II Samuel 15:13-37

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

UPS AND DOWNS IN CHRISTIAN LIVING

INTRODUCTION:

Doesn't life seem to have some real ups and downs in it? We may go from the mountain top one day to the valley the next. We may go from great excitement one day to great discouragement the next. We may go from wonderful victory one day to defeat the next. Why?

Paul likewise experienced some ups and downs in his life.

Philippians 4:12 - (12) I know both how to be abased [i.e. to have little], and I know how to abound [i.e. to have plenty]: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry [i.e. both to have plenty to eat and to be hungry], both to abound and to suffer need [i.e. both to have abundance and to suffer need].

Similarly, David had some ups and downs in his life.

1. One day he was a shepherd boy in the lowly plains of Bethlehem.

2. On another day, he was raised to a place of honor in Saul's palace.

3. One day, he was the conqueror of Goliath and a popular hero.

4. On another day, he was fleeing for his life from Saul.

5. One day he was crowned King of Israel.

6. One day he captured Jerusalem.

7. One day he brought up the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem.

8. On another day he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband to cover up his sin.

9. One day David's oldest son Amnon raped one of his daughters.

10. On another day his son Amnon is murdered by another son Absalom.

11. On still another day, David is seen fleeing for his life from Jerusalem before Absalom.

We know that God allows testing in our lives. This explains the reason for at least some of the ups and downs. Others were the consequences of his sins.

I Peter 1:6-7 - (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations [i.e. testings or trials]: (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire [even if it is highly refined gold], might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

I Peter 4:12 - (12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. [Trials are normal in the Christian life.]

James 1:2-4 - (2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [i.e. various trials]; (3) Knowing this, that the trying [or testing] of your faith worketh patience [i.e. produces endurance or steadfastness]. (4) But let patience have her perfect work [i.e. its completed work], that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting [i.e. lacking] nothing. [Let the trial or test go to its logical conclusion. Don't attempt to short circuit the process.]

God allows testing, but only to a point

I Corinthians 10:13 - (13) There hath no temptation [or testing] taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted [or tested] above that ye are able; but will with the temptation [or test] also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it [i.e. to endure it].

Job 1:12 - (12) And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Job 2:6 - (6) And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

God provides instruction or chastisement, and it is not all negative; but it is always intended to help us be more godly.

II Timothy 3:16-17 - (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 12:5-11 - (5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Our attitude in trials or chastisement must always be, Thanks, Lord, I needed that. Thank you for loving me and working in my life to make me more and more like the Lord Jesus. Pour it on. I can take it.

Our attitude must be one of thankfulness that God loves us and wants to make of us someone who can be more useful to Him.

I Corinthians 11:30-32 - (30) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

God's purpose in our lives is complete Christlikeness

Romans 8:29-30 - (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

God will eventually bring Christlikeness to pass in our lives

I John 3:2 - (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

In this message I want to show that just as David had ups and downs in his life, we as Christians can also expect to experience some ups and downs in our Christian lives, as God works in us to produce Christlikeness in our lives.

As we concluded our message last week, we saw that Absalom declared himself king of Israel. For this to succeed, David would have to be killed.

II Samuel 15:1-12 - (1) And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. (2) And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. (3) And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed [i.e. there is no representative or deputy] of the king to hear thee. (4) Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! (5) And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance [i.e. to bow down before him], he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. (6) And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. (7) And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron. (8) For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord. (9) And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. (10) But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. (11) And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called [i.e. who were invited]; and they went in their simplicity [i.e. they went along innocently], and they knew not any thing. (12) And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counseller, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

I. BAD NEWS COMES TO DAVID - 15:13

II Samuel 15:13 - (13) And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.

II. DAVID FLEES FOR HIS LIFE - 15:14

II Samuel 15:14 - (14) And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil [i.e. calamity or disaster] upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword [If David and his servants stayed in Jerusalem, Absalom and his followers might destroy Jerusalem in order to kill David. By David's and his supporters leaving Jerusalem, an attack on Jerusalem would be avoided. David also sought personal safety in his flight from Jerusalem.].

III. DAVID HAD LOYAL SERVANTS - 15:15-23

II Samuel 15:15-23 - (15) And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. (16) And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house [Concubines were slaves whose main function was to bear children for the king]. (17) And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried [i.e. stopped] in a place that was far off [i.e. at the outskirts]. (18) And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king. (19) Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite [A Gittite is a person from Gath much like a Floridian is a person from Florida.], Wherefore goest thou also [i.e. Why are you also going] with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king [i.e. with Absalom]: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile [i.e. an exile from the Philistine city of Gath]. (20) Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither [i.e. where] I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee. (21) And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what [i.e. whatever] place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be. (22) And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over [the brook Kidron]. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. (23) And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron [It was located on the east side of Jerusalem, just outside the city.], and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

IV. DAVID TRUSTED THE LORD UNDER SEVERE TESTING - 15:24-25

II Samuel 15:24-25 - (24) And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. (25) And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation [i.e. His dwelling place = the tabernacle].

V. DAVID COMPLETELY YIELDED TO THE LORD - 15:26

II Samuel 15:26 - (26) But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.

Similarly, we must live for the Lord and accept what comes as His will for us.

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

VI. DAVID WAS GUIDED BY THE LORD - 15:27-29

II Samuel 15:27-29 - (27) The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. (28) See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me [i.e. to inform me]. (29) Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried [i.e. remained] there.

VII. DAVID ASCENDED MOUNT OLIVET AS THE LORD JESUS WOULD LATER DO - 15:30

II Samuel 15:30 - (30) And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet [just east of the Kidron Valley on the east side of Jerusalem], and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head [i.e. covered their heads too], and they went up, weeping as they went up.

VIII. DAVID WAS BETRAYED BY A TRUSTED FRIEND - 15:31

II Samuel 15:31 - (31) And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel [i.e. advice] of Ahithophel into foolishness.

Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather.

IX. DAVID WAS REFRESHED BY A LOYAL FRIEND - 15:32

II Samuel 15:32 - And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent [i.e. with his robe torn], and earth [i.e. dust] upon his head.

X. DAVID LAID PLANS TO DEFEAT AHITHOPHEL'S COUNSEL - 15:33-37

II Samuel 15:33-37 - (33) Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me: (34) But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel [i.e. advice] of Ahithophel. (35) And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. (36) Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok's son, and Jonathan Abiathar's son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear. (37) So Hushai David's friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

CONCLUSION:

Could it be that the ups and downs we experience in our lives are not so abnormal after all? Could it be that we need to recognize that God loves us and is continually working in our lives to bring us more and more into conformity to the Lord Jesus? Could it be that we need to recognize that we, like David, bring some of our biggest problems on ourselves? Could it be that we need to recognize that we also have some problems which come, not as a result of sin on our parts, but simply as a result of God's desire to try or test us and our desire to live for Him, as was the case with Job? Could it be that as we continue to study our Bibles, we will realize more and more that God loves us and is working in our lives to bring glory to Himself?