Summary: David’s spiritual slump can be very helpful to us:encouraging to those of us who have fallen, to see that a great man like David wasn’t immune to failure and also a warning to us of the danger that comes from drifting away from God.
WHEN FAITH FALTERS
I remember the day my daughter, Marlo let me know what she thought of the ministry. She was 10 years old and talking to her Mom about school and Deb asked her if anything new was happening and she said with excitement, "Oh, we’re going to have Career Day and parents are invited to come in and share something about their occupations." Being a loyal wife Deb said, "Wow, that’s great! You know, Daddy has an interesting job." Well, Marlo looked at her as if she had just grown an extra head and said, "Daddy? Are you kidding? He doesn’t have an interesting job. He’s just a preacher. Now, Uncle Terry, he’s got the neatest job in the whole family. He gets to drive an 18 wheeler, see all kinds of different places and he even gets to sleep in his truck! Now, that’s interesting."
Isn’t it true that the things we are not closely familiar with are often seen in a flattering light? My brother-in-law, who by the way, is still a “trucker” certainly has an important job. But I’m afraid that Marlo, at least at 10, didn’t have a very realistic picture of interstate trucking. She didn’t understand the long monotonous hours on the road or that her Uncle Terry doesn’t have time for sight seeing or that he sometimes waits for hours at a weight/inspection station and stays days away from his family. On the other hand, she was and still is familiar with the ministry and with her father’s faults and so she didn’t hold either me or my job up on a pedestal.
That’s the way the Bible treats it’s heroes. When you take a close look and become familiar with the characters in Scripture, you find an authentic representation. They are not held up on some unreal pedestal. There is never any attempt on God’s part to win our favor by portraying them as plastic saints with shiny halo’s. Abraham lied, Noah got drunk, Moses lost his temper and committed murder. God paints His people, just as they are. No matter how dignified or high their calling they are fully human. I think He does that for 2 reasons: (1)So we’ll know these are real people. If we were doing a biographical sketch on people of faith we might be tempted to leave their skeletons in the closets. But God wants us to understand that these people really lived, and that they had imperfections. (2) When we see these realistic portrayals, we will have no trouble identifying with them. When we see their sometimes marred character we can say, "If God can use them with their flaws, maybe He can use me too."
With that in mind, I want us to look at this incident in David’s life where his faith faltered. Up until this point, David has been almost flawless in his character. He was an obedient shepherd, a submissive servant, a courageous warrior and a forgiving enemy. But today we come to a period where David goes into a "spiritual slump" and makes a series of drastic mistakes. I think that this passage can be very helpful to us. It is encouraging to those of us who have fallen, to see that a great man like David wasn’t immune to failure. But it’s also a warning to us of the danger of drifting away from God. I want us to see David’s doubt, his defection and his deliverance.
I. DAVID’S DOUBT:
We left David on a spiritually high note last week. He had refused to take revenge on Saul by sparing the monarch’s life. There was no doubt for David of God’s deliverance. He said to Saul in 24:15 - “May the Lord judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”He keeps that attitude for the next two chapters. Listen to his words in 26:24- "The LORD will reward any person who is righteous and faithful.. the Lord will rescue me from all trouble."(GW) Not a word of doubt or vacillation there. David had fully given his trust to God to rescue him from Saul’s murder attempts. And Saul responded to David’s faith by seemingly giving up on his desire to kill him. But something happens between chapter 26 and 27. Saul, even though spared by David, apparently did an “about face” and began once again to hunt him down in an attempt to kill him. And all of a sudden in chapter 27 we read this: “But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me.” As so often happens when external situations don’t clear up the way we think they should, David becomes depressed, questioning "why is this still happening?" And in his doubt, he loses his spiritual equilibrium.