Summary: Third in a series on the life of David. This message focuses on how religion can pervert our relationship with God.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas have made quite a name for themselves in the past several years. The church is led by Pastor Fred Phelps, and though it has “Baptist” in the name of the church, it is not associated with any Baptist denomination. The church is focused on the idea that homosexuality is a sin, but they have carried their hatred to an extreme. They have created websites like “GodHatesAmerica.com” and a few others with names I wouldn’t even begin to share with you this morning.
This church believes that nearly every disaster and tragedy in the world is God’s punishment on the world for rampant homosexuality. According to their teaching, the Challenger space shuttle disaster, the 9/11 attacks, and the recent devastating hurricanes are all God’s judgment on our country. Recently they have even begun attending the funerals of soldiers from Iraq and holding signs that read “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Thank God for IED’s [Improvised Explosive Devices]”. In fact this picture from one of their websites refers to the deaths of our service men and women in Iraq with this “prayer”:
2,443 - WBC Prays for it to be 244,443!!!
While I agree that the Bible very clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin, it seems that only an extreme perversion of Christianity would result in the kind of behavior exhibited by these people, supposedly in the name of God. Unfortunately, while the Westboro Baptist Church may be one of the most extreme cases, this isn’t an isolated case.
This morning, as we continue our study of the life of David, we’re going to read about a man named Doeg who also carried out some pretty perverted plans in the name of God. We’ll compare how he and David approached their relationship with God quite differently and as a result, how the conduct of their lives contrasted so drastically.
Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to 1 Samuel 21. Due to time constraints, we’re only going to read a portion of Chapters 21 and 22, but you might want to take some time later this week to read both chapters in their entirety. In fact, we’ll come back and look at the first part of Chapter 22 again next week.
Before we take a look at this passage in a little more detail, let me give you a warning. As I said the very first week, when we began our study of the life of David, David is not always a very good role model. He does quite a few things that are clearly wrong, just like we do. And the first part of this account is clearly one of those situations. David is afraid for his life and he lies and deceives. In the last part of Chapter 21, which we didn’t read just now, he does the same thing again. But just because the Bible records an action, unless it’s the action of Jesus, who we know is without sin, we can’t assume that God condones that action. We have to look at the entire context of the passage to determine if the action is just being reported, like I believe it is in this case, or if the action is an example we are to follow. I don’t believe that this passage in any way gives us justification to lie and deceive, even when we’re in trouble and afraid.
But in spite of his sin, at the end of this event, we still observe a man who is a man after God’s heart. And that ought to be our goal, too. Because we’re human, we’re going to be afraid and sometimes fear leads us to do things that are clearly sinful. But the important issue is how we deal with that sin, whether or not we can recover from our actions and get right with God again. And that’s where David’s life can really help us.
On the other hand, Doeg goes to the sanctuary, too. From all accounts, he was a religious man. But as we can see from his actions, he was certainly not a man after God’s heart. In fact, we never hear from him again in the rest of Scripture. It seems to me that Doeg was one of those people who used his religion to serve his own agenda and that, as a result, his religion got in the way of being a man after God’s own heart.
So what was it about David and Doeg that was so different? How is it that they both went to the same sanctuary, yet came away poles apart? Or to put it in more personal terms, how is it that every Sunday people come into this church and other churches all around the world and some of them leave with a heart to serve God and others leave and go out and pray for our soldiers to die?