Posts Tagged ‘Achish’


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)”.

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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”.