Summary: Discouragement distorts our perspective and leads us to compromise.
I read a story once that says Satan once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay the price. They were spread out on the table and each one was labelled – hatred, malice, envy, gossip, lust – all the weapons that everyone knows so well.
However, off to one side lay a harmless looking instrument labelled DISCOURAGEMENT. It was old and worn looking but was priced far above the rest.
When Satan was asked why this was so, he replied, “This is most effective and I uses it most of the time. It always works.”
We know what it means to be discouraged. We can all speak from experience on this. We know first-hand what it can do to us.
• We are going to see a discouraged David in 1 Sam 27. He has lost all hope of staying safe in Israel and decided to move into the land of the Philistines.
• Let’s read 1 Sam 27:1-7.
The Word begins: “BUT David thought to himself [said to his heart], ‘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.’” (27:1).
It starts with BUT (ESV: THEN) – in order words, it ought NOT to be, BUT THEN…
• David THOUGHT TO HIMSELF. This gives us the clearest clue where his discouragement comes from.
• This is the source of most of our discouragement – OUR OWN THOUGHTS.
• David wasn’t hearing from God; he was hearing from himself, loud and clear. And what follows, of course, are all his OWN thoughts.
David convinced himself that there is no hope of him finding a safe-haven in Israel. He felt certain that he would die in Saul’s hands if he remains.
• So the best place to be in, is to go into the land of the Philistines. Hide among the enemies and Saul would not find me.
• Actually early on – in 1 Sam 23:14 – we have this words from the author: “Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.”
We’ve no indication of what crisis situation happened to cause this, or how long a span of time has passed between 1 Sam 26 and 27.
• But one thing is clear - David was discouraged. He was not hopeful. These words come from a man who was tired of running.
• When we are not hearing from God, this happens. When we are not hearing from God, we are still hearing… but from SELF, from the WORLD, or from SATAN.
• Satan puts the wrong thoughts, the false thoughts, the distorted thoughts into our minds, the same way he did with Adam and Eve.
David convinced himself of what he THINKS.
DISCOURAGEMENT DISTORTS OUR PERSPECTIVE
We lost sight of God’s purposes. David says the BEST THING he can do is to leave Israel! ESV: “There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines.” (27:1)
We can empathise with David, because we’ve been there. It can be tiring trusting God in the midst of a long trial.