January 25, 2022
Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place – 1 Samuel 30
Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place – 1 Samuel 30
Pastor Eric began his sermon on January 23, 2022, by mentioning that if some people in attendance are experiencing depression-related symptoms, are feeling abandoned and alone, or are feeling overburdened, today’s sermon could be of encouragement to them, as the individual he will be speaking about also experienced all of those feelings.
Read 1 Samuel 30
Several impossible choices confront David in this passage; choices that we may also find difficult to make. Our circumstances may seem hopeless. It may seem as though whatever we will do is going to prove futile, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness sets in. In 1 Samuel 30, David finds himself in a similar situation: He is caught between a rock and a hard place.
As a young boy, David defeated Goliath, a Philistine giant who challenged and intimidated Israel and its army. He was then hailed as a hero by his people. This led to David being highly regarded by those around him, who danced and sang about him see 1 Samuel 18:7. He was described as a man after God’s heart.
In spite of adversity, David was a source of inspiration for many people. In this passage, he was about to face an extremely challenging situation: David was going to be the next king, and Saul felt threatened. Consequently, he was willing to kill David to remain in power. Saul had led the Israelites to consider David as their enemy. The situation was so dire that David decided to hide among the Philistines.
Now the Philistines were preparing to attack Israel, and David, who had joined the Philistines, was ready to follow them into battle. He was ready for combat. In other words, he was about to attack the very people over whom he had been chosen to rule.
Read 1 Samuel 29
In this passage, the Philistine army marched ahead of David and his men, who were behind Achish, the king of the Philistines. David’s presence among these soldiers raised skepticism among the Philistines. He was the one about whom the Israelites sang and danced; therefore, they did not trust him. This resulted in his return to Ziklag. However, something unexpected happened…
Read 1 Samuel 20:1-4
Shortly after he was told to return home to Ziklag, David was shocked to discover that something far more serious had occurred. Amalekites had come, taken what they desired, and burned the city while he and his men were away. David and his men had not only lost their homes and possessions, but also their wives and children. There was nothing left. They were deeply grieved. According to the Bible, they “wept until they had no more strength to weep”. This should serve as a reminder that God has equipped and wired each one of us with emotions. There is a common misconception that mourning is indicative of a lack of faith. Being faithful does not mean ignoring one’s pain. The act of mourning is not wrong: it is actually quite healthy for a person to deal with pain in this way. Faith is seeing our circumstances from God’s viewpoint.
Read 1 Samuel 30:6
David then found himself in an even more precarious situation…
Many people suffered substantial losses under his leadership.
When a leader makes a mistake, it adversely affects others. Leaders who make poor decisions are generally disliked. In 1 Samuel 30:6, his soldiers are calling for David to be stoned to death. Whenever people feel frustrated, angry, or bitter, they want to blame someone, and David happens to be the person they chose to blame.
David is now facing a major challenge. Saul and the Israelites want him dead. The Philistines distrust him. The Amalekites robbed him. Even his own men disowned him. He’s all alone. Did he throw a pity party? Absolutely not. David found strength in the Lord.
1 – David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
The church encourages and strengthens us; however, there will come a time when our church family will not be available to encourage us. There may also come a time when it will not be possible for us to gather together in the name of Jesus. Presently, we are free to gather together, however that freedom may be taken away from us in the future. In any case, regardless of what happens, there will come a time when we will feel helpless and in need of encouragement, and we will need to know how to encourage and strengthen ourselves in the Lord. In spite of pain, suffering, and obstacles, David did not give up and maintained a positive outlook throughout his life.
a) – By singing
Through singing, we can draw strength from the Lord. David composed and sang songs during the darkest seasons of his life. David wrote Psalm 59 while Saul pursued him. In prison, he composed Psalm 56. He penned Psalm 3 when his son Absalom sought to succeed him, and Psalm 63 was composed while he was hiding in the wilderness. Thus, he found strength and comfort in the Lord.
David used the following words in his psalms:
In Psalm 18:1-2, he said, “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” And in verse 6, he declares, “In my distress, I called upon the Lord; to my God, I cried for help. From his temple, he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”
Read Psalms 56:3, 56:9, and 59:16-17
The above passages reveal that David trusted God to give him the courage he lacked and thanked Him for His faithfulness and unwavering love. We should follow David’s example. We can sing a hymn, a worship song, or a song that we have composed ourselves, the choice is ours. Doing so will give us a sense of peace and encouragement.
b) – By remembering
As we face life’s challenges, we can find strength and courage in God’s past accomplishments in our lives, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can always rely on Him because He will never change.
Read 1 Samuel 17:37
David remembered how God had helped him kill the lion and the bear; therefore, he believed that the Lord would also assist him in defeating Goliath.
c) – By reading God’s Word
Read Psalms 119:25 and 119:28
Those who listen to God will find strength. At one point in time, Daniel was helpless and extremely weak. The voice of the Lord gave him the strength to get up again. The same was true for Ezekiel. David was caught between a rock and a hard place, but he knew he could always rely on the Lord to sustain him, even under the most difficult circumstances.
The same holds true for us. No matter how difficult life is, we know how to keep our faith in the Lord when there is no one to encourage us, especially when no one is aware of our struggles. Have you found strength in the Lord?
2 – David inquired of the Lord.
Read 1 Samuel 30:7-8
Having strengthened himself in the Lord, David asked God if he should go after those who have abducted their families and whether he would be successful. As opposed to asking the men what they wanted to do, David turned to the Lord for guidance. This serves as a reminder that we cannot solve all problems on our own. Rather, we should turn to God for help.
We must read God’s Word to win our battles. Nothing should be carried out without the Lord’s blessing. As stated in the Bible, we are His sheep and His sheep hear His voice. If we lack wisdom, we are to ask God for it.
You may receive a word, a strategy, or insight from God that appears obscure to those around you. It is important, however, that you be faithful to what God has placed in your heart. Failure to do so will result in mistakes and will prevent you from being led by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, others will disagree with you, and that can be frightening. As Christians, it is imperative that we ask the Lord for insight, wisdom, and direction.
Pastor Eric concluded his sermon with a prayer for God’s presence and grace to drench each one of us.
May you be abundantly blessed by His presence and grace in 2022.