Good morning and welcome to those joining us by radio this morning, we are glad you’re here! We are in a sermon series on the life of David. Shepherd boy, poet, musician, warrior, and king – but above all a man who desired to love and serve the LORD.
David, like Moses and Abraham, walked and talked with God. He knew God on a personal basis. So how did that happen? David didn’t have a Bible. He didn’t listen to Christian radio or go to Bible School or hear a weekly sermon. How did David come to know the LORD?
David came to know the LORD because the LORD first came to him. That’s the only way it happens. We love God because God first loves us and reveals himself to us. God calls us and we respond. God, by grace, opens the door and we, by faith, walk through.
God reveals himself to us in three ways. First, in creation. David wrote in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4
The second way God reveals himself is in his Word. David went on- “The Law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes... they are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Ps 19:7-11
David didn’t have a Bible like we do. He didn’t have a daily devotional. He didn’t listen to Christian radio or even have a local church to attend. What David means by the Law of the LORD is the 10 commandments and the Shema he learned as a child.
“Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut 6:4-5 This Word of God became David’s strength and shield and wall of protection. As David responded to the revelation he was given, his relationship with the LORD grew and deepened and he came to know the LORD.
You and I have an advantage over David. We have a completed Scripture. All we have to do is pick it up and read it and meditate on it. We have the Holy Spirit to help us understand it. We have teachers who can disciple us. We have the church, the Body of Christ. But we can’t expect to know the LORD until we respond to the revelation he has given and seek him.
But above all these things – Jesus is the final and complete revelation of the invisible God. Jesus promised that if we would trust him, seek him, obey him he would come and live within us and we would live within him. We would know him just as he knows us and our personal relationship with him would grow deep and strong. The question is – are we willing to invest in such a relationship with him? To love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength?
Last week we left David having conquered the monster Goliath in the strength of the LORD. This 18 year old shepherd boy became an overnight sensation! Everybody wanted to be his friend. Mothers try to set him up with their daughters. Girls swoon at the sight of his curly locks. Suddenly this teenage country bumpkin is rock star famous!
King Saul pulls him out of the shepherd’s field and puts him in the palace to be his personal armor bearer. He makes David an officer in his army even though David has no military training or experience. David is faced with temptations he’s never known before. Will he be able to handle it? Will it swell his head or steal his heart? Will all this attention destroy him?
Jonathon, Saul’s favorite son and heir to the throne gives David his own royal robe, his best sword, his private bow and arrows, his belt which was a symbol of his authority. Jonathon essentially adopts David as his brother and the two become best friends.
Jonathon doesn’t seem threatened by the possibility that David might become king. In fact, he sees God’s hand in it and he is willing to step aside and let the LORD’s will be done.
His father, however, is not so open to God’s plan. In fact, he’s dead set against it. Even though Samuel the prophet had clearly told Saul, “You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel… The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and given it to one of your neighbors- to one who is better than you.” 1 Sam 15:26, 28
In setting himself against David and Samuel, Saul sets himself against the LORD. He becomes an enemy of God. Saul also learned the Shema and the 10 commandments as a child, just like David. But he chose to reject the revelation God had given him.
Rather than seeking and loving the LORD above all else, Saul chooses to seek his own will and exalt himself. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is death.” Pro 14:12
It’s amazing to me how easily we reject the Lord’s way because we think it will hamper our freedom or cramp our style. We walk away from the wall of protection only God can provide and we are shocked to find ourselves attacked and enslaved by our own depravity and fear.
The farther Saul moved away from the LORD, the more paranoid, schizophrenic, and depraved he became. He did everything in his power to set David up for failure, yet David found success in every task Saul gave him because the LORD was with him. The more Saul hated him, the more David’s soldiers and friends loved and respected him.
Here’s an example: Saul promised his daughter to the man who killed Goliath. But when David killed Goliath, Saul reneged on his promise and gave his daughter to another man. I think he was trying to incite David to complain so he could accuse him of treason and kill him. But David remained loyal and refused to be drawn into a conflict with his king.
Then Saul promised David another daughter but only at the price of David killing 200 Philistine warriors. He hoped David would be killed in battle – but David was successful. Twice he tried to pin David to the wall with his spear while David was playing the harp for him. But David refused to defend himself. Instead, he dodged Saul’s spears and escaped.
Saul spent the last 20 years of his life doing everything in his power to kill David. Yet David never retaliated. He remained loyal. He refused the way of revenge. He continued to defend Saul and his nation from the Philistines even as Saul was using every weapon he possessed to destroy David. There is a parallel here in what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Sin is a form of insanity that only God can heal. Like Saul, we were living as enemies of God. We had walked away from God. We rejected him as our shield and defender, our wall of protection. But God sent us a Savior who could rescue us and restore us to sanity.
Just like Saul trying to pin David to the wall with his spear, we took Jesus and nailed him to the cross. We jeered and cursed him as he hung there. And he defended us before his Father. He looked down on us and said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
Saul blamed David for his pain and suffering. He thought, “If I can just kill David, all my problems will go away.” But David wasn’t Saul’s problem, Saul was Saul’s problem.
There are those today who say, “If we can just get rid of God, all our problems will go away.” But God isn’t the problem; we are, and God is the only solution. No matter how fervently we try to blame God and everybody else for our sin, our pain and suffering, God refuses to abandon us. He lavishes his grace upon us even when we refuse to acknowledge it.
Ultimately, though, if we persist in our rebellion, God will allow us to have it our way. We will spend eternity alone, burning forever in sin, self-righteousness, fear, resentment, hatred.
So what made David different? David was just as human, just as vulnerable to his sinful nature as Saul. He had just as many obstacles. In fact, David’s road in many ways was more difficult than Saul’s. Yet David’s road opened up in blessings that ripple through the generations even to the present day while Saul’s road dead-ended in despair and disaster.
The key was in their response to the revelation the LORD had given them. David humbled himself and put himself under the Word of the LORD he had been taught as a child. “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut 6:4-5
In his heart, David’s greatest desire to love and serve the LORD. He trusted the LORD to be his strength, his wall of protection, the shield that guarded and protected him.
Saul refused to humble himself. He refused to submit the sovereignty of his heart to anyone but himself and that left him without a wall of protection against the sin within his own heart and the temptations of the world. Every time Saul rejected the opportunity God gave him to repent, his heart became a little harder until he was no longer able to respond to God’s call.
David, on the other hand, depended on the LORD to cleanse his heart and create a right spirit within him and day by day, that’s what the LORD did for him. While Saul depended on his ability to scheme and manipulate and he quickly fell victim to the webs of his own deceit.
David confessed his emptiness before the LORD and the LORD filled him with faith, joy, peace, mercy. Saul pushed the LORD away and his heart became choked with his own fear, hatred, bitterness and depravity. We don’t know who wrote Psalm 33. But it certainly could have been David. Let’s read them together…
A king does not win because of his powerful army;
A soldier does not triumph because of his strength.
War horses are useless for victory; their great strength cannot save.
The Lord watches over those who obey him,
Those who trust in his constant love.
He saves them from death; He keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the Lord; he is our protector and our help.
We are glad because of him; we trust in his holy name.
May your constant love be with us, Lord, as we put our hope in you!