1 Samuel 21-22:2 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is expound.
Father, we just want to ask you to bless this meal, this spiritual meal that we are going to partake of. Help us give our minds understanding, put interest in our spirits, Lord, so that we care about learning these things. That we would have a well-formed faith, a well informed faith, a knowledgeable faith, knowledgeable of the events of the Bible, knowledgeable about the events of the world. And now how to put those two together to live a life that is joyful, but responsible all at the same time. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
If you ever get a chance to go to Florence, Italy, you will see one of the great museums in the world. There's a few of them there. One of them is called the Accademia, and the Uffizi Museum is the one everybody goes to. But there's also a subset called the Accademia Museum. And there's one of the famous works of Michelangelo. It is Michelangelo's statue portrayal, carved portrayal of David. What is unique about the Statue of David by Michelangelo is it doesn't look like David. Now, you say, well, how would you know? You don't know what David looked like. Well, I do know that David was not 17 feet tall. And that is the height of the statue that Michelangelo made.
He made him Goliath-like. Which is interesting, because we know that David fought Goliath. And I've told you before that the average Israeli in antiquity was 5 foot 3-- the height was 5 foot 3. So David was probably shorter than that when he fought Goliath, he was just a boy. But Michelangelo made him out to be enormous. You stand and you look up in awe to see David.
It is believed that Michelangelo was really working off of a statue that he had seen of Hercules. And he wanted to portray David as this invincible warrior, standing there in a Herculean pose, perhaps. Or, perhaps, he wanted to make a statement about the giant faith that he had. That there was a time in his life where he stood up to a giant, even though he was a wee boy, a little lad. And he was just scantily clad with just a sling and a few stones, looking up at Goliath with the sword and the spear, the javelin, the shield. But that his faith was so enormous in that moment that he depicted the faith of David.
Others just believe that the statue was large because it was intended to be on the top of one of the many chapels in the town, and it can be seen from a large distance. And that's probably what that's all about. But nonetheless, when you see David, you're taken aback because he's 17 feet tall. He was just a boy. But he was a boy with an incredible amount of faith. And because of that faith even the King of Israel, named Saul, was intimidated by this boy who grew into a man, who grew into a servant in his own court.
But he had such trust in God, and he behaved himself so wisely. And he was such an apt warrior, and a skilled swordsman and leader that the King of the nation, King Saul, began to understand that this was the one who would be the heir apparent. Not his son Jonathan, but this Bethlehemite named David. This man of the tribe of Judah from Bethlehem would take his place.
So he decided to hold on to his kingdom, try to kill David by pinning him to the wall three times with a spear, by-- in the previous chapter, sending out a group of people to kill him in his house. And he now is on the run from King Saul. Now, little David, faithful David is public enemy number one. In the state of Israel, in the nation of Israel.
Saul tells everybody at his command, hunt him down, kill him, end his life. So that takes us from chapter 21 all the way to chapter 31. The last section of the book is all about David in exile. David being hunted. David running from place to place to place. And just tonight, we're going to see him run to the city of Nob, and from Nob to the city of Gath, and from Gath to the cave of Adullam, and from the cave of Adullam over across the Jordan River into Moab. And then in the next chapters-- next time we gather together, he'll flee to Keilah, and on and on-- Ein Gedi, down by the Dead Sea. He's just on the run as Saul pursues him to take his life.
As painful as it was for David to be hunted, as inexplicable as it was to David, for he said to Jonathan, what did I do? Did I sin? Did I blow it? Is it some fault of my own that your dad is trying to kill me? I can't recall anything I've ever done to him, I've been faithful, I've served him. As painful, as incredible as it was for David, it was all a part of God's preparation for David.
This is what I want you to see as we begin our study. You may be going through difficult times, I can guarantee many of you in this room are experiencing difficulty. And you wonder why. Why so much of it. I mean, enough is enough. We as a world have gone through a year and a half. We as a country are going through difficult times. We as a state have our own unique set of circumstances.
And then you in your own personal life, as difficult as it is, know this, you are being-- it is all under the control of a God who loves you. It's not out of his control. God rules the universe with his feet up. God rules your life with his feet up. This is not a big deal. He's got this. It's a big deal for you. You don't see the end result. But you are still God's workmanship, and it's a honing process and it's a preparation process. If you could just get a glimpse of that truth, you might be able to take a deep breath, a sigh of relief and go, go for it Lord. Because you know what's up ahead for me and you're preparing me for that.
So that's what we're seeing with David. Because even though it's painful, even though it's terribly off-putting and inconvenient, all the different places he has to move. From cave to cave and city to city. Find out where Saul's trying to get him next. At the same time for David, he will grow stronger and stronger and stronger as these chapters go on. While Saul the King will grow weaker and weaker and weaker. And you'll see this. You'll see David grow stronger and stronger during these years of exile, chapters 21 through 31.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, whom if you've known me at all, if you hear me preach for one week or one month, you know. I think, that Skip likes that Spurgeon guy a whole lot. And that's because so much of what he said is quotable. You can't read a book, but think I've got to underline that, I've got a quote that. This guy had just an amazing ability with truth and with words. One of my favorite things that the preacher said-- Spurgeon said is God gets his best soldiers from the highlands of affliction, that place of isolation. Those highlands where it's difficult, where it hurts. God gets his best soldiers from there.
So God is training you, he's morphing you into one of his best soldiers for his glory. And boy, the evidence of that are all the Psalms I mentioned last week that were written during this period of exile. I rattled off a list of them. So many of the great Psalms of the faith.
And tonight we're going to look, God willing, at not only these chapters-- or at least this chapter, but some of the Psalms also that were written during this time. You know the ancient theologians referred to what they called the dark night of the soul. The dark night of the soul was their term to describe what, probably today, they would call clinical depression. A person is depressed, his or her zest for life has vanished. Simple tasks become enormous almost impossible tasks. They don't want to do anything. They're not motivated to do anything.
When you have year after year after year of the kind of things that happened to David you can get that way. And sometimes he got that way. And that's why we love the Psalms so much, because they reflect those deep, dark nights of the soul. But also there's the call in those Psalms to trust God, and we learned so many great lessons.
Well, he's on the run again, and notice in chapter 21, verse 1. Now, David came to Nob, to Ahimelech, the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, Why are you alone and no one is with you? So David said to Ahimelech the priest, The King has ordered me on some business, and said to me, do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you or what I have commanded you. And I have directed my young men to such and such a place. Now, therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand or whatever can be found.
David, next, goes to the city of Nob. If you have ever been to Israel with us, and while you were in Israel with us you stayed in a hotel called the Dan Panorama on Mount Scopus, and if you've been there you know this hotel. You've been in the city of Nob. The city of Nob is just-- if you're on the Temple Mount, and you look across the Kidron Valley, and you can see the Mount of Olives in front of you. Just to your left of that is another little hill attached to the Mount of Olives called Mount Scopus. And it's called Mount Scopus because when the Romans came in to attack the city, they stood on that mount and scoped out the city. And so it was called in Latin Scopus.
It's where they could view the city of Jerusalem before it fell. Before they took it. So right on that little outcropping was the city of Nob. It evidently was a priestly city. It's where the priests hung out and did their thing. And so what we think, what we believe is that the Tabernacle has now moved. Remember, it was in Shiloh, then the Ark has been moved already from it. But the Tabernacle has gotten moved evidently to just across-- from Jerusalem. Jerusalem is still under the control not of Israel, but of a foreign government, a foreign power. So they have not taken Jerusalem yet.
So the Tabernacle, evidently is set up on this hill, Mount Scopus overlooking Jerusalem. The Ark, however, the Ark of the Covenant is not in the Tabernacle as it should be, but it is in that city we showed you a few weeks, months ago, Kiriath Jearim. Down in the area where Samson is from. And David will be the one who will move it eventually to Jerusalem, but it is there. The Tabernacle is here, but not the Ark of the Covenant.
So David came to Nob. Ahimelech the priest saw him. And we notice in verse 1 that he was afraid, he got nervous. And he got nervous for good reason. First of all, who's the King in Israel? Saul. Saul's a nut case. Saul's apt to do anything. The fact that Saul's son-in-law is there alone without an entourage, without protection, without Secret Service is a red flag. Because if you're related to the King-- you're his son-in-law, he's going to want to keep you safe. You're married to Michal, his daughter, but you're here alone. That made him nervous, because he knew Saul. And he knew that Saul had a penchant for doing almost anything. So he said, why are you alone and no one with you? So David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The King has ordered me on some business."
Now, I see a lot of things here, and that's just me. I see a lot of things when I read through a text. First of all, what's interesting to me is that the first place of refuge that David goes to is where God's representatives hang out. I think that's good. They're the priests, they represent God on Earth. There are no prophets yet, really, except for Samuel. He speaks for God. But the priests are in touch with the will of God, so I need to run somewhere to be safe, I need to seek the Lord. The best place to go is to where people seek the Lord every day. And that would be the Tabernacle. That would be the priesthood that is serving in the Tabernacle.
So I love the fact that David just had that instinct to go to where God's people are hanging out, and God's ministers are. But though that's commendable, what is not commendable is that David lied to him. Now, there's a lot of ways you can look at this. I suppose you could say, well, yeah, but he was protecting his life. OK, but that's just called situational ethics. Situational ethics is the end justifies the means. It doesn't matter what I do as long as I get this outcome. Well, it does matter. It does matter because God said it's sin to lie, bear false witness. Part of the Ten Commandments. There's no way around it. He lied.
And really the only good outcome would be saving his own hide, so well that's a good outcome. True, but this is David. David had the faith to go out against Goliath with just a sling and a few stones. Now, why couldn't he face Saul with that same kind of faith that he faced Goliath with? So I'm bringing this up because I want you to see David, though he's a man after God's own heart, still a man. The best of men are men at best. He's still a man, he still struggles, he's still getting his sea legs sort of when it comes to faith and trust with God. Yeah, he had faith when he heard what Goliath said against God. How dare you insult the Lord God of heaven and Earth? You uncircumcised Philistine.
But Saul is the King. And for some reason he doesn't have the same faith to face Saul that he did to face Goliath. Now, that shouldn't surprise you when you read about men or women of great faith who struggle at times with their faith, with being faithless. Elijah was another one. Don't you find it interesting that Elijah in 1 Kings chapter 18 could stand before 400 prophets of Baal, call fire down from heaven, and then go down to the Brook Kishon and go after them, to get rid of them. In the very next chapter, one woman threatens his life and he runs down to the Sinai desert. Jezebel.
And he gets so depressed he goes under a broom and he goes, kill me, God. Amazing. He can have such faith in one chapter and such absence of faith in the next chapter. People of faith struggle with things of faith from time to time. So the Bible is honest about its heroes.
So he asked, what do you got? If you got bread, I'm hungry. He has a small entourage of men not a large one. Verse 4, and the priest answered David and said there is no common bread on hand, but there is Holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women. And David answered the priest and said to him, Truly women have been kept from us about three days since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are Holy, and the bread is in effect common even though it was sanctified in the vessel this day. So the priest gave him Holy bread. For there was no bread there, but the show bread. Which had been taken from before the Lord in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.
In the Tabernacle, once you got into the outer enclosure, that courtyard where the sacrifices were conducted, there was a tent that enclosed two rooms. The first room, where the priest went, was called the Holy place. And in the Holy place, as you walk in if you were the priest on your left hand side would be a golden lamp stand. On your right hand side would be a table with 12 loaves of bread called show bread. One loaf representing each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests were commanded by God to weekly put new loaves of bread. So bread would be braked on the Sabbath. The priest would go in, remove the old loaves of bread, put new freshly baked bread on the table. And then the priest could eat that bread that he removed, but only the priest could do it. That's the show bread, or the Holy bread that he was referring to.
By the time you get to the New Testament, Jesus brings up this story to the Pharisees. Do you remember? We're told in Matthew chapter 12 that Jesus was with his disciples one Sabbath day in the grain fields, and they were going to the grain fields and the disciples would pluck some of the ears of grain, rub it in their hands and eat the grain. Which you can do, it's sort of a gummy soft substance. I hear it's quite good.
So they were doing that, they're eating it. Which, by the way, was lawful. Deuteronomy 23 said, if you're in a grain field-- if you own a grain field first of all, don't take all of the grain out at harvest time leave some of it for the poor or the traveler. If you are in a grain field, you can eat anything that you can pick, that's lawful. It's yours. Take it, eat it. The only thing you are prohibited from doing was carrying any out. You couldn't put a sickle to it, if you're a foreigner or if you're a traveler or if you're poor. You could only eat what you could eat on the spot, but you couldn't take any home with you. So you could always go out to the field and go out to the grapes and have a meal. So the poor would be taken care of.
So the disciples are in the grain field on the Sabbath day. Jesus is walking with them, they're eating some of the grain. And it says the Pharisees got angry. I've always been amused by that story, because my first thought has always been what on earth were the Pharisees doing in the grain fields on the Sabbath day? I can't answer that. I can only think they were spying on Jesus, to see if you would do that.
Now, what he was doing was lawful. What they were doing was lawful according to Deuteronomy 23. What made it unlawful in the minds of the Pharisees is that they did it on the Sabbath day. And the Pharisees by this time had developed rules and regulations of what is permissible, lawful, or non permissible, unlawful to do on the Sabbath. They had 39 different categories of prohibited actions on the Sabbath day. They codified all this. I mean, they sat down and wrote, this is what you can't do on the Sabbath day. And they had 39 different categories.
And the disciples had broken, in their minds, according to their laws, four of them on the Sabbath day. Number one, they were reaping, because they plucked the grain. Technically, the Pharisees says that's reaping the grain. Number two, they were winnowing the grain, because they would rub it together in their hands. Number three, they were threshing the grain, because they would blow the chaff away from the grain. And all of that together brought it into a fourth category. They were preparing a meal on the Sabbath day. I kid you not.
William Barclay goes into great detail about this in his commentary. But that's how the Pharisees viewed this. These guys have broken four of the major no no's on the Sabbath day. And so when they accused Jesus and the disciples of that, Jesus-- I love his answer, he said don't you guys ever read your Bibles? Which is a good answer. When people are nit picky about this or that. I'll often say, do you ever read that book that you referred to?
David said have you never read, how that David on the Sabbath day, and those who were with him ate the show bread, which is only lawful for the priest to eat? And then he said for the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. Now, the principal in the New Testament, Matthew 12, and the principal here is the same. Human-need trump's religious creed. You might have a religious creed, and oh we do it this way and that way. Right. But these guys are starving to death. And the priest knew that. The priest knew that I have my ceremonial creed's, my religious creeds, but there's a human need that supersedes that. So the priest gave the Holy bread to his men.
Here's an example, let's say, for some reason unfortunately, some house in your neighborhood caught on fire. You see the fire. You figure somebody may be inside so you go up to the door. You see the fire coming out-- this actually happened to me. And you knock on the door, you pound on the door. And nobody answers the door, but then you look through the window and you see somebody slumped over in the house, unconscious. Now, you could say, well I rang the doorbell. I knocked on the door, I'm leaving. You wouldn't do that. What you do is you knock down the door, or you break through the window, and you drag that unconscious person to safety.
Now, technically, that's breaking and entering. That's unlawful for you to break into somebody's house, but you won't be charged for that. The judge won't say you're going to jail for breaking and entering. He'll thank you for saving somebody's life. It's the same principle. When I first read that text, by the way, in Matthew chapter 12 and then I read this text. The first time I read it, I let out a huge sigh of relief. Because-- and I was 18 years of age, by the way, when I first read it. That's when I came to Christ.
I was reading through the Gospel of Matthew. I read that Matthew 12 thing, and then I read 1 Samuel chapter 21. I went, oh, wow. I feel so good. Because I had been burdened for a long time with guilt, because I grew up going to Catholic school. St Mary's Catholic school in California. And during the month of May when I went to school, they would have Mass every day, and I was one of the altar boys. You just have to picture your pastor as one of the altar boys when he was a kid.
So that was me. I was that kid. And one day after Mass was let out, I realized I had forgotten my lunch. I left it at home, and I knew I wouldn't make it through the day without something to eat. So I remember where the wafers for communion were kept, the hosts. They were kept in a little bag under the sink behind the altar. So I remember I went in there and I took a few handfuls like potato chips, and I just ate them. And satisfied my hunger and by the end of the day I was just so overcome with guilt and remorse. And then that kind of followed through my life.
Now, it's not like I did a whole lot with that guilt and remorse, because I did a lot worse things than that up until the time I got saved. But when I did get saved, and I read that text, it was like hallelujah! I felt like David and his men at the city of Nob, eating the Holy bread. Anyway, I walked away thinking about it differently.
The priest gave him the Holy bread. Now, verse 7 a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day. So he saw the whole thing. He was detained before the Lord. I don't exactly know what that means, because this guy is not an Israelite, he's an Edomite. But it could be that he was converting, or he still had to go through some ceremonial cleansing required by King Saul, but for some reason he is detained before the Lord. And his name was Doeg, an Edomite, chief of the herdsmen that belong to Saul. And David said to Ahimelech, Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the King's business required haste. So he's still telling that lie. So the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah. There it is. Wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other, except that one here. And David said, There is none like it. Give it to me.
Now, don't you remember David after he cut Goliath's head off, and was walking around with that head everywhere. Went to Jerusalem with a head, put the head in his tent, came back to Saul, still had the head in his hand. So he took the sword of Goliath also, and he put Goliath's sword in his own personal tent. Spoils of battle. He could do that.
It seems that the sword of David is in the Tabernacle. Why? Well, it's become iconic. It's like a national treasure. It's like this is the sword of the enemy of Israel that intimidated us day after day. And David won that battle, and so he put the sword-- he deposited the sword in the Tabernacle. So it was something for the nation to enjoy. It was kept by the priest, it was guarded. So it went from his tent into the Tabernacle. So it evidently has gotten acclaim, and has the reverence of the entire nation.
I hope you don't mind me telling you some of these personal stories of mine, like I did with the bread. But let me tell you another one. I love history, and I love to study different periods of history. And in one period of history I knew that I was weak on was the area of the Crusades. And when you go to Israel you see remnants of crusader castles from that period all over the Middle East. Some are in fine tact, but I just didn't have a working knowledge of the Crusades. So I decided to buy several books. One of them is 800 and some pages just on the history of the Crusades.
Well, I started reading about the first Crusades starting in 1095 AD. And 1096, Godfrey of Bouillon, who was the Frankish crusader from Anjou-- an area of France, became the first King of Jerusalem. And history talks a lot about his sword, and how he entered Jerusalem and how he took over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and used that as a staging ground. Anyway, I won't bore you with all the history.
But I had a friend who lives in Jerusalem, and said you know-- I was talking to him about the Crusades, and about Godfrey, and he goes, you can see Godfrey's sword? It's here in the city of Jerusalem. It happens to be in a special room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. So I thought I've seen treasure hunters on TV, I'm going to go find that sword. So I went into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre one day, and I asked to see it, and they shooed me out of there. Wouldn't let me see it. I went in the next day and I ask, and they shooed me out of there.
Went in another day, and one of the brothers or priests or whatever recognized me. Took me this way, and he took me into the back room and showed me the sword. And like David's sword, it was-- now it's been taken out, put it in a museum, but it was just hanging there on the wall of this room. And I just studied it for the longest time. I guess it would be like seeing Goliath's sword. We're talking a sword that's like a thousand years old, and has the history of the Crusades. The first crusader King of Jerusalem. Anyway, I found it fascinating. Has nothing at all to do with our text. Just came to mind, just thought I'd share it.
So he said there's nothing like it. I'd like it, I'll take Goliath's sword. Which it'd be a pretty big sword especially for David, but David has grown up since he took Goliath's head in the Valley of Elah. Something else. Why does he need his sword? He faced Goliath without a sword. Right? He faced Goliath with a sling and a few stones. So all of a sudden David feels like I need protection. And I just want you to mark this, because again I don't think this is necessarily a lack of faith. You could see it as a lack of faith, if that's your interpretation. But I just see it as common sense. Things have changed now. Now my life is being threatened, and because my life is being threatened on all sides, it's not like I'm going to battle and I know my enemy in front of me. I could be ambushed at any moment.
I think it's good to have a sword. It's good to protect yourself. And I see nothing wrong with you protecting your family. I think we find precedent for that in the New Testament. Do you remember when Jesus said to his men-- he said do you remember when I sent you out without a moneybag, without a sack, without sandals? He said did you lack anything? They said we lacked nothing, Lord. He said now if you have a money sack, bring it. Now bring sandals, and if you don't have a sword sell something and get one. So they didn't quite get it, and they said, well, we found two swords. Jesus said that'll do it, that's enough. So I do think there is precedent for you protecting yourself, being vigilant. Hey, we live in Albuquerque. You should be vigilant. And there are some bad things going on out there. So David feels the need, I need protection so he takes the sword of Goliath.
And it says in verse 10, David arose and fled that day from before Saul and went to Achish the King of Gath. Now, let me give you a little FYI. Achish is his name. That's his name like my name is Skip, you have your own personal surname, first name. Achish was his name. His title was Abimelech. Abimelech was the title of the office of the King of the Philistines. Just like in Egypt you have the Pharaohs. Just like in Rome you had the Caesars. Just like in Arab countries you have Emirs today.
And Abimelech was the ruler of the Philistines, but his name was Achish. So that's just an FYI, and I'll show you why that's important, I think, in a little bit. So he goes to Gath. Gath is the capital of the Philistine territory. So he goes to the capital. By the way, Goliath is from Gath-- was from Gath. He's dead now, but he lived in Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him is this not David the King of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another and their dances, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands? Now, here's a question. Why does he go to Gath? Why does he go to Philistine country? Probably, he is thinking it's the last place Saul would ever look for me, is there.
But you got to appreciate the humor in this. He is going to the birthplace of Goliath with Goliath's sword on. You just have to appreciate the irony here. He has Goliath's sword, he goes to Gath. But he thinks nobody will recognize him. Evidently, he was smaller when that happened, he was younger. He has grown his beard out since then, as you'll see. But they recognized him. Hey, that's David. And notice what they said of him, I find it interesting. In verse 11, is this not David the King of the land?
Hello? No, sorry. I know it's an easy mistake. Don't worry about it.
So they said David was the King. David wasn't the King. The King of the land was Saul. But could they, perhaps, had somebody maybe leaked out-- maybe because of Saul's paranoia it got out that David had been anointed by Samuel. So word has already spread to the Philistines, this the next King. This is the King in waiting, perhaps. Or perhaps it's an unwitting and unknowing prophecy. That this is indeed the King. However they knew it, they said it, and they quoted the songs that were sung before. Saul has slain his thousands, David his tens of thousands.
Now David took these words to heart. In other words, he went uh, oh. They recognize me. I've been discovered. And he was very much afraid of Achish the King of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them. See, this is always the problem when you go to Gath. Whenever you go into the enemy's territory, you're apt to change your behavior. You start acting like unbelievers. You start hanging out with unbelievers, you start changing your behavior, changing your speech.
David changes his behavior before them, and look what he does. He feigned madness in their hands. Scratched on their doors-- the doors of the gate, and let saliva fall down his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, Look! You see the man is insane! Why have you brought him to me? Do I have need of madmen that you have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?
So we learn something else about David. Not only was he a shepherd, not only was he a warrior, not only was he a leader, but he was an actor. And evidently a pretty good actor. He could play insanity really well, because he convinced everybody of it. It was believed in those days that to be mentally ill was an affliction of the gods. And people that were insane, or acted odd like that, they just didn't want to have anything to do with them. They were often banished and ill treated. And so David knew that, and because he was recognized-- I believe that David was recognized. I believe they captured David and I'll show you why they captured him in the Philistine country. Then he acted insane, then they let him go.
But, again, just keep this in mind. He went there and he had to change his behavior. He's in enemy territory, and he changes your behavior. When you go into the world and you get around worldly people sometimes you are afraid of being the Christian that you are. And you play the Christian when you're with Christians. And you play the cool, I'm as weird and goofy and ungodly as you are, among the unbeliever.
The only way you're going to be able to survive around your unbelieving family, friends, co-workers well isn't to do that. It's to be a thermostat, not a thermometer. A thermometer goes up and down. It just registers whatever the temperature is in the environment. If the environment is hot, it reads hot. The environment is cold, it reads cold. If unbelievers are this way, that's how you read. If they're that way, that's how you read. That's being a thermometer. A thermostat sets the temperature. You go in there unashamed, unafraid. This is who I am. This is what I believe. Don't worry, like David they'll go, get them away from us, he's insane.
David wrote a couple of Psalms during this event, or shortly thereafter. One is Psalm 34. And I'm not going to read Psalm 34 to you except the introduction. It says, Psalm 34 a Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech. That's the title of Achish. When he pretended madness before Abimelech who drove him away and he departed. So that's the background of Psalm 34. You can read it later on your own.
But I do want you to turn to Psalm 56 for just a moment. Psalm 56 was also written during that time. By the way, Psalm 34 is one of the great Psalms. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble will hear thereof, and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, delivered me from all my fear. That's Psalm 34. Great Psalm.
Psalm 56, also written during this period, begins this way. To the chief musician set to the silent dove in distant lands. Apparently a well-known Psalm. A Michtam-- a musical notation, of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath. That's why I say he went to Gath with a sword, thought nobody would recognize him. They recognized him, captured him, he acted insane and they released him. That's probably how the chronology goes.
So let's just look at a couple of these great verses. Be merciful to me, Oh God, Psalm 56 begins, for man would swallow me up, fighting all day he oppresses me, my enemies would hound me all day for there are many who fight against me, oh, Most High. Saul was fighting against him, the army of Saul was fighting against him. Now the Philistines are fighting against him. Whenever I am afraid I will trust in you. In God, I will praise his word. In God, I have put my trust. I will not fear, what can flesh do to me?
It's a beautiful Psalm, but now you know the rest of the story. And so when David says, I trust the Lord. I look at it and go, well, eventually you do, but you struggled with your faith like a lot of us do. At first he lacked faith. And again it's amazing how people of great faith can often exhibit anything but faith in certain situations. So like Walter Scott said, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive."
Anyway, he gets out of it. So he is released from that. Chapter 22-- we don't have much time. I have great expectations for myself, but it gets away from me. David, therefore, departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam, and when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to meet him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, everyone who was discontented, gathered to him. So he became captain over them, and there were about 400 men with him.
OK, so evidently just looking at the time, I'm not going to really be able to do this next chapter justice. Forgive me for that. But I can offer you this much. He goes from Gath, and he goes between Gath and Bethlehem-- where he's from, is this network of caves called the caves of Adullam. Adullam means refuge or secret place, shut up place. And I've been in the area. It's about a mile-- or it's right on the very edge of the Valley of Elah. Remember, I told you about the Valley of Elah?
The Valley of Elah is where David and Goliath met. And it's where Goliath met his death. David killed him in the Valley of Elah. At the very edge of that Valley, and extending to about a mile away are these series of limestone caves. I have been in a few of them. They're enormous. And they can house hundreds of people. I've been there with some of the tour groups, and we take everybody in all the buses that we can fit in there. And we could fit hundreds more. We can have a worship service, sometimes we do. Take the guitar out, it echoes in that limestone cave. We just worship the Lord.
So David is hiding in this cave. You'll notice that all his father's house heard it, and they went down there to meet him. Here's what's happening. David understands that Saul is mentally unhinged. He's unstable. If Saul is willing to throw a spear at his son, Jonathan, and kill him, if he's willing to kill members of his own family, imagine what he would do to David's family. So David takes his father, mother, brothers, extended family members with him now during these years of refuge. Something else you may not know, Bethlehem is occupied at this time by the Philistines. Did you know that?
David, when he is in battle, later on he says, oh, I wish I had water from the well of Bethlehem. And one of his cousins who's brave-- a couple of them, snuck through, killed some of the Philistines, got water from the well, took it to David to drink water from Bethlehem. So evidently Bethlehem is under the control, and the occupier at that time were the Philistines.
So the incursion is great. Saul is the leader of the kingdom, but his kingdom is so small. It really is down to one tribe, and the enemies of Israel are all around. You'll see that in the next coming chapter, so I'm setting the tone for you. Also during this time, David writes Psalm 142. When he was in the cave of Adullam. You can look at that later on.
So he wrote one of the great Psalms. It says verse 2, and everyone who was in distress, everyone who is in debt, everyone who is discontented gathered to him. And so he became captain over them, and there were about 400 men with him. I've always loved that verse. Because those 400 discontented, discouraged, indebted men will become known later on as David's mighty men.
How do you go from being discontented and discouraged and in debt to mighty, by hanging out with the King? Just stay with the King, just be with the King, just hang out in his presence. Learn from him, watch him, abide with the King and you'll become like the King. Isn't that a beautiful principal? Because I look at this verse and I think that's kind of like us. Or at least me, I'll speak for myself. Everyone who was in distress.
We live in very distressful times. It's hard to read the news or hear the news. It's hard. I do it because I want to know what's going on, but it's distressing to me. This world is filled with distress. And this country is filled with discontented people. People look around, and-- I'm sure at the time of David, they knew they had weak leadership with King Saul. They knew that the enemies were growing in number. They were discontented. They were in distress. And they were in debt.
Taxes were on the rise. Cost of goods was on the rise. Their shekel didn't go as far as it used to go. God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
I had a pastor named Chuck Smith, and this was one of Chuck's go-to verses to describe the Jesus movement. Because he would refer to those who are in distress, and those who are in debt, and those who are discouraged. He would point to us, me included. His mighty men. The pastors of Calvary Chapel. Look at these guys. They're ex drug addicts, surfers, kind of lowlifes and look what God is doing with them. And we'd own it. We'd go, yup, that's right. We were pretty hopeless. We fit this bill.
God is all about getting this kind of person. You're discontented, you're in debt, you're discouraged, you're perfect. You're kingdom material, man. You're in the right kingdom. Just hang out with the King, be empowered. You'll be Davids. You'll be the Lord Jesus' mighty men and women. I love this about David. He takes them. Join me fellas, hang out with me.
The Lord is building his kingdom, and he uses weak things and foolish things. Now, it doesn't it mean that everybody has to be foolish and everybody has to be weak. You might be the exception. You might be a very strong and able and competent and amazing and noteworthy person, but you are the exception among us. David said you see your calling brethren, not many mighty, not many noble, not many strong after the flesh are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world, and the weak things and the things that are despised.
My question is have you surrendered your life to the King of Kings? Are you in his ranks? I'm not asking are you a religious person. I'm not asking you if you're just a churchgoing person. Do you belong to him? Are you following the King? Are you in relationship-- an abiding relationship with the King? There's a big difference.
I grew up going to a church as an unsaved young man. I went to the church every week. I went through the sacraments. My parents made sure that I was faithful. I wasn't a good kid, but I was a churchgoer. But I remember the day I surrendered to the King. And on that day, I was pretty discontented. I certainly was in debt. And Jesus said you're perfect. I'll take you just as you are. Join my team, I'll use you. I'll shake your world. I'll change your world. I'll use you in the world in which you live. I'll make you a fisher of men.
That's what he wants to do with you. If you've not surrendered to him yet, you're in the right place. And this is the right time. The Bible says now is the time. Today is the day of salvation. This is your day. You're not here by accident, you're here by appointment. The Lord has been trying to get a hold of your life. Now is the time for you to surrender your life to him.
Get in line with the King who is the great son of David. That's what he's called in scripture. The greater son of David, Jesus Christ. Of the same lineage. But he will one day rule the world, and you can rule and reign with him. So I'd like that. Got to surrender to him. You got to ask him. He only comes in by invitation. He won't force himself. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Some of you have felt that knock. You've heard that knock. You've sensed his presence. You've known that you need to make a decision, but you haven't done it yet. That's why you're here right now. To do exactly that.
Let's pray, Father, we thank you and we pray that you would unlock hearts. Open up different ones who have gathered here to the call of your Spirit in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if that's you and you know it's you, I want you to raise your hand up in the air. Just keep it up, as we're praying. Just keep your hands up, and you're saying, Skip, here's my hand, pray for me.
God bless you. I see your hand. And you and you. Three of you on my right side. You on my left. Keep it up just so I can see it. Over here on my left, several of you. God bless you, guys. Who else? God bless you. Anyone else? Anyone else?
Lord, it is our prayer for these who are here, these are people whom you love who are about to become brothers and sisters in the kingdom of light. Leaving the kingdom of darkness. You take them just as they are. You're going to infuse them with your Spirit. You're going to change them, and when you bring life change to them, you're going to use them as they grow into you. Thank you for that. We are witnessing a miracle. Strengthen them in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Let's all stand to our feet, and we're going to sing a final song. And I saw hands go up a few over here. A couple of you right here and several of you here, and over to my right. Get up and come now. If you raised your hand, I want you to walk the nearest aisle and stand right up here in the front. Where I'm going to lead you in a prayer. We're going to seal this deal. We're going to make it real. You're going to be glad you did.
[MUSIC PLAYING - "ANOTHER IN THE FIRE"]
Come on up. Listen to that encouragement. Yeah. That's it.
[MUSIC PLAYING] Should I ever need reminding. How good You've been to me. I'll count the joy come every battle. 'Cause I know that's where You'll be. There is another in the fire. Oh. There is another in the fire. Oh. There's another in the fire. Oh. There's another in the fire.
I can't help but wonder if some are watching these who have decided to make this decision, and yet you also know that this is something you need to do. Yes, you do. You need to do this. God is merciful. God loves you. God will forgive you. He'll take you just the way you are. You don't have to clean anything up. I'll clean up my act, no you don't clean up your act. You can't. You come as you are. He cleans you up. That's the gospel.
He catches the fish, and he cleans all the fish he catches. And he'll do it for you. Would you come? Anybody else? Would you come? Would you say yes to Jesus? Will you say yes to the Lord? Will you just quit fighting him and just surrender? Just release your life. He made you. Release your life to him.
Anybody else, get up and come. Get up and come and join these who are about to pray to receive Christ. If you're not sure, you come and be sure right now. Could be just a struggle. You've been struggling with this a long time. You're fighting it. Don't fight
[MUSIC PLAYING]Those of you who have come forward, I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I want to ask you to pray this prayer. God bless you, and you. Come on. I admire that faith. Yes, sir.
Thank you for saying yes to him. You who have come forward, now I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I want you to pray this out loud. Pray it after me. Say these words, but you're not saying them to me. If you can, tune all of us out, and you're saying this to God in heaven.
Say Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner, please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross, that he shed his blood for me, and that he rose again. I turn from my past, and I turn to Jesus as Savior. I want to follow him as my Lord. Help me to do that. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Yeah, come on. That's so good. OK, a whole bunch of you came up. Can you see Pastor Antonio over here? I would like everyone here to follow Antonio and myself right over to this room. Right now.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series expound.