Summary: Who would have blamed David if he had taken his sword and plunged it in the back of Saul for all that Saul had done to him? David drew his sword, but sliced off a portion of Saul’s robe. He felt guilty. His conscience pricked him. How is your conscience?
SERIES: DAVID - A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART: Part 8: How Is Your Conscience?
1. 1 Samuel 24:1 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
2. 1 Timothy 4:1-3 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
INTRO: DAVID - A MAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART PT 8 HOW IS YOUR CONSCIENCE?
Review: Saul is selected King of Israel. He becomes unqualified. God sends the Prophet Samuel to anoint the last of Jesse’s sons, David, as next king. David is introduced to the Palace when he defeats a menacing giant called Goliath with a sling and a stone. Overnight, he becomes s household word and has access to wealth, power, women and the praise of the people. King Saul becomes jealous of him and fears David will succeed. Such jealousy leads to attempts to murder David. He flees for his life. Last week we see him hiding in a cave for he has lost his Prestigious Position, Close Relationships & Personal Dignity. In that depressed condition, God sends him his Family Members, Distressed Men, Indebted Men, Discontented Men, The Nobility and a Godly Priest who advises him to come out of his cave. In 1 Samuel 24, we see him encountering Saul in the wilderness.
INTRO 2: WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE CONSCIENCE?
The Term “Conscience” Is Not Found In The Old Testament - closest term is “heart” (e.g., 1 Samuel 24:5). Conscience is that part of the human psyche that experiences mental anguish and feelings of guilt when we violate it and feelings of pleasure and well-being when our actions, thoughts and words are in conformity to our value systems. In the New Testament “conscience” is used 31 times, mostly by Paul. Scripture teaches that humans, made in the image of God, have an innate sense of right and wrong, a moral monitor that either “approves or accuses” (Romans 2:14-15). Conscience serves as a referee which helps us view life situations in a moral/ethical light, thus judging/determining that some actions are “right” and some are “wrong.” The Fall drastically affected conscience but has clearly not destroyed it. Evidence of this inner sense of right and wrong is a general agreement in all cultures about certain basic ethical issues (e.g., murder, incest, pedophilia, lying, stealing, etc.).
How Conscience Is Developed In The NT: A human being may actually be sincerely following a wrong moral standard and believe it to be right. Paul before his conversion: Saul persecuted Christians with a “good conscience” (Acts 23:1). His deep-seated conviction (i.e., his conscience) told him “do right” and his ethical standard was “it is right to persecute Christians.” Thus he followed his conscience but what he did was wrong, because his conscience was ill-informed. God needed to change his convictions, which He did beginning at the Damascus Road with his salvation.
When A Person Becomes A Christian, His/Her Conscience Is Highly Sensitized By The Holy Spirit And The Scripture And The Holy Spirit. When we then violate personal, societal or biblical standards, we experience guilt. This “thermostat” keeps us from doing what might prove hurtful to ourselves and to others and ultimately to our relationship with God. When we willfully sin, conscience in conjunction with the Holy Spirit causes us to experience guilt. We are then prompted to confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and experience the love and forgiveness of God.