God was working to establish his kingdom through David, but David trusted the Lord to fulfill his promises in his perfect timing. Instead of listening to his men and seizing the kingdom, David trusted the Lord in action, word, and heart. John Elmore teaches through 1 Samuel 24, giving three ways to trust God when wronged, and pointing to the greater David who perfectly brings God’s kingdom and salvation in his time.
God’s Better Plans | 2 Samuel 7:1-17
What's The Meaning of Life? | 2 Samuel 6
Living in God’s Will | 2 Samuel 5
Trusting God When Wronged (and Trusting God When Wrong) | 1 Samuel 24
Dealing with Other’s Success | 1 Samuel 18:1-16
God and Goliath | 1 Samuel 17:37-47
Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23
1 Samuel 24 shows David’s response to Saul who was trying to kill him. Though David received God’s promise to be king, David did not take the kingdom but rather waited for and trusted in God’s perfect timing. David, however, will go on to sin in various ways, which points to the need for a greater David to bring God’s kingdom. Thankfully, Christ came not by seizing the kingdom but by giving his life so that we can become God’s sons and daughters by trusting in him.
Good morning, everybody. Good to be with you all. My name is John. I'm one of the teaching pastors here. Those empty seats mean that you are the faithful. You're going to get rewards in heaven. As they're out there barbecuing, sitting by the pool, here you are. Let's pray for them.
Y'all, we're walking through The Life of David series, and there's just a mess going on, frankly. Saul has attempted, at this point in his life, to kill David 10 times. In fact, it's not just 10 times. It says in the Scriptures that every day he sought to kill David. Saul would wake up in the morning, have his breakfast, and be like, "All right. Let's go hunt David. Where's he at?" It was his daily thing. He was out for blood even though he was king.
So, we're going to continue in this, and what we're going to see is David's crazy response. He responds in a way you would not expect after someone tried to kill him 10-plus times, which led me to look at a story I had heard. I'd seen it on social media, and I was like, "Man, is that true? There's no way." So I looked it up, and it's true. I want to tell you today.
There's a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida. His name is Ike Brown Sr…officer, beat cop, squad car. He had been in the service a long time on the force. The chief would come to his house from time to time. They had a good relationship because he had been a part of the police department for so long. One particular morning, he was already up at 4:30 in the morning.
He gets a knock at the door, and he goes to the door. There's the chief. That didn't surprise him. That could be normal that he wanted his help in something. But there was someone else at his door. It was the chaplain. Ike didn't even acknowledge the chief and said to the chaplain, "Why are you here?" The chaplain said to Ike Brown, "Your son was murdered tonight." Ike Jr. was gunned down while hanging out with friends by a man named Takoya Criner.
So, it went to trial. Three years later, because of the court docket and processing and gathering of evidence, Ike Brown walks into the courtroom. He had never set eyes upon Takoya Criner. He says, as a cop, he was like, "I uphold justice. That's what God has made me to do. I am a protector. I watch over the city." He always had this anthem. He was like, "Hey, you can mess with me, but you mess with my kids, and I'm coming after you." That's how Ike rolled.
He steps into the courtroom, and the very first time he laid eyes on Takoya, he said, he looked like his son, only a little bigger. In that moment, instead of feeling hate, he felt love. When he felt love for Takoya, he started praying to God. He wasn't praying to God for justice. He wasn't praying to God that he would send Takoya away for a long time. He started praying to God, "What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me, God? I should feel hatred for this man who murdered my 21-year-old son, who cut off his life. Instead, I feel nothing but love. What's wrong with me?"
There was nothing wrong with him, because Ike Brown is a believer in Jesus Christ. So, what Ike saw as "What's wrong with me?" was "What is right with me?" because he was right with God through his Savior Jesus Christ and, therefore, was reflecting Christ to Takoya, like, "I don't hate you. I love you. I see my son in you," and would continue to have a relationship with Takoya (he still does to this day) in prison.
Today, I want to talk about trusting God when wronged, because when we're wronged, we want justice. Right? Maybe you're wronged at work, in a relationship…whatever circumstance or environment you find yourself in. When you're wronged… And you will be, because we live in a broken, fallen world. In fact, sometime, you'll be the one who wrongs others. When you wrong others, you want grace, but when you're wronged, you want justice.
Here's the thing: that's a God-given sense of morality and ethic. It's the conscience he has placed in every single person that we do know right from wrong. It's not wrong for you to desire justice. It is wrong for you to seek it out, that you would take justice into your own hands. That is entirely wrong. It's what we're going to see in the life of David today. He entrusts that justice to God. He experiences some incredible injustice but is like, "I'm not going to take it into my own hands. I'm going to leave it in your hands where it rightly belongs."
Here are two things. First, I want to tell you before we begin that we're going to be looking at the life of David, but we're not looking at David. We're looking through David unto Jesus. There are these apps. My kids and I sometimes with Laura sometimes… They're looking up at the stars, and they want to know about the constellations or, like, "What's that bright one by the moon?" and "What's this?" and "Where's Orion's belt?" I don't know, so I need an app.
So, we're looking through this phone, and the camera is looking at the night sky, and it will connect the dots and show you everything. Now, it would be a huge mistake if my kids then took my phone and were like, "Oh, that's amazing. Okay. Let me scroll out, zoom in, swipe over." It would be such a miss if they were looking at this instead of beholding the glory of God through all of creation.
And it would be a huge miss if we were like, "Oh, okay. Let me be like David. So, what did David do?" and just like that constellation finder, we were like, "Oh, oh, oh. That's amazing. Okay. I want to be like David." The truth of the matter is, in just a couple of chapters…frankly, in the next chapter with Abigail and Nabal…David starts to go off the rails.
This is one of the remaining noble things David is going to do. He's going to start walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit. But today we do have something. What I want you to do is look through this to see Christ and behold the glory of God in the person of Christ…fully God, fully man, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
The second thing I want you to hear today is that as we're talking about trusting God when wronged, and we're going to trust him in our actions, in our word, and in our heart (meaning, our spirit, our faith)… As I say we're to trust God when wronged, it is not a duty of faith. Like, "Hey, you're going to be wronged, and when you are, here are three things you need to do." Frankly, you don't have the power to do those. I don't have the power to do those.
This is not a duty of faith; it is a fruit of faith, that when wronged, as we abide, the Spirit would bear this fruit in us of love and forgiveness, just like Ike Brown; that when wronged, no matter how horrifically, the Spirit, as yielded to him, would be at work. Not a duty of faith but a fruit of faith. Whatever happens, you don't have to wonder, "How am I going to respond? What am I going to do in that moment?" You abide with the Lord, and he'll bear that fruit. That is what he will do. So, this is a fruit of faith. Not what to do because you believe but what you will do if you believe.
So, as I said, at this point in time, Saul has tried to kill David 10-plus times. This is now the eleventh time. It's like his full-time job. He's just out to kill David. We're going to be reading from 1 Samuel 24. These are verses 1-15. Y'all, Scripture says, "Do not neglect the public reading of Scripture." Don't check out at this part and be like, "All right. All right. Just share what the points are going to be," because God has something in his Word for you.
"When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, 'Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.' Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats' Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave…"
There were hundreds of caves in Engedi. This is where Qumran is, where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls. It's just pockmarked with caves. "…and Saul went in to relieve himself." That's crazy. In the Hebrew, that means go to the bathroom. It has been said that man would not write this even if he could. Meaning, how could I ever have the wisdom to write forth the glory, the prophecy, and all that?
Even if he could write it, he wouldn't. What people would be like, "All right. We're going to write a holy book. Let's tell about the time that our king went to the bathroom in a cave"? Nobody is doing that…unless it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and God told them, "Pen these words." These are the words of God alone; there is no other holy book, which is not holy.
"Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, 'Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, "Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you."' Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe.
And afterward David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. He said to his men, 'The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord's anointed.' So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, 'My lord the king!' And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. And David said to Saul, 'Why do you listen to the words of men who say, "Behold, David seeks your harm"? Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you.
I said, "I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed." See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you.
As the proverb of the ancients says, "Out of the wicked comes wickedness." But my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.'" Where we're going to be today as we walk through this passage is how David trusts God when wronged. He trusts him in action, in words, and in heart.
A. Providence does not equal independence. The providence of God does not equal the independence of man. Because you see God moving doesn't mean that now you get to grab the wheel and do as you see fit. It says in verse 3, "And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself."
This is impossible odds. There are caves all over Engedi, all over Qumran, all over this area…the Wildgoats, the sheepfolds by the way. There are caves everywhere, and David and 600 men have backed themselves into a cave because they know Saul and his 3,000 men are coming. So, they're hiding there in a cave, and they see a silhouette start to enter through the light of the sun, and they only see one…not 3,000 but just one.
They're like, "Oh my goodness! Of all of the caves, someone is coming in. And not just anyone. It's King Saul. It's the one who's trying to kill you, David. This is unbelievable. He can't even see because of the bright sun. Now he's in the dark. His eyes haven't adjusted. Go get him! This is the day the Lord spoke about when he said, 'I will give your enemy into your hands that you may do whatever you see fit.'"
But David knew the providence of God doesn't equal the independence of man. What those 600 men would have seen… As Saul is there going to the bathroom, so vulnerable and humbled, here goes David. Maybe he drew out a dagger, and his men are like, "Oh, it is on!" They're all eager. Here comes David, sword drawn, and cuts off a corner of the robe.
You know his guys are like, "What?" Here comes David, tiptoeing back with a piece of the robe. They're like, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" He says, "I'm not going to lift my hand against the Lord's anointed, and neither are you." He tells them, "You're not attacking him. I'm not taking him, and neither are you."
I was in Sudan for a summer, working with alcoholics who are set free by Jesus, the power of Jesus alone. As I would leave our little Christ-centered recovery group, I'd be walking home back to our compound. This area had been wrecked by Darfur and that whole situation. The kids would follow me on the way home from school. They'd walk alongside me, and they'd be like, "Hey!" We'd be passing by all of these huge mango trees.
They were like, "Get us a mango." I was like, "All right." So I'd pick up a rock, because they hadn't fallen to the ground yet, and I was just crow hopping rocks into these trees. Ninety-nine percent of them went right through the canopy of the tree maybe into a land mine field. Bad situation. But every now and then, it would hit a trunk or a mango and pop it off the stem, and it would drop to the ground. When it did, the kids would clamor and run to it.
The first one there would get the mango, so excited that they got the mango. They'd bite into it. "Oh!" Like, bitter face, teeth hurt it was so sour and acidic. They'd drop it to the ground and leave the fruit there and walk away. It's crazy, because it's literally what they wanted. They wanted the mango, but they got it at the wrong time, so it was bitter in their mouth. Though they had it, they no longer even wanted it.
So it is when we grasp for the things of God before God's timing. When you try to get the things you think are rightfully yours that you desire, but you step out of God's timing, and you try to get it before he drops the fruit to you, it will be bitter in your mouth, and though you have it, you will hate it. You think about sexual sin before marriage. You think about cheating on finances or at work in order to get ahead.
There are all sorts of scenarios where you grasp for that which God has not given to you, and it will be bitter in your mouth. So, providence does not equal independence. Even though there were mangoes there, that doesn't mean we get to take matters into our own hands. We wait on God's timing. Seeing God's hand doesn't mean you know God's mind. Seeing God's hand, like, "Okay. I see what you're doing here, God. I see all this providentially happen. I never thought I'd see that person again. I can't believe the opportunity I got."
That doesn't mean you know God's mind and you're like, "Cool. I've got it from here. You get in the back seat. I've got my hands on the wheel now. I see what you're doing." This is James and John when they reject the message of Christ and are like, "Okay, Lord. Do you want us to call down fire on these people? It's on!" Jesus is like, "No. I didn't come to condemn the world; I came to save the world." Seeing the hand of God does not mean you know the mind of God.
B. Put man's counsel against God's counsel. Just like if someone is giving you words… Like, his men were saying to him… Verse 4: "And the men of David said to him, 'Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, "Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand…"'" David had to take their counsel and put it up to the counsel of God. He had to look through the counsel of his men to see if it aligned with what God would have.
He was like, "Wait. Wait. Is that so? Is it that God has given him into my hand to do whatever I see fit? When I hold this up to the Word of God, the counsel of man against the counsel of God…no, that doesn't align." Maybe he's remembering back to the Ten Commandments. "You shall not murder." He's like, "I don't care how many times he tries to murder me. That doesn't mean I get to murder him, because I have to live according to that."
Man's counsel against God's counsel. You think about Christ unto Peter in Matthew, chapter 16. Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" He's like, "You're the Christ, the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel." He's like, "You're right, Peter. The Father has revealed this to you. Blessed are you. And the Son of Man must now go to the cross, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again." Peter is like, "May it never be so! No!" and Jesus says, "Get behind me, Satan."
Listen. He says, "You have in mind the things of man. I have in mind the things of God, and I'm following him. So I'm not taking your counsel, Peter, because I'm holding your counsel against the counsel of God. I know the prophecies all throughout the Scripture…Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Zechariah where it says, 'The Son of Man will be pierced, given up for our transgressions.' So I'm holding that counsel against the counsel of God, and that's what I'm going to live by." It is so important, as we shepherd each other, love each other, and care for each other, that our counsel would be according to God's counsel.
C. Listen to God, not your grief. Your grief when wronged is going to cloud your judgment. Your emotions are going to mess up your motivation. You're going to be led astray. You're going to be overreacting. You will not have a right sense of justice or reaction because of your grief, so you have to listen to God.
It says in verse 5, "And afterward David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe." I mean, Saul is trying to kill him, and David cuts off a little piece of a garment, and he's like, "Oh! What have I done?" Now, you know when he went back to his 600 guys and was like, "Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. What have I done? Guys, I cut off a corner of a robe," they were like, "Who are you? You're who we're following?
I thought you were a military man. I thought you had courage. Aren't you the one who slayed Goliath? We've been on your journey, and we've seen how you laid waste to people. God's anointing is upon you, and you're grieved about the corner of a robe? Are you kidding me? We need a new leader. What kind of leader are you?" A holy one. David wasn't about to compare himself to the horridness of another.
He wasn't comparing himself against Saul; he was comparing himself against God, the holiness of the other. Like, "I know he has tried to murder me 10-plus times. I don't compare myself to Saul; I compare myself to God. Wrong is wrong, whatever degree. Me cutting off a piece of the king's robe to show him that I could have killed him even though I didn't is wrong. However small that might be in comparison, wrong is wrong."
I think we would do really well to take note of this and start to be grieved by the small things in our lives, because if you're not grieved by the small things, you will be gutted by the big ones. You get to the big sin by not being grieved over the small. So, when you do a double take at a guy or a girl, and you think, "Well, it's not as bad as being addicted to porn. It's not as bad as sleeping with someone…" Or gluttony with cereal. People are like, "Really? You ate too much cereal? Get a real struggle. Are you kidding me?" But unchecked gluttony will lead to unchecked alcoholism.
So, yes, we're grieved, our hearts stricken over the small things. Oh, that we would be sensitive again to the conviction of the Holy Spirit to be holy as God is holy and not compare ourselves to others and be like, "Well, I'm not like that guy. This guy in my Community Group? He's a train wreck. I'm not that bad." Bad is bad. Sin is sin, and that we would be grieved by it. Trust shown in action. Release not revenge.
A. Speak honor to an adversary. In verse 8 and following, David says, "My lord the king! You're the Lord's anointed." He's reminding Saul. Then he says, "My father," because he was married to Saul's daughter Michal. "You're my father-in-law." He is reminding him in that moment, "Saul, remember who you are. You're the king. You're God's anointed one. You're my father." He's speaking identity over him.
It says in Romans, chapter 12… Here are some words. It says, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread. If he's thirsty, give him water. In doing so, you'll heap burning coals on his head." Or, I would add, if they're lacking in identity, they're feeling insecurity, they're acting out of impulsivity or attempts at control, then speak identity to them.
In speaking identity to them, you might heap burning coals on their head, not out of hostility but in humility to say, "Hey, as we have this conversation, let me make it perfectly clear. You are my boss. You're under a lot of pressure. I know the weight of this closing quarter is upon you. I know you have so many more people to manage than me. I know that as my teacher or coach…" You're speaking identity to them, because everybody has identity issues.
Apart from Jesus Christ, we're all mixed up, messed up, lost, confused, and tossed. That you would speak identity to them, and not in a pejorative, mean way, but remind them, "This is who I see you are. You're my mom. You're my dad. You're the neighbor I prayed for who I'm so thankful for," or whatever it may be, but to speak identity over them, just as David did to Saul, regardless of what they're doing to you.
B. When you go, go low. This is how you can trust in word. It says in verse 8, he bowed to the earth and paid homage. Then he said, opposite to honoring and esteeming Saul… He says, "And who am I? I'm a dead dog. No, no. That's too much. I'm a flea on a dead dog. I'm a nobody, Saul. I'm not trying to take your throne. I'm not out for your job. I'm not trying to take from you. I am insignificant."
It's like he's elevating the person he is under who has wronged him, and he's putting himself in a right position of humility before God. "Man, he is God. I am not. I am just a servant under you." Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath." When you're in the heat of an argument or a conflict, a gentle answer turns away wrath.
I've seen some crazy video where a great white is coming at a woman who's scuba diving, and she literally just takes her hand, puts it on the nose of the shark, and pushes it away. It was like Jedi mind trick, freak-show stuff. It was just this gentle response that turned away wrath. If you go wrath for wrath, it's not going to end. It's just going to increase and escalate to a place that neither one of you ever wanted it to go.
So, humility rather than hostility, and you see this not just in David but in the life of Christ. In 1 Peter 2:23, it says, "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." He's like, "I'm not going to threaten you. Even though I have all power…I'm God in flesh…I'm not going to revile. I'm not going to threaten. I'm going to entrust myself to God who, as an attribute, judges justly."
Now, you may sense injustice when you're wronged. Of course you do. But you will not judge justly. So, you have to take that and entrust the justice to him who judges justly. Don't revile in return. Don't threaten. It says in Isaiah 53:7, when it's talking about Jesus, prophetically, before he was incarnate, "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…"
Everything that was coming at him, maybe as he was lying on the cross and they were driving the nails through, the crown of thorns, the whip across the back, the scourge, the mocking, the hitting him with the reed as he was clothed in a purple garment, striking his face, tearing out his beard, that he didn't utter a word.
Because of that, the Roman centurion, as he thrusts that spear into him, is like, "Surely this is the Son of God." Like, "What in the world?" Everybody else on a cross is screaming, cursing, hurling insults, and he's not threatening. "…like a sheep that before its shearers is silent…" Who is this man? So, show humility, not hostility, as you trust with your words.
This gig economy… I know we all have little side hustles or whatever. I have a thing I do on the side. It doesn't pay great, but it's where I find myself. I serve as a judge in Dallas County sometimes whenever duty calls. It's only in my house, and it's only with my children, and I don't get paid anything, but that's the role God has for me.
Every now and then, Laura and I are having a nice conversation, and all of a sudden, three kids burst on the scene. They're all screaming at the same time. One or two are crying. They're still pushing. They've experienced such injustice they're now coming to me. I have three plaintiffs, three defendants. It's a mess, and I'm trying to untangle it all. Like, "What? Who? Did you really?" I'm like, "Stop! Stop! Everyone sit down. Sit down on the couch. What do you want to say?" They speak their piece. "Now you're quiet. What do you want to say?"
Here's what it looks like. They're like, "Well, I was watching TV, and they bumped into me." I'm like, "Okay. That sounds like an accident." They're like, "So I kicked him." I'm like, "Okay." And they're like, "When he kicked, he fell over, and then that one bumped in and spilled my milk, so I pulled his hair." I'm like, "Oh my goodness!" Because of one accident, it just became this dogpile. So, what we say to them…
I'm like, "Hey, if someone wrongs you, you come to me, and I will deal with it. If you deal with it, guess who else is in sin now." They're like, "I am." I'm like, "That's right. So, if someone hurts you, and you tell them to stop, and they keep doing it, you come to me. I will intervene. If you intervene, you are now in sin because you took justice into your own hands." So, it's trust shown in heart by entrusting, when you're wronged, to God.
You just run to the Father. Before you take matters into your own hands and take them out of God's hands, you trust it to him and be like, "Hey, I'm probably not going to deal out justice quite right. I'm pretty hurt right now, so I am giving this to you, and I'm entrusting it to you." It says in Romans 12:19, "Do not take vengeance yourselves, but leave room for God's wrath."
God is saying, "Hey, if you take matters into your own hands, by taking them out of mine, my wrath is going to pass over, because you've already unleashed your imperfect, unjust wrath on them." So, wouldn't you rather just entrust that to God and be like, "You deal with it"? It's what David says. He says, "The Lord will plead between me and you. The Lord will avenge me between me and you, but my hands will not be against you."
He tried to murder him 10-plus times, and he's like, "I'm not coming after you. God is going to do it. God is going to deal with you, but I'm not, because I wouldn't do it rightly, and it's not the job God has given to me. I'm not going to take that fruit before its time. I'm not going to ascend to the throne by blood."
The next point is it's better to suffer harm than do harm. That's just a hard reality of being a Christian. That's how Jesus was. He was like, "I'm not even going to break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering candle. I will do no harm, but I will suffer harm." It says in 1 Corinthians 6, when he's giving a letter to the church to say some of the things that are going on there… He's like, "And you all are suing each other? You're taking up a lawsuit, brother against brother, sister against sister? You're suing each other? Is there not a wise enough person in the church who could settle these matters?"
Then he says, "But instead, you take these before unrighteous judges so that they might be like, 'Oh, this is how the family of God operates? They sue each other over these petty things?'" Or maybe large things, but this is the family of God? Then he says in 1 Corinthians 6, "Would you not rather be defrauded than take this before an unjust judge?" God is actually asking you to suffer harm rather than do harm, because that was the path of Christ. The sufferings of Christ overflow to us. So, don't be surprised when they come, and when they do, it's better to suffer harm than do harm.
You realize now… It says David was being hunted by 3,000 chosen men of Israel. That means Saul went and tapped every Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, and the hard-charging Marines and was like, "Come with me. We're going on a hunt, a manhunt." David could have just let him go. Like, "Well, I cut off the corner of his robe. Eventually he's going to realize, 'Man, where's the rest of my robe? What happened there? Maybe I ran into a thornbush. I don't know where it went, but whatever.'"
He could have gone on his way. He could have left. Instead, David was like, "Nope. I'm going to go confront evil." What you might hear me saying whenever I'm like, "Better to suffer harm than do harm…" You're like, "What? So, I'm just supposed to be a doormat for people? Just let them walk all over me?" No. No, I'm not. Neither is God. Neither is David in this instance, and neither did Jesus.
So, David walks to the front of the cave. Do you know what he's standing in front of? He's standing in front of this. There are 3,000 people in this room. Now imagine you all are the hardest-charging people in all of Israel. That's pretty threatening. Like, y'all against me? I don't stand a chance against Colin versus me, let alone 3,000 of y'all.
But he steps out. I mean, those guys had been tasked… "If you see David, kill him." So, I don't know, when he stepped out, if it was like bows pulled back, spears in hand, going for their swords, but I bet it was pretty threatening. And there's David. He steps out, and I think I know why. I think he remembers Samuel's anointing and that oil running over him, and he's like, "This isn't how I go out. I don't go out like this. One day I'm going to be king. I'm going to stand in faith. I'm going to stand on my convictions rather than trying to control a situation. So I'm going to go, and I'm going to speak up."
So he does. He walks out and faces 3,000 people tasked with killing him by his faith in God. Then he tells them. He tells them and he trusts him. That is the application for us: tell them and trust him. You see, you can make yourself crazy when people are acting crazy against you by trying to control every single circumstance. You will drive yourself crazy.
I do it with my kids. I can't change myself. What makes me think I could change my kids, change my wife, change the environments I'm in, change all of the relationships? Instead, God is the one who changes anyone. It says the Spirit convicts of sin, guilt, and righteousness. He is the one who can change a person. He's the one who can show them Christ. He's the one who can bear the fruit. I can't, so why in the world would I try?
Now, it doesn't say, "Remain silent." Ephesians 4:15: "Speak the truth in love." So David does. He steps out in front of 3,000 people. He's like, "I trust in God. I'm trusting my convictions. I'm not going to try to seek to control you, Saul, because, clearly, you're uncontrollable. So I don't want to try to control you. I'm not going to drive myself mad trying to control your madness. Instead, I'm going to call upon God. I'm going to tell you what you're doing is wrong, and then I'm going to trust God. I'm going to tell them, and I'm going to trust him." It's what we're to do.
You will make yourself crazy trying to get somebody to change, but you should tell them, "You must change." You speak the truth in love. So David does. He's like, "My hand is not going to be against you, but God will avenge me." So, you speak up. You don't just get all walked over. You speak up. You speak the truth, but then you're trusting that judgment, the justice, to the Lord.
Then lastly here, the trust shown in heart. This is a crazy thing. David had been anointed by Samuel. "You're going to be king." There's a king who's a lunatic, trying to murder him, but he had not yet been appointed to the kingship. So he waits, and the waiting was really painful, difficult, and confusing. Like, "This is the waiting? Me running for my life because of this madman you have on the throne?"
Yet he's like, "You're the Lord's anointed. God has made you king, and until he removes you from kingship, I will not be king. I'm not going to grasp for that fruit until it drops. I'm going to trust in God. I'm going to wait on God." "You have anointed me, but you have not yet appointed me, and I'm not going to try to bridge the gap. I'm going to wait on you, Lord. I'm going to petition you and wait on you. I'm not going to grasp for control. I'm not going to grasp for the throne."
You're not going to grasp for whatever it is you need…the money, the girl, the guy, the opportunity…whatever it is. "I'm not going to grasp. I'm going to wait on you until you drop it to me." The anointing and the appointing are two different things, and you see it in Jesus' life. In Isaiah 61, it says, "The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to go and preach good news." This is what Jesus read when he opened the scroll of Isaiah and said, "In your hearing this prophecy has been fulfilled." But the appointing had not yet come.
The appointing was on the other side of a really, really horrific cross, death, resurrection, ascension, and seated at the right hand of the Father. The anointing and the appointing. You may walk through a lot of suffering, a lot of confusion, a lot of waiting on God ("Do you hear me, God? Can you see this, God? Do you see the injustice in my life, God?") before he brings to bear all that he has promised. Yet trust shown in heart, that we live by conviction, not fleshly control.
You remember Ike Brown. Ike began writing letters to Takoya. The first letter Takoya received from Ike Brown, the man whose son he had murdered… He got two sentences in, and he stopped reading it, because Takoya had prayed, "God, if you're real, if you're really there, if you really do forgive sinners, murderers like me, then let that man whose son I murdered send me a letter." Takoya received a letter from Ike Brown that was not full of hostility but humility.
At the end of that letter, Ike Brown wrote, "Also, one more thing. I need to ask you a favor. I miss my son, and I was wondering if you could fill in for him." Takoya wrote back to him and said, "You asked me a favor, and I am altogether unqualified, but if you would have me as your son, then from this day forward, you will be my father." In 2009, Ike Brown legally adopted the murderer of his son.
This whole message has been "Trust God when wronged." I want to change that now for you. "Trust God when wrong." Because you're Takoya Criner. I'm Takoya Criner. We have sinned horrifically against a holy God, and what we deserve is death and eternal separation in hell forevermore, but that is why the Father sent the Son to die on our behalf.
It is through his death and resurrection that the Father now says, "There is an open adoption today for all who would receive my forgiveness through the blood and death of my Son. Because of my great love with which I have loved you, I now want to adopt you as my sons and daughters if you will receive me." To receive the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.
We trust God in action, we trust God in word, and we trust God in faith when we are wronged, and we trust in Jesus because we have wronged. I want to give you time and space to pray now. If you would, bow your heads. I'm going to walk you through a series of small prayers, because I know everybody here has suffered incredible injustice, whether large or small. So pray with me if you would.
Father, we thank you for what you have shown us in the Scriptures today, that we are to release instead of seek revenge, to love, pray for, and bless our enemies. So, Lord, with any person we still feel that angst toward, the hatred toward, the rage toward, the bitterness toward, the "How could you have?" toward, we now release them to you.
Family, I want you to say their names to God. Pray those names. Say, "I release [so-and-so] to you."
Now I want you to pray and ask God that he would give you words in the moment, that when you find yourself wronged, you would respond with humility instead of hostility. Just ask him for that grace to be led by the Spirit and not the flesh in that moment. And it's coming.
Thirdly, any area that you're living in fear or seeking to control the situation, where you're seeking to control, to take it out of God's hands and put it in your hands, with a renewed sense this morning… And you do not have the ability on your own. I want you to ask God, "God, would you help me to live by the conviction of who you are and what you will do rather than me trying to control things?" Pray that in your words. "Let me live by conviction that you will work and not me. I don't want to control people or situations." Be specific.
Lastly, for anyone who does not yet have Jesus as their Savior, you stand condemned. You're bound for the fires of hell, but today, God is inviting you to be adopted, just like Takoya was adopted by Ike. He's saying, "That's why my Son came." So, today, if you desire to be adopted, you can say, "Because of Jesus, please adopt me. Be my Father and I your son or daughter because of the Son who died and rose again." Amen.