1 Samuel 19:18-24 – How Quickly We Forget When A Rough Patch Hits Us!

Posted: March 11, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 19:18-24
David Flees to Ramah

Recently, I read the story of miraculous survival from World War II. These story is about surviving the sinking of battleship. On May 24th, 1941 several British warships were tracking the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic. They were trying to catch up to it and sink it. Among the British ships was the pride of the British fleet, the battlecruiser HMS Hood. When they caught up with the Bismarck and her escorts a tremendous battle took place. Just 10 minutes into the battle a shell from the Bismarck hit the Hood and exploded in her magazine, where the Hood’s munitions were. This resulted in a cataclysmic explosion in the rear part of the ship, which sank almost immediately. The bow quickly became vertical and sank a little more slowly, but within three minutes all traces of the Hood were gone. Of the one thousand four hundred and eighteen men on the Hood, only three survived. Only three of almost 1500 men. One of the men who survived, Ted Briggs, told of his harrowing escape. He managed to get outside and started going down a ladder when the water reached him. He attempted to swim away from the ship but the force of the sinking ship pulled him under. He said he remembered struggling for a while, but then realized that it was hopeless as he was being carried further and further down into the ocean’s depths. So he gave up all hope. Then suddenly, he found himself being miraculously propelled back to the surface by a huge air bubble. Some air had escaped from the sinking ship and he was caught up in it. It could be that the windows on the bridge collapsed and released the air that had been trapped there. Wherever it came from it happened right under the spot where Briggs was and he shot to the surface and soon found himself among the burning oil. He was able to hang on until help arrived.

That’s an incredible story. All hope was gone and then suddenly he was saved in the most unexpected of ways. We do not always have stories of miraculous survival at sea, but still there are stories from our lives in our pasts where God has sustained us when no other explanation could be offered. I have stories like that from my past. Stories that scream God’s miraculous provision. One story from my previous job that occurred about 5 years ago is where on the surface it appeared that I had made a major mistake that could have cost me dearly but in the last minute the truth came out about the real cause of the situation and I was exonerated. Only God allowed reason to prevail long enough for the truth to come out in that situation. There are many other situations in my life where God has protected me from the sin of others, my own sins, stupid mistakes that I have made, and, sometimes, even from things that could have physically caused my death. In all these situations, we have bumps and bruises and cuts (either figurative or literal), but God does often snatch us from figurative and literal traps and pitfalls of life because he is not done with us yet. I firmly believe that.

The past should provide us with evidence of God’s provision and protection. However, we often forget it. Every time a new situation arises that seems overwhelming and seems to large and seems like it will defeat us, we forget the past. We are like the Israelites who complained and bellyached in the desert about God not providing for them and completely forgetting all the miracles that had gone down before them in the past. We are often the same. A new problem or a new danger arises and we forget. I am no different from anybody else. Even though God has provided for me and looked after me constantly over the years and saved me from my own mistakes, the bad intentions of others, just plain difficult circumstances, and even physical danger, I forget. Currently, my new job as director of business/staff pastor at Calvary Church just seems so overwhelmingly different and strange. I don’t understand the mechanics of so much that is under my area of responsibility. Although I conceptually understand stuff, the mechanics and procedures are all different and even foreign to me at times. Add to that, one of the people that reports to me just resigned for personal reasons on Thursday. So, my weekend has been a whirlwind of self-doubt and self-effacing emotions. Wondering why I even came here. Wondering. Wondering. Wondering. All self-confidence I had about myself just a short month ago in a decade long tenure in one position in the secular world. All the confidence I had about my church finance capabilities gained in a much simpler accounting system at LifeSong is gone now that I am dealing with the seemingly more complex systems here. How this one event of losing an employee rocked my world to the point of serious self-doubt is no doubt the work of Satan.

How quickly we forget God’s provision. I was not always the confident dude at Fujikura America or at LifeSong. The confidence gained and displayed in the second half of the years those dual roles back in South Carolina came after years of just figuring stuff out and God directing my steps toward understanding. God directing my steps after understanding to taking things and making them simpler and more efficient. God directing my steps to better seeing how all the pieces fit together. God protected me in those early years as learned. I must remember that every new job is like starting over as a new baby and re-learning to walk again.

When I read this morning’s passage, 1 Samuel 19:18-24, it reminded me that God is my protector and provider and that he has proven it over and over again over the years. David’s protection by God in this passage from Saul once again is a reminder that I should never doubt whether God will provide. Let’s read the passage now:

18 So David escaped and went to Ramah to see Samuel, and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then Samuel took David with him to live at Naioth. 19 When the report reached Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah, 20 he sent troops to capture him. But when they arrived and saw Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men, and they also began to prophesy. 21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent other troops, but they, too, prophesied! The same thing happened a third time. 22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah and arrived at the great well in Secu. “Where are Samuel and David?” he demanded.

“They are at Naioth in Ramah,” someone told him.

23 But on the way to Naioth in Ramah the Spirit of God came even upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy all the way to Naioth! 24 He tore off his clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet?”

In this passage, we see again for like maybe the fourth time, the Lord saved David from certain death. Tow times he was saved by Saul’s kids (Jonathan and Michal each saved David’s life by the actions they took) and once there was a spear thrown at David that just missed him and stuck in the wall instead of David. Now, God preserves David by causing the Holy Spirit to descend on Saul and his warriors so that David could escape.

It is a reminder to us all that God provides for those who love Him. It may not always be in the way that we want. It may not always be without bumps and bruises. It may not be without the testing of our faith. It may not be without moments where we doubt whether the Lord is watching over us. I may not be without moments where we wonder why God led us to where we are. It may not be without moments where we wonder if we have done the right thing. It may not be without moments where we wonder if what we are doing is actually in God’s will or just us mistaking it for God’s will.

Those doubts that come from Satan must be offset by the memory that God is with those who love him. Those doubts must be offset by our memory of what God has done for us in the past. Those doubts must be offset by remembrance of how God provides for His people in His Word, the Bible. Satan loves it when we buy into his lies about our self-worth and whether we are following God’s will. When he takes our confidence in God away, he makes us ineffective. When he makes us ineffective, he wins. Just ask Adam and Eve.

We must remember what God has done. There is a prayer from Deuteronomy that I must always keep in mind as I progress down this new and unknown path at Calvary Church. It says, “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Amen and Amen.

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