part three

Have you ever praised God? "Certainly?" It is an insult to suggest that a serious Christian believer never praises God! Each of us who regard ourselves to be Christians, who are serious about our faith would be deeply offended if anyone seriously suggested that we did not praise God.

Since all of us agree that Christians praise God, let's ask ourselves some simple questions. I am definitely including myself. In a typical month, how often do you praise God? I know each month is different. I know each month is filled with a variety of situations and circumstances. I know exceptional situations or circumstances motivate us to be more "praise conscious" than we otherwise are. But on average in a typical month, how often do you think that you praise God?

When you praise God, what are some of the common experiences or awareness that create the desire in you to praise God? When are you genuinely moved in your heart, your emotions, and your thoughts to declare praise to God? What specifically motivates you to do that?

For what do you praise God? Praising God typically means that a person gives God credit for something. What are the "somethings" that move you to give God credit? What are the "somethings" that move you to awareness and gratitude?

We are examining the reasons for God attaching special significance to David's heart. David was known as "the man after God's own heart." Why? Last week we noted that David trusted God. We examined David's understanding of trusting God.

Tonight I direct your attention to the fact that David praised God. Just as last week, that fact does not sound impressive. To David, what did it mean to praise God?

This evening I want to examine three situations in which David praised God.

  1. Situation one is understood by examining 1 Samuel 19:1-17 with Psalm 59.
    1. The situation in 1 Samuel 19:1-17:
      1. Saul's jealous mistrust and rage against David grew.
        1. Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David whenever opportunity presented itself.
        2. Jonathan was David's close friend, so Jonathan warned David to be careful.
          1. After warning David, Jonathan went to his father and persuaded him not to harm David because David was loyal and helpful to Saul.
          2. Jonathan then told David he could return without threat or fear.
      2. Again there was a battle against the Philistines (Israel's serious enemy at the time), and again David had a great victory over them, and again jealous Saul tried to kill him.
        1. David escaped from Saul's attempt and fled that night to his own home.
        2. Saul sent men to watch David's house to arrest and kill him the next day.
        3. Michal, Saul's daughter and David's wife, told David that if he did not escape that night that he would be dead tomorrow.
          1. She helped David escape through a window, and she made a dummy to place in David's bed.
          2. When the men came to arrest David the next morning, Michael said, "He is sick."
          3. When they reported David's sickness to Saul, he sent the men back with instructions to bring David on his bed and Saul would kill him.
        4. When Saul discovered that his own daughter deceived him, he asked her why?
          1. She deceived her father again.
          2. "He said that he would kill me if I did not help him escape."
    2. My question: if an enemy unjustly caused you to flee for your life leaving your wife and your home behind, would that be an occasion to praise God?
      1. Two statements are associated with Psalm 59.
        1. David is declared the author.
        2. And David is said to have written the psalm the night when the men were watching the house.
      2. Remember the situation:
        1. Saul is making an earnest attempt to kill him.
        2. Men are outside watching his house.
        3. His wife is saying, "If you do not escape tonight, you will die tomorrow."
    3. In Psalm 59 please note:
      1. David began by requesting God deliver him from his enemies (verse 1).
      2. It is clear to me in verses 2-4 that David knew the seriousness of the situation and is concerned.
      3. In verses 5-8 David reminded himself of God's greatness.
      4. In verses 9-15 David comforted and reassured himself by remembering the strength of God; God's strength was his hope.
    4. Consider carefully David's words in the last two verses of Psalm 59, verses 16, 17.
      Psalm 59:16,17 But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.
      1. First, notice the progression.
        1. Distress and concern because of the situation.
        2. Remembering God's greatness (as he remembered, the men were still outside).
        3. Renewal of his confidence in God's strength.
        4. An expression of praise for God.
      2. Please note the nature of the praise David gave God.
        1. "I shall sing of your strength;" would we see God's strength in that situation?
        2. "I will sing of your mercy when I wake up;" if he fled, he did not then know where he would wake up, and he would be away from his wife and home.
        3. "You are my stronghold (place of safety in danger) and my refuge in distress;" God, You take care of me.
        4. "So I will praise God who is my stronghold, who shows me mercy;" would we feel God's strength, protection, and mercy in those circumstances?

  2. Situation two is understood by examining 1 Samuel 20:10-15 and Psalm 56.
    1. The situation in 1 Samuel 20:10-15.
      1. After David escaped from home with Michal's help, this is the progression of events.
        1. David fled to Samuel in the town a Ramah, a place known for its prophets.
        2. Then David made contact with Jonathan.
          1. Together, they devised a plan to discover if Saul was determined to kill David; Saul was.
          2. As David fled, he received help from Abimelech the priest.
        3. Consider the danger of David's circumstances.
          1. David was the victorious commander in Israel's battles against the Philistines--David was their hated enemy who had killed many of their soldiers.
          2. David's situation was so serious that the only place he could flee where Saul could not touch him was to the Philistines!
          3. He fled to the Philistine city of Gath ruled by King Achish.
          4. He was quickly spotted and reported to the king.
          5. David knew that he was in serious danger, so he pretended to be insane.
            1. Insane people were not harmed.
            2. He scribbled on the gates (of the city? in jail?).
            3. He drooled and let his saliva run down his beard.
          6. King Achish told those who reported David that the king had enough mad people without being concerned about David.
          7. David fled Gath to live in a cave in the wilderness (1 Samuel 22:1).
    2. Two statements are associated with Psalm 56.
      1. David is declared the author.
      2. David is said to have written the psalm while he was among the Philistines in Gath.
    3. In Psalm 56:
      1. In the first two verses David was honest about his terrible circumstances.
      2. In verse 3 and 4 he stated how he handled his fear.
        1. He put his trust in God.
        2. He would not allow the dangers of the flesh to be as great as the comfort of God.
      3. In verses 5-7 David was honest about the danger.
      4. In verses 8 and 9 he asked God to take special note of his situation.
        1. Remember my wandering about.
        2. Remember my tears and save them (he cried).
      5. Take special note of what David said in verses 9b-13.
        Psalm 56:9b-13 This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, In the Lord, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God In the light of the living.
        1. "I know God is for me;" in spite of all that happened and all he endured, he had no doubt but that God was on his side.
        2. "So I will praise him and I will trust him;" the situation and circumstances have nothing to do with his praise and his trust.
        3. "Because I trust God, I refuse to be afraid of people;" trust in God would determine his behavior; fear of people would not determine his behavior.
        4. "Nothing that happens will make me forget to honor you."
        5. "You have kept me from dying, and You keep me standing."
        6. "I will not forget that I am walking before You."

  3. The third situation is seen by examining either 1 Samuel 22 or 1 Samuel 24 and Psalm 57.
    1. In both texts, David was in a cave in the wilderness fleeing from Saul.
    2. Again, two statements are associated with Psalm 57.
      1. David is the author.
      2. The Psalm was written when David was in a cave fleeing from Saul.
    3. As David lives in grave danger, I direct your attention to Psalm 57.
      1. The whole psalm is a psalm of praise.
        1. Verse 1: "God, be gracious to me because You are my refuge Who keeps me safely."
        2. Verse 2: "God accomplishes all things for me as I live in His mercy and truth."
        3. Verses 4-6 "Let my terrible circumstances give You glory."
      2. Especially note verses 7-11.
        1. "My heart is steadfast--I am not undecided about God or filled with doubt."
        2. "God, You are my glory, and I am not ashamed for anyone to know that I give my thanks to You."
        3. "I will sing praises to You because Your mercy reaches to the sky and Your truth to the clouds."
        4. "Whatever happens, may You be exalted and may Your glory be above the entire earth."

May I give you a sobering thought to take home. Do your worst times and your worst experiences move you to praise God? They did David. That is why his heart was special to God.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 10 December 2000
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