¡°CAUGHT BETWEEN SURVIVAL¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: 1 Samuel 18:5-12 October 6, 2013
1) An extreme sad case: Dr. Lynn Anderson is a Christian counselor. She shared one of her experiences, a horrific one. In a Bible study group gathered at her home, a church staff member showed signs of serious depression. People tried to comfort him, encourage him and prayed for him. But that man took his own life by overdose that night. This man expressed sense of unworthy, loneliness and loss of security. He felt he was living in a squeezed space with no way out. Everyone in the group were sympathetic with him and cared of his condition, but no one could imagine he would go so far to take his own life that night.
2) An example brave case: Living in a narrow space happens to many people, ancient and modern. We all have experience of feeling squeezed in a place we feel hard to turn around, but we don't resort to committing suicide. David in the Bible is one vivid example of living with little space and hope. His life in many ways is not something we like to copy, but his courage and faith in God when facing situation of no-way-out is a great example for all of us. There are many attributes in David's life we may learn good lessons from, among them is his strong faith in God and his persistence to survive and win.
UNDERSTANDING THE FACETS OF SECURITY:
1) Security is very essential: When we see a small children dragging a towel or a small blanket in the public like a shopping mall, we understand that is his symbol of security. Security is one of the five basic needs of human survival from very early of history. This need of security never stops even when we grow older. We need security of friendship, jobs, marriage, family and society to make life possible. Anytime when security of any kind is at risk or lost, we are panic and stressful in search of another one. People could take drastic acts on their life because of lack of security either on the inside or the outside.
2) Security on the outside: There are things on the outside that can help build the security we need such as a stable government, peaceful society, a secured job, a faithful spouse, sufficient income for basic needs, savings for the future and retirement, etc. The needs of security varies from person to person but we all need to have some basic resource and environment to feel secured.
3) Security on the inside: This has to do with our inner needs, feelings and emotion. Things like a love relationship as in marriage from spouse is on top of the list. Friendship with people is next that helps builds and provides the sense of security. Social status among the circle of life is also important in building emotional security, the sense of belong. In fact security on the inside often time is more important than that on the outside. Some people with little on the outside are more secure on the inside because emotional tank in them is fuller than those who have so much on the outside.
What is your security level and what are the things you have in the tank?
LIFE WITHOUT MUCH SECURITY: The life of King David
1) He didn't have much from family: While Jesse was busy preparing a banquet to welcome Samuel, the prophet, to his home for something very important, to anoint one of his sons to be a king. He had all his boys, except one, dressed and groomed the best they could, but David was out there tending the flock of the family and was forgotten. (1 Samuel 16:6-13) If modern childhood psychology is correct, David didn't have much family support to build his security as a child at home. When he obey his father to send food and supply to his brothers on the front-line at the battlefield, his good will became the reason of ridicule and insult. (17:28) If you think Jesse didn't know how to be a supportive father, David's brother didn't know how to support their little brother to build his need of security either.
2) He didn't have much from his job: After David killed the enemy of Israel, he got a job as one of the commanders in the army. But his job was far from being secured because the one who gave him that job, King Saul, was jealous of him and wanted to put him to death. (18:8-11) How can you have any job security when your top boss is scheming to kill you.
3) He didn't have much in his marriage: King Saul promised to give his daughter Merab to marry whoever was able to defeat Goliath, but he schemed with evil intent and gave Merab to someone else at the last minutes. (18:17-19) Although Michal, Saul's second daughter, was deeply in love with David, but he wasn't able to stay with her because he needed to run for his life for years. Except a short reunion a little later, (19:11-17) Michal was never mentioned again in the Bible as David's wife. If we say a home, includes wife and children, is a man's castle, David didn't have any of this. For too many reasons, lots of people today just don't have that security in their marriage and family. Even many who are married but live in emotionally single life.
4) He didn't have much from friends: David had two trustworthy friends in his life: Samuel and Jonathan, but neither of them could protect him nor able to give him support for security. Samuel was the one who anointed David as king earlier, it is natural for David to seek his protection for security. But Samuel couldn't provide what David needed because Saul was in relentless pursuit of his life. (19:18-24) Although the friendship between David and Jonathan was a great example for million, Jonathan wasn't able to protect David. They couldn't even see each other in public and was separated from each other until Jonathan was killed with his father King Saul. David was devastated when he learned of Jonathan's death. He lamented bitterly and grieved deeply in his utterance of a song. (2 Samuel 1:17-27)
THE BEST SECURITY FOR YOUR LIFE: How did David live his life?
1) The purpose of God in David's life: We know that it takes only a few weeks to grow vegetables like tomato, melons or beans. But it takes decades to grow an oak tree to reach its best potential of use. No one will compare the usefulness of a tomato or a melon to that of oak wood. That might be why God allowed David to have a life as it was. God used all kinds of ways and means to train, prepare, mode, shape and reshape someone until he meets the quality God aimed to have in him. For anyone to be mighty in God's service, he must be put into tests, go through fire for purity, build his character and integrity, endure hardship, opposition and persecution without wavering in his call to serve God. We have seen people with little or no character were put in position of leadership in a nation, a corporation or a church and the damages they did to their assignment. God won't do that with his kingdom work. God allowed David to live his life with little security from the world so he could learn to live his life with much security from God.
2) How did David handle insecurity: Psalm 142:1-7
a) He cried to God for attention: ¡°I cry to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.¡± (142:1-2) Do you remember those helpless moments in your life and how much you love to have a shoulder to cry on? That was how David felt when he was stuck in a cave and had no way out. (See the title of the psalm) When we got stuck in a cave or caught in a snare, naturally we cry to someone we trust for sympathy and emotional relief. David was one step higher, he didn't cry to man, he cried to God. He poured out all his trouble, pain, complaint to the Lord for his mercy and sympathy.
b) He looked to God for direction: ¡°When my spirit grows faint within in me it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.¡± (142:3) Lost in a strange and dangerous place is nothing to feel secured. How much we hope there is someone who knows the way. David looked to God for direction of his life. It is very difficult, if not impossible to have a clear mind to find the way out when we are in fear of loss like David. God has all mapped out for our life and he knows which is the best way for our future. Look to him for direction is a wise choice.
c) He sought God for protection: ¡°I look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge, and no one cares for my life.¡± (v. 4) Have you ever been in a situation that no one care about your well being, no one would do anything to protect you from harm, rumors, gossips and false accusation? Things were so bad and no one was there for you. Life can be so bad that you are exposed, completely vulnerable in the middle of a turmoil. That is the moment we need to seek God for protection.
d) He asked God for his portion: ¡°I cry to you, O Lord; I say: You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.¡± (v. 5) ¡°Portion¡± is blessing of God given to his children. Facing certain death, David claimed his portion of blessing in living instead of the dead. Even in the darkest night, God has portion of his blessings reserved for you if you come to claim your fair share. God isn't done with you even when you are in the pit and can't find your way out. The best of your life is still to come.
e) He praised God in adoration: ¡°Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name. The righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.¡± (142:7) David had so much faith in his God he began to praise God in vision of the still coming bright and joyful future, even he was still in his cave. That is exactly what Hebrews 11:1 says, ¡°Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.¡± If you are in the bottom of the pit, deep in the cave you can't see any light, it is so important you keep your faith strong in the Lord so you can begin to see what kind of beautiful life the Lord has prepared for you. Begin to praise God for his wisdom and goodness for allowing you to go through this training session. He has a plan of much better life for you down the road. Praises can drive out the feeling of gloom and doom. Try that.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) Faith is victory: ¡°Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who can not save you¡± (Psalm 146:3) Toward the end of his life after he had gone through all of these, David realized that the true and everlasting power of deliverance comes only from God, not man. Anyone who had gone through life of flood and fire can tell you this is very true. Human power is frail, their wisdom is so short-sighted. Only God can see through all things in our life to lead us to the promised land he reserves for us. You may be down but not out, because God won't allow that to happen. Many years after David, Apostle Paul testified like this: ¡°We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despair; persecuted, but no abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.¡± (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
2) After all of these: ¡°The Lord is by my side, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?¡± (Psalm 118:6) What guarantees our security in time of trouble is not what we have or can do, but is who God is and what he can do. If we truly believe God is with us, or by our side, there is no reason to be afraid in all circumstances. What man or whoever it may be may do to us when we have God as our defender and protector? Better days are just a little way down the road. Keep your head looking up on the almighty God in all circumstances.