Despondency: its Causes and Cure
1 Samuel 27:1
And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul…

I. THE GLOOM AND DESPONDENCY OF DAVID'S HEART. How variable is the Christian's experience! Few pass on long without changes; the more equable Christians are generally those of the slightest attainment. The little tree is but moved by the breeze, the ponderous oak with its outstretching branches feels ice full weight; the tiny lake then only presents a small surface is but rippled, the sea is heaved and lashed into a fury. The powerful passion is generally allied to the corresponding intellect and acts as a counterbalancing power. David was a large-souled and large-hearted man, his experience is ever-varying, the slightest circumstance stirs him to the depths.

II. THE CAUSES OF THIS DESPONDENCY. God never willeth that we should be cast down; it is attributable to ourselves. Some men exclude themselves from the rays of the sun; it shines nevertheless.

1. The first cause here is his regarding man as a primary instead of a secondary agent. "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul." Why? Is there anything in Saul that came not from God? Is he a man? God made him. A king? God appointed him. Has he power? It also belongs to God, and when His arm is removed, Saul at once becomes the helpless child. Another cause is found: —

2. In communing with his heart instead of with God. "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man," is as much true of ourselves as others. The earth kept by the centripetal and centrifugal forces never wanders too far from, or goes too near, the sun; let them cease but for one moment and we should with lightning speed rush into collision, or be lost in endless space. So man's heart under Heavenly guidance is, and must be right. Die by the enemy, go into the land of the Philistines. The enemy within suggested it.

III. DAVID ERRED IN COMPARING HIS OWN WITH HIS ENEMY'S FORCES. Compare the suggestions of sense and faith. Sense says, what can six hundred with a valiant captain do against the army of Saul? Sense sees the host of Satan's emissaries encamped before the solitary soul and says, Fly, for thy life fly, ere they overtake. Faith goes beyond, stoops not to count the opposing forces, and gives assurance of the victory. Sense says, "I shall one day fetish by the hand of Saul." Faith says, Greater is be that is for me titan all that can be against me. "Stand still and see the salvation of God."

IV. ANOTHER CAUSE OF HIS DESPONDENCY WAS HIS FORGETFULNESS OF THE DIVINE PROMISES. Had not Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, visited his father's house and anointed him king? Had not this choice again and again been ratified? Had not Saul, his enemy, been forced to acknowledge him as his successor? Yet Saul is to kill him.

V. SEE THE CONSEQUENCE OF ACTING ON SUCH CONVICTIONS. It may be that some of us have found our way into the land of the Philistines, have gone for peace and found war, gone for safety and have been more exposed. Why? Because we have acted against the Spirit and the Word. Take David's experience as confirmatory of such results. Listen no more to such misleading assertions. Die! yes, you will, as far as a separation of the body from the spirit is concerned; but by the hand of the enemy, never, no, never.

(J. H. Snell.)

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."

Top of Page
Top of Page