David’s Wanderings and Restoration

1 Samuel 29:1-30:31

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition on the challenges of David while he lives outside of God's will. Dr. Johnson also explains how David still learns about God's discipline even while not fully in fellowship with him.

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[Prayer] Again Father, we again thank Thee and praise Thee for Thy word. We thank Thee that it is a light unto our feet, a lamp unto our paths. We thank Thee for the work of the Holy Spirit who teaches us the Scriptures as they are understood and taught through the Lord Jesus Christ. And we pray Lord that Thou wilt give us understanding tonight as we consider another section of the Old Testament that has to do with the life of David.

We pray that Thou wilt give us spiritual understanding and may there be responsiveness not only in our minds but also in our walk as Christian believers. We commit this hour to Thee. In Jesus’ name and for his sake. Amen.

[Message] Now tonight I’d like for you to turn with me to 1st Samuel chapter 29 and chapter 30. And we want to consider the subject of David and the mercy of God. You may remember that our last study last week in the life of David was David sparing Saul a second time. And in it the principle lesson was that David resisted expediency and awaited the providence of God for the crowning as messiah.

We also had that well known passage in which Saul makes the confession that he has played the fool. Well that was 1st Samuel chapter 26. Now in 1st Samuel chapter 27, and verse 1, we read these words, and I am going to read this because this is important for the passage in chapter 29 and chapter 30. But we read in verse 1 of chapter 27,

“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 border of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.”

Now it is the opinion of most Bible students that David in that particular resolution really turned away from the Lord because it was not really the Lord’s will that he should escape in that way from the land. So in the exposition tonight I will take that view that David by that resolution expressed in the first verse of chapter 27 has wandered a bit from the will of God for him and we are going to see some of the effects of not heeling strongly to will of God for him.

Let’s turn now to 1st Samuel chapter 29, and verse 1 through chapter 30, verse 31. And let me begin by saying just a few words about some of the things that we have been talking.

Since Saul began his persecution of David, David has learned the wickedness of the wicked. And that reminds us of the statement the psalmist makes in chapter 3, and verse 1, “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!” David surely was able to write that out of his experiences in fleeing from Saul and the soldiers of Saul.

And he has also learned something of the providence of God as he also expresses in the 37th Psalm. For there we read, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.” And then again in one of the later psalms the psalmist writes, “The Lord preserveth all them that love him.”

One of the many beautiful illustrations of the providence of God is the way in which David’s steps are ordered by the Lord even when he does, it appears, get out of the will of God for him. Now he has had many ups and downs but he’s learned something of the discipline of God in this too. And there is a famous section which the Apostle Paul uses in the New Testament in the exposition of the doctrine of justification by faith. In Psalm chapter 32, verses 4 and 5, in which the psalmist writes,

“For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hidden. And I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”

So in the many experiences of David his ups and his downs he learns the discipline of God and he also has learned how he may be restored to fellowship. And that fellowship is restored by the confession of his sin.

Now in chapter 29 let me read this entire chapter of eleven verses because here we read of how David is delivered at Ziklag. Chapter 29, and verse 1,

“Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel. And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rear with Achish, (I should have mentioned this, that after David had left the land he went down near the place where Achish of Gath lived and there Achish, the king of the Philistines, befriended David. And as a matter of fact, gave David a place, a little town by the name of Ziklag in which David was to live. So David is now living in the land of the Philistines instead of in the land of Israel and that is why it is likely that he was out of the will of God at this point. So he is now with Achish in Gath in Ziklag. In verse 3,) Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? (Now you see, the situation is simply this, that the Philistines are planning an attack on Israel but David, the anointed messiah of Israel is living in the land of the Philistines and is very friendly with Achish, the king of the Philistines. And of course, if they are going to make warfare against Israel David might find himself with his men involved in a war against his own people. But the Philistine princes are not too happy having David in the ranks of the Philistines and that’s what we read about in verse 3.) Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, who hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day? And the princes of the Philistines were angry with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men? Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands? Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the days of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favour thee not. Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines. And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king? And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants who are come with thee: and as soon as ye are up early in the morning, and have light, depart. So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.”

Now the situation was, of course, very embarrassing for David because here he is in the land of the Philistines, closely associated with this rather generous kind of man, for Achish the king of the Philistines was a very unusual man, very friendly to David. And he has cared for David, he has given him his own little city of Ziklag and now David is called upon to fight with them against the land of Israel.

This, of course, was something that no doubt was very embarrassing to David. But what happens here is that he is providentially preserved from having to fight against Israel because the other princes of the Philistines are not so happy to have David in their ranks because their argument is very simple, “He’s not on good terms with Saul, you say, but would it not be the easiest thing for him to turn with his men on us? And remember those things that were said about David, Saul slew his thousands but David his ten thousands and so it’s obvious that David is a very successful warrior and what would gain him reconciliation with Saul better than for him to turn on us and slay a number of us and win the battle?”

And so they demand of Achish, the king of the Philistines, that David be sent home. So I would presume that David in this embarrassing situation, not wanting to fight against his own people, must have sang as he left, “My soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fouler, the snare is broken and I am escaped.”

I think there is an application of some of the principles that one learns here. There are many things from which we are, by the grace of God, providentially preserved. Sometimes we are withheld from business success that might be the means of our spiritual downfall. There are some young people who are often disappointed in their love affairs and then they learn later on that it was part of the providence of God because it’s obvious sometime later that that kind of a union was not the kind of union that would have been best for them. It’s the same kind of thing that we discover when we have been mistreated by some of our friends and we discover later on that it was a providential thing that came into our lives. And even other more serious experiences than these often are discovered by the grace of God to be providential means by which God preserved us from some things that would not have been very good for us.

So David, I’m sure, was thankful for the providence of God that enabled him to get out of this very embarrassing situation. But when he returns to Ziklag he discovers that something very bad has happened for the city at which the wives and the children were has been burned. Now I think also it’s rather interesting that there were no men, evidently, in Ziklag when the burning took place. And if there had been men there when the Amalekites came who burned the city of Ziklag, if there had been men there they undoubtedly would have gotten in a fight with the men and the result would have been that some of the women and children would probably have lost their lives too.

But David, with his men, was providentially with Achish and the rest of the Philistines in the city of Aphek and consequently the city of Ziklag was totally unprotected and the Amalekites came and took all of the spoil but did not kill anybody, that’s what we read about in verses 1 and 2. And let’s read those verses now, chapter 30,

“And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were in it: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.”

Sometimes we must suffer even for the sins of which we have been forgiven. And in David’s case here is a place in his life at which he must suffer even though he has come to know the forgiveness of God.

Incidentally, it is important for us, I think, in our Christian lives to distinguish between the forgiveness of sins and the forgiveness of the penalty of them and the suffering that we often must do for the effects of those sins, even though we have been forgiven of the penalty of them. Let me illustrate, it is possible for a person who has lived his life in some form of sin to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to be totally forgiven. That is, the penalty of his sins has been forgiven because of the fact that he’s been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But if he’s wasted his body by drinking he must, nevertheless, suffer the effects of the sin. And there are many other types of sins for which a man must suffer the effects, even though in his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the penalty or the guilt of the sin is totally forgiven.

Now here David has come back to Ziklag and we find him suffering some of the effects of the sin, the penalty of which he has been forgiven because David is a forgiven man. Now one wonders as one reads this account, and I’ll read on a few verses in a moment, why the men turn against David. Let’s read on and read verses 3 and following.

“So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

It must have been a matter of concern for the people who were with David, and no doubt they were perplexed by the position of David because David, remember, had said, “We must not fight against Saul, we must not take advantage of Saul, we must not even though Saul is in his power we must not slay Saul because we should not lift up our hands against the Lord’s anointed,” he had said. But now David had gone up to Aphek with his men and he had gone to join himself to Achish and the Philistines there in order to fight against the Israelites and Saul. And that does not seem to make much sense and I’m sure that David’s own men were largely impressed by that when they turned against David. And they came back home and discovered that their town had been burned to the ground, and their wives and their children had been taken captive. They could not understand, no doubt, why David said, “Do not take Saul,” when he had Saul in his power, but then he himself picks up his arms and goes up to Aphek and associates himself with the Philistines in their war against Saul.

But we read here that in verse 6 that David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him. “Because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD.” That’s a very interesting word, that’s a word that means really to grasp or to lay hold of, chazaq. David encouraged himself.

Now there are a couple of things I think that are involved in this remarkable statement, “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” In the first place, what is presupposed by this, “David encouraged himself in the LORD.” Well, I think there is conviction. There was a conviction, no doubt, that his past actions were not really true to the plan that God had unfolded for him in his life up to this point. And there was undoubtedly also involved in this as a presupposition his own confession of his sin.

Remember in the Proverbs we read verse 13 of chapter 28, “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Now that, I believe, is a very important principle. We’ve had a lot of discussion in the past few years over the precise force of 1st John chapter 1, verse 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Taking that verse strictly exegetically it’s likely that it does not have to do with a Christian’s confession of his sin. If you look at the context carefully, and especially if you will look at the usage of the terms in 1st John 1:9 the inclination that one obtains as he looks at that text is that that has to do with the way of salvation. But the principle taught in that verse on the opposing interpretation, that is if we confess our sins as Christian’s, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,” is a principle taught in the Bible.

Now whether 1st John 1:9 teaches it or not is really beside the point because it only means that that verse may not be used to support that particular teaching. But there are other verses that do support that teaching. So incidentally, if someone comes to you after you’ve cited 1st John 1:9 as a means by which a Christian may be restored to relationship of communion with the Lord don’t be so upset and think that the whole basis upon which a Christian is restored to communion is destroyed because 1st John 1:9 may not teach that.

It’s clear that in Psalm 32, verse 4 and 5, that is taught. And this passage in Proverbs chapter 28, and verse 13, “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, (that is, his sin,) shall have mercy,” that, too, teaches it. In the New Testament we also have taught in 1st Corinthians chapter 11 if a man examines himself he shall not be judged with the world. And we have other places too in which it is expressly state in the word of God that a confession by a believer of his sins means restoration to communion with the Lord.

Now I think that when we read here that David encouraged himself in the Lord his God, since we have sought to suggest that David was not in communion with the Lord at this point that it is presupposed by this statement that he encouraged himself in the Lord, that he has come to be convicted of his sin and he has also made confession of his sin. And then what is signified by this, David encouraging himself in the Lord his God, is several things. In the first place, undoubtedly this is intended to suggest that David spent some time in prayer. To be strong in the Lord, to be strong in his person, and strong in his promises, involves prayer and that is characteristic of the man who has been restored and who is walking in communion with the Lord. It’s impossible for us to think of ourselves as walking in communion with the Lord if our lives are not characterized by the time of prayer. The constant prayer. It doesn’t have to be a specific time when we get down on our knees, though that’s a very valuable thing, but a person may live in the sphere of prayer in his daily life never getting down upon his knees. But prayer does play a large part in the communion that we enjoy with the Lord God.

I think, also, that when we read that, “He encouraged himself in the LORD his God,” it not only means that he encouraged himself by spending time in communion with the Lord but he was strong in the promises of the Lord God and therefore he was occupied with the word of God. And the Christian in communion with the Lord is one who is in communion with the Lord in the fellowship that we have in the truths of holy Scripture. It’s impossible for us to speak about communion with the Lord if characteristic of it there is not that meditation upon and living in the promises of the word of God and also, of course, obedience to them.

And I think also involved in this encouraging himself in the Lord is the result of this, communion with him. The psalmist says in Psalm 119, in verse 67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept thy word.” And so David, having had this terrible experience of the loss of the city and the loss of his wives and the loss of his family surely thought of himself as having been afflicted. Before he was afflicted he went astray, he said, but as a result of this now he encourages himself in the Lord. He keeps the word of God.

Now we also read in verse 7 and 8 of David seeking of the guidance of God,

“And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail thou shalt recover everything.”

This is an evidence, I think, of David’s restoration, that he sought the guidance of the Lord. Now take a look back at chapter 27, and verse 1, when he made this resolution that he would go down to Philistia and live there, notice how chapter 27 begins,

“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 border of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.”

Now notice how it begins, “And David said in his heart.” It does not say that David enquired of the Lord about this but he said in his own heart. It was counsel that he had taken with himself. But now, having been brought to the place of restoration and communion, we read in verse 7 of chapter 30, “And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, bring me hither the ephod. And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?” That’s an evidence of restoration. That’s an evidence of communion. When a man seeks the will of God in prayer that’s an evidence of the communion. If we seek to follow our own counsel apart from the will of God well, then, it’s not surprising that we have difficulties. Things go well with David from now on, the men are reconciled to him, and he himself has success in his struggle with the Amalekites as we shall see.

Now I think the lesson from this is very plain, before hand the people with whom David was living, his soldiers, they were anxious to stone him and put him to death. But now they are with him and we learn this important principle, when we have power with God we have power with men. That, I think, is an important principle. When we have power with God we have power with men.

Now let’s read on. And here we have evidenced again the providence of God in what follows, verse 11. Well I should read beginning at verse 9,

“So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, who were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and from where art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days ago I fell sick. We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the border which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire, (now notice the providence of this because David has no idea where these Amalekites are but it just so happens, that’s what an Armenian would say, it just so happens [Laughter] that they found an Egyptian in the field and he knows all about it. And we read in verse 15,) And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.”

You know, the Bible says, “God works all things together for good to those who love him, to those who are the called according to his purpose.” Now notice that, it says, “For those who love him,” but then, “To those who are the called according to his purpose.” And then to explain what it means to be one of the called he then introduces the reader to those five great principles of divine, continuing providence; foreknown, foreordained, called, justified, glorified. And not a single person is lost in the process, too. Every single person who is foreknown is also glorified. Every single person who is foreknown is called and justified. And every single person who is justified is so certain to be glorified that the apostle puts it in the past tense. So you see, this divine continuing providence surrounds the saints of God. And from beginning in ages past, of which we have no record ourselves it’s beyond our time, that which began then has its certain conclusion in the future and we shall be glorified.

Now the same God who has arranged our history from the time before history, pre history, on through history and on into the time that could be called post history that God is the God who arranges all the affairs of lives. It is he who arranged that that Egyptian should be there in order that David might come into contact with him. David had no idea of their trail and Tonto was not with him to give him directions about how to find them [Laughter]. Incidentally Arthur Pink has written a little book on David, well a big book on David I should say. It’s a very good book also. And in it he claims that this Egyptian is an illustration of the gospel of Christ because the Egyptian comes to David and David, of course, is representative of our Lord Jesus Christ, his citizenship is from Egypt, he’s a man of the world, for Egypt stands in the Bible as illustrative of the world in many places. His condition is of a man who is dying, he’s in the field, and he has not had any food for three days and three nights. He’s on the point of death. He’s perishing as the Bible speaks of those outside of Christ. He comes to David who is the one who represents the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore is full of forgiving mercies.

David exercises compassion toward him as our Lord Jesus does to all who come before him. He makes his confession before David and desires also from David an assurance that he will not be harmed in any way and David provides him with that assurance. And so Mr. Pink says what we have in this Egyptian coming to David is an illustration of how a man of the world outside of Christ comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and receives the forgiveness of sins.

Now the chapter then describes the defeat of the Amalekites in verse 16 through verse 19. And let’s read these verses,

“And when they had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, who rode upon camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.”

I can just imagine these Amalekites. They probably knew about the war that was going to take place between the Philistines and the Israelites under Saul. They knew that Achish had gone to Aphek and they knew that Saul was encamped in Gilboah. And they knew that those companies were ready to fight and they had gone to Ziklag and they had burned the city and I can just imagine them standing around, dancing, having a good time and saying just wait till those Jews return to Ziklag and see what we have done to their places.

And it’s just like the men of the future when they say, “Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” And this, if the Egyptian is an illustration of grace to a believer, this is an illustration of Christ’s judgment upon the wicked.

Now the division of the spoil is described and let me read beginning at verse 20 through verse 31, the end of the chapter,

“And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drove before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil. And David came to the two hundred men, who were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people who were with him: and when David came near to the people, he greeted them. Then answered all the wicked men and the worthless fellows, that is the men of Belial, of those who went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. For who will hearken unto you in this matter? (He means, ‘You don’t have much support, you men of Belial, in what you say,’) but as his part is who goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be who tarrieth by the baggage, (or by the stuff): they shall divide alike. And it was so from that day onward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day. And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD; To them who were in Bethel, and to them who were in south Ramoth, and to them who were in Jattir, and to them who were in Aroer, and to them who were in Siphmoth, and to them who were in Eshtemoa, and to them who were in Rachal, and to them who were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them who were in the cities of the Kenites, and to them who were in Hormah, and to them who were in Bor Ashan, (or Bor-ashan), and to them who were in Athach, and to them who were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to haunt.”

Now this was a rebuke of the men of Belial and David reminds them of the source of the spoil, it is a gift of God. It is come from the Amalekites but God gave it to them. And David says, “Furthermore, few men are going to agree with you, men of Belial, who want to deprive these two hundred who were so faint they couldn’t go with us, but who stayed with the baggage and protected our things while we went out to war.” And David asserts their right to share.

Now there is a principle which you’ve often heard sermons preached upon, I’m sure, particularly in mission activity because that text has often been used in missionary messages, “As his part is who goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be who tarrieth by the stuff: they shall divide alike.” And many preachers have made exhortations to audiences, reminding them that if they do send missionaries to the foreign field they may expect to share in the rewards of the salvation of the souls that have resulted thereby.

I think there is a genuine application of that principle, it illustrates for us also the fact that it is just as important in the ministry of the world of God that we pray as that we preach. And, for example, in Believers Chapel for some of you who pray faithfully for the ministry of the word of God in Believers Chapel we will discover, I’m sure, that when we stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ that it shall not be I and others who receive the rewards that come from the ministry of the word, but it will also be the experience of those of you who have prayed that you too receive of the rewards for your faithful prayer. For the prayer support of the teacher of the word of God is just as important as the teaching of that teacher.

The sick and suffering will also share with the active. And it’s a wonderful thing to realize that the sick and the faint are not drummed out of the army of the Lord Jesus Christ. And because a person is unable to stand before a pulpit like this and to teach a message or teach a section of the word of God does not mean that you shall not have the opportunity to have just as significant a reward from the Lord God. Your opportunity to share in it comes from prayer, from the support that you give to the ministry of the word of God in Believers Chapel too. The fact that the message of the Sunday morning here, for example, goes out now to tend to fourteen radio stations around the country doesn’t mean that Lewis Johnson is going to get the rewards for the preaching of the word. I’m sure, knowing my own heart, that when rewards are given by the Lord God, of course we all will receive them in grace and give them to our Lord Jesus Christ, but we are going to discover that there are many who have sacrificially given who shall receive some of the chief rewards from the ministry of the word of God.

Mr. Spurgeon’s last sermon in the tabernacle was on this verse, this 24th verse, and in it he remarked at this point, “Brethren, let us exalt the name of our captain, there is none like him.” And how true that is. Our great captain, our great David, our great Lord Jesus Christ is one who has made it possible for us to have the forgiveness of sins, to have the opportunity to share in the ministry of the word of God, to have the opportunity to be a part in the great plan and program that he is undertaking. And isn’t it a wonderful thing to be able to do that and also to have the assurance that all of our steps are guided by our great God who preserves us and keeps us in his wonderful providence.

If you are here tonight and you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ we remind you again that he has offered the atoning sacrifice by which you may have the forgiveness of sins. Come to him. By the grace of God acknowledge your sin and receive him as your own personal Savior. Let’s bow together in a word of prayer.

[Prayer] Father, we are thankful to Thee for the lessons that we learn from the life of David. We recognize again, Lord, in the lives of the great saints of the Old Testament that they had their ups and downs just as we do. There were times when their own communion with Thee was broken by acts of sin.

And we thank Thee for the marvelous grace manifested in their restoration and for the principles of restoration that we learn from their experiences. And we thank Thee, Lord, for the insight from this passage that they who have power with Thee have power with men, and that when our relationship with Thee is the relationship with communion we may expect to have a measure of the joy of success in the Christian life. Oh God, may we encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. May we spend some time in meditation, some time in the word of God. And may, as the decisions of life are faced, may our attitude be the attitude of David who call for the ephod and sought the will of God.

Enable us Lord to develop the pattern of looking to Thee and trusting in Thee. Thou wilt keep them in perfect peace whose mind has stayed upon Thee because they trust in Thee. May that be true, Lord, of our own experience. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.