Summary: A series on the life of David as God makes over his heart to prepare him for his role as King. This sermons focuses on a period of David’s life when he lost his prayer.

Sy Pennington Video


When I was 20 years old I met a beautiful young lady named Paige. She was intelligent, she loved God and she attended the church I was going to. I wanted to ask her out on a date. I was painfully shy back then. It’s probably hard for you to believe, but I was. Especially when it came to girls. I was trying to muster the courage to ask Paige for a date and I was commiserating with some of my friends about this when this guy laughs at me and says, “You want to ask Paige out, You haven’t got a prayer. Every guy in Harrison County is after her. Don’t embarrass yourself. You haven’t got a prayer.” I lost heart with this comment. And I never did ask Paige for a date. It was not one of my finest hours.

This is not David’s finest hour. The years of breathing through a straw and staying one step ahead of Saul took a toll on David. He is losing heart and abandoning daily reliance on God. He now wants to live by his own wits, in a self reliant strategy. Up to this time David consistently drew his strength from God and drew his guidance from inquiring of the Lord. But Chapter 27 is a turning point for David… his patience with God is wearing thin and his confidence in God’s protection has evaporated. David is living life without a prayer.


David is feeling like Custer at the Little Big Horn.

Saul has been getting the best of David, leaving him sleeping in caves, lurking behind trees. Six hundred soldiers depend on David for leadership and provision. These six hundred men have wives and children. David has two wives of his own (all but guaranteeing tension in his tent).

Running from a crazed king. Hiding in hills. Leading a ragtag group of soldiers. Feeding more than a thousand mouths. Saul has not been able to kill David’s body with a spear, but David’s heart is dying inside. He’s losing courage. He’s wearing down. He’s losing his relationship with God. He no longer depends on God. David reasons that Saul will kill him one day. So, the best thing to do is to go to the camp of the enemy, so that Saul will stop searching for him.

But David thought to himself, "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand." 1 Samuel 27:1 (NIV)

No hope and, most of all, no God. David focuses on Saul. He hangs Saul’s poster on his wall and replays his voice messages. David immerses himself in his fear until his fear takes over: “I will be destroyed.” Contrast that with how he approached Goliath. When he was fighting Goliath he minored in Goliath and majored in God. The years of running from Saul has changed the focus of David’s life. He’s now squarely focused on Saul and God is not mentioned.

He knows better. On brighter days and in healthier moments, David modeled heaven’s therapy for the tough days. The first time he faced the Philistines in the wilderness, “David inquired of the Lord” (1 Sam.23:2). When he felt small against his enemy, “David inquired of the Lord” (1 Sam. 23:4). When attacked by the Amalekites, “David inquired of the Lord” (1 Sam. 30:8). Puzzled about what to do after the death of Saul, “David inquired of the Lord” (2 Sam 2:1). When crowned as king and pursued by the Philistines, “David inquired of the Lord” (2 Sam. 5:19). David defeated them, yet they mounted another attack, so “David inquired of the Lord” (2 Sam. 5:23). David kept God’s number on speed dial.

Confused? David talked to God. Challenged? He talked to God. Afraid? He talked to God…most of the time. But not this time. On this occasion, David talks to himself. And he’s not giving himself good advice. He doesn’t even seek the counsel of his advisers. When Saul first lashed out, David turned to Samuel. As the attacks continued, David turned to Samuel. As the attacks continued, David asked Jonathan for advice. When weapons and breadless, he took refuge among the priests of Nob. In this case, however, David consults David. Poor choice. David had forgotten that God led. But in a wave of weariness, David surrenders to his fears, loses heart and loses his dependence upon God.

Transition: Once David gives up, he gets out.


So David leaves, and Saul calls off the hunt. David defects into the hands of the enemy. He leads his men into the land of idols and false gods and pitched his tent in Goliath’s backyard. He plops down in the pasture of Satan himself.

David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months. 1 Samuel 27:7 (NIV)

Initially, David feels relief. Saul gives up the chase. David’s men can sleep with both eyes closed. Children can attend kindergarten, and the wives can unpack the suitcases. Hiding out with the enemy brings temporary relief. Doesn’t it always? Stop resisting alcohol, and you’ll laugh - for a while. Move out on your spouse, and you’ll relax - for a time. Indulge in the porn, and you’ll be entertained - for a season. But soon guilt, loneliness, heartbreak rushes in. “There is a way that seems right to a man , but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Transition: David wore out, got out, and sold out.

David strikes a deal with Achish, the king of Gath, that if the king would give David a city to dwell in, David would become his “Servant”. Note David’s self-assigned title: the “servant” of the enemy king. The once-proud son of Israel and Conqueror of Goliath lifts a toast to the foe of his family. Achish welcomes the deal. He grants David a village, Ziklag, and asks only that David turn against his own people and kill them. As far as Achish knows, David does. But David actually raids the enemy of the Hebrews.

When Achish asked, "Where did you go raiding today?" David would say, "Against the Negev of Judah" or "Against the Negev of Jerahmeel" or "Against the Negev of the Kenites." 1 Samuel 27:10 (NIV)

Not David’s finest hour. He lies to the Philistine king and covers up his deceit with bloodshed. He continues this duplicity for sixteen months. From this season no psalms exist. His harp hangs silent. Worship grows cold when I’m a mercenary for my enemy.

In irony of ironies Achish and the Philistines head out to battle against King Saul and the armies of Israel. And David is in the Philistine column marching to fight against his Jewish brothers.

As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. 1 Samuel 29:2 (NIV)

When the Philistines attack King Saul, they do not want David in the battle. He and his men are sent home.


David leads the men back to Ziklag and finds the village burned to the ground. The Amalekites had destroyed it and kidnapped all the wives, sons, and daughters. When David and his men see the devastation, they weep and weep.

When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. [4] So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 1 Samuel 30:3-4 (NIV)


David’s men became angry and decide to stone David. Now, in the ruins of Ziklag with men selecting stones to throw at him, does he regret his prayerless choice to get out and sell out?

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. 1 Samuel 30:6 (NIV)

Prayerlessness: the Petri dish for bad decisions, the incubator for wrong turns, the assembly line of regretful moves. How we handle out tough times stays with us for a long time.

How do you handle yours? When hope takes the last train and joy is nothing but the name of Duane Adams’ mother…when you are tired of trying, tired of forgiving, tired of hard weeks of hardheaded people…how do you manage your dark days?

With a bottle of pills or scotch? With an hour at the bar, a day at the spa, or a week at the coast? Many opt for such treatments. So many, in fact, that we assume they reenergize the sad life. But do they? No one denies that they help for a while, but over the long haul? They numb the pain, but do they remove it? We may fall headlong into bars and binges and beds. Like David, we crash into Gath, only to find that Gath has no solution.


David failed to pray. Do the opposite: be quick to pray. Stop talking to yourself. Talk to Christ, who invites. “Come into me, all ye who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). God, who is never downcast, never tires of your down days.

David neglected good advice. Learn from his mistake. Next time you lack the will to go on, seek healthy counsel. You won’t want to. Slumping people love slumping people. Hurting people hang with hurting people. We love those who commiserate and avoid those who correct. Yet correction and direction are what we need.

and David inquired of the Lord, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" "Pursue them," he answered. 1 Samuel 30:8 (NIV)


They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat-- 1 Samuel 30:11 (NIV)

David asked him, "Can you lead me down to this raiding party?" He answered, "Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them." 1 Samuel 30:15 (NIV)


David replied, "No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. 1 Samuel 30:23 (NIV)

Appeal To Salvation

Roll Baptism Video

Special Music—I Still Believe

Response of Worship

(A) Freedom Reigns

(A) Draw me Close

(A) Blessed be the Name (Matt Redman)

(D) My Savior My God (Aaron Shust)