Mike Gerhardt, David's Passion, July 14, 2019. Temporary Holiness, 1 Samuel 19:1-9. I will be reading from the whole chapter. As we move through the text, I think there will be a lesson for each of us.
The ups and downs of life are common, as one song goes: riding high in April shot down in May. Charlie Brown often philosophizes out loud on the pitcher's mound, Life is like a baseball game, one inning you're a hero the next inning you're the goat. That’s not true Charlie Brown Lucy chimes in, You're always the goat. Some may have us convinced that bad things happen in threes. I've seen bad things happen to someone in fours, fives, and sixes. Maybe you have been there; maybe you're there right now. Yet maybe we can turn that around and start counting the good things that happen in fives, sevens and tens.
In our spiritual battle is real & it can be the same way. Sometimes you're up & sometimes you're down. Getting here on a Sunday can be a downer, especially if you stayed up too late on Saturday night. But then you arrive and join in singing, praying and meeting with those who love Jesus as much as you do. You are moved by the hearing of God's word. This lift's your spirit upward. But then Monday comes and we allow our environment to somehow change us.
Saul wants to kill David. Read verses 10-13. God had removed His Holy Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit, a demon or injurious phantom (as one expert called it) to take possession of Saul (16:14; 18:12). Please remember evil spirits are subject to God’s control and operate only within divinely determined boundaries. Jesus had authority over the demons & gave the 72 disciples power over them. In Luke 10:17 they reported: even the demons submit to us in your name. Though Saul’s acts of jealousy and violence were rooted in his own feeling of rejection as king. The evil spirit also tormented him. Having seen King Saul’s transformation, maybe David's plea to God in Psalm 51:11 Do not take your Holy Spirit from me… makes more sense.
The power of passion. Passion is defined as a strong and barely controllable emotion; an intense, driving, or overpowering feeling. We can be passionate about many things. Sports come to mind. Music especially our favorite band. Politics. Sometimes our passion drives us to say and do things we later are sorry for. The stark reality of people. God tells us that we are all sinners. There is none righteous no, not one Romans 3:10-12. And at times, we can all be very evil. Sometimes I think of hurting someone who has hurt me, or lying to someone or hating someone. I sometimes think I am an identical twin. There is the redeemed Mike, filled and powered by the Holy Spirit and there is the unredeemed Mike, who still wants his way and is willing to sin to get his way. The Bible says we are all like that. No amount of education, civility, reform, training, or brainwashing can cure our sinful nature; we are what the ancients called depraved people. At any given moment we can act out of our sinful nature. We’ll say to ourselves, where did that come from? How did I get so worked up? Where did this hate come from? Snakes lose their trance and attack their charmers; lions turn and maul their trainers; dogs even bite the hand that feeds them. The worst of their nature comes out even when we think it is under control. Even with people. Who has been hurt unexpectedly from someone we thought was on our side, we thought was a believer? Saul was one time filled with the Spirit, king over God’s people. Now, because of his disobedience and desire to stay in control as king; jealousy, despondency, and violence have taken him over. Saul’s evil twin is revealed.
A case study could be the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard won an Olympic gold medal in Montreal 1976, then won the junior middleweight and welterweight titles. His professional record was 36 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw. He quit in 1982, but came back to the ring in 84; quit again but then came back in 87; quit again but came back in 91 where he lost for a second time; quit again and then came back in 1997 at 40 years old to lose in the 5th round with a TKO the only time he was ever knocked out. Do you see a pattern? Sugar Ray Leonard I believe should have retired in 82. The appetite to rule the sport, to compete, to win kept him coming back. Sometimes personal ambitions gorge on the craving to climb higher and higher. One more fight, one more deal, one more election, secure a place in history, to have enough money, to have more power, to not lose prominence. Saul didn’t know when to quit because of his ego. Be careful of your ego.
Robert Louis Stevenson: A good test of egotism is to notice how you listen to others being praised.
Repentance isn't always transformation.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended & so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation & leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Jonathan 1 Samuel 18:1 and Michal 1 Samuel 18:28 loved David. Verses 14-17, Michal told the guards, David was ill. Saul was so angry; he told the guards to bring David in his bed so he could kill him.
Love is sacrificial. Jonathan and Michal were siblings, Jonathan would be the next in line to be King, yet he saw in David the anointing of God. Jonathan love David in a sacrificial way. Michal, as David’s wife, loved him in a jealous and possessive way (as we shall see).
Love is not self-seeking. Agape love is always wanting the best for others no matter the cost to self. Love never fails. These words come from 1 Corinthians 13 which addresses how we should love each other as brothers and sisters of faith. It is often read at weddings, but the context here is specifically teaching how we should rightly relate in agape love for one another in the church. We really see that love experienced here at Parkside.
Saul is filled with the Holy Spirit. Read verses 18-24.
Doublemindedness is a common disease that leaves its victims paralyzed by doubt. How much better to be single-minded. No mumbo jumbo, no religious phony baloney. No saying one thing but mean something else. No pharisaic hypocrisy where words come cheap and externals are sickeningly pious. The single-minded are short on creed and long on deeds. They care, they really care. They are humble, truly humble. They love, genuinely love & they have character, authentic character.
Overwhelming presence. Saul was taken over by the Spirit. The Spirit of God came EVEN upon him. Stripped off his robes, implies naked. Succumbing to a divinely induced possession trance rather than of speaking a divinely given word, as one commentator put it. An enthusiastic praising of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18: not drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit. The gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit: do not take it for granted.
You will sin, be prepared to prevent further damage.
Be single-minded. Your life is to be lived out for Jesus; watch out for selfish desires or pressure from others to conform to their opinions. Know that you are loved by getting into a life group where your attendance is noticed. Read the WORD daily and pray often. Make sure everyone you know, realizes you're a follower of Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Don't let sin drain the power of the Spirit.