Tornado of Lies
When life gets difficult, often we rely on our own methods and lies to get us through rather than a dependable and merciful God.
Morning. My name is David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
Did you know that Thanksgiving is one of the most popular days of the year for lying?
I mean think about it:
Here you are, with your family, basically checking in on the past year, and…
Maybe you slightly embellished a story to make yourself sound better
Maybe you made up some statistics during the family debate on politics to make yourself sound smarter
Maybe you told a white lie to avoid hurting a family member’s feelings.
Unfortunately, unlike having to eat Grandma’s weird side dish, lying isn’t just an isolated event that only takes place on Thanksgiving.
I’m of the belief that lying is so ingrained within us, that most people can’t go an entire day without lying.
We lie…all the time.
Most people even lie to their kids every day.
They say, “If you don’t get in the car with me right now, I’ll leave you here by yourself” Sure you will.
You say, “Stop playing with that, or you’re going to get your eye poked out”
Has anyone…EVER…met anyone who got their eye poked out playing with something as a young kid?
“Yeah, that’s John, he wears the eye patch because he poked his out throwing legos!”
If you don’t believe me about lying, or you haven’t thought of this before, I want you to try to go through the rest of the day, and be ruthlessly honest…no lying
I think you’ll find significantly more difficult than it sounds.
But if you try it, you’ll notice something.
It’s harder, but it’s clearly better.
We’re going to see that principle lived out in our passage today as we continue in our Monarchy series on the book of 1 Samuel.
In 1 Samuel, our new central figure, David, is on the run from King Saul, who wants to end David’s life.
Our House Group that met last week, took a look at chapter 20 where David’s friend Jonathan (Saul’s son) makes one last plea to Saul in order to spare David’s life…but it doesn’t work.
And now we’re going to join David as he continues to run for his life
(1 Samuel 21:1-15) – NIV
David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” 2 David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.” 4 But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.” 5 David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” 6 So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away. 7 Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd. 8 David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.” 9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” 10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”
So we see David is all alone and on the run
And he’s run away so quickly that he has neither food nor sword
And now he goes to see the priest.
It’s not just any priest, but the Bible tells us that Ahimelek is actually the great-grandson of Eli, the priest we read about in the early chapters of 1 Samuel…the one who raised the prophet Samuel as a boy.
And David is unsure if he can trust Ahimelek
Ahimelek isn’t necessarily a bad man, we’ll see in the next chapter, that he’s actually a man of great integrity.
But David is unsure if he can trust him, and instead of telling him the truth…David begins to lie.
And thus begins an entire chapter of lying.
The priest is confused why a great man like David, a commander of a large army, is wandering around by himself.
So he asks him, “Why are you alone?”
David lies: He says, “King Saul sent me on a mission!”
“And I’m alone because…I’m meeting my men…at a ‘certain place’”
He lies again.
David says, “I haven’t brought my sword because….the king’s mission is URGENT!”
He lies again.
Then David carries on from the priest, and he’s so lost, and so afraid, that he thinks it’s a great idea to go find refuge in the city of his enemies
He wanders off with the sword of Goliath to the Philistine town of Gath.
Gath is the hometown of Goliath!
David’s not thinking straight!
You ever get like this?
You just feel so lost and afraid…life is chasing you down…it’s like you can’t even make simple decisions anymore.
Well, David is quickly discovered.
SO much for that hiding in the “den of your enemies” plan!
And we’re told that he’s afraid of Achish the King of Gath (one of the 5 Philistine kings) because now Achish knows who he is.
And so one lie leads to another, then another, and before David knows it, now he’s pretending to be insane and drooling out of his mouth.
This is all crazy!
This is the same guy that we just read about a few weeks ago that conquered Goliath!
I’ll tell you what happened: David faced some really hard times.
Think about the hard times we experience: Losing a job, a relationship, you name it.
David has someone who’s constantly trying to MURDER him. MURDER him!!
THE CONSEQUENCES OF LYING
The problem for David…is that when he starts to get lost in his trials, he starts to get desperate, and starts to turn to his own sin (to his lies) to prop him up …instead of his God.
He could have told the priest the truth.
He could have just asked God where to go…instead of foolishly running into enemy territory and having to pretend to be insane.
But when life gets hard, it can be challenging to keep depending on God.
Am I right?
We get scared of what’s coming in the future.
Just like David was.
He was afraid.
And if life has been hard on you lately, hear me on this:
Don’t cut corners.
Don’t now try and do it your way
Don’t lean on your own understanding
Don’t stop depending on God
When life gets harder, it gets even MORE important that we depend on God’s ways.
But for most of us, we do the opposite…we depend on our own ideas.
David does this…and it has some serious consequences.
His foolishness gets him captured in Gath
And worse yet, all of his lying, actually gets the priest he met with killed.
You’re going to get to dive deeper into this in House Groups this week (By the way, if you’re part of the 20% or so that’s not in a House Group yet)…no time like the present…sign-up today and see what all the fuss is about!
What you’ll see in house groups, in chapter 22, is that Saul finds out that David met with the priest, and he confronts the priest saying, “Why were you helping David!?!?
To which the priest basically says, “I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to”
Because remember David lied to him and told him that Saul sent him on a mission
But then, tragically, Saul kills the priest because he thinks he’s an accomplice with David.
And I think one of the things God wants us to see from this chapter is that when we turn to ourselves, our sin, our lies, to prop us up, not only is it not going to work, it’s going to have consequences!
David is counting on his lies to protect him instead of his God
And I want you to start asking yourself some hard questions…let’s walk through this…
Why do we lie in the first place?
We lie because we think the lie will help things go better for us
Where is this happening in your life?
We lie about what we’ve done…both good and bad.
Sometimes we make something up, sometimes we just don’t share something bad
We make ourselves look better to make people like us
We leave the bad parts out, so people like us
I mean, how many people REALLY, FULLY know you?
The unfiltered you?
With no lies and no omissions?
We lie to ourselves about what we really struggle with, or where our marriage really is, or how long it’s REALLY been since we had a good talk with God.
And the bigger problem is, lying not only doesn’t work, it’s an exponential sin.
Imagine that truth is a straight line.
When you lie, it’s like taking a step off of the line of truth.
And that feels awkward to us (because it’s not what you were created for)
So what happens is, often we have to create another lie to support our original lie. (start walking around in a circle)
And now, we need to create two more lies to support our first two lies…
And it feels like you’re walking back towards the line of truth, but you’re not…
And what happens is, you’re got so much momentum whipped up in supporting your lies, they they become a tornado of lies
Both whipping you into a state of confusion and causing damage to lives around you.
You ever meet people who are just completely irrational about something?
Like, any simple logical statement ought to quickly debunk their beliefs
We have plenty of reality TV shows dedicated to these types of people (hoarders, etc.)
And yet, you can’t quickly debunk their belief system to them because, to them, they have a complex tornado system of lies that they’ve built.
Which actually makes this a difficult message to give. J
Because I might be speaking to every single one of your lives, but most of you are so deep in this, you’ve been thinking, “Clearly he’s not speaking to me!” J
GOD’S EVER PRESENT MERCIES
So how do you know if this is you?
The Bible often says that we know truth by it’s fruit.
Is your life working?
Are you growing more holy? Becoming more like God?
Is He using you more and more?
Are you falling more and more in love with Jesus?
If you’re not, and secondly, you don’t KNOW WHY…then…maybe you are in some sort of tornado?
And like David, maybe you’ve been trying to do it through your own methods, but it’s not working.
So how do you get out?
You see the hand of God reaching into your tornado.
One of the things I absolutely love about this passage is the little mercies of God in the midst of David’s chaos.
David is bold-face lying to the priest, and yet God provides him with food for his journey.
The priest’s holy bread of the presence from the tabernacle no less.
Which Jesus himself directly references later as an example of when necessity trumps legalism
God mercifully provides for David, even when he didn’t have to.
But does David notice?
Does he get it?
The bread of the presence in the tabernacle was an important symbol.
There were 12 loaves, symbolic of God always providing for the 12 tribes of Israel.
David is starting to run, and in his fear he stops trusting in God, and God’s saying, “Hey, eat of this bread, WHICH MEANS “I’m always providing for you”
God is reaching his hand into the tornado…saying, “Come out of there…and let’s walk the line of truth”
David didn’t have a sword for his perilous journey into enemy territory.
The priest says, “The Sword of Goliath” is here
“It is!” David says
Does he get it?!
This is the very sword that cut of Goliath’s head.
The miraculous victory that who brought about??
Back when David was really leaning on Him.
Again, God reaches his hand into David’s tornado…trying to remind him of truth…trying to pull him out.
David gets caught in Gath…and pretends to be insane
And the ruler says, “Meh, I’ve got enough insane people in my city already, just get out of here.”
Excuse me, what!?!
God is working here.
Does David see it?
And I love this about God.
I truly do.
You and I…we’re ridiculous.
We lie to people…we lie to ourselves…much of our lives are just us running from God & truth and running to the pain of sin.
And yet, our God…has mercy on us.
Most of us have got ourselves whipped up in another tornado…and yet, God keeps extending his hand of mercy to us.
Little things here and there.
Do you see it??
There was a famous preacher from 75 years ago who used to tell a story a mother cat, with a baby kitten in her mouth, trying unsuccessfully to get across a busy New York City intersection.
That mother cat would meander timidly out into the traffic and then dart back to the curb when nearly hit by a passing car.
A traffic policeman in the center of the intersection, seeing her plight, thrust up his hands to stop traffic in both directions.
The anxious cat scampered across to the other side and disappeared down an alley.
Now, that cat had no idea that the authority of the New York City Police Department had been called upon to enable her to get safely across the street.
How often do you think the mighty hand of God goes up to get you safely to where he wants you to be and we're not even aware of it?
Or, maybe we see it…but we’re too busy spinning around…that we ignore it.
We just want to stay propped up on the lie that we’re so fast, we got ourselves across that street!
During this past week of Thanksgiving, I came across a story about a party of pioneers on the Oregon Trail who suffered for weeks from a scarcity of water and grass for their animals.
Most of the wagons had broken down, causing endless delays in the stifling heat.
All of their optimism and cheer were gone. They were losing hope and courage.
One night the leaders called a meeting to air complaints.
When they gathered around the campfire, one man stood up and said, "Before we commence our grief session, don't you think we should at least first thank God that he has brought us this far with no loss of life, with no serious trouble from raiding parties or bandits, and that we have enough strength left to finish our journey?"
And after that, no one had any complaints after all.
It’s why I think Thanksgiving is such a helpful holiday.
When you sit around the table, and you’re forced to say what you’re thankful for… it causes you to start taking notice of your life.
And when you do that, you’re going to say, “Huh, I guess God does keep reaching into my life?”
I keep doing all of this stuff…propping my life up on lies even…and He, in his mercy, just keeps reaching for me.
What love He has for you!
He knew you were going to wander.
Before he even sent his son to die for you…he knew about every time you would run from him.
He’s the ONLY ONE who sees past all the lies and sees the real you
Listen, God didn’t die for some future, perfect version of you, but the real you.
And he loves you so much that despite everything we keep doing, he keeps reaching out for us.
It reminds me of my brother-in-law.
When he was a little kid, he decided he was going to “run away from home,” just like almost every kid does once or twice in their life.
And before he left, his mother, who’s a great parent, said, “Well, first before you go, let me pack you a lunch”
And he sat there with his arms folded while his mom packed him a lunch to go in his “running away backpack”
Isn’t that what God kind of does?
We’re running away and he says, “Well, if you’re going to run, take some of the bread…and here, have this sword”
We keep spinning our tornado, and he keeps offering his hand.
TURN TO GOD
And so when you notice God’s hand coming into your life…you notice His mercies…step out of the tornado…and grab his hand and his truth.
A good portion of the Psalms are written by David, and many of them during this specific time of his life: his time on the run.
In fact, Psalm 34 tells us it was written as he was in Gath pretending to be insane
And David, during this time, writes:
(Psalm 34:2-4) – NIV
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
And we’ll see in David’s life…he starts worshipping and trusting in God again.
This crazy bout doesn’t last long.
And yet, it won’t be the last time either.
David’s most infamous sin, was his adultery with Bathsheeba, and yet even after that, unlike so many others in his situation, He somehow continues this really strong relationship with God.
And it’s BECAUSE whenever David sins, he’s really good at acknowledging it.
He essentially says, “I’ve whipped myself up in this tornado of lies, and it’s spinning me around and wreaking havoc everywhere…I need to grab God’s hand”
But for too may of us, even though God continues to pursue us and show us mercies, we just continue in our tornado of lies, because we simply do not what to admit the truth.
That we’re wrong…and we need Him.
But you do need Him.
And He’s so good.
It’s time for a change.
So do the right thing…and the good thing today…grab his hand…and come back to Him. (COMMUNION IS NEXT!!!)
This morning, we are going to take communion together as well.
Just as God tried to get across to David (through the bread) that He is with Him and will provide for him, He wants to do the same for us.
In the NT, Paul writes this about the reason for communion:
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26) – NIV
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
And that is what we will do. But Paul also writes in this passage that we ought to examine ourselves before taking communion.
To 1) not do it in vain. To only do it if we truly believe it. And if you’re still just seeking, that’s ok. You’re on a journey. 2) Communion is an opportunity for believers to examine themselves
So know that when you take communion today, that it’s a powerful symbol of God providing for you.
You could not save your own life.
But God provided…and sent his son.
In the back, there are 2 tables….with pieces of bread and a bowl of juice. When you’re ready, you can get up take an individual piece of bread and dip it in the juice.
However, take some time to examine yourself before you go back.
Sometime to remember what He’s done and what He will do
And when you’re ready, at any time during the next few songs (if you need to wait, wait), you can go back and take communion.
If you would like to pray while you’re back there, we encourage you to do so. With each other, by yourself, or our prayer team will be in the back to pray for you as well (POINT THEM OUT)
We really just want you to encounter God during our service.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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