1 Samuel 29-30 – How Well Do You Get Along With Others?

You can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try, someone is not going to like something you’ve said or done.

But David was a man who seemed to be able to get along with a wide variety of people. In 1 Samuel chapters 29 and 30, we see David masterfully developing trust and good relations with a wide variety of often opposing groups.

In chapter 29, David earns the trust and respect of the Philistine king. (1 Samuel 29:6,9)

In chapter 30

  • David rallies the very men who, earlier, were so upset with him they were ready to kill him.
  • David is able to enlist an Amalekite slave who had previously destroyed David’s village.
  • David becomes a mediator for his men when they are in the midst of a disagreement.
  • David endears himself to the leaders of his home country…even though that country had run him out of town and tried to kill him.

How does he do it? How does Dave foster trust and loyalty among others…many of whom are enemies to him and each other?

First, David built relationships by showing kindness and respect to others. But more important than his relationship with others was his relationship with God…

  • When David didn’t know what to do, he turned to God for insight and answers. (1 Samuel 23:2,4,6,9,11,12.)
  • When David encountered unfair treatment, he trusted God to right the wrongs and ensure justice. (1 Samuel 24:12,15)
  • When David was discouraged and demoralized, he found his strength and hope in God. (1 Samuel 30:6)

David was submissive and obedient to God, and God made him wise and discerning…which, in turn, strengthened his relationships and interactions with others.

Do you have trouble getting along with people? If so, check your submission and obedience to God. This is always the starting place for great relationships…and great endeavors.

1 Samuel 28 – Are You Driven by Fear?

We all have things we fear, but some people are especially driven by fear. Their life is a desperate attempt to avoid things like…

  • The loss of a loved one.
  • The loss of a marriage.
  • The loss of their health.
  • The loss of financial stability.
  • The loss of position.

This is the picture of king Saul in 1 Samuel chapter 28. You can see his fearfulness build in the previous chapters…

Now, in 1 Samuel 28, Saul is so fearful of the Philistine army he scrambles to find someone to give him advice. God is no longer communicating with Saul, because of Saul’s disobedience. (1 Samuel 28:18.) So Saul breaks his own law and seeks a consultation with a medium or witch. Saul is frantically scrambling for anything to take away his fear.

It’s a strong contrast to the calm and confident David we see in the previous two chapters.

What’s the difference? Though it sounds cliché, David was trusting God and Saul was trusting Saul. David’s only focus was on what God wanted done, while Saul’s only focus was on what Saul wanted done.

Fearfulness comes from trusting yourself rather than trusting God. It comes from trying to orchestrate your own desired outcomes, rather than trusting God to orchestrate His desired outcomes.

We are not to be fearful, but rather powerful, loving, and self-controlled. (2 Timothy 1:7) So turn from fear and trust God. He alone holds the total control of our lives. (Matt. 10:28)

Control, Coronavirus, and Other Complications of Life

In these day when our news, our social media, and our lives are consumed with the Coronavirus, one thing is painfully clear…

WE ARE NOT AS IN CONTROL AS WE WANT TO BE.

We never have been. Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, we have done whatever we could to subjugate and eradicate the feeling of not being in control. And we’re still doing that.

Some try to convince themselves that the government will get control of this. Others repeatedly tell themselves that God is in control of this. And others militantly follow social distancing plans and hand washing procedures to stay in control of this. These are all good things, but they still fall short of putting us at ease and quenching our thirst for control.

 

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO FEEL LIKE WE HAVE CONTROL?

  • We want to feel in control to keep our fear at bay. There’s a lot of fear out there. Health fear. Economic fear. Scholastic fear. Fear is swelling because we feel we can’t control these things.
  • We want to feel in control because we lack trust. We don’t trust our government to make the right calls at the right time. We don’t trust others to do what they should do to keep their distance, or to keep food on the shelves, or to keep helping when we’re in need. Then we don’t trust God to intervene as we hope…despite what we might profess.
  • We want to feel in control, because it helps us maintain a sense of self importance. We want to feel that we’re different and special. But we feel out of control when we realize we’re no different from everyone else.

 

In one way or another, there’s a bit of control freak in all of us. But here’s the thing…

WE ARE NEVER IN COMPLETE CONTROL!

There will always be things we can’t control. It’s a given in life. The quality of our life is not dependent on keeping control of everything, but rather in how we respond to the things we can’t control.

  • It’s not about making fear go away, but rather about going on in the face of fear.
  • It’s not about trusting someone to fix the problem, but rather trusting someone in the midst of the problem.
  • It’s not about being above everyone else, but rather being in it with everyone else.

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN WE’RE NOT IN CONTROL.

Even Christians have control issues at times, but we don’t need to strive for control, because…

  • In the face of fear, we’re told…“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV.
  • In the face of mistrust, we’re told…“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5 ESV.
  • In the face of self-importance, we’re told…“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:11-12 ESV.

Like the rapids in a white water rafting trip, the Coronavirus is part of the trip down stream. It may raise our adrenaline, but we don’t have to be in control of the rapids. We just need to stay in the boat and listen to our guide.

In times of trials, you may not be able to control anything else, but you can control to whom you listen. Whether you’re struggling for control over work, marriage, children,  finances, or pandemics, the questions is still the same…to whom is your heart listening?

Joshua 10 – Are You Dependent or Overconfident?

I remember learning to ride a bike as a child. There were times when I had this great boost of confidence. I would think, “I really am doing it! I really am riding this bike all by my self!” Only to look back and find my dad still holding on to the bike and keeping me from falling.

As a teenager, I would often have this burst of over-confidence/cockiness thinking, “I’m in control of my life and can do what I want to!” Only to look back and find my dad supplying the car, the gas, the insurance, the place to live, the food….in short, everything.

Read more

Deuteronomy 29 – Trusting “Because I Said So.”

When children become pre-teens and teens, they think more abstractly and become more self-focused. When this happens, they want to know “why” before they carry out instructions. If they’re not told “why,” or if it makes no sense to them, they often resist the request or directive.

At times, parents need to take more time to explain the reasoning behind their directives. But, because of their age and experience, parents know and foresee things their children are unable to. So there are times when a child needs to trust their parent’s wisdom, intentions, and love…even though the child doesn’t have the information they desire.

Read more

Numbers 27 – Trust Your Provider

Ever since Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden, where they had everything they could want, people have been working hard to get what they want.

Working hard and acquiring things is not bad in and of itself. You can find many examples in Scripture of God blessing people who worked hard.

The problem is not hard work. The problem is assuming that what we have is a direct result of our efforts, rather than God’s provision. Jesus reminds us of this problem when He reminds us to look at how God provided for the birds. (Matthew 6:25-26)

It is God, and God alone, who provides all we need…as well as so many of our wants. (2 Peter 1:3) (1 Timothy 6:17b) (2 Corinthians 9:8-12) And it makes no difference if the need is large or small. God is the Provider of all…including the health, energy, and ingenuity to do what we do.

God’s provision is the theme of Numbers chapter 27. In the first half of the chapter, we see God providing an inheritance for five daughters of a man who died due to his own sinfulness. (Numbers 27:3) In the second half of the chapter, we see God providing leadership for an entire nation. Some might see the needs of the daughters as less important and pressing in light of the needs of a nation. But God treated both needs with equal care and concern.

This is God’s heart. He longs to provide for our every need. God calls us to work hard, but we should not confuse our work with His provision. May it be our heart to trust His provision. May it be our heart to trust Him.

Genesis 21 – Who Do You Trust?

When it comes to trust, we all tend to favor one of three choices: We trust in ourselves, we trust in others or we trust in God.
In Genesis chapter 16, Sarah didn’t trust God to provide a child. Instead, she trusted her own efforts and gave her servant girl (Hagar) to Abraham as a surrogate with which to conceive a child.
In Genesis chapter 21, Sarah gives birth to the son that God had promised…Isaac. This creates contention and rivalry between the two women and their children. Hagar, who had always trusted Abraham and Sarah to take care of her, is now sent away into the wilderness, at Sarah insistence. Out of supplies and waiting to die, Hagar encounters God and is told she would not only survive, but her son would become a great nation of people.
Both Sarah and Hagar had trouble with trust. Sarah trusted in her own efforts for a son. Her efforts came up short, but God was faithful. Hagar trusted in others to take care of her. Those people came up short, but God was faithful. Only Abraham chose to trust God first and foremost.
Is it wrong to work hard or to turn to friends and family for help? Not at all. The problem comes when we turn to these options first and trust them more than God.
When times are difficult, are you Like Sarah? Is your first inclination to roll up your sleeves and try to make something happen yourself? Are you like Hagar? Do you depend on other people to make things happen for you? Or are you like Abraham? Do you look to God first and trust Him no matter how things appear?
Who do you trust?
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.

How Can You Sleep At A Time Like This?

Rock Climber 250x250When I was young, I fell asleep while a dentist was working on my teeth.  I had not been given anything to relax me.  I just fell asleep.  The dentist couldn’t believe it, and called my mom back just to see it.

Whether it’s the dentist or something else, we all face trouble in life.  When trouble begins to stack up or go on for a long time, we can get discouraged and overwhelmed.

Read more