- Sermon Notes
Fully Trusting God in Troubles
2 Samuel 15:13-37
September 11-12, 2021
What is the key to doing well when you’re in the thick of a great trouble? Life is filled with troubles; Jesus said the same in John 16, “In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
That is the key to doing well when you’re in the thick of a great trouble. To take courage, knowing that He has overcome the world. He will walk with you in that trouble and will bring you through to the other side.
There are troubles that come because we live in a troubled and broken world. There are troubles that come because of afflictions and distresses brought by others against us, and there are troubles of our own making.
The troubles of our own making are often the most difficult to understand how to respond to. It’s common for people to just assign themselves to the trouble, “After all, I deserve all this, I did this to myself. I’ll just have to endure it.”
How does God see it? Does God look at those troubles, the troubles of our own making, and say, “Don’t come to Me looking for help, you made this mess, and you can just clean it up.” I submit that God does not respond that way.
One of the things I have always loved about the Lord is that He doesn’t leave us in times of trouble, even troubles of our own making. The key is to fully trust God in those troubles, to call out to Him to help and to save.
You see this as well in the life of David. He was doing so well, but then made tragic choices that brought epic consequences. How David responded is a life lesson for us. He fully trusted God to rescue and save…
Psalm 32:5-7, I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin… You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.
The consequences of David’s failures began to be seen in his family. His son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar, but David, paralyzed by his own sin, took no action. Finally, Tamar’s brother, Absalom, took matters into his own hands and arranged for Amnon’s death. Absalom then fled the country and was banished for three years while David again took no action.
Finally, David extended mercy to Absalom and had him brought back to Jerusalem but would not see his face. For two more years bitterness built up in Absalom’s heart. Finally, Absalom pleaded to see David’s face and when David agreed to see him, David kissed Absalom in full reconciliation.
But it was too late. Absalom decided to conspire against David. He provided for himself the chariots and horses, and 50 men as runners before him. Giving the appearance he was a mighty warrior though he had never fought in a single battle.
He positioned himself at the gate of the city and began to win the favor of the people of Israel. When the time was right, he set up headquarters in Hebron and prepared to launch a coup d’état. He fully intended to overthrow David and make himself the king of Israel.
When David got word how deep this conspiracy was, he realized he must leave Jerusalem to spare it from the calamity of war. That is where we pick it up in chapter 15.
David was facing the greatest trouble of his life; this is his darkest hour. But here is where we learn great lessons for ourselves. You may find yourself going through a time of great trouble, and it may even be the consequences of your own doing, but these are great life lessons to receive, for they shall surely help in time of need.
I. Never Quit, Never Give up on God
- Sometimes when people encounter troubles, especially troubles of their own making, they give up on God, either because they think God has given up on them, or they’re angry at God for allowing the trouble to come in their lives in the first place.
- One of the things to appreciate about David is that he never quits, he never gives up, he believes in God, even in the troubles he brought on himself.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
- As David fled from Jerusalem, he had an encounter with Ittai, a foreigner and an exile who had been in Jerusalem only one day.
- The loyalty David saw in Ittai could only have encouraged David in his darkest night. Such loyalty resonated with David. He had the same heart of loyalty to God, even amid the troubles of his own making.
A. Know in advance the journey is difficult
- David stopped at the last house and watched as those who were loyal to him passed on beside him. That was when he saw Ittai and said to him, “Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king.”
- Then David added, “Shall I make you wander with us?” In other words, know in advance this will not be an easy journey.
- But you must love Ittai’s response. What amazing loyalty, what amazing commitment; what strength of character and loyalty of heart.
- “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever the king may be, whether for death over life, there also your servant will be.”
- I love the fact that Ittai calls David king twice, even after David called Absalom the king.
- This is the commitment of faith the Lord wants in our lives as well. God does not promise you and I an easy path either. We are warned in advance that there will be troubles and difficulties on this journey.
2 Timothy 3:1, But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come…
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Luke 9:57-58, As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
B. Learn the secret of being content
- Paul also understood that this journey of life is not easy, but he also understood the secret of being content no matter what troubles and difficulties came.
Illus – I remember talking with my son when he was on the basketball team and he said, “I really don’t like to lose. When we get down and things get really bad, I want to quit. I would rather quit than lose.” Many people feel the same. “But” I responded, “that’s when you discover who you are inside. That’s when you come to know your own character. It’s how you respond that matters.”
- Paul learned the secret of being content in God, of knowing that he could do all things through The One who strengthens him.
Philippians 4:12-13, I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:7, And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 73:25-26, Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
- There was a time when many of the people who had been following Christ left Him when He said something difficult to hear, He then turned to His disciples and said, “Will you leave me as well?”
John 6:68-69, Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”
II. Fully Trust in God’s Mercy
- As various men came passing before David on the way out of Jerusalem, Zadok the priest, also came, along with all the Levites, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God.
- They set the Ark of the covenant down before David and the king said to Zadok, the priest, “Return the Ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back again.”
- David has thrown himself fully on the mercy of God and he trusts in that mercy completely. In other words, yes, there are consequences to sin, but God will walk with you in those consequences. He will be with you in the restoring and rebuilding of your life. He will even direct your steps.
A. “Here I am, Lord, I trust you”
- This is the heart of repentance. David completely trusts that God in his judgment will do what is good and right in David’s life.
- Verse 26 — David said, “Behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”
- God knows the heart. When a person owns their sin, when he acknowledges it before God, God sees and God knows and recognizes the heart.
- Some people don’t like the thought that God knows their heart, but I suggest to you that it is a very good thing.
Illus – A few years ago we had a harsh winter and one Sunday morning we had to cancel all the services because of heavy snow. However, we had many dozens of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I decided to bring donuts to all our neighbors…
- What David is saying here is so powerful. “Even when I have made such tragic decisions, even when I know you’re disappointed in me, God, I will trust in You to do that which is right and good in my life.”
Illus – Some time later as David was continuing his escape from Jerusalem, someone from the house of Saul named Shimei, came out cursing at David and throwing stones at him.
David would not get angry, nor retaliate.
2 Samuel 16:11-13, “Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told them. Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along the hillside parallel with them and as he went, he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him.
- What David is doing is throwing Himself entirely on God’s mercy, but God’s mercy is a wonderful place to be.
Lamentations 3:22-23, Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- David has renewed his faith and completely trusts in God’s hand in His life at this point. We see this in other places in scripture as well.
- Job made a famous statement of faith when he said…
Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.”
B. Pray and then trust God’s answer
- When David heard that his good friend Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom, it broke his heart, yet he must also have understood, because Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba.
- What David did next is instructive. He prayed this, “O Lord, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.”
- David is not telling God what to do, he is petitioning God, he’s asking, and then trusting that God will do what is best for David, for Israel, and for God’s great name.
- In the same way, then, when you pray, you should not tell God what to do. You can certainly tell Him your heart, but you must also know that His ways are higher than our ways. He will do what is good and right.
- Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Be careful what you ask.”
Illus – Sometimes I have prayed, “God, I ask this because I think it may be best, but I admit that I don’t know everything about this. I place this in your care. Your ways are better than mine. I trust that you will do that which is right. Please answer my prayer according to Your great wisdom and love for me.”
Illus – How many times have our children asked for things which aren’t good for them? But what we want is for them to trust us. I remember when we were going to Israel, and we decided to have someone stay at our house; one of kids didn’t like it. “You don’t trust me,” he said. “No,” I responded, “the issue here is whether you will trust me as your father.”
C. Let the peace of God guard your heart
- It’s important to look at the psalm that David wrote when he fled from Absalom his son.
- It’s in that psalm where we understand that David trusted and rested in God…
Psalm 3:1-8, O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and I slept; and I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon your people!
- There is help for us in God.
- David was fleeing Jerusalem, ascending the Mount of Olives because of the consequences of his sin. Many years later, Jesus came down the same Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem because of David’s sins; and all of ours as well.
- …That we could know that we could trust in God’s heart for us, that his love would never fail, that God will rescue and save you from the trials and troubles, even if we don’t deserve it.
2 Samuel 15:13-37 NASB
13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the people of Israel are [a]with Absalom.” 14 So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, “Arise and let’s flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go quickly, or he will hurry and overtake us, and bring disaster on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants will do whatever my lord the king chooses.” 16 So the king left, and all his household [b]with him; but the king left ten concubines behind to take care of the house. 17 The king left, and all the people [c]with him, and they stopped at the last house. 18 Now all of his servants passed by beside him, and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come [d]with him from Gath, passed by before the king.
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you go with us too? Return and stay with [e]your king, since you are a foreigner and an exile as well; return to your own place. 20 You came only yesterday, so should I make you wander with us today, while I go wherever I go? Return and take your brothers back; mercy and [f]truth be with you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there assuredly shall your servant be!” 22 Then David said to Ittai, “Go and cross over the brook Kidron.” So Ittai the Gittite crossed over with all his men and all the [g]little ones who were with him. 23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people were crossing over. The king was also crossing over the brook Kidron, and all the people were crossing over toward the way of the wilderness.
24 Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city. 25 And the king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back and show me both it and His habitation. 26 But if He says this: ‘I have no delight in you,’ then here I am, let Him do to me as seems good [h]to Him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I am going to wait at the river crossing places of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.
30 And David was going up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, and his head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his own head, and they were going up, weeping as they went. 31 Now someone informed David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “Lord, please make the advice of Ahithophel foolish.”
32 It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the Archite met him with his [i]coat torn, and [j]dust on his head. 33 And David said to him, “If you go over with me, then you will become a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; even as I was your father’s servant in time past, so now I will also be your servant,’ then you can foil the advice of Ahithophel for me. 35 Are Zadok and Abiathar the priests not with you there? So it shall be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold their two sons are there with them, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything that you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.