1 Samuel #21: an exposition of 1 Samuel 21:1-22:5. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, June 3, 2012.
What comes to your mind when you hear the term “wilderness?” In some contexts or settings, the term has some romantic notions. To visit a wilderness area is often to marvel at the beauty and wonder of God’s creative work. That is of course if you are on a tour, riding in an air conditioned vehicle with a knowledgeable guide. To be stranded in the wilderness, on your own, is another matter all together! Beauty is overshadowed by danger. Fear overwhelms delight. The dictionary defines “wilderness” as: an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region;
a neglected or abandoned area; a position of disfavor. The children of Israel spend 40 years in wilderness wandering. Our Lord spent 40 days in the wilderness. I think Eugene Peterson is right – “Everyone who has anything to do with God spends time in the wilderness.”
Though we may want to deny it or play it down, the life of faith is a grueling experience. It is not a walk in the park. It is a marathon through rough terrain. Yes, there are moments of breathtaking beauty but there are also pitfalls, trials and prolonged periods of darkness. That may not be what we want to use on our church literature but it is honest! We are a redeemed people in a fallen world on our way to glory. We are not there yet. While we may know His smile here, we still see through a glass darkly. There’s no doubt we are on our way to glory – the promise land is just over the hill, in the meantime we make our way through the wilderness.
Surviving the wilderness. That is the focus of our text this evening as we continue to consider the experience of king David. The people demanded a king like the other nations. God said, “I’ll give you a king but he’ll not be like other kings.” Saul was chosen – yet he was soon rejected. He seemed to be everything the people wanted. He looked “kingly.” His early days appeared promising. But he was soon rejected by God and told that a better man would take his place. The boy David was chosen. God’s hand was evident in his handling of Goliath the Philistine giant. David’s renown increased as God continued to give him victory after victory. Saul grew jealous and soon sought to destroy this rival to his throne. 1 Samuel 21 marks the beginning of David’s years in exile; his wilderness years. The wilderness years take up a third of the book (chapters 21-30). Our text this evening is 1 Samuel 21 through the opening verses of chapter 22.
Text: 1 Samuel 21:1-22:5
Note David did not choose to go to the wilderness he was chased there.
He was seeking to escape from murderous king Saul.
This passage reveals a desperate man driven to desperate behavior.
I want to remind you this passage, like all others in the Scriptures, is about God.
This is about God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s provision.
Four words serve as sign post through this wilderness experience:
As we work our way through this passage I want us to note 4 keys to surviving the wilderness.
- Though despised and hunted, God graciously provides for His servant. (21:1-9)
- Though surrounded by enemies, God mercifully delivers His chosen one. (21:10-15)
- Though out numbered, weary and hopeless God lovingly preserves His people. (22:1-4)
- Though cast out, on the run, and marked for destruction God sovereignly directs His beloved. (22:5)
The wilderness is unavoidable.
But as God’s people there are some things we can count on: