Expository Sermons

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"You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:4

Ten Steps toward Leading a Double Life

1 Samuel 27:1 - 28:2

Are you leading a double life? Here’s a true confession: There is a web site called 43 Things.com. People who sign up list all the things they would like to do in life. A participant with the username of Grey Heron wrote that one of the things she wanted to do was “Stop Leading a Double Life.” Here’s what she wrote on June 25, 2007 ...

“I didn’t even realize I was leading a double life until a dear friend of mine pointed it out to me. I had been telling him pretty much everything that was going on in my life (I was really stressed out), and he noticed something strange – he had never heard of half of the people and places I was talking about, and I was describing two completely different lifestyles. He mentioned this, and I simply took the information in without doing a thing about it.

“Things have gone to an extreme since then. One life is pulling me in the direction I thought I was going in, and the other is pulling me in the direction I’d rather go at this point. Both are too demanding to allow the other to continue, and it makes me very sad. I actually enjoy leading a double life. It’s nice and tidy – there’s a separate time and place for each set of activities and each set of personality traits to really shine through. I really don’t think I could find a balance any other way.

“It would be nice if I could find a way to bring the two lives together, but they’re so radically different that it would be near-impossible. It’s not just my friends’ personalities that would clash, but mine would as well. There’s no way this could possibly go smoothly, but I have to try.”

            a.         For Christians, leading a double life means not wanting to give up my Christianity, but not being willing to show who I really am out in the world. If I don't disguise my true identity when I'm living out there in the world, I fear I will be rejected. So I have to pretend I'm one of them while at the same time inside trying to remain true to Jesus and God. This sets up a life of constant tension – trying to be two different things to two different groups of people.

            b.         You can't keep leading a double life. Some day something will happen to force your hand and show where your true allegiance is! To live a Double Life is a discredit to God and His people. It means I don't really trust Him to take care of me. It also means I am embarrassed about Jesus and about my Christian friends when I am out in the world. One day God will force me to show whether I belong to Him or to the world!

A.    David's Doubt 27:1-7

            1.         David came to a real crisis in his life. For so many years now, he had been living in the land of Israel, but running for his life from King Saul. Finally, he could take the tension no longer. He decided to flee to the territory of the Philistines, Israel’s mortal enemies, and persuade them he was on their side. God didn’t direct him to do this. He made his own decision.

            2.         In 1 Samuel 27 we see how David takes ten steps down the road of leading a double life. These are steps we need to identify so that we do not fall into the same trap ...

            3.         1 Sam. 27:1-4 describes David's flight to Achish, King of the Philistine city of Gath. .

Step #1: DOUBT: I question God's ability. Leading a Double Life often begins when I doubt God's ability to take care of me. 27:1

                                    1)        David is fearful

Step #2: NO BIBLE: I plan my own escape. I take a second step into Leading a Double Life when I dream up my own solution and ignore God's revealed will. 27:1

                                    2)        David verbalizes what he feels is his only alternative:

                                                a)        Note: God's last revealed directions for David were to stay in the land of Judah. (1 Sam. 22:5)

Step #3: EXCUSES: I justify my Double Life. I have to justify my Double Life by providing a logical reason to myself and others. 27:1

                                    3)        David calculates Saul’s reaction.

                                    4)        David hopes to escape.

                        b.         David's departure. 27:2.

                        c.         David's residence. 27:3

                                    1)        "David returned to Achish, king of Gath (cf. 21:10-15), who welcomed him, no doubt having heard of the split between David and Saul and desirous of strengthening his army with David's 600 fighting men... Charles Ryrie, (Ryrie Study Bible note)."

                                    2)        Apparently David lived for some time with Achish in Gath.

Step #4: PROOF: Things seem to work out! After a time, events take place that reinforce my decision to lead a Double Life. Things seem to be working out! 27:4.

                        d.         Saul's reaction – he no longer searched for David. 27:4. David thought he was home free!

                        e.         That’s probably what Jonah thought as he curled up in a berth in the ship that was taking him to the city of Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. He fell fast asleep. Meanwhile, the wind started to blow and the ship started to pitch up and down, but Jonah was so fast asleep he never noticed it ... (Jonah 1:1-5).

            4.         Achish gives the town of Ziklag to David 27:5-7.

Step #5: DISCOMFORT: I feel uncomfortable. Since I am a believer, deep down inside I don't feel comfortable with my Double Life. I have to make some move to distance myself from the influence of "The World." 27:5

                        a.         David requests a city away from Gath. 27:5

                        b.        Achish gives David the city of Ziklag away from Gath. 27:6.

                                    1)        The name of the city - Ziklag.

                                                a)        Charles Ryrie writes that Ziklag was "A city located about 12 miles N. of Beersheba. The move was probably motivated by David's desire to be free from Philistine surveillance and to avoid pagan influence (RSB note)."

                                                b)        According to Eugene H. Merrill, The Bible Knowledge Commentary (TBKC), I, 453, "A relationship of lord and vassal was undertaken then between Achish and David (27:5-6). According to the terms of the covenant they made, David pledged loyalty to Achish in return for a fiefdom. This Achish granted in the town of Ziklag, a small settlement on the southern frontier of Philistia between Gaza and Beersheba."

                                                c)        Ziklag was located, as the crow flies, 27 miles southwest of Gath, the city where Achish, King of the Philistines, lived. As a point of reference, it was 53 miles southwest of Gibeah, where Saul lived, and 47 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

                                    2)        The historical footnote: Ziklag remained a possession of Israel as of the date of the writing of 1 and 2 Samuel.

                        c.         The time of David's exile. 16 months – 1 Sam 27:7 David was probably about 28 years of age at this time. (See Chronology of David’s Life, Dr. [Thomas] Constable’s Notes on 1 Samuel, 2007 Edition, (http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/1samuel.pdf ), p. 62.

B.    David's Deception 27:8-12 David leads raiding parties against the Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites, but he pretends that he is attacking Judah.

            1.         The description of David's raids 27:8-9

Step #6: HELP: I still try to serve. Because I am a Christian, I will still want to make some efforts to serve God in the Christian side of my Double Life. 27:8

                        a.         The ethnic targets. 27:8

                        b.         The geographic locale. 27:8.

                                    1)        These clans lived in the northern Sinai desert and were enemies of Judah. (Cf. Ryrie Study Bible note.)

                                    2)        "These raids were in the region of the modern Gaza strip, toward the Desert of Shur, east of the present Suez Canal." (Eugene Merrill, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, I, 453.)

                                    3)        The Geshurites were a tribe bordering the Philistines on the south (see Josh. 13:3). The Girzites lived between the Philistines and Egypt. Amalek was a semi-nomadic tribe that lived in the northeastern sector of the Sinai Peninsula. They centered in a spot about 55 miles Southwest of Ziklag.

                                    4)        Was David doing the wrong thing in invading these lands? As a matter of fact, NO, HE WAS NOT.

                                                a)        God had told Joshua in Joshua 13:1-3, that all the land of the Philistines and even the land of Amalek, clear down to the Shihor River, was Israel’s land and it remained to be conquered. The Shihor River lies 55 miles SW of Ziklag. That included some territory that Amalek claimed.

                                                b)        So David had moral authority from God to destroy all of the people in the cities which he was raiding.

                                                c)        Incidentally, the land of the Philistines is the territory known as the Gaza Strip, land now inhabited by the Palestinians. Israel has been granted that land by God and will ultimately possess it. Israel has been dispossessed of that land by centuries of Divine punishment for having forsaken God and His promised Messiah. Some day, hopefully in the not too distant future, Jewish people will see the error of their ways and mournfully acknowledge the Messiah they put to death (Zech. 12:10-14).

                        c.         The completeness of David's destruction 27:9.

                                    1)        His utter destruction of humanity.

                                    2)        His confiscation of plunder.

            2.         David deceives Achish 27:10-12.

Step #7: SECRET: I conceal my Christianity. Because I am leading a Double Life, I will want to conceal from my friends in the world the fact that I am still trying to serve God. To do so would destroy our friendship. To get around this problem, I have to live a lie. 27:10

                                    1)        Achish aks for information.

                                    2)        David responds inaccurately.

                                    3)        The Negev is the southern, desert part of Judah. It is a triangular shaped piece of land. The top part stretches from the bottom of the Dead Sea eastward to Gaza, almost on the shore of the Mediterranean. The eastern and western sides of the triangle stretch down from the Dead Sea on the East and Gaza on the west to meet at the Gulf of Aqaba.

  A map of Israel showing the Negev (southern Judah), where David said he was raiding.  He was actually raiding into the Sinai.

                                  4)        In effect, David told Achish he and his 600 soldiers were going on raids to the Southeast, in the territory of Judah. In reality, they were raiding off to the Southwest, in territory that rightly belonged to Judah, but that had never really been conquered since the days of Joshua.  In David's day, the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites controlled the Northeastern reaches of the Sinai.

                        b.         David's rationale for total destruction. 27. 11

Step #8: DENIAL: I misrepresent my loyalty to God and other Christians. In order to maintain my Double Life in the world, I have to misrepresent my loyalty to God and other Christians. I must make my friends in the world think I am really an enemy of God and His people! 27:12.

                        c.         David had Achish fooled. 27:12.

                                    1)        Achish believed in David's unpopularity in Judah.

                                    2)        Achish believed David would be loyal to him forever.

C.     David Has a Dilemma 28:1-2 Achish assures David he will participate in the Philistines' impending war against Israel. 28:1-2.

Step #9: WAR: There will always be conflict. Whether I realize it or not, the world will always wage war against God and His people. A show-down is coming! 28:1

            1.         Philistia prepares for war. Achish assures David he will fight with him. 28:1.

Step #10: DECISION: I have to show my true colors. Sooner or later, God will place me in a position where I have to show my true colors. Am I devoted to the world, or devoted to God and His people? You can't have 1 foot in the world and 1 foot in the Christian life forever. You have to declare yourself one way or the other! 28:1-2.

            2.         David replies and Achish responds. 28:2.

                        a.         David makes a misleading reply.

                        b.         Achish promotes David.

            3.         Unfortunately, David's deceitful tactics is the old moral relativism – situation ethics – “I am justified in breaking any law if it promotes a higher good.” David indeed was justified in attacking Judah's enemies. In my estimation, he was not justified in deceiving Achish in order to accomplish that agenda. One wonders why David could not have situated himself in a town in southern Judah and embarked upon raids from that vantage point. Could not God have protected him there?

            4.         “This whole [narrative] illustrates that when opposition from ungodly people persists God's people should continue to pray and trust Him for protection rather than taking matters into our own hands. If we initiate a plan without seeking God's guidance, we may remove one source of aggravation and danger only to find ourselves in another. Such plans may result in some good, but they may also put us in situations where we find it even more tempting to disobey God (cf. Jacob). We should, instead, remember God's promises (e.g., 1 Pet. 1:3-9; 2 Pet. 1:2-4) and pray for His guidance (cf. Phil. 4:6-7).” (Thomas Constable, Dr. Constable’s Notes on 1 Samuel, 2007 Edition, p. 105).

To live a Double Life is a discredit to God and His people. It means I don't really trust Him to take care of me. One day God will force me to show whether I belong to Him or the world!

How did the Grey Heron end up? Here’s what she wrote on August 9, 2007

“Well, I’m not leading a double life anymore. It hurts, though. I never realized how much I relied on it to find a balance in my life. Things are an absolute mess at the moment, but I’m sure it will all turn out okay in the end.

“So far, it’s been worth it, but leading a double life certainly wasn’t worth it. Don’t ever do it, if you can help it.”

The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy's thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.

(Our Daily Bread. accessed via Sermon Illustrations )

If you will perform the hard business of staying where God placed you, and be open and honest about your faith in Him, He will protect you. It may be scary and it may make you feel very vulnerable, but when the night ends, you will find out that Jesus was right there with you all the time.

Ten Steps toward Leading a Double Life

Prepared by James T. Bartsch

September 22, 2007


Published online by WordExplain.com

Email Contact: jbartsch@wordexplain.com


Bible quotations and Bible Study questions are based upon the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.

 WordExplain by James T. Bartsch

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Used by Permission.)

This Page Updated March 24, 2014

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