Skip to main content
1 Samuel 27:1-12

Encouragement When Things Seem Impossible

  • Shawn Dean
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • June 25, 2023

Saul’s been chasing David around for years and now he’s in the wilderness trying to kill him. God’s been delivering him here and protecting him there. Finally, however, he wakes up one morning and David’s just a different person.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Encouragement When Things Seem Impossible
1 Samuel 27:1-12
June 25, 2023


Life sometimes is full of bitter disappointments.

Story of Brian Holman, a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners and on April 20, 1990 he was pitching against the mighty Oakland Athletics.

You’re going to have disappointments in life and things are not always going to go the way you want. The real issue is how do we keep things that are not going the way we want, how do we keep those things from knocking us down.

We’re going to look at one of the lowest periods in David’s life, not the David we are used to hearing about; “a man after God’s own heart.”

Background – Saul’s been chasing David around for years and now he’s in the wilderness trying to kill him. God’s been delivering him here and protecting him there. Finally however, he wakes up one morning and David’s just a different person.

1 Samuel 27:1-12

I. God Will Never Walk Away From Us

So David woke up one day and said, hey if I stay in Israel I’m gonna die so I know what I need to do, I need to defect and go over to the Philistines and Saul will stop chasing me and I won’t have to look behind every rock and I won’t have to live in a cave and I won’t have to eke out a living anymore.

David took 600 men with him and left and they went over to Achish, the king of Gath. That sound familiar? Yes, you know who else was from Gath? A big old tall brute named Goliath was from Gath. This is Goliath’s hometown.

First, David and his men settled in Gath. Each man had his family with him – and when Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. Then David said to Achish the king, if I have found favor in your eyes let a place be assigned to be in one of the country towns that I may live there. Why should I, your servant live in the Royal city with you so on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, a town in southern Israel.

David lived in Philistine territory for a year and four months. David went down there to the King of these Philistines whose sworn goal it was to kill every Israelite, to wipe Israel off the face of the map and to wipe the knowledge of the true God off of the face of the globe.

David went there and presented himself as the servant of this man, swore allegiance to this man and to ask for asylum and mercy from this man and then lived there for 16 months serving this man. How could David do that? It gets worse. David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites and the Girzites and the Amalekites.

These were people who were not Jewish people. They were a neighboring tribe that lived South of Israel.

Whenever David would attack an area he would not leave a man or a woman alive but he would take their sheep and their cattle, their donkeys, their camels and their clothes and he would bring them as spoil to Achish and when Achish would ask him where did you get all this stuff, David would lie to him and say, “I got it by raiding the “Negev of Judah.” I got it from Jewish people.

David did not leave a man or a woman alive in the villages he went to, to be brought to Gath, for he thought they might inform on him and say this is what David’s really doing. And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. And Achish trusted David and said to himself, he has become so odious, so repulsive to the people of Israel that he will be my servant now forever.

A. Deception never ends well

Now do you understand what’s going on here? David has presented himself to Achish as the sworn enemy of Israel. He has presented himself as a traitor to Israel, as kind of like Benedict Arnold or something and so now David has to live up to the image that he’s presented.

Galatians 6:7-8, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

So he goes out here and he doesn’t want to kill Jewish people. Those are his countrymen, so instead he goes and he ravages the villages of innocent people and he kills not only the warriors, but he kills all the women and he kills all the children; murders them all in cold blood and this went on for 16 months. He takes all of their possessions and brings them back to Achish and then he lies to Achish.

This is a disgusting thing that David did. This is a disgraceful time in the life of David. David lost complete focus spiritually. He took his eyes off of God. He began to panic. He forgot all about how God had protected him all those times from Saul. He took matters in his own hands. He began scheming and conniving and trying to figure out how to protect himself in his own energy and strength.

Once he got on that slippery slope, you see where it led. To lying and conniving and manipulating and scheming and deceiving and murdering innocent people. Spiritual compromise of the worst kind. Living and serving the Philistines.

B. God allows consequences of our sin

What happened to that man who walked out in faith to face Goliath and said, God will take care of me. Where is that man? He’s not here. What happened to that man who wrote the 23rd Psalm? He’s not here. I don’t know what happened to him, but this is not the same man.

You may say, well then why in the world would God record this in the Bible if this is such a low time in David’s life? Why would God write this in the Bible for the rest of mankind to read. Well, not only did God write this about David, but he also recorded in the Bible, the worst failures of all his other heroes.

Peter, Samson, Elijah, Moses and Abraham. He wrote them all in the Bible. The Bible is unique among all official records of the ancient near east in that it records the failures of its greatest heroes with as much honesty as it records their successes.

C. Truth always wins over darkness

Now if you’re here and you’ve never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal savior this is an important point for you to think about because when you’re thinking about whether or not to make that decision for Christ one of the biggest bridges a person has to cross is the bridge of whether the Bible is really trustworthy or not.

John 8:12, Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

There is no such source of information or supposed truth we can read, listen to or watch today and know it to be true, know it provides all the good, bad and ugly without regard for hurt feelings, without regard for following some predetermined or pressured narrative, without regard for protecting power or illegal conduct. The biblical accounts stand alone in this regard.

II. Encourage Yourself In The Lord

I received an email with bumper stickers for sale. I’m not a customer, but you know how stuff just randomly shows up on your computer. And like they hoped, one caught my attention so much that I wrote it down to make sure I got it right. It said life is 15% what happens and 85% how we react to it.

And here in 1 Samuel 27 David definitely fails the 85% test doesn’t he?  He’s in a free-fall spiritually, he is just tumbling out of control. He began to panic. He began to let fear and doubt dominate his life spiritually. The man had a total eclipse spiritually. His compass lost all sense of what direction was north and the man takes matters into his own hands and look where he descends to in terms of his actions.

Later on in chapter 30 the Bible says that David encouraged himself in the Lord. David pulled himself out of the funk that he was in by encouraging himself in the Lord.

Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

A. God’s promises are our anchor

I want to give you 3 principles for how to encourage yourself in the Lord when a disappointing situation hits your life and you begin to tumble out of control. How do you regain your spiritual focus? You encourage yourself in the Lord. How?

  1. Remind yourself of the promises of God.

2 Peter 1:4, For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Hebrews 13:5, Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”

Hebrews 6 says that we have these promises as an anchor for our soul. These promises from God are an anchor to keep us firm and secure.

Psalm 62:5, My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.

What are your anchors? An anchor keeps you from being at the mercy of the winds and the waves and it keeps you at the spot where you want to stay. The Bible says that the promises of God are like an anchor for our soul and even though the wind keeps blowing in this world and even though the waves keep coming in this world we can still hold the position we want to hold as men and women of God and not get blown around.

How about your Bible, isn’t that a great anchor? If you find a great promise from God in the Bible, write it down. Maybe on a 3×5 card and put them somewhere you can see them; on your desk at work, on your frig, on your bathroom mirror, on a calendar in your office, on the dashboard of your car.  Or how about listening to Christian music. When you’re listening to Christian music it’s like God is singing his promises back to you.

Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The promises of God are an anchor for the soul that keeps you from getting blown all around by the disappointing circumstances of life.

B. Sovereignty is your lens into God

Principle #2 is to rest in the sovereignty of God.

Now when we say God is sovereign what we are really saying is that God is in total control of your circumstances.

  • That you are not a helpless pawn.
  • You are not a victim of bad luck or some nonsense.
  • That a loving God is actively using the circumstances in your life, even the disappointing ones, to workout his perfect plan for you.

After some circumstances hit you upside the head like a brick and kind of shock you, the way you recover your spiritual equilibrium is to see those circumstance through the lens of God’s sovereignty. It changes the whole way you look at God being in control. Rest in the sovereignty of God. He knows what He’s doing in your life.

C. God’s provision heals our amnesia

Principle #3, remember God’s provision in the past.

Most of us have very short memories. God does something wonderful for us. Then as soon as the next crisis hits, we often forgot all about it. We’re whining and complaining and grumbling and threatening and making all kinds of nonsense and we’re going to take matters into our own hands and panic. We need to elongate our memory.

Did you ever read in the Old Testament where God would do something someplace and he would say to the Israelites, set up a bunch of rocks. I did something for you great here, set up a monument, build a bunch of rocks here. You read about that and you go yeah, I always wondered about that, what’s the big deal with all these rocks?

Well I’ll tell you, they were not just meant to be rocks, they were meant to be monuments where the Israelites could come back and look at them and they would be like a big old neon sign going remember remember remember what I did for you here.

Christians sometimes get down on themselves, or even wonder, God, where are you in the midst of this thing I’m going through?  And God says, don’t you remember what I did for you all those times you thanked me and told everyone how blessed you were to have God in your life?  God’s message to me in the midst of times like these is, don’t go getting spiritual amnesia on me son, don’t forget about everything I did for you. If I can handle all those peaks and valleys in your family’s life, I can handle your needs right now.

Trust God and he’ll give you a chance to build another rock pile if you’ll just give him a chance. You will do better by following these three principles, by going through them every single day.

David got better too by following the same three principles and if you’re in free-fall right now and your walk with God is suffering because things aren’t going the way you want, I’m telling you the way to pull out is these three principles. 

If you’re on solid ground spiritually, I’m hoping these three principles will keep you from ever ending up there. Run every circumstance through these three principles and you’ll never end up losing your spiritual focus like David did.

1 Samuel 27:1-12     NASB

27 Then David said [a]to himself, “Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than [b]to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand.” So David arose and crossed over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s [c]widow. Now it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he no longer searched for him.

Then David said to Achish, “If now I have found favor in your sight, let them give me a place in one of the cities in the country, that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” So Achish gave him Ziklag that day; therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. The number of days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites and the Girzites and the Amalekites; for they were the inhabitants of the land from ancient times, as you come to Shur even as far as the land of Egypt. David [d]attacked the land and did not leave a man or a woman alive, and he took away the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothing. Then he returned and came to Achish. 10 Now Achish said, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David said, “Against the [e]Negev of Judah and against the [f]Negev of the Jerahmeelites and against the [g]Negev of the Kenites.” 11 David did not leave a man or a woman alive to bring to Gath, saying, “Otherwise they will tell about us, saying, ‘So has David done and so has been his practice all the time he has lived in the country of the Philistines.’” 12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has surely made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore he will become my servant forever.”


DonateLike this sermon?

If you enjoyed the sermon and would like to financially support our teaching ministry, we thank you in advance for partnering with us in sending forth the word.


We have a service in progress. Would you like to join our live stream? Join The Live Stream No Thanks