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.
EXCEPT that God has spoken. He has revealed His will for David. At least TWO KEY FACTS that David ought to have remembered:
(1) God has prepared him to be King of Israel.
• That is clearly revealed. Samuel prophesied it. Abigail reminded him. It’s God’s promise, not a prediction.
• In order words, he would not die in the hands of Saul. The truth is Saul will never succeed in killing him, no matter how drastic the circumstances.
(2) God has protected him throughout his run, and provided for him.
• God has proven to be faithful and true. It wasn’t for a lack of evidence of God’s favour on him. (When you are discouraged, don’t blame God!)
• It’s our PERSPECTIVE that has been distorted. Our view has changed, not God.
• David had two close encounters with Saul, in which he spared Saul’s life, and not the other way around – not Saul sparing his life.
Remember earlier on, throughout this ordeal, we saw how David wrote the Psalms, to praise God and thank Him for His deliverance.
• The reality speaks for itself. So when we are discouraged, it is not that God has changed or that He has lifted His hands of FAVOUR upon us.
• It’s just that we are NOT SEEING it. Or we REFUSE to see it because we are discouraged and bitter.
Discouragement distorts our view of God and what He is doing.