READ: 1 Samuel 27-28

BACKGROUND: By Verse –
27:1 – God promised to protect David, but he decided to trust himself and hide out in the territory of the enemy instead of remaining in Israel.
2 – Achish likely welcomed David because he knew David and his men were great warriors.
8-12 – David used the town of Ziklag as a base to attack the enemies of Israel. He then lied to Achish about it – telling him he was attacking Judah – so Achish would think David was his friend. He killed everyone he came across so nobody would be able to tell Achish the truth.
28:1-2 – Now, because of David’s deception, he’s in the terrible position of being expected to fight with the Philistines against his people.
7 – A woman who is a medium is one who practiced necromancy, a practice borrowed from the Canaanites. The medium would talk to the dead – who were not actually the spirits of the dead but instead demonic spirits pretending to be the dead.
12 – The medium was scared when Samuel actually showed up – because usually it was just a demonic spirit impersonating a dead person. This time, God actually sent Samuel to deliver his message.

THINK: I spent my time off for Christmas and New Years being incredibly productive and accomplishing very important tasks…like watching Star Wars. I couldn’t help it…there was a Star Wars marathon! I didn’t watch all 6 movies but I caught parts of them. And I did manage to see one of the greatest scenes ever: when Yoda gets into a light-saber fight with Count Dooku (towards the end of this video). Yoda is ridiculous! But that fight only became necessary because of the missteps of the young Jedi, Anakin Skywalker (at the beginning of the video). Anakin and his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, had the chance to fight and overwhelm Dooku before Yoda arrived, if only they had worked together. But Anakin, lacking faith in his partner and surging with selfish pride decided to attack Dooku on his own. Predictably, it did not go well and Dooku was able to subdue both Anakin and Obi-Wan after fighting them as individuals.

Those of you who have never seen Star Wars – or have seen it and hate it – are probably wondering what the point of all this rambling is. Well, I think we often act like Anakin did whenever we’re faced with difficult situations. We start to lose our faith – in others and, most importantly, in God – and we pridefully choose to place our trust in ourselves and seek out our own solutions. The problem is: that’s a really stupid thing to do. It’s easy to watch the scene in Star Wars and think, “Wow, why would Anakin do that? That was so dumb!” But are we any smarter?

David and Saul weren’t. These two chapters record the poor choices that both of them made. Each of them faced a crisis and felt fear. And each of them knew where he should turn. And yet, when push came to shove, neither turned to God. They both decided to trust in their own plans and their own abilities instead of putting faith in God. And where did they end up? David ended up as part of a Philistine army that was headed out to fight his own people – the very people God had called him to lead. And Saul ended up in the house of a witch, getting a clear message that his life and his kingship were coming to an abrupt end.

We can learn something from them. It’s not just that God’s plans are always better than ours and that putting our faith in God is a way better idea than putting our faith in ourselves. We know that already. It’s a cold, hard, incontrovertible fact. We can learn something about human nature, about ourselves. And it is this: during difficult times, when we feel hard-pressed and scared and anxious, it is easy to lose our faith in God and start trusting ourselves. And it’s also a dumb thing to do. So, the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation and you’re feeling fear, stop and pray! Put your trust where it belongs: in God.

PRAY: Confess the situations in your life where you have abandoned your faith in God and trusted yourself instead. Place your trust him in today and ask him to help you conquer your fears through faith in him.

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