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No Crutches Allowed
Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:10-13; 1 Samuel 19:9-10; 1 S...
Track 6 of 19 in the David: A Man After God's Heart series
Running time: 58 minutes, 58 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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How many of you circle the parking lot time after time looking for that perfect parking spot? You wait, you watch expecting someone to leave or walk to their car opening up a spot for you to park in. For me, I just park anywhere. If a close parking spot is not available, I just go to the first one I find, even if it is half way across Quincy. My wife is not at all that way. By the time she finds the perfect spot, I could already be in the store from where I parked. So what is the point?

It is almost every time but when my wife is driving and she is lurking for that perfect spot, she will glance over and see the many open handicapped spots sitting there, unused. "Why do they have to take up so many great spots and they are never used", she might say. Some stores now even have reserved spots for expecting mothers, seniors, etc. When my kids were in high school they would park in the "seniors" reserved spot because they were seniors in high school. They would say, "It didn't state what type of seniors could park there."

Do you think our country gives too much or not enough special treatment to the handicapped? Have we gone overboard or have not done enough to help and aid those who have disabilities get around, try to have access to the many places they need to visit? What would happen if the tide of public opinion shifted away from helping the handicapped and we no longer made provisions for those who are disabled (no more special handicapped parking spots, no more "crutches" in life)?

In our lesson last week I stated that the only thing we can predict accurately about the future is that change is always present and everything changes. If you are a person who can't deal with change very well, then life is going to be a constant state of turmoil for you because change happens all the time. It is amazing how fast change can work in your life. One day you are on the top of the world, things are great and before you know it, change happens. The opposite is true also.

The one cruel reality about life is this, no matter the difficulty change hands you in life, life and change continues to roll along. Your life can be turned up side down and everything thing seems to be standing still for you, but in reality, life continues to move along all around you. I think about that every time I pass a funeral procession. The family that is moving toward the cemetery is suffering the loss of a loved one while I am on my way in the events in my life. I say a prayer for the family and after they pass within seconds, I am on my way back to my reality. Life goes on and they are no longer in my present mind, basically forgotten to me.

What happens when God kicks the crutches in your life out from under you? What happens when God says no longer can you use that crutch in your life? You now have to stand on your own two feet, no more aids for you. What are some of the crutches that we have in our lives? What are the things we heavily lean on to sustain us in our daily lives? What happens when we no longer can use them?

H.G.Wells once wrote about one of his characters in a book, "He was not so much a human being as a civil war." This was the perfect description of king Saul right after David's battle with Goliath. Saul became a civil war, miserable, possessed by an evil spirit, mentally breaking, suspicious, angry and a jealous man. Because he turned this way, he basically was a very dangerous man to be around.

1 Samuel 18:10-11 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, "I'll pin David to the wall." But David eluded him twice.

Some say they have a mean boss or their boss is abusive. I doubt many get to work for someone like David's boss. In David's case, he can't just say, "I'm out of here." David didn't have that option. One doesn't just leave the position given to them by the king. One moment David and Saul are friends and the next Saul is attempting to take his life. Imagine the pressure David was under.

How many of you have ever worked for an abusive boss? Where they abusive to everyone or only to you? The next verse tells us why Saul tried to kill him:

1 Samuel 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul.

Isn't that interesting! I think this is a true fact; usually the people who are out to get us are really afraid of us for some reason. Now why would Saul be afraid of David? David had done nothing wrong, in fact he served the king honorably, he was dependably and he worked with integrity. David began to experience that everything he did well was now backfiring on him. God begins to pull the crutches out from beneath David one by one. It must have been a terrifying experience for the young man since he didn't do anything wrong and worked so hard to do everything right, and did.

1 Samuel 19:9-10 But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

This passage is not the one found in 1 Samuel 18, but a second attempt to kill David by Saul. Here is the scene every time David played for the king, David had the harp in his hand and Saul sat there with a spear in his hand. Personally, that would make me very nervous knowing Saul was not happy with me. David now escapes and runs for his life. Mark the words, "David fled and escaped". You will hear them again and again during this time in David's life. It becomes a pattern of survival for him.

God removes 5 very important crutches in his life during the time.

Removal of the first crutch:

When David fled and made his escape, what do you think was the first crutch that was removed? How did hi life change? What did he lose? The first crutch lost was the good position he had in the kingdom of Israel. Before the spear throw recorded in 1 Samuel 19, David was a commander in Saul's army, he was a national hero, he had many friends and was very well liked. He had status and he probably had a very nice place to live and a great lifestyle. All of that was now gone because he instantly became an enemy to the state. Never again would he serve in Saul's army.

Removal of the second crutch: He lost his wife.

We haven't talked about her yet but what was the reward for killing Goliath if anyone would fight him and kill him? Saul's daughter was one of the rewards.

1 Samuel 18:20-21 Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. "I will give her to him," he thought, "so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." So Saul said to David, "Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law."

Saul deceitfully used his daughter as a pawn to destroy David. He made David pay a dowry for her. Do you remember what the payment was? David had to pay foreskins of 100 Philistines. Imagine what that experience was like. There was basically only two ways he was going to get them, ask nicely for them from the Philistines or kill them to get them. Imagine what David had to do once he killed the Philistines. All of this for the love of a woman. But David did it and this act made Saul more fearful of David.

Why would Saul ask for such a horrible thing?

1 Samuel 19:11-12 Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, "If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed." So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped.

Don't be fooled by this act of Michal. She is not exactly the person you think she is.

1 Samuel 19:13-17 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats' hair at the head. When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, "He is ill." Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, "Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him." But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats' hair. Saul said to Michal, "Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?" Michal told him, "He said to me, 'Let me get away. Why should I kill you?'"

Describe for me the person Michal.

Removal of the third crutch: He loses Samuel

1 Samuel 19:18-20 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. Word came to Saul: "David is in Naioth at Ramah"; so he sent men to capture him.

Word got out that Samuel was helping David so Saul sent men to go capture him. What kept David from being caught and Samuel from being killed for helping David was that every time Saul would send men to capture David, they would break out prophesying. Eventually Saul went himself to do the job correctly and he too broke out prophesying. All this allowed David to escape but it caused him not to be able to go to Samuel for help. Saul had Samuel watched waiting for David to show up. David had to stay away.

When things are really going bad for you, when times are dark and you need help, you need some encouragement, who do you turn to other than God? Usually we turn to our closest friend.

1 Samuel 20:1 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?"

Removal of the fourth crutch: Jonathan

Death was dogging his steps. There was no question that Saul wanted David dead and he would stop at nothing to get the task done. Jonathan at first found it hard to believe that his father would keep his hatred for David secret from Jonathan. Jonathan had to find out for himself if David really was in danger. Jonathan worked out a signal plan with David to let he know if the threat was real and for David to run for his life. Unfortunately, the threat was very real and Jonathan signaled David to leave. But before David left, scripture records their last words:

1 Samuel 20:41-42 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together-but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'" Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

How hard is it to lose your closest friend only to find out later that your last encounter was actually the last and you would never see them again? How important are our closest friends? Then came the final blow.

Removal of the fifth crutch: His self respect

1 Samuel 21:10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.

Whoa, could it really be Gath that David went to? What was he thinking? This is the home town of the champion Goliath. Gath was the headquarters, the Washington, DC, the Oval Office of the Philistines. Of all the people you wouldn't expect to be there was David. Just imagine how much David hated to be there. Just imagine how much the Philistines were very glad that he was there. But before David went to Gath, he stopped off on the way. He picked up Goliath's weapons. He was carrying them when he walked into Gath. David only had one place to go where he knew Saul wouldn't follow him, to the enemies of Israel.

For those of you who prefer crutches in life, there are three warning from God on why they aren't good:

Crutches become substitutes for God: We are not to lean on our crutches but we are to lean on God only.

Crutches keep our focus horizontal: When you lean on another person or another thing, your focus is always sideways, not vertical. You constantly keep finding yourself looking to that person or thing. Human crutches paralyze the walk of faith.

Crutches only offer temporary relief: We usually turn to some remedy to soothe us or dull our pain. What we need is someone who doesn't give us temporary relief, but a permanent solution.

David will find that only one source can replace all the crutches we depend on in life, that source is God. It will be during this very dark period in David's life he will learn and discover that God is the only true crutch to lean on.