TITUS EMAIL Volume 11, Number 9
Greetings. I am intrigued by the sensitivity of David’s heart earlier in his life and how he closely followed God’s leading. This first article explores his behavior with his opportunistic interactions with Saul. A great deal of self-control was expressed by David. It is an interesting study. I trust you are challenged as I am challenged by his actions. Mike
DAVID’S SENSITIVE HEART DEALING WITH SAUL
Twice David had the opportunity to kill King Saul. Twice he held back and did not touch God’s anointed. Here was the heir to the throne. David knew he was the next anointed King over Israel. This happened when he was a teenager (1 Samuel 16) a number of years earlier. Also, King Saul was pursuing him to kill him but he refused to avenge. What self-restraint and control David had in those earlier years.
In a cave, King Saul had entered to relieve himself. Unaware that David was hiding in the cave at the same time, Saul had walked into the perfect trap and motive. Saul was pursuing David and David was to be the next king. No questions asked; David had every right to kill Saul on the spot (1 Samuel 24:1-12). Sometime later, David caught Saul and his men sleeping and again could have ended Saul’s life right there but he did not (1 Samuel 26:1-11).
David was urged by his men to end Saul’s life but his response reveals his heart. “He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.’” (1 Samuel 24:6). This is what David called out to Saul after sparing his life. “May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.” (1 Samuel 24:12-13).
Destiny was in David’s hand (twice) and he refused to get ahead of the Lord’s plans. He did not want the guilt of Saul’s death on his hands. In His timing, the Lord would strike Saul down. Let God be the judge. Knowing me, I would have been very tempted to justify killing my adversary and the person keeping me from my rightful spot. It is so easy to get ahead of the Lord and His timing.
Now we can quickly justify all this by saying that we never have or intend to kill someone. Yet have our words destroyed or at least mutilated or handicapped someone? Have you or I ever slandered someone? Here is a definition of slander. If I say something to another person about you and it makes that person think of you less, then I have slandered you. So, have you or I ever slandered, cut down someone? How about this one from Jesus. If we become unjustifiably angry, the kind of anger where we wish someone dead, that is considered murder (Matthew 5:21).
No one except God would have held David liable for killing Saul. Saul was pursuing David. He wanted David dead. David was the next king. It is easy to justify our motives for what we do. I need to be very careful with my behavior. I can justify and give very good reasoning for what I do. Yet, is it what God would want me to do? This is where we as humans focus on the outward appearance of results while God deals and judges the heart of the person. Our hearts can be deceitfully skewed or manipulative. You cannot see directly into my heart, my soul nor I into your heart.
We need to pray and actively allow the Holy Spirit through the Word and interaction with our spirits, help purify our motives. That should shake us to our core that our heart and intentions can even deceive ourselves. It is so easy to justify sin and have everyone on earth think we are super spiritual. At that time in his life, David listened to the leading of God to not get ahead of God and His timing. God blessed David. What do you and I need to do be that sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading?
YOUTH MINISTRY – TEMPTATIONS, WHAT TO DO
From reading about Jesus’ life in the Gospels, we know that Jesus was tempted by Satan in Matthew 4:1-11. So if Jesus was tempted, we will also have temptations from Satan and his demons and we have been told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that we will be tempted (but God will provide ways to get out of the temptation. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Jesus dealt with Peter, James, and John falling to temptation in Gethsemane when He fervently prayed before being crucified. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:39-41).
The three apostles were so tired and very late at night that they fell asleep when they should have been praying. At this moment in Matthew 26, it was a very high emotional and spiritually charged time. A lot was going on in the spiritual world which was one reason why Jesus’ prayers were so intense.
Now is it wrong to sleep? Definitely not. Yet at that time, the three apostles should have been in prayer particularly for their spiritual preparation of what was to quickly come. Peter ended up cutting off one of the ears of a servant who was part of the mob that came to arrest Jesus and he also denied Jesus three times later during that same night (Matthew 26:69-75).
Peter fell into temptation and ended up denying Jesus. Jesus said it well, “The Spirit is willing, but the body is weak?” Your resolve may be strong and you know in your head that you should stay away from a situation but the wrestling with right or wrong becomes so strong, that you cave into the temptation. Dealing with temptations from Satan and his demons is not easy. The Apostle Paul struggled with this issued as he shared that what he does not want to do, he does and sins, and what he wants to do, he does not do (Romans 7:15-16).
What temptations do you face? Jealousy, lust, pride, anger, gossip, infatuated with things we do not have…The list can go on but we all struggle with different areas in our lives. We WILL face temptations all through our lives. It does not get easier because Satan knows that if you are attempting to honor Jesus with your life, he will put more pressure on you to fall.
So when Peter and his two friends slept, they were better off to be praying to be spiritually ready for what they were to face and also to be praying for Jesus. What are great ways to stay away from falling into temptations you will encounter? Here are a few suggestions to help you as God will offer opportunities to get out of temptation if you are focused on Him.
Having quality godly friends to keep you accountable and also to hang around with to stay out of situations which open doors to temptation. Doing what you know is right; what your parents tell you and what you read in the Bible. Most of God’s will is right there in the Bible. Read what it says. Also plan ahead what you will be doing with friends or that person of the opposite sex. Temptations quickly materialize when you have not planned out what you are going to do. Also definitely stay involved in your faith by reading the Bible, praying, hanging out with the right crowd and remind yourself that as a Christian, you have Jesus living inside of you and whatever you do, He is RIGHT there with you.
ILLUSTRATION – The Hour of Testing
How does a temptation usually attain its “hour”? The time comes about in several ways. First, temptation gains power by persistent solicitations, causing the mind frequently to converse with the evil it solicits us to commit. The temptation begets thoughts that make the evil seem less serious. When this happens, the temptation is coming toward its hour. . . . . . Second, a temptation can be seen approaching its hour when it has prevailed on others we know, and yet our soul is filled neither with dislike and abhorrence of them and their ways nor with pity and prayer for their deliverance. This circumstance proves an advantage to temptation and raises it toward its height. When we are set upon by a temptation that has, at the same time, possessed and prevailed with many others, it has so many and such great advantages by its commonness that it is surely growing toward its hour.
Third, a temptation comes to its hour by complicating itself with many considerations. We are tempted to do wrong as a means of achieving something that is good in itself, and such a plea gives life to the temptation. Some particular good, the temptation claims, is necessary, and it can only be obtained by going along with some particular evil. . . .