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Patience

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Patience

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Most people don't have a least favorite scripture, but I certainly have one. Today I'm going to talk about James 1:4.

Transcript

 

Most of us have a favorite scripture in the Bible. If I would ask for a show of hands, I think most people would raise their hands that they have a favorite scripture, something like Mrs. Armstrong used to say, "How good and how pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity." Recently one of the ministers on the ministerial forum put on a question. He wanted to compile everybody's favorite scriptures. I didn't send him mine and nobody else seemed to have mine, which was, you know, no problem. My favorite scripture that normally I like to read or like to memorize or say out loud is Psalm 103. So I could today give you a sermon on my favorite scripture in the Bible, but I'm not.

I'm going to give a sermon on my least favorite scripture in the Bible. Did you ever have a scripture that you read over and said, "Wow! I wish that wasn't there. I don't like what this says. I just don't like this verse, and I know it's there and I know it applies to me, but this is not my favorite scripture"? So, does anybody have their least favorite scripture they could quote real quick? Well, maybe most people don't have a least favorite scripture, but I certainly have one. Today I'm going to have to turn over there and we'll talk about that.

Let's go to James, chapter 1, and verse 4. This is inherently an un-favorite scripture of mine because it talks about the word "patience," and I'm very impatient. I want to have what I want right now. I don't want to wait. I don't see any point in waiting. I've always been impatient about a whole lot of things in life and, of course, that's cost me; but, also, at times I've taken advantage of some opportunities. When I was in high school, my high school counselor, who had known me for seven years because he was also my sixth-grade teacher, wrote an evaluation; and he said that "Rex is very impatient. He doesn't have enough patience."

James 1:4 James 1:4But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
American King James Version×
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Now, that's not what I want to do. I want to have it right now. I don't want to wait. I don't want to have to go through the lessons learned. I just don't see any reason to have to wait all this time. I'd rather be impatient than patient; but we're told, "let patience have its perfect work."

The Jewish New Testament by David Stern says, "Let perseverance do its complete work in your life." The Revised Standard Version says, "Let steadfastness have its full effect." The Living Paraphrase says, "So let it grow. Don't try to squirm out of your problems." The NIV, otherwise known as the "Not-inspired version," in the New Testament—it is certainly based on a very flawed Greek text, but it still has some decent applications at times—it says, "Perseverance must finish its work, so you may be mature and complete."

Now, most of us are, by nature, very impatient. The Bible gives us some details, though, of a very impatient and impulsive man; and it tells us through his life experiences how he let this scripture work in his life. In fact, he even wrote down some of the lessons that he learned in this process so that we can read them today.

These scriptures are written for us upon whom the end-times have come. Today I want to take a guided tour of this man's life and words to see if, perhaps, this scripture might also have been the least favorite one in his Bible—although it wasn't in his Bible back then, but certainly it was in principle.

Let's go to I Samuel, chapter 16, and pick up where this story begins. In I Samuel, chapter 16, we have the story of Saul being rejected as king right before this. Saul's heart was proven to be wrong. God said, "I'm going to replace Saul with a new king over Israel. I'm going to look for someone that has a heart after Mine." So here in I Samuel, chapter 16, let's look at verse 12.

We all know the story, so I'm not going to give all the details; but Samuel was sent to a house in Bethlehem to Jesse, a man who had seven sons; and all these seven sons were there except one. Samuel said to Jesse, "I'm not going to sit down until your sons are presented before me because God has told me to come do this." So Jesse cooperates and has each one of his sons come before him. The first ones are old and strong and tough and, you know, mature; and God says, "No, that's not him; no, that's not him; no, that's not him..." And in verse 11, Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all your sons?" And he said, "Well, yeah, but the youngest one is not here; he's out keeping sheep." And Samuel said, "Send and bring him. I will not sit down until he's brought."

So in verse 12, here comes this...it says "ruddy," so we assume he has red hair and, maybe, freckles. He's standing there. He's bright-eyed and good looking, but how old do you think he was? Commentators are fairly consistent that most believe he was between 15 to 17. At the oldest, he was 17 years old and could not have been older than that, according to the chronology of his life. Some even think he may have been as young as 13; but certainly, I think for the sake of today's argument, let's just say he was 17. I'm going to say that because Joseph was 17 when he was kidnaped and sent to prison in Egypt, and he also had to suffer for a certain number of years and learn some lessons. Well, let's assume he's 17 years old. He's the youngest of Jesse's seven sons. Notice what happened.

1 Samuel 16:12-13 1 Samuel 16:12-13 [12] And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and with of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. [13] Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the middle of his brothers: and the Spirit of the LORD came on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
American King James Version×
...And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!" Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

So here's this kid. He's out in the fields; someone sends a messenger; he comes in from the sheep; and all of a sudden, God's prophet Samuel anoints him and says, "You're going to be king over all of Israel." And then he {Samuel} takes off and goes home to Ramah. And here's all his brothers standing around, his dad standing around; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David, which probably means he began to sing even more beautiful songs about God or said things...we don't know exactly what that means or how that worked out in his life. Certainly, it meant that God's Spirit was there to protect him.

Well, let's continue the story. So now, basically, at the end of chapter 16, we don't know what's going on except that Samuel has anointed David. Before long, though, Saul had a distressing spirit.

Verse 15 – And Saul's servants said to him, "Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you." So as Saul had rejected God, God rejected him, and allowed demonic spirits to torment Saul—one more example in the Bible that demons are allowed to torment; they're not allowed to kill or harm unless God would give them direct permission, but they are allowed to torment people when people allow them to come into their lives. We have often seen that with people who have dealt with and dabbled in demonism of one form or another.

Somebody said, "Well, look, I know of a young manwho is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall be that when he plays with his hand, the distressing spirit from God will leave you." And Saul said, "Well, go get him."

Verse 19 – Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep."

Now, Jesse's head is probably spinning—his son was brought out of the fields, he was anointed king, and then Samuel just takes off, and now Saul wants him to come and play the harp. So Jesse took a donkey and took some skin of wine—he wanted to take some kind of present to the king.

Verse 21 – So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.

So to begin with, Saul was attracted to David; and it says he loved him greatly. There was sort of this emotional tie, this bond, that Saul felt for him. David became his armorbearer, the one trusted with his shield and sword, to give it to him quickly, in case a time of need would arise.

Verses 22-23 – Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight."  In other words, Saul basically adopted David from Jesse and said, "He will live, now, in my house, not in yours."  And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed...

That worked out well for awhile. David became a servant in Saul's household. Now, we all know chapter 17 very well. David had gone home to get some food for his brothers who were fighting the Philistines. Then he came back and {confronted} this big giant named Goliath, who was essentially blaspheming God. David volunteered to go out and kill the big giant and took some stones out there. And we know the story, that he killed him. Now, it's an interesting chapter. It helps to know that, perhaps, he was still 17 years old, a very courageous young man for that age. Well, let's continue in the story, chapter 18, and verse 1.

1 Samuel 18:1-2 1 Samuel 18:1-2 [1] And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. [2] And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.
American King James Version×
Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. So here we have not only King Saul loving David, but now we have his son, Jonathan. And Jonathan and David become somewhat like two brothers. They certainly loved each other and became very close. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore.

So now, Saul begins to get very possessive with David. He wants him in his own house. He won't let him go back to see his parents, to visit with mom and dad.
Verses 3-4 –  Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.

This is very important because the robe signified that he was the crown prince, that he's the one who would, someday, become king. He had found out somehow—I'm sure word had gotten around well—that this young man David, who had killed Goliath, had been anointed to be the next king of Israel. So everybody knew it, and Jonathan acknowledged it was from God. He took off his robe and gave it to David and said, "David, you're going to be the next king. I acknowledge that." Now that, of course, made Saul very upset because he wanted his son to be king, not this young upstart named David.

Verses 5-8So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people...that's because, of course, he had killed Goliath and was their big hero. Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." So, human nature here is once again illustrated. Then Saul was very angry...he was jealous that this young upstart was now getting more credit, more admiration, from the people than the king was, so he was very upset.

Verses 9-11 – So Saul eyed David from that day forward. And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but this time there was a spear in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, "I will pin David to the wall!" He tried to kill him. But David escaped his presence twice.

This happened twice, where Saul would throw this spear, so the king tried to kill the young man, David, who was playing his harp.

Verses 12-13 – Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. So verse 12 tells us again that this jealousy, this envy, that motivated King Saul, was growing worse day by day. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

So Saul tried to get him killed. He put him in battles against the Philistines where he had to lead a thousand men. Saul was just hoping that David would die in battle and that would be it. Then Jonathan could become king when Saul was done, and this threat that he perceived would be taken out of the way. So Saul grew very full of hatred and full of envy.

Verse 27 – ...therefore David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines.

That's when Saul had said, "Well, whoever wants to marry my daughter can go out and kill a hundred Philistines. He was hoping that David would try that and die. He would get killed by these hundred Philistines. Instead, David killed two hundred, brought the evidence in, and then Saul, in verse 28:

Verses 28-29 – ...Thus Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him; and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David's enemy continually.

So here we have a king who, to begin with, loves this young man named David; but now he became his enemy. In chapter 19, things take a very difficult turn. Chapter 19 is the beginning of Saul's efforts to actually kill David, in addition to throwing spears at him from time to time. Now, poor David's still 17 years old. He's still kind of a little guy. He's still, you know, sort of the low man on the totem pole. Everyone knows he's become a great military man, that he has led the army of a thousand, that he has killed these Philistines, that he killed the giant Goliath; but still, he is not the king.

1 Samuel 19:1-2 1 Samuel 19:1-2 [1] And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. [2] But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeks to kill you: now therefore, I pray you, take heed to yourself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide yourself:
American King James Version×
Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David...so he says, "OK, look guys, we have to kill this man David," so Jonathan and all the army are told, "You're supposed to go out now and try to kill David." ...but Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted greatly in David. So Jonathan told David, saying, "My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard...go hide, go find someplace where he can't find you." And we have the story about Jonathan going out in this field where David was hiding and, of course, he had time to figure out how his father truly felt. He thought maybe his father had said those things in a fit of anger. So down in verse 8:

Verses 8-10 – And there was war again; and David went out and fought with the Philistines, and struck them with a mighty blow, and they fled from him. Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And, of course, David had come back now and was playing music with his hand. Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul's presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night.

Now, what did David do after this fourth or fifth time, escaping from the king who was trying to kill him? Well, he went out and wrote about what he was learning, and that is kept for us in Psalm 59. Let's hold your place there and turn over to Psalm, chapter 59. Here this young man, who may be 18 years old by now, is running for his life; the king is trying to kill him; and what lessons did he learn and write down for us today?

Psalms 59:1-9 Psalms 59:1-9 [1] Deliver me from my enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. [2] Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. [3] For, see, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. [4] They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. [5] You therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah. [6] They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. [7] Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, does hear? [8] But you, O LORD, shall laugh at them; you shall have all the heathen in derision. [9] Because of his strength will I wait on you: for God is my defense.
American King James Version×
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Who was rising up? Well, Saul and the armies of Saul that were trying to kill David. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men—this gang that King Saul had sent out looking for him; he was hiding. It says, verse 3, For look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty—these were men of battle, these were armies, these were men who were armed, who were trained killers—the mighty gather against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord. He said, "I haven't sinned. I haven't hurt King Saul, but Saul has sent these men out after me." They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. Awake to help me, and behold! You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. At evening they return, they growl like a dog, and go all around the city. They were searching all around the city, Bethlehem, where David lived, and they were trying to find him. Indeed, they belch with their mouth; swords are in their lips; for they say, "Who hears?" But down in verse 9, we have the central core of this psalm. He says, I will wait for You, O You his Strength; for God is my defense...

So if you want to take some notes, write down "Lesson No. 1," that David learned and wrote down for us, for impatient people like you and me, the first lesson is, God is my defense.

We have to learn to rely on God when we are under siege.

Verse 10 – My God of mercy shall come to meet me; God shall let me see my desire on my enemies. God will eventually deliver me.

Verse 16 – But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning...

So let's go back to the story now. We know that David paused to write this psalm for us as he was running from King Saul and his armies.

1 Samuel 19:11 1 Samuel 19:11Saul also sent messengers to David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If you save not your life to night, to morrow you shall be slain.
American King James Version×
  –
Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him—so he's in this house where his wife is. And Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, "If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed." So he was hiding here when he wrote this psalm.

Verses 12-14 – So Michal let David down through a window. She probably tied some rope together, bed sheets or whatever, and he escaped.And she took an image and laid it in the bed, so she stuffed his bed with some goodies to make it look like somebody was sleeping there, probably some extra blankets or pillows or whatever, put a cover of goats' hair for his head, and covered it with clothes. So when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, "He is sick."

So his wife made him able to escape. Now where would you go if you were David? If you were a kid who had been anointed king, and ever since then, your life had been one big mess—the king's trying to kill you, he's throwing spears at you all the time, now he's got an army after you—where would you go if you were David. He'd go back to see Samuel, and say, "Hey, Samuel, what gives? You put this oil on my head; and since then, things have been miserable." I mean, that's what I would do—just what he did.

Verse 18 –  So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. He said, "Look Samuel, this guy's been trying to kill me. He's throwing spears at me all the time. He's trying to get his army after me. He's put me in front of these battles against the Philistines. He tried to get me to kill a hundred Philistines by myself so that they would kill me and not him. How come you anointed me anyway?" Can you imagine that David might have been a little bit intense. He said, "Look what all Saul has done to me."  And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth.

So they stayed a few days. It doesn't say much about their conversation. It's one of those places in the Bible that I wish we had more information. I'd like to have these conversations written out. We don't. It's kind of like Genesis 1, 2, and 3. I wish we had a lot more detail, but we don't. We just have a summary.

Verse 19 – Now it was told Saul, saying, "Take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah!"

So David has gone down to see God's prophet Samuel. David then said, "OK, I've got to flee somewhere else," and he went to see Jonathan. Let's go down to chapter 20 and verse 1. Maybe at this point Samuel said, "Well, go talk to Jonathan. He's the king's son and maybe find out what's going on or see if he could help you." We don't know. All we know is that he went to see Samuel, he told Samuel all about what King Saul was doing, and at this next point, he goes to see Jonathan, the son of Saul.

1 Samuel 20:1 1 Samuel 20:1And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is my iniquity? and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?
American King James Version×
Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and went and said to Jonathan, "What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?"

Jonathan said, "Well, I really don't think that's what's happening. I really don't think Saul, my dad, really wants to kill you without telling me first. He wouldn't do that.

Verses 3-5Then David took an oath again, and said, "Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.' But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death. I'm almost dead. I have to run. Every step I take is keeping me from being killed..." And David said to Jonathan, "Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon," [probably the Day of Trumpets] "and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat..."

So Jonathan says, "I will go to the dinner. You don't go. And whatever my father says, if it's positive, I will come and tell you. If it's negative, I will come and tell you that, also." And they set up this little situation where he was going to shoot some arrows; and if the young man who was going to go fetch the arrows for him, if it was bad news, he was to say, "Go father, father away, the arrows are farther." If it is closer {good news}, he was going to say, "Come closer." Most of this, you know the story. So what happened is exactly that. Jonathan went to the dinner on the day of the new moon, and it was very evident from Saul's response that he truly wanted to kill David. So, then, Jonathan went out and found where David was in the field; and, of course, he told him that Saul's anger was very severe and David was going to be chased. So, essentially, in verse 41, David and Jonathan said goodbye.

1 Samuel 20:41-42 1 Samuel 20:41-42 [41] And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. [42] And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, for as much as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and you, and between my seed and your seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.
American King James Version×
So Jonathan sent the lad away. As soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, stood up out of the grass, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so. So here we have these two very, very close friends—it says they were closer than brothers—and they are basically saying goodbye. They know that David has to flee, that he has to head out, that he cannot stay there anymore. Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.'"

He said, "We have sworn a brotherhood, a peace pact, between us and our descendants," but they knew, now, that David had to flee. So, then, David takes off, and he goes down to a place called Nob. He was hungry. He knew that there was a friendly fellow there called Ahimelech who was the priest. At the end of chapter 20, Jonathan went back to the city; and David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest, and was afraid. This is where the tabernacle was probably set up. Very likely it was the area around Shiloh.

1 Samuel 21:1-5 1 Samuel 21:1-5 [1] Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said to him, Why are you alone, and no man with you? [2] And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know any thing of the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. [3] Now therefore what is under your hand? give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or what there is present. [4] And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under my hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. [5] And David answered the priest, and said to him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yes, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
American King James Version×
Ahimelech said to David, "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 you are doing.' And so I have brought some young men with me." There were a few young men who were following along with David. So now he's getting kind of a small little group he had to take care of. "Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found." So this tells you about how many young men he had with him because five loaves of bread would feed them. So maybe there were four men with him. Maybe there were five men altogether. And the priest answered David and said, "There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread,"—that's the bread that had been in the showbread placed inside the holy place and taken off the table every six days. He said, "Well, they can't have those unless they have kept themselves from women." So the priest was able to give this bread to other people. This was not violating, necessarily, a principal in Exodus, technically speaking. David said, "Well, truly, the men have been kept from women for three days because we've been running around, we've been fleeing. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common..." So the priest gave him some holy  bread, and, of course, he and the men were able to eat.

Verses 7-10 – Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. And his name was Doeg, an Edomite...this guy was an Edomite. He was not an Israelite. He was a son of Esau, an Edomite, who had it in for the people of Israel; but he somehow had become a servant of King Saul. He was the chief of the herdsmen...he took care of King Saul's sheep and goats. 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..." He said, "I'm being chased and I need to have a weapon of some kind." 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." So it was there in the tabernacle somehow being stored by the priests. "If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here." And David said, "...give it to me." Then David arose from there and then went to Achish the king of Gath. So David has a sword, he has a few men with him, and he flees to Gath.
Verses 11-12 – And the servants of Achish said to him, "Is this not David the king of the land?" Now, essentially, Achish was an enemy of the Israelites. He was a Philistine. So here we have the greatest militarily successful commander of Israel, supposedly a leader of Saul's army, now flees with a small group of men and asks for refuge in the city of Gath, where Achish is. So, the servants of Achish said to him, "Well, isn't this this great military commander? Isn't this the one where they said, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands'?" So David here has got a problem. They recognize that he is the great military leader; and, all of a sudden, he's in real trouble and he's here kind of appearing like he may be an enemy agent. Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid...he only had four or five people with him...he's very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

And what did he do? He wrote Psalm 56. Let's go over to Psalm 56. It records for us the lesson he learned while he was trembling in fear from the King of Gath, Achish. He said, "OK, what are we going to do here? The servants of Achish may kill us." So what did he write down?

Psalms 56:1-10 Psalms 56:1-10 [1] Be merciful to me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresses me. [2] My enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O you most High. [3] What time I am afraid, I will trust in you. [4] In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me. [5] Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. [6] They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. [7] Shall they escape by iniquity? in your anger cast down the people, O God. [8] You tell my wanderings: put you my tears into your bottle: are they not in your book? [9] When I cry to you, then shall my enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. [10] In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
American King James Version×
Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up...he's fleeing from one king into the city of another, who looks for all the world like he's gathering some men and swords to kill him, too. He says, Fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High. That's true. King Saul was fighting against him, King Saul's army. Here now we have Achish and some Gathites. He says, 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? This is mentioned twice in this psalm. David has come to the place where he says, "I'm not afraid anymore of what men can do to me." He says, All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather together, they hide, they mark my steps, when they lie in wait for my life. They're trying to kill me along the road. Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God!  In verse 10, he says, In God I will praise His word, in the Lord I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

So the second lesson that he learned and a lesson that all of us must learn is, I will not be afraid of what man can do to me.

That's a tough lesson to learn. And as you go through these—this is only lesson 2 now. There will be a number of others that we'll look at—but kind of look at your own life and say, "When have I learned that lesson?" or, "Have I even learned it yet?" Perhaps there'll be a time when you can reflect back.

Well, let's continue. Let's go back to I Samuel, chapter 21. So here is David, he's afraid, he's written down this psalm, he says, "Look, I've learned not to be afraid of what men can do to me." So verse 13, what did he do?

1 Samuel 21:13-15 1 Samuel 21:13-15 [13] And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard. [14] Then said Achish to his servants, See, you see the man is mad: why then have you brought him to me? [15] Have I need of mad men, that you have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?
American King James Version×
So he changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. So he pretended to be insane. Then Achish said to his servants, "Look at this guy. You see him! He's insane! Why have you brought this insane man to me? Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?"

So they apparently let David go into some house or some location where they thought he would at least be sort of locked up in a prison; but they weren't trying to kill him now, apparently, because he had pretended successfully to be insane. Now, what he did then was he went out and he wrote Psalm 34, so let's go over to psalm 34 and see what lesson he had learned in that one day's time, between the time when he wrote the previous Psalm 56.

Psalms 34:1-7 Psalms 34:1-7 [1] I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. [2] My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. [3] O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. [4] I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. [5] They looked to him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. [6] This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. [7] The angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear him, and delivers them.
American King James Version×
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. So essentially he's been delivered. The threat for his life is now past, at least for a short time. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. What happened that day? He had been afraid of Achish and the soldiers of Gath. He sought the Lord and God heard him. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. Notice verse 7, The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. He said, God will deliver us. His angels camp around us. But I think the most important part of this chapter is verses 13-14. Let's start at verse 12:

Psalms 34:12-15 Psalms 34:12-15 [12] What man is he that desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? [13] Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. [14] Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. [15] The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.
American King James Version×
Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.

So lesson number 3 was that he was beginning to learn self-control. He was beginning to see that God delivers those who are trying with all of their might to obey Him, to control the things they say. He hadn't before that all that much, apparently, because he was a man of impulsiveness, a man of impatience, a man of, as he calls it at one point, "keep me from presumptuous sins," in one of the psalms. So he knew that he was examining himself now and finding out those things. So he said, "Look, if you desire life and God's going to protect you, keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good." He says in verse 17, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles." And finally, verse 18, The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart—by this time, he certainly was broken down of his own abilities. He was throwing himself on God's mercy—God saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Important lessons that he wrote down for us. It's very important that each one of us, as we go up to the Passover season, look at ourselves and say, "What lessons are here that David learned that I haven't quite learned yet."

Let's go back, now, to I Samuel, chapter 22, the next event that is recorded for us. What happened is word got around that David had escaped and that he was down in the area of Gath; and so other men who knew that Saul was wrong, soldiers who had seen that Saul's anger was uncontrollable, other people who had had a sense of right and wrong, began to seek David out and say, "We'll help you. We'll be a part of your army." So about 400 men, then, came to him. About 400 distressed men—some were running from King Saul, perhaps, because they had expressed their objection to what King Saul was doing. So in chapter 22, and verse 1, they told David:

1 Samuel 22:1-2 1 Samuel 22:1-2 [1] David therefore departed there, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. [2] And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves to him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
American King James Version×
David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So he went to a cave, a cave that had been named after a guy named Adullam. So he went out into the wilderness, you might say, to hide. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. So now, his brothers and his father realize, "You know what, this King Saul is trying to kill our younger brother, and he's wrong. David had done nothing wrong." So they went down there to join his army. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.

So here's a young boy who may be 18 at the most, now he's in charge of 400 people. He's got to figure out, where do I get food? How do I shelter them? How do I make sure they have enough swords and shields? What am I going to do with these guys? I mean, being in charge of 400 people and trying to feed them and keep them the same every day, keep them organized, that would be difficult enough if you were an experienced manager of many years; but here he is, a young man. So about 400 men came to him.

Verse 3 – Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab...  He said, "Well, I'm going to go at least out of the country for awhile and regroup. He said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me."

Interesting that he thought about his parents. He said, "I am going to take care of my mother and dad and make sure that they are not harmed because of what I'm doing," because he knew at this time that King Saul was probably even going to try to harm his own family. So all these men were there with him and he took time out to take his mother and father out of the country to a land of Moab to the east, which is now southern Jordan, and said, "Please take care of my mother and father for me."

Also, at that time, he wrote Psalm 57. Let's go over now to Psalm 57. He's in this cave. He has all these men there he has to take care of. He's worried about his parents. He goes down to the land of Edom or Moab and has his parents taken care of there. Maybe he had to pay the King of Moab. We really don't know. But it's certainly a very difficult time. His life has been nothing but chaos and running for his life. He's been in threats of all kinds since the day he was anointed king; and yet he's still a young boy on the run. He's not king yet, by any means. So Psalm 57 says:

Psalms 57:1-9 Psalms 57:1-9 [1] Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me: for my soul trusts in you: yes, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be over. [2] I will cry to God most high; to God that performes all things for me. [3] He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. [4] My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. [5] Be you exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be above all the earth. [6] They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have dig a pit before me, into the middle whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah. [7] My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. [8] Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. [9] I will praise you, O Lord, among the people: I will sing to you among the nations.
American King James Version×
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge...Well, he was taking refuge in a cave, but he was also asking God to give him refuge under God's wings...until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up, which is King Saul, he says very plainly. He says, "King Saul, who hates my guts and is trying to kill me, is going to be  reproached by God." God shall send forth His mercy and His truth. My soul is among lions...there are all these people out there trying to kill me. I lie among the sons of men who are set on fire, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. He said, "I'm hiding in this cave and these men here are with me, but there are enemy armies trying to kill me." Now I think the lesson here is really in verse 6. This is the fourth lesson where he says down in verse 6, They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; they have dug a pit before me; into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory! Then he talks more about eventually praising God among the people. Verse 9, I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples or nations; I will sing to You among the nations.

So, the lesson he learns here is to be steadfast and never lose sight of God's Kingdom.

He's just thinking about the time when he actually will be king because he knows now that God's going to protect him. He knows he doesn't have to worry about what man will do to him. He knows that he has to learn self-control and seek peace and not evil, say things that engender peace; and now he says, "Look, I'm just going to keep my mind focused on the time when I can be king, and I can then sing God's praises to all the surrounding nations that I will come in contact with. So lesson number 4 is, be steadfast and never lose sight of God's Kingdom.

Never lose sight of God's Kingdom because all of us are promised to someday rule with Jesus Christ in His throne, and so keeping our minds on that Kingdom and on that future will help us get through these difficult times ahead, just like it did with the young boy named David who, at this time, was probably only 18 years old.

Now let's go back to I Samuel 22, verse 3. We'll pick up the story where we left it off. David went down and took care of his dad and mother. He thought about his family. Verse 5:

1 Samuel 22:5 1 Samuel 22:5And the prophet Gad said to David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get you into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.
American King James Version×
Now the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah. Don't flee to a foreign country. Don't stay in this cave. We want you to go back to the land of Judah and hide out in the wilderness." There was a forest there, a forest called theforest of Hereth.

Now much of that land was deforested during the invading armies of coming centuries; but at that point, there was a large forest through the area of Judah, south of Jerusalem, where David could hide. So in verse 5, David leaves the cave with his 400 men. He has taken care of his mother and father, and he goes down and he finds himself sitting in the forest. And he's sitting under a tree. So what he does then is, he writes Psalm 63.

Let's go over to Psalm 63. He's keeping track of all the lessons he's learning as he is running, as he is becoming, basically, a fugitive; but yet he sees God's hand delivering him. And now he writes Psalm 63, as soon as he reaches the wilderness and he thinks, "Wow! Here I am amidst a bunch of trees. God told me to come here," and so he's actually going to stay in this wilderness now for a very long time, perhaps as long as twelve years.

Psalms 63:1-2 Psalms 63:1-2 [1] O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; [2] To see your power and your glory, so as I have seen you in the sanctuary.
American King James Version×
O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You...the wilderness was dry. He thirsted for water, but he said, "I also thirst for God." My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. The land was dry, probably during the dry season of the year. He said, "My soul longs for you just as my soul longs for water in this dry land." So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory...

(I see some water here. That's pretty cool. You see, if David were here for the sermon, he'd drink some of that water, too. Actually, he sort of is, I guess you could say.)

Let's continue now in Psalm 63Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. What he's actually saying here is that the future king is going to rejoice. Look at verse 11:

Psalms 63:11 Psalms 63:11But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that swears by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
American King James Version×
He goes through ten verses talking about the parallels between living in the wilderness and seeking God. Verse 8, Your right hand upholds me. But those who seek my life, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. God will kill them. They will lie in their graves. But the king, referring to himself when someday he is king, shall rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him shall glory; but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

So once again he is saying, "I'm thinking about the time when the future king will rejoice, when I'll be able to say, ‘Now I'm king over Israel,' when King Saul's efforts to kill me have come to nothing."

Let's just pause there and go to Revelation, chapter 5, verse 8, because if King David did this when he was hiding in the wilderness—he's got 400 men to feed, there's virtually no food, no water, and yet he thought about the time when he would be ruling, the time when he actually would have those promises of God fulfilled in his life—this is something that we have to do also.

Revelation 5:8-10 Revelation 5:8-10 [8] And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. [9] And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; [10] And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×
 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense...remember, David had a harp. He played songs and psalms to God. The bowls of the incense symbolize the prayers of God's people. And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood," rehearsing again the Passover message. "And You have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."

It's a good scripture to memorize. God has made us kings and priests to Him, and someday we shall reign upon the earth. So that's what David thought of while he was hiding in those trees out in that harsh wilderness of Judea.

Now there is a very ugly thing that happens next. Let's go back to I Samuel 22. This is probably the most upset that we see David during the entire chronology of his life that we have in God's word. So I Samuel 22, we left off in verse 5.

1 Samuel 22:5-7 1 Samuel 22:5-7 [5] And the prophet Gad said to David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get you into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth. [6] When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul stayed in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;) [7] Then Saul said to his servants that stood about him, Hear now, you Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
American King James Version×
When Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered—now Saul was staying in Gibeah under a tamarisk tree in Ramah...so he (David) was only there in the wilderness for a while and he was discovered. So here we have Saul now, who was staying in Gibeah, which is north and west of Jerusalem...Saul said to his servants who stood about him, "Hear now, you Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards...have all of you conspired against me?" Of course, they said that they found him.

Notice verses 9-10, Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who was set over the servants of Saul...this is the Edomite, this son of Esau, this relative of Amalek, who is now set over the servants of Saul, and he said, "I saw the son of Jesse going to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. So he was down near Shiloh and I saw him going in to those priests there. And he inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine." Now, he really didn't inquire of the Lord for him. He just gave him some bread and the sword. So this accusation isn't quite what it was.

Verses 11-13 – So the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests who were in Nob. And they all came to the king. So these priests who were in Nob all came over to see the king as the king asked them to. And Saul said, "Hear now, son of Ahitub!" And he answered, "Here I am, my Lord." Then Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him..."

So he heard about this little account where David went and got some help. But at that point, even this Ahimelech didn't know that King Saul was trying to kill David.

Verses 14-17 – So Ahimelech answered the king and said, "And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, who goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house? Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? Far be it from me! No, I didn't do that. Let not the king impute anything to his servant, or to any in the house of my father. For your servant knew nothing of anything going on between you and David." And the king said, "You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house!" Then the king said to the guards who stood about him, "Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me." But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord.

So these men who were in the army knew that they should never kill the priests of God. These were Israelites; these were men of Judah and Ephraim and Manasseh and Benjamin. They said, "No. We are not going to kill the priests of God," and they just stood there. But, verses 18-21, the king said to Doeg, this guy's an Edomite now. He's not an Israelite, "You turn and kill the priests!" So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod." So this man named Doeg and his Edomite assistants, very likely, killed not only the 85 men, but they also went to Nob, the city where the priests lived, and they killed with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, so they killed women, little babies, oxen and donkeys and sheep—with the edge of the sword. Now one of the sons of Ahimelech...named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests.

Now, David would have said, "This is my fault. If I hadn't gone to him and asked for bread, he would still be alive, those 85 priests plus their wives and their children and their babies.

Verse 22 – So David said to Abiathar, "I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father's house."

And then he went out and he wrote Psalm 52, so let's turn over to Psalm 52 and see what he wrote for us there, what lessons he would have learned. The lesson is pretty obvious and he writes it down several times in this psalm. He says:

Psalms 52:1-4 Psalms 52:1-4 [1] Why boast you yourself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endures continually. [2] The tongue devises mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. [3] You love evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. [4] You love all devouring words, O you deceitful tongue.
American King James Version×
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? He's writing about Doeg, the Edomite. He was boasting about the evil he had done in killing God's priests. The goodness of God endures continually. Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue.

David had understood that some people are just simply evil. He didn't believe in having them psychoanalyzed or blame their past. He just knew they were to the core, evil. And so, until we learn that lesson, we're going to be paying huge prices...we already have been, of course, in our nation and in our justice system, but David knew that this man was, to the core, evil.

Verses 5-9 – God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, and uproot you from the land of the living. He knew that God would someday bring justice on Doeg the Edomite. The righteous also shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, "Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness." But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because You have done it; and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

So the lesson here is that when the wicked prosper, understand that it is only temporary and they will get justice served at some point. When the wicked prosper, as we see many of them doing in our society today, it is only temporary, because God is a righteous judge and God will bring justice to everyone.

Let's go back to chapter 23 and we'll pick up the story. In this case, David and his 400 men—it may have been more than that now, more men than 400—are told that a city in Israel is being besieged by the Philistines. The Philistines are still sending raiding parties to attack the cities of Judah and Israel.

1 Samuel 23:1-3 1 Samuel 23:1-3 [1] Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing floors. [2] Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said to David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. [3] And David's men said to him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?
American King James Version×
Then they told David, saying, "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors." It was harvest season, and these people had harvested their barley and their wheat, and now these Philistines are coming and stealing all their food, so they would essentially starve during the coming year. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" He probably did it because of Abiathar, the one priest that got away. Abiathar was there with an ephod, and David was able to ask God with the Urim and Thummim for answers. And the Lord said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah." But David's men said to him, "Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" So his 400 men didn't want to go fight the Philistines, but God said to go down, "I'll deliver them into your hand."

Verses 5-11 –  And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. He brought back some food, even took some of the animals that the Philistines had taken and brought them back to the people of this little town or little village of Keilah. Now it happened...it just says here, the last part of verse 5, David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. They would have died. Now it happened when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he went down with an ephod in his hand. That's how David was able to ask and inquire of God. And Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. So somehow the word got around that the Philistines were coming, and David's army went to Keilah. So Saul said, "Good! God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars." Then Saul called all the people together for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. So David now is staying in this little town or village that he had saved; and, all of a sudden, King Saul is bringing and army. When David knew that Saul plotted evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod here." Then David said, "O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard?" In other words, "Will these people in this town betray me and deliver me up to King Saul?"

Verses 12-13 – Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?" And the Lord said, "They will deliver you." In other words, they're not going to show any appreciation for what you've done. They are going to turn you over to these other people. They'll turn you over to King Saul. So David and his men, about six hundred now, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go. Then it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah; so he halted the expedition.

Verse 14 – And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, he went back to the wilderness where he had been hiding, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.

So he may have been there a number of years. We don't know exactly how long that had been, but the people of Ziph knew where he was, and eventually the Ziphites, then, betrayed David. Look down in verse 19.

Verses 19-20 –  Then the Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is David not hiding with us in strongholds in the woods..." So first, David had saved Keilah, but those men had betrayed him, and now he's over in a land where there are some people who were the sons of Ziph, so they were called Ziphites, and they said to King Saul, "We know where he's hiding. Come kill him." Continuing verse 19, "Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand." So, again, David is under a threat, in this case now by the Ziphites who are trying to gain favor with King Saul.

Verses 22-24 – "Please go and find out for sure, what place he's in," King Saul says. "See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides; and come back to me with certainty, and I will go with you. And it shall be, if he is in the land, that I will search for him throughout all the clans of Judah." So they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. But David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.

So here we have the Ziphites now betraying, and he finds out about it. So what did he do? He wrote Psalm 54. Let's go over to Psalm 54 and see what lesson he has written down for us.

Psalms 54:1-7 Psalms 54:1-7 [1] Save me, O God, by your name, and judge me by your strength. [2] Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. [3] For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. [4] Behold, God is my helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. [5] He shall reward evil to my enemies: cut them off in your truth. [6] I will freely sacrifice to you: I will praise your name, O LORD; for it is good. [7] For he has delivered me out of all trouble: and my eye has seen his desire on my enemies.
American King James Version×
The Ziphites had now betrayed him. He knows that his life is in danger, that Saul's army is coming. He says, Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers, that's the Ziphites, have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them. He said, "These people whom I have helped, whom I protected, I saved their city, are now turned against me." But he says, Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth. I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good. For He has delivered me out of all trouble; and my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.

This lesson is very simple. God is my helper and God will save those who are truly followers of Him.

To finish the story, let's go to 2 Samuel, chapter 5. This continues now for probably 12 more years. In 2 Samuel, chapter 5, after 13 years of fighting, of hiding, of running as a fugitive, finally Almighty God works out the circumstances to where David is finally crowned king. But this little boy, young man, 17 years old probably, maybe only 16, lived a life of a fugitive, people trying to kill him, for all these years. And he wrote down some very valuable lessons for us in the meantime. And then in chapter 5 of 2 Samuel:

2 Samuel 5:1-2 2 Samuel 5:1-2 [1] Then came all the tribes of Israel to David to Hebron, and spoke, saying, Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. [2] Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were he that led out and brought in Israel: and the LORD said to you, You shall feed my people Israel, and you shall be a captain over Israel.
American King James Version×
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying, "Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. We are your brothers. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.'"

Now, that was said when Samuel anointed him, 13 or 14 years earlier. Samuel said, "You shall be shepherd over My people Israel and be ruler over Israel," and they all knew it. And for all these years, he was in hiding, he was running, he was learning lessons that he wrote down for all of us.

Verses 3-4 – Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.

Now, we can learn some pretty important lessons from that, but let's go back to my un-favorite scripture, James, chapter 1. What did God say about King David when he was anointed? He said his heart was right. He said, "I want to seek a man who has a heart after My own." Was David ready to be king yet? No, he wasn't. Well, what did God say about you when you were baptized? He said, "Well, your heart's right. You're going to repent of your past sins. You say you want to obey Me. You say you want to live a life according to everything I say, and you're actually going through the obedience of being baptized. But you're not ready to rule yet. You still have a lot to learn."

King David was not ready to rule at 17. He still had a lot to learn. His heart was right, just like yours was when you were baptized; but he had to let patience have its perfect work.

James 1:2 James 1:2My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
American King James Version×
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials...

Now, none of us does that. We don't say, "Yes! I'm broke again! Yes, I'm sick again! Yes, my wife has another new boyfriend!"I'm just kidding. Nobody counts it joy when we fall into various trials. We're supposed to, but the "joy" is that we're learning the lessons that qualify us to rule, just like David did for all those years.
Verse 3 – Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

But, you know what? Patience also means you learn that you can't fear; or when the wicked are in power, it's only temporary; that we have to let God be our sheer defense; that we cannot fear what men can do to us; and that God is always our helper and will save His followers.

So,  the testing of your faith produces patience; verse 4, but let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete...

That you may be completely ready to rule, because when you were baptized, your heart may have been right, but your education was not yet complete. We have to let patience have it's perfect work in our life so that we may be found qualified to rule, just like King David was.

It's an interesting parallel because I really hate this verse—not hate, I prefer it less than others—but it has been a very difficult and yet wonderful lesson for all of us to learn as we have walked the road of patience. None of us has endured like the young man David. No one has been trying to kill us, except a spirit being named Satan the devil. No one's been trying to have an army against us, except Satan the devil and his demons. But hopefully we are learning these same  lessons that our ancestor David did so that someday we are going to be qualified to rule with Jesus Christ, even as David is now qualified to rule over all of Israel.