Chills, Cough, Fatigue, Fever, General ill feeling (malaise), Headache, Muscle aches, Rash and even Shortness of breath.

Study Job and you will find he displayed all of those symptoms. If you ever had a MRSA boil you know you can try and get it to pop, but the infection can go down so far, nothing relieves the pain and the burning. Imagine one big MRSA boil being able to torment your life and cause all those symptoms, and even causing your death. Now imagine 200 or 300 of them all over your body. I don’t think we can even begin to imagine the pain he was in. I mention this because as bad as some bacteria infections are, they don’t begin to compete with the pain and the damage caused by the DSCR virus.

The CDC doesn’t want you to know it, and it is kept out of the press for fear of inciting public outcry and fear, but the DSCR Virus is on the verge of being a pandemic.

You never heard of the DSCR virus? Let me tell you about it.

Once upon a time the devil decided to have a garage sale. He did it because he wanted to clear out some of his old tools to make room for new ones. After he set up his wares, a fellow dropped by to see what he had. Arrayed on a long table were all the tricks of his infernal trade. Each tool had a price tag. In one corner was a shiny implement labeled “Anger—$250,” next to it a curved tool labeled “Sloth—$380.” As the man searched, he found “Criticism—$500” and “Jealousy—$630.” Out of the corner of his eye, the man spotted a beaten-up tool with a price tag of $12,000. Curious, the man asked the devil why he would offer a worn-out piece of junk for such an exorbitant price. The devil said it was expensive because he used it so much. “What is it?,” the man asked. The answer came back, “It is discouragement. It always works when nothing else will.”[2]

Yes, the DSCR virus is cause of that ancient malady, discouragement. It is the Devil’s favorite way of destroying Disciples, of rendering them powerless, and yes, even causing their death.

We all know from hard experience how the devil uses the DSCR Virus to keep us from moving ahead. When anger won’t stop us, when lust can do us no harm, when envy finds no foothold, discouragement always works. It is the devil’s number one tool.

Free Dictionary defines discouragement as “the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles[3].  Wordreference.com says to discourage is to “Cause (someone) to lose confidence or enthusiasm”.

The opposite is encourage, which is to put courage, confidence and enthusiasm into someone. Discouragement is anything that takes the courage out of someone. DSCR is a dangerous virus. It literally sucks the spiritual vitality out of you.

The DSCR virus causes your heart to be weaken and calcify, and then it messes with your eyesight and finally moves to destroy your soul.

Let’s look at what it did to David…in 1 Samuel 27

J Vernon McGee wrote this about this chapter in his “Thru the Bible Commentary”

Here is David — discouraged, despondent — doing something he should not have done. He leaves the land of Israel and goes to live among the Philistines. There is nothing in this chapter that would reveal that David is a man of God.[4]

That is his only comment on this chapter in his commentary. There is nothing more to learn, so he moves on. I believe 1 Samuel 27 is rich in application for Disciples. Look at the first verse:

1 Samuel 27:1 Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”

1. David Settled.

David Said in his Heart…I shall perish by the hand of Saul…There is Nothing Better for me…

This is not the David I know. I can see why Dr. McGee wanted to skip ahead.

I see David as a Confident Leader:

  • Psalm 7:9-10 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.

I see David as the picture of Braveheart:

  • Psalm 37:30-31 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

“tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!” MY FEET WILL NEVER SLIP AWAY FROM YOU O GOD!

I see him ALWAYS Trusting in God:

  • Psalm 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah

But Discipleship is hard. It is a constant battle. You can never let your guard down, because there is an epidemic of DSCR going around. It is highly contageous. Just one case of DSCR can break out in a church and drag the whole church down.

Discouragement can be caused by a lot of things. Rick Warren says there are four major causes: Fatigue, Frustration, Failure and Fear.

David had been on the run for over 8 years now. He had experienced major victories in his life and walk before God. He had spared Saul’s life once in the cave at En Gedi (I Samuel 24). Then he had spared Nabal’s life when Abigail interceded (I Samuel 25). Then he had very recently spared Saul’s life again when he crept into the camp and found Saul sleeping (I Samuel 26).  You would think that he was unstoppable, that he was a Spiritual Giant. But he was a man like you and me. He was vulnerable to the DSCR virus.

Certainly he could have grown weary from the constant pressure, he could have grown frustrated by God’s seeming inactivity, he could been in one of those moments where it seemed he had failed, he could have finally given in to the fear that certainly was warranted by his circumstances.

But I think David was Discouraged because he let his circumstances lead him to SETTLE.

We hear all the time: “HANG ON, HANG TOUGH, HANG IN THERE” but God never, never settles. He never never hangs in there! God is an Overcomer and He wants us to be Overcomers! Overcomers never settle, never hang in there, they always move forward to Victory!

God practices and delights in Righteousness. The Key to being Righteous is the Focus of your Hope. Who you are counting on for your righteousness, who are you allowing to live through you. Simply because we feel we are not righteous, do we give up and accept our sin and failures? Do we give up praying to God because He never seems to answer? Do you give up on a son or daughter simply because they seem so set against God?

Do we say, “well that’s the way it always has been, so why fight it”? Do we give up hope and settle for our circumstances?

Remember the little widow lady?

Luke 18:1-8 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” There is a direct connection between FAITH and your heart!

Faith Never Settles. Faith Never accepts an Adversary. Faith is Always Praying. When Faith fades, we lose heart, we become discouraged. We have settled.

When you Settle instead of Struggling, your immune system gets weak and the DSCR Virus can take hold. It seeks out your HEART!

Listen to David as the DSCR virus takes hold of his heart:

  • Psalm 38:10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
  • Psalm 40:12 For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.

When you can only focus on your sins instead of focusing on His forgiveness, you know the DSCR virus has infected your heart and caused you to feel defeated.

David became discouraged!

Psalm 69:1-21 Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. … Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace. You see all that my enemies are doing. Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me. But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst.

God seemed distant to David. His faith could not take God’s silence, and so it became weak, until He gave up on God doing anything. He gave up believing God’s Word. He settled. He said “this is my life, Saul will kill me, and there is nothing I can do. My life is over, God has left me, I might as well do the best I can”.

WOEME

His Heart had become infected by the ‘WOEME’ disease that results from the DSCR Virus invading your heart. “WOEME” disease is deadly. It slowly attacks a person’s heart, soul and eventually their strength.

Symptoms can appear gradually, or all at once.

Faith is attacked and grows weak. God seems distant, uncaring. His Word is dry and uncomforting. Circumstances seem to careen out of control. God shrinks and circumstances grow. You react by relying on counsel from friends, or doing what seems rational, or what brings you the most comfort and safety.

2. David Skews

David said, “I shall escape out of his hand.” Wasn’t that what God had been doing for 8 years now? Why all of a sudden did he think God couldn’t protect him? Why? Because David’s vision was skewed to look only at his circumstances without the benefit of God’s Promises. WOEME Disease blinds our spiritual eyes.

  • I shall escape out of his hand…

Circumstances are distorted, and become the main influence upon your life. Not only is your life affected, but your family and friends can become infected. Your House is affected because you are reacting to God’s Design.

  • Bad Focus will cause you to lose sight of God’s Discipleship Ways
  • Bad Focus will cause you to react to God’s Lessons, and He will stop teaching you His Paths!

Psalm 25:4-5 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

David settled for his own path, because he stopped learning from God.

Discouragement is a Disciple Killer!

Now, if you asked David if he was discouraged, he would shake his head and say “no, not at all”. I still love God and follow him. I just think this is best for all of us. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. (Flashback: You did try it and it didn’t work too good)

Most Christians will tell you they are not discouraged either, they are just doing what’s best.

I hear them all the time. They have excuses for not going to church, excuses for not reading their Bible, excuses for working on Sunday, excuses for gossiping, excuses for dishonoring authorities. But what is at the heart of our decision to go our own way and do what is best for us? Could it be that mistrust of God has allowed the DSCR virus to take hold of our heart?

Think about it.

  • ENCOURAGE vs DISCOURAGE
  • IN GOD vs DISTANT FROM GOD
  • IN THE COURAGE OF GOD vs DISTANT FROM THE COURAGE OF GOD
  • CONFIDENT IN GOD vs CONFIDENCE IN SELF
  • OBEDIENCE TO GOD vs OBEDIENCE TO SELF
  • IN THE WORD vs IN THE WORLD
  • IN vs DIS

Do you see it? The DSCR virus attacks when we are DISTANT from God! The DSCR virus can develop into much more than discouragement, or “WOEME” disease.

Look at all the other side effects:

  • Disheartened by obstacles, failure, or criticism
  • Distressed and fearful, lacking courage and confidence
  • Disillusioned, losing hope for the future
  • Disinterested, apathetic, lacking initiative
  • Doubtful about the value of certain actions
  • Down on himself/herself, with a poor sense of worth
Bottom Line

 It develops into estrangement from God’s Word and justification for a selfish course of action.

Let’s Examine David a little Closer. What was the result of his heart sickness that led him to think he had to settle and move to Philistia for protection.

A. David’s Perspective was SKEWED

Skew is :1350–1400;  (v.) Middle English skewen  to slip away, swerve.[5]

It all begins when David starts to think about his situation. For nearly nine years he’s been running from Saul, Doeg, Ziphites, Abner, 3000 trained killers, fools, you name it, David had encountered them.

  • He chooses to focus on what might happen instead of what has happened.
  • He chooses to focus on his own resources instead of God’s promises.

David writes God out of the picture. He thinks it is all up to him, and he has to do what a man has to do. After all God helps them that helps themselves! No, that is a lie of Satan. That statement alone is used to justify actions that are not dependant upon God, but dependant upon man. It is a fleshly statement, a worldly philosophy that will lead you away from God and into the arms of Satan.

B. He Made a Dumb Decision.

1 Samuel 27:5-6 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes”

He sought the approval of an ungodly enemy.

Have you ever made a dumb decision? At the time you made it it seemed the best thing to do, but later on you realize what a dumb thing to have done. Thankfully God forgives us of our dumb decisions. God allows us to learn from our dumb decisions, and become mighty disciples. In fact, those dumb decisions wake us up to the fact that our life is out of whack with God. It’s important that we not hold those dumb decisions against a repentant heart, which David later had.

C. His Decision Led to Compromise.

1 Samuel 27:6-7 So that day Achish gave him Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.

The children of Israel were not to mix with the surrounding nations. Over and over the warning was given and every time somebody tried it, disaster resulted. David knew all that and he did it anyway. I’m sure if you had asked David as he led his band toward Gath, “Are you deserting God?” he would have said no. He probably would have been insulted by the very question. “Me, desert God? Are you kidding? I believe everything I always believed.” “But David, these are not God’s people.” “It makes no difference. I’m going to go live there for a while until the pressure is off. It’s not a big deal. I can have my quiet time in Gath just as easily as I can in Israel.”

We always have an excuse when we compromise. Some of us are doing it right now. We are involved in some things that would shock anyone if they knew the truth. We said something, we’ve done something that we normally wouldn’t do, but we feel we have a good excuse. You know you are compromising when you have to explain away some command of God in order to justify what you are doing.

You can be singing louder than anyone this morning, writing a big check for the offering, and be a compromiser. When the lights have faded, friends have gone, you are laying in bed thinking about your life, you have to ward off the discouragement with music or pills or alcohol.

Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David and his men and their families.  Ziklag is a variation of Zahaliku, which means downward slopes[6]

Taking your eyes off God and His Word, and then depending upon yourself or other people to do what’s best for you, often leads us slowly downward until we end up doing things we  never dreamed we would do. What starts as a fleeting thought or reaction becomes a plan, a plan becomes a commitment, and eventually a commitment becomes a lifestyle. We cope with our weaknesses by settling down and living with them as friends.

3. David Stews

1 Samuel 27:8-11 Now David and his men went up and made raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish. When Achish asked, “Where have you made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.” And David would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring news to Gath, thinking, “lest they should tell about us and say, ‘So David has done.’ ” Such was his custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines.

David got in to a stew of lies, deception and murder. He and his men found safety, but at what cost. David was like Lot who chose the well watered plain, and whose soul became tormented because of the sin surrounding him. Compromise often leads us to a stew. Have you ever heard the idiom: “stew in one’s own juice”? It means to suffer the consequences of one’s own actions. “Stew” comes from a Middle English word from the 1350’s “stewen or stuwen” –  to take a sweat bath!

Oh, I’m sure David justified his actions. After all, God had commanded Joshua to kill all the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. I’m sure he thought he was actually doing God’s Will!

Not only is David living a lie, but now all the men and their families are involved as well. David had to keep trying to please Achish by lying about his raids, and hope that no one ever escaped or witnessed what they were doing. If David had any conscience at all, it must have been tormenting him like crazy.

When we compromise, we’ll always end up in a stew. Not only us, but we often take others with us. Our lies and selfishness can hurt a lot of people. The saddest think about taking our eyes off God, and spreading the DSCR virus, it quenches the Holy Spirit. It can even remove the Blessing of God.

4. David Stinks

1 Samuel 27:12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”

David didn’t think he stunk. In fact, he thought, I’ve done a good thing. I am ridding the land of foes of old, more mighty men are coming to me, the Philistines think I’m with them, I don’t have to sleep with one eye open, the men are spending time with their wives and having babies. Life is good. King Saul is a distant worry. Verse 4 says Saul stopped looking for David, and vs 12 says Achish was very pleased with David.

The Devil stopped pursuing David and the world was OK with him.

If he was a good Southern Baptist he would be standing up and saying “look how God has blessed me!” Things were going well. He gets up in the morning about nine, reads the Ziklag Gazette, goes down to the gym to work out with the boys, in the afternoon he raids a nearby village, and in the evening maybe there’s a feast. Not a bad life. Disobedience often results in a temporary lessening of pressure. But God always has the last word, and David was about to come face to face with God!

5. Disciples Seek

After the Israelites heard the report of the spies, they became afraid, their faith in God’s Word went to nothing, and they decided not to trust God and depend upon Him to conquer the giants. At that point the message of God came to the people through Moses. Moses pronounced the judgment of God upon the people, that they would all perish in the wilderness and never enter the promised land. They reacted by trying to go ahead and enter the promised land.

Deuteronomy 1:41-42 “Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. And the LORD said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’

The people went anyway, and were defeated, and lived the rest of their lives in the wilderness. They settled, they skewed, they stewed, and eventually they stunk as rotting corpses in the desert. O, they still went to church, they still enjoyed their grandkids, but they were walking as defeated corpses, defeated because they failed to trust God when it counted.

Moses Fell Down Before the Lord

When God was giving the two tablets of stone to Moses, a great noise came to his ears from the base of the mountain. God told Moses to hurry up and get down there, because the people had corrupted themselves.

Deuteronomy 9:12 And Jehovah said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people that thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.

This word shāat[7]was used before as God described why He destroyed the earth in the flood:

Genesis 6:11-12 And the earth is corrupt before God, and the earth is filled with violence. And God seeth the earth, and lo, it hath been corrupted, for all flesh hath corrupted its way on the earth.

God’s world became corrupt because the people took their focus away from God and placed it upon themselves. The Jews became corrupt when they removed their focus from God and placed it on themselves, corrupted by the thinking of the fleshly Egyptians.

Once again, at that point, God told Moses that He would destroy those people, and Moses could start over with an uncorrupted group of people.

Moses pleaded with God, and then fell on his face before the Lord for 40 days and night, neither eating or drinking, and God relented of His plan.

DISCR anything-discourage, disenfranchised, discord, disheartened, disillusioned, distant is all dangerous, because it comes from a heart that had been corrupted by wrong influences, wrong thinking, wrong focus and wrong people.

If we want to keep wandering around as stinking corpses, we will not change. But if we want to experience victory, grow in faith, grow in Jesus Christ, grow to the point where we are seeing people saved, we are seeing Disciples grow and develop, then we need to fall on our face before the Lord. We need to confess our sin, we can’t settle, we must keep coming before our Father against any adversary and let Him know that we still have Faith we still believe His word.

James 4:4-10 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “sehyin”.

[4] J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1983), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “CHAPTERS 26 AND 27″.

[7] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “7843″.