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We Can’t Have It Both Ways


A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
28 October 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
 
Scripture References:

1 Samuel 21:10-15
Psalm 34:1-22
Isaiah 11:6
Hebrews 7:18-28
Revelation 3:14-16

We have talked several times about living in the creation and heavenly will of God, rather than in the corrupt ways of the world.
 
So today we are going to take a look at the contrast between one of the times that David acted according to the ways of this world, and Psalm 34, which he wrote about it, and compare it to the ways of the new covenant we have through Jesus Christ, which reflects the heavenly will of God.
 
In addition, we will take a look at some of the present day examples.
 
In 1 Samuel 21:10-15, we are told about part of David’s deception.

10. Then David arose and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish king of Gath.

We never understood why David would seek refuge from one of the kings of the enemies of Israel, the Philistines.
 
If David truly had the faith he claims elsewhere to have, such as in Psalm 34, and knew that the Lord was with him, then why did he flee from Saul?
 
After all, God had chosen him to be king in place of Saul.
 
We need to think about these things as we read Bible passages such as these.

11. But the servants of Achish said to him, "Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying,
'Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands'?"
 
12. And David took these words to heart, and greatly feared Achish king of Gath.

So now David fears both Saul and Achish, whom David also refers to as Abimelech, which could have been his title, which also happens to be the name of the Hebrew priest whom David saw just before going to Achish.

We also believe that this name confusion could have been some kind of Devine intervention to have us see that there is something wrong here?
 
David is now between a rock and hard place, so to speak, and instead of relying upon the Lord totally, he turns to deception.

13. So he disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard.
 
14. Then Achish said to his servants, "Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me?
 
15. "Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?"
NASB

Even though David lacked faith and fled from Saul, and because he resorted to deception, he is now being rejected by Achish.
 
Because of this, we wonder whether the Lord had a hand in this rejection.
 
With this in mind, let’s take a look at Psalm 34 which David wrote after departing from Achish king of Gath.

1. I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
 
2. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear it and rejoice.
 
3. O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
 
4. I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

Now wait a minute.
 
Didn’t we just read that David feared Saul and ran away?
 
And didn’t we also just read that after fearing Achish, he resorts to deception, and ends up being rejected?
 
I hope we all see the contradiction between what David said and the actual way he acted, so that we won't make the same mistakes.
 
David continues…

5. They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces shall never be ashamed.
 
6. This poor man cried and the LORD heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
 
7. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
 
8. O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

But David also tried to take refuge with Achish.
 
Why did he do this if he truly has faith, or is he saying this because he knows that he isn’t one of these blessed men?

9. O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him, there is no want.
 
10. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

We should also remember that David’s example of these young lions is an example of this fallen world.
 
Note what Isaiah wrote about the young lion (11:6)…

6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the kid,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
NASB

This is the way that the Lord wants us to live; but David both acts and writes about the ways of this fallen world at the same time that he talks about having unconditional faith in the Lord.
 
We can’t have it both ways.
 
We are either a child of the devil or a child of God.

11. Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
 
12. Who is the man who desires life,
And loves length of days that he may see good?
 
13. Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
 
14. Depart from evil, and do good;
Seek peace, and pursue it.

But David was also a warrior and a deceiver, which are both examples of living in this fallen world.
 
We can’t have it both ways.
 
Note Jesus’ message to people who tried being fence walkers between the will of God and the ways of this fallen world, in Revelation 3:14-16.

14. "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
 
15. 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.
 
16. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
NASB

In other words, God will vomit such people out of His mouth, or that they are so vile tasting that He has to spit them out of His mouth.

No matter what the case may be, this is plainly telling us that we are not to be like this.

We can't have it both ways.
 
Returning to Psalm 34...

15. The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
 
16. The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
 
17. The righteous cry and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
 
18. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
 
19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous;
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

This is the righteous way we should all live.

20. He keeps all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
 
21. Evil shall slay the wicked;
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
 
22. The LORD redeems the soul of His servants;
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.
NASB

What this Psalm tells us is that even though David didn’t always live this way, he knew the truth.
 
We are to always strive to live in the heavenly will of God and reject the evil ways of this world.
 
We can’t have it both ways.
 
For example, we hear a lot of people say that they love animals, and they give the impression that they wouldn’t cause any harm to befall any animal; yet at the same time they eat animals who have suffered greatly.
 
What they may mean is that they only love their pets, but don’t care about what happens to any other animal; which is the impression we get from observing them.
 
They are trying to walk the line between good and evil.
 
But, they can’t have it both ways.
 
Remember also that all of the laws handed down by Moses are for this fallen world, and would never have been given or needed if we had remained obedient to God.
 
And. neither would Jesus have had to come to save us.
 
But because we failed to be obedient, He did come.
 
Note what we are told in Hebrews 7:18-28…

18. For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment [the Law] because of its weakness and uselessness
 
19. (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
 
20. And inasmuch as it was not without an oath
 
21. (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him,
"The Lord has sworn
And will not change His mind,
'Thou art a priest forever'");
 
22. so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

This is the heavenly will of God, which we are to help bring to earth through our prayers and our example of living as true peacemaking children of God.

23. And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing,
 
24. but He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
 
25. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
 
26. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
 
27. who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
 
28. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
NASB

Christian doctrine understands these facts, and many churches teach it, but mostly they fail to live like they believe it.
 
To continue to support suffering and killing, which most churches do, is totally against the heavenly will of God.
 
Don’t let yourself be caught in this deceptive teaching of having it both ways, for as we have seen, the Lord will spit such people out of His mouth, for they are distasteful.
 
We all need to get off the fence and become truly loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, for the benefit of the whole of God’s creation, which includes all our fellow human beings, all the other animals, and the world in which we live.
 
We can make a positive difference.
 
Amen.

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