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Summary: An Exposition of 1 Sam. 26

When Trouble Does a Double Take

1 Sam. 26

Are familiar with the expression “déjà vu”? The phrase is French and literally means, “already seen”. Déjà vu describes the feeling that what is happening to you at this moment has happened to you before. (Repeat). When you feel as if life is doing a double take, that’s déjà vu. Not to be confused with “vuja de”= the feeling that what is happening to you has never, ever happened to you before, or, “déjà moo”= the feeling that you’ve heard all this bull before.

This morning I want to talk with you for a few minutes about what you could call a specific type of déjà vu: not just when life does a double take, but when trouble does a double take.

I’m talking about when those pesky persistent problems you thought were in your past come back to haunt your present. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Your first day back at school the teacher assigns you a permanent seat beside the one student whose last words before summer break were: “I hate your guts.”

That old boyfriend who broke your heart last year? He’s moved back- next door!

Monday morning you go to work, glad that you and your boss got that little misunderstanding cleared up last week, when she calls you into her office and you discover things are not quite as clear as you thought they were.

You visit the doctor who helped you finally feel better after that long illness, and he sits down and says, “I need to talk to you about some other problems you’re having…”

Do you get the idea? Some problems don’t go away- they reappear at the worst possible moment. It’s déjà vu all over again, and the trouble you hoped was finished starts all over. Very often in life, trouble does a double take.

David experiences this problem in 1 Sam. 26, where trouble did a double take in the person of King Saul. You may remember reading a couple of chapters earlier that Saul chases David up a mountain bent on killing him. David shows Saul mercy, which seems to touch the murderous monarch’s heart, and they leave on good terms with one another. But something happens to set Saul off again, and so once again, he sets out to seek and destroy David. David has to be asking himself, “I thought we had all of this settled. I thought this problem was behind me. How many times do I have to go through this? What do I do now?”

That is what I want to talk with you about this morning: what to do when trouble does a double take. (PRAYER)

In 1 Sam.26 I want to draw out 3 principles to keep in mind when trouble does a double take in your life:


Many years ago Olympic gold medalist Darrel Pace gave an archery exhibition in New York City’s Central Park. Shooting steel-tipped hunting arrows, Pace punctured bull’s-eyes without a miss. Then he called for a volunteer. “All you have to do,” said Pace, “is hold this apple in your hand, waist-high.” ABC correspondent Josh Howell took a bold step forward. He stood there, a small apple in his hand, a larger one in his throat. Pace took aim from 30 yards away as [everybody] all held [their] breath. Then THWACK-a clean hit exploded the apple before striking the target. Everybody applauded Howell, who was all smiles—until his cameraman approached with a hangdog look. “I’m sorry, Josh,” he said. “I didn’t get it. Had a problem with my viewfinder. Could you do it again?”

There are some things that happen to you that you really don’t want to repeat, even if they turn out OK the first time.

You may notice many similarities between the events of chapter 24 and chapter 26. Both times the Ziphites send word to Saul about David’s whereabouts. Both times Saul gathers a posse to seek out and destroy David. Both times David gets close enough to Saul to kill him, but instead spares his life. Both times Saul and David part ways in peace.

But there are some significant differences. The first time Saul stumbles into the cave where David and his men are hiding. This time, David boldly makes the first move, first by sending spies to locate Saul and his army. Once he discovers their location, he takes a volunteer- Abishai, David’s nephew- and they sneak into Saul’s camp at night. The Bible doesn’t tell us what David’s plans are- maybe his aim was to do exactly what he did- but one thing is clear: David does not run away from his trouble; he boldly faces the problem head-on.

The first principle to keep in mind when trouble takes a double take is don’t run away. I don’t mean you don’t need to be cautious; David didn’t go rushing into Saul’s camp swinging his sword and yelling, “Bring it on!” But he knew he couldn’t just keep running; he had to deal with this problem, using all the wisdom and courage he had.

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