The Flesh vs. The Spirit

1 Samuel 22:6-23:29


Review David on the Run – Momentary lapse

Ch.21 Lies to the Priest

    Runs to the world – ends up pretending to be mad


Trying to find refuge in the world – David alters his behavior – { Always the case


Ch.22 – God blesses David – brings his family to him

A) David takes care of them by taking them to Moab


B) Grandma was from there – Ruth – seeks a safe place for his mom & Dad


C) And God brings David – Companions

1) Rough at first – In debt / Distress / Discontent


D) They will turn into mighty men


Pick up in v. 6 Focus is once again on Saul –

A) Saul is a picture of the CARNAL MAN – the fleshly man –


B) Problems of leaning to your own understanding

1) Saul’s Men are becoming disenchanted with him


C) In this Chapter we will also see the Consequences to David sin – People always get hurt

1) As we Move into Ch. 23 – Contrast David – w/ Saul – David walking in Spirit – his men respect

6When Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered—now Saul was staying in Gibeah under a tamarisk tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants standing about him

[ Note Saul is becoming a Spear holding Maniac – threw at David / his son Jonathan – who would be next ]

7then Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, you Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds?

8All of you have conspired against me, and there is no one who reveals to me that my son has made a covenant with the son of Jesse;  and there is not one of you who is sorry for me or reveals to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as it is this day.”

 [ Here we see further proof of Saul’s delusion - 8All of you have conspired against me-


This is a common trait of the Carnal man – everyone is against me – DILUTED PERCEPTION

A) Saul doesn’t know who he can trust – but his problem wasn’t that the people were against him


B) Saul’s biggest Problem was that God was against him

1) Saul is completely Self focused – No one is sorry for me – [ Flesh – poor me syndrome ]

9Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who was set over the servants of Saul, [ We met Doeg in Ch.21 he was at Nob – heard David meeting with the priest & we learned that he was the chief of the kings herd ]– 

he said, “I saw the son of Jesse going to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahi/tub. 10And he inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11So the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahi/tub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were in Nob. And they all came to the king. 12And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahi/tub!”

He answered, “Here I am, my lord.”

13Then Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, [ Here he goes again] you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as it is this day?”

14So Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, who goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house?

[ Now you have to love Ahimelech – he is speaking the voice of the Lord here to Saul – Saul David is the most faithful & honorable of all your servants ]


Saul should have heeded that word – but the problem with the flesh is it only sees what it wants to see – from it’s twisted perspective

Ahimelech continues v. 15Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? Far be it from me! Let not the king impute anything to his servant, or to any in the house of my father. For your servant knew nothing of all this, little or much.”  [ INNOCENT IN THIS MATTER]


16And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house!” [ Saul is not listening – not hearing – sick with jealousy]

Prov 12:15  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,But he who heeds counsel is wise.


17Then the king said to the guards who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me.” But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord. [ At least someone has some sense here – no way they are going to strike God’s anointed men.]


18And the king said to Doeg, “You turn and kill the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod. 19Also Nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep—with the edge of the sword.



There is always a godless Doeg around to do evil


Here we see the consequences to David’s lie – David got someone else involved – result INNOCENT people got hurt


Problem with Sin – Gossip – lying – deceit being in words or lifestyle – Innocent people get hurt

A) Men / women & Children are affected –


B) That is what happens here – family of the priest is massacred - 

1) But God always leaves a remnant – that is what happens here -


20Now one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahi/tub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord’S priests. 22So David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.”


[ What a heart breaking revelation this must have been to David – consequences of his sin]


It seems this event had a profound impact on his life – because as we enter into ch.23 – David changes his way of doing things – dramatically


In this chapter David becomes a wonderful example of a man walking in the Spirit


1Then they told David, saying, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.”

[ Keil/lah was a city in the lowland areas of Judah – they were being ransacked by the philistines ]



#1 He has a Genuine concern for others !

A) The people in the city of Keilah were not David’s Problem – they were Saul’s


B) It would have been easy for David to criticize Saul at this point – why isn’t he taking care of God’s people ?


C) But because David was a man after God’s own heart

When he hears that God’s people are suffering

1) It grieves him he wants to help – he is concerned


D) SO what would David do? 2Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

[Here we see the 2nd mark of a man who is walking in the spirit – being led by the spirit – he will be #2 a man who inquires of the Lord.]


A) What do you do when you see a problem – Complain – criticize

1) In the church there are lots of opinionated people who are eager to voice their opinions


B) I can do that with the best of them. – complain Criticize – why are they doing that –

1) Why aren’t they doing this –


C) How often is our first reaction when we see a problem to pray !

1) God has been nailing me on this of late


D) I can be so prone to complain or so prone to REACT – Monday I was in the flesh –

1) I will fix that thing –


E) You get a couple people together who are all reacting that way – Major Damage


F) David shows great restraint as well as wisdom here : Being a man who was willing to be led by the Lord so David inquired of the Lord ……..

And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.”

[ God gives David the ok]


3But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”

4Then David inquired of the Lord once again.


Third mark of a man walking in the Spirit – He is sensitive to those who are around him.{ eyes/ heart

A) David’s men object here – they are concerned they are afraid – how is David going to respond – You?


B) I think many of us would have been tempted to ramrod our way into this thing –

1) You are being silly – come on bunch of sissy’s


C) Others might have been tempted to get ultra spiritual here – I heard from the Lord – I have the anointing

1) You guys shouldn’t question my authority


D) All of those would have been huge mistakes for David – lost respect of his men

1) They might have gone into a battle – no confidence in the Lord – and vulnerable for defeat


E) So what did David do ?

4Then David inquired of the Lord once again.

A) David says ok – you guys don’t feel right about this – let me go talk to the Lord again – to make sure


B) My wife – If she doesn’t have a peace – I pray some more – God speak to her as well.

1) INSIGHT or follow Rob


C) LEADERSHIP TEAM – not in full agreement we don’t go forward – no matter how strongly one of us feels about something.


D) David is establishing himself as a man of Prayer

1) Not leaning to his own understanding – not pushing for his way – David inquires of the Lord again


And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” 5And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.


[ Knowing that God was in this enabled them to fight with great confidence & God gave the Victory]


6Now it happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he went down with an ephod in his hand.

7And Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. So Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8Then Saul called all the people together for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.


9When David knew that Saul plotted evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. 11Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” [ David is further establishing himself as a man of Prayer!]


And the Lord said, “He will come down.”

12Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?”

And the Lord said, “They will deliver you.


Now this is amazing – they will turn on you- he just rescued these people –

A) Ministry minded listen: This is common – people you help will often turn on you – find fault with you

B) It comes with the territory – there is the great temptation when it happens that you ISOLATE

1) I am never going to do that again- not going to make myself VULNERABLE anymore


C) Because Last time I got burned - 



4TH Mark of a man walking in the Spirit – He doesn’t hold grudges.

A) Later on when David becomes King – he doesn’t go back and take vengeance on Keilah.


B) People will disappoint – let down – surprise you in the worst of ways – comes with the territory

1) Get used to it – but don’t be overcome by this


C) I know some people who would being talking about this for yrs – can you believe what those bozo’s in Keilah did to us – NOT DAVID


13So David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go. Then it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah; so he halted the expedition.


14And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.

15So David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. And David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in a forest. 16Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.


Strengthening hands = to fasten upon / to seize / to make strong / to repair / to fortify / to make Valiant

A)That is what Jonathan did for David –


B) He Helped his friend in this low time – become stronger / more Valiant / Help fortify Him in the Lord


C) Consider what David’s hands were used for? They were used to fight for Israel

1) Play an instrument for worship / write beautiful Psalms of Praise


D)Jon wanted to be sure David could still do those things



A) When you leave them they are encouraged and inspired to use their gifts for JESUS


B) What can we learn from Jonathan about

 Strengthening others hands in the Lord?

17And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” 18So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.


1st He reminded David of the Lord’s Presence w/ Him   Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you.


B) David could reject fear because God would ultimately protect him (Saul my father shall not find you).

1) Jonathan was reminding David that One w/ God is a majority


Heb 13:5 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”


C) One of the greatest things we can do to strengthen a bro/sis/ in a difficult time is to remind them of the Lord’s Presence w/ them.

 1) Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.   J. Oswald Sanders. 




2nd thing that Jonathan did was to remind David of God’s promise to him You shall be king over Israel).

A)We are called to be Promise believers – sometimes in the mist of our situations the Devil gets us to forget the promise of God!!!


B) In those times especially we need to remember that our Lord is a God who keeps His promises


C) Sometimes a political candidate who wishes to be returned to office will say, "I stand on my record."

1) Well Our faith stands on the record of what God has done, on the record of promises kept. Jn 20:31 says "These are written that you may believe."


D) Faith is not inherited, nor does it come by accident. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and discovering that God keeps his promises.  

  1) Faith is "standing on the promises."


The Chronicles of Narnia, are wonderful children's stories written by

 A)In the second book, Prince Caspian, Lucy enters Narnia again, and she hasn't seen Aslan, this lion figure who represents Christ.


B) She has not seen him in a long time,& they have a wonderful reunion. Lucy says to Aslan, who represents Christ, "Aslan, you're bigger now."

   1)Aslan says, "Lucy, that's because you are older. You see, Lucy, every year that you grow, you will find me bigger."

C) Same holds true for us the more we grow in the Lord / the longer we walk w/ the Lord we find him bigger in his grace and in his goodness

  1) and in his faithfulness and in those promises that he has given us upon which we can depend all the days of our lives


D) Sometimes we just need a friend like Jonathan to come along & remind us of the bigness & the faithfulness of God

  1) Jonathan gave David an affirmation of what God was doing in His life


3rd thing that Jonathan did to Strengthen David’s hands in the Lord was to remind him of the Lord’s Power in his life

A)My father even knows this to be true


B) Reminder of God’s Power in our lives –

1) Because we are in his hands we can not be in the hands of the enemy


God wants us to be those who strengthen each others hands in the Lord

A) Stir up each other to love & good works –


B) The word stir up = to Stimulate – Paddles used to stimulate the heart to get it going again / Electrical currents – limbs going


C) We need Friendships that stimulate your walk with the Lord!

     1.) Build up rather than tear down!


Think about your closest relationships - what are the key ingredients?

A)What effects does time together have on you?

A)Idea of stirring  up reminds us of what happens when coals are in a fire!  Get hotter!  -  On fire for Jesus!


B) I pray we’d be a stirred up church –Stimulating one another – to Love Christ more / to Serve Him more / Seek Him more diligently –


C) That we would be those who are constantly stirring each other up in the Lord


Now this would be the last time that Jon/ David would see each other –

A) Despite Jonathan’s encouragement the battle raged on –


B) Saul would step up his efforts to bring David down – although the battle became more fierce

1) I think I can say with confidence that

Jonathan’s encouragement helped David make it


C) In fact later – we read David in another time of Crisis David strengthened his own hands in the Lord


19Then the Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding with us in strongholds in the woods, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? 20Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand.”

21And Saul said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, for you have compassion on me. 22Please go and find out for sure, and see the place where his hideout is, and who has seen him there.

For I am told he is very crafty. 23See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides; and come back to me with certainty, and I will go with you. And it shall be, if he is in the land, that I will search for him throughout all the clans of Judah.”

24So they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. But David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. 25When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David. Therefore he went down to the rock, and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon. 26Then Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. So David made haste to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were encircling David and his men to take them.

27But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!” 28Therefore Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place the Rock of Escape. 29Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi.