Drifting from God

I am with our teens at Camp Barnabas this week. I would like to offer thanks to Betsy Whaley for preaching in my stead this past Sunday. Betsy led us a little further in the story of David; I will be back next Sunday as we pick up in 1 Samuel 26. The David’s venture continues to unfold with surprising twists and turns.

As we come to this Scripture, I have to confess that I don’t remember this section. While I have been in ministry for over twenty years, I did not recall the details of these chapters. At the same time, I found this story riveting.

Without spoiling the story, I would like to point out two verses in these chapters. At the very beginning of chapter 27, we find these words.

(1 Samuel 27:1 NIV) But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”

Notice the first five words. But David thought to himself. These words frame the next several chapters. David is not discerning God’s direction. He is going in a direction that is away from God. No doubt. Moving into enemy and pagan territory is not simply a geographical shift; it is a spiritual relocation. As we read the story, we will notice that David does not consult or mention God. At the culmination of David’s wandering, he is suited up to fight against his own people.

David’s story is one if ups and downs, one of intimacy with God and drifts from God. You might think that David would have learned his lesson after the slaughter at Nob. But here we find David acting on his own once again. I will not detail the entire story in this blog entry. I would encourage you to read the Scripture (1 Samuel 26-30) on your own as you prepare for Sunday’s sermon. Yet, I will point out another key verse. God does not allow David to drift too far. A tragedy in chapter 30 grabs David’s attention. This is a low point in David’s life. Notice the posture shift.

(1 Samuel 30:6 NIV) But David found strength in the LORD his God.

These two verse serve as bookends in David’s drift from God. Once David returns to intimacy with God, he consults God in every move. The very next verse tells us,

(1 Samuel 30:7–8 NIV) Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the LORD

Join us on Sunday as we explore the details of this story. I will be surprised if it is a familiar story to you. While you may be unacquainted with it, I believe you will find it applicable to our lives today. We too tend to wander from God’s direction. Few of us have not experienced a season of life when we are negligent in our seeking God. May we learn from David’s ups and downs as we study 1 Samuel 26-30 this week.