Sins Arising from Discouragement
1 Samuel 27:1
And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul…

1. This incident in David's life is most instructive. It shows us the folly of endeavouring to remove evils under which we labour, by unlawful means; and especially of resorting to such expedients in our moments of discouragement; and may further teach us, that under all circumstances, the path of duty is the path of safety.

2. This lesson is one which we greatly need. Under the pressure of trials we naturally seek relief; and if no lawful means present themselves, we are tempted to use those which are unlawful; and by a delusive reasoning satisfy ourselves that that is right, which under other circumstances we should ourselves condemn as wrong. We often have cause to repent of resolutions taken, like David's, under the pressure of trials and the influence of discouraged feeling. The fact is that despondency borders on insanity. "It makes a man his own executioner, and leads to suicidal acts." Everything, therefore, we do under the influence of such feeling will be pretty sure to be wrong, and to give us work for after repentance.

3. Again, our subject may be applied to another class of hearers. There are those who have made many efforts to gain the hope of the Christian, but have failed in all. They say, "that they have sought most earnestly to believe and feel as the people of God do: that they have prayed, inquired, and done all that they knew ought to be done, but still do not enjoy a 'hope of acceptance;'" and now they are discouraged, and that discouragement leads them into a very sinful resolution. This is a very common case, and one with which ministers and Christians do not sympathize as they ought! We are disposed, when we see one lingering in neglect of religion, to condemn him as if nothing but obstinacy and rebellion prevented his surrender of himself to God. We bear down harshly upon him with the terrors of the law, when the man needs encouragement. Such severity only tends to exasperate and harden. The Jews in Jeremiah's time said "There is no hope," and added, "we will walk after our own devices." "The beggar will sometimes knock at a door until he finds that no notice is likely to be taken of his application, and then rail at those who live within; and so let the sinner fear that God's heart is hardened against him, and his own heart will soon be hardened against God." Let Christians, then, beware of taking away hope from the inquiring soul, by condemning all delay as obstinacy and obduracy, for it may arise from discouraged feeling; and the sinner may lie in the mire of sin, because be has made many efforts to get out, only to fall back again into the ditch.

4. And let the inquirer beware of yielding to discouragement, and thence to sin. "He may say, "I have sought, and prayed so many times, and found no relief; must I still continue to seek?" Even so, for what better can you do? If you finally and entirely cease from all effort, you are certainly lost; if you persevere you may be saved, and certainly will be in the end. Rise, discouraged soul, renew thy prayers, and if a lifetime of blind perplexed inquiries and in thine everlasting salvation, count the blessing cheaply won.

5. The same advice may apply to the backslidden Christian or to those who sometimes hope they are accepted in Christ, but lack the clear evidence of it.

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

WEB: David said in his heart, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel. So shall I escape out of his hand."

Despondency: its Causes and Cure
Top of Page
Top of Page