Dealing with Despair (I Samuel 27:1)
I Samuel 27:1, “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.”
David has reached a very low period in his life. No doubt that David was discouraged and decided to flee Israel for refuge in Philistia. David did not trust Saul and he had every reason to distrust Saul. Saul had shown himself unstable and emotionally imbalanced. His jealousy and hatred of David were well known. Notice: In the previous verse - I Samuel 26:25, “Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.” Saul had already once broken a promise to no longer hunt him. David knew Saul was lying and, as a result, he became very discouraged and fled to Philistia. In I Samuel 26:24, David sought the Lord. However, in I Samuel 27:1, David is not recorded as consulting with God. It is apparent that his faith lapsed. He focused on his circumstances, not on God. How sad it is when unbelievers believe and believers do not. It is one thing to encounter disappointment. It is another thing to allow disappointment to solidify into discouragement. When one is in this state of mind, one’s faith often fails. Therefore, the devil uses discouragement to get the eyes of God’s children off of Him in hopes that we might quit.
How often do we give in to these negative emotions or behaviors every day? These weaknesses of human character cause all kinds of problems, David was about to give in to doubt and unbelief and to live a life of deception and lies. For about seven years, David had been living under the most distressing circumstances imaginable, being hunted down by Saul who was determined to kill him. David never knew when the Saul would be coming around the next bend or hill with a battalion of soldiers to attack him. This pressure, and all the distressing circumstances discussed below, had been weighing ever so heavily upon David resulting in one of the most distressful, tension-filled lives imaginable. Finally, the strain took its toll and David became despondent and discouraged. He began to doubt the promises of God and was gripped by a spirit of unbelief. And this distrust was to lead him into a year and a half of deceptive living. Breaking under the pressure of his circumstances, David began to doubt God's promises. His faith wavered and he became despondent and discouraged, failing to trust the promises of God. David slipped into a period of critical weakness, a period when he failed to trust God's promises. He should have walked in faith and patience, waiting long enough for God to strengthen and encourage his heart. In his failure of doubt and unbelief, David teaches us to guard ever so diligently against failing to trust God's promises. So it is with us. Far too often we allow circumstances to defeat us. Some problem or difficulty, hardship, trial or temptation, happens to us, and we become stressed out. We become pressured, strained, distressed and we begin to doubt the promises of God. We begin to question the validity of God's promises and unbelief sets in. Unbelief grabs our heart, and we fail to rely on God's Word to us. We turn away from the Lord and take things into our own hands. We fail to trust God, fail to be patient, not waiting long enough for the Lord to work the circumstance out. Or we lack the faith in God's power, the belief that God will give us the power to overcome and conquer the pressuring, distressing trial. If there is any one lesson we need to learn, it is the lesson of trust and patience, believing in the promises of God enough to wait upon Him to meet our needs. We must learn not to give in to doubt and unbelief, failing to trust God's promises.
God had faithfully intervened over and over again to deliver David from the hand of Saul. God had demonstrated His power on behalf of David over and over again and had delivered him. He delivered him out of the mouth of the lion and the paw of the bear. He delivered him out of the hand of the great giant Goliath.
Did David forget how God delivered him?
NOTICE: David's pessimism compared to God's power.
In all attempts on David's life, he was providentially preserved. Be patient in your trial and wait on God (Psalm 27:14; James 1:1-4; II Timothy 1:7). Whenever you’re facing seasons of discouragement, begin by counting your blessings.
Prayer, Lord, too often through the eyes of the flesh, I see my battles bigger than You. Help me to trust in You and see them as You see them. There is never a problem I encounter that is greater than You. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.