1 Samuel Series #12

“Dealing With Depression” - 1 Sam 27

i.   Introduction

A.  “Keep Your Jack!”

1.     A businessman happened to be traveling down a country road one evening when he had a flat tire

2.     It had already been a bad day and he was feeling rather depressed

3.     He got out of the car and opened the trunk to discover he didn’t have a jack

4.     Just a ¼ mile up the road was a farmhouse with a truck in the front yard

5.     The businessman realized the farmer would probably have a jack so he began walking

6.     As he approached the house he was feeling bad

a.      first because it had been a disappointing day all around

b.     second, because he got a flat in the middle of no where and had to change it himself

c.      third, because he didn’t have a jack

d.     fourth, because he had to depend on a total stranger for help

7.     As he got nearer to the house he began to prepare himself for rejection

8.     Then he got angry over the thought that this farmer would reject him

9.     By the time he knocked on the door and the farmer answered, he was so angry and depressed he simply said, “Keep your jack.”

B.  Depression

1.     Very often our outlook and expectations determine the results

2.     If we are trusting in God and hoping in Him, then our outlook is positive and we are filled with joy

3.     But if we have lost sight of God, then our outlook is negative and we may very well find ourselves in a pit of despair and depression

4.     How do we get out of that pit?

5.     That’s what we’ll be taking a look at today

ii.  text

A.  V. 1

{1}  And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.”

1.     At this point in the story of David, he has been fleeing from Saul for a long time

2.     He has lived the life of a fugitive; moving from place to place, living in the wilds and inhospitable lands of Israel

3.     There have been times when he has proven his innocence of any attempts to kill Saul or any conspiracy to take the throne away from him, but still Saul hounds him and seeks to kill him

4.     Here in v. 1 of ch. 27 we see the depressed cry of a man who has given up hope

B.  David’s Lament

1.     Notice what it says, “David said in his heart, ‘Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul.’”

2.     This wasn’t merely the musings of David’s mind as he considered his options

a.      this wasn’t some phrase he tossed out with his generals in order to get a discussion started on strategy

b.     he wasn’t fishing for kind words of comfort from his friends

3.     These were words of distressed that came from his heart

4.     The words in the Hebrew are striking: this came from his heart

a.      the core of his being

b.     the center of his will

c.      this wasn’t merely an idea David had that he was mulling over in his mind

d.     it was a solemn conclusion and statement of what David had come to believe about himself and his fate

1.     Notice the cause of David’s depression -

a.      in v. 1 = “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul.”

1)     he feared for his life

2)     but more than that, he became resigned to the fact that Saul would eventually get him

3)     this despite the fact that God had promised to preserve David and to bring him to the throne of Israel

b.   the real cause of David’s depression was nothing less than a lack of faith in God

c.      he lost hope - pure and simple - he had no confidence in God

6.   For the believer, the root of depression of the feeling that God has abandoned them

7.   There are several Psalms David wrote at this period of his life that give eloquent expression to what was going on in him

{Psa 10:1}  Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide in times of trouble?

8.   The person who is depressed has lost sight of God and feels that God has abandoned him or her

9.   David gives eloquent expression to that in these Psalms

{Psa 13:1-2}  How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

{2} How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

{Psa 22:1-2}  My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?

{2} O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent.

10. But it is Psalm 69 which is David’s clearest expression of how deep his depression at this point was . . .

{Psa 69:1-3}  Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.

{2} I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me.

{3} I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

11. Anyone who has been in the pit of depression can identify with David in these verses

12. It seems as though they are in a hole and are overwhelmed by trouble

13. And though they cry out to God, it seems He is silent and does not hear

14. And when a person is depressed and thinks they have been abandoned by God, then they take matters into their own hands and do really foolish things, as we see here with David . . .

C.  Vs. 2-3

{2} Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.

{3} So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s widow.

1.     David’s solution to the problem of Saul’s pursuit was to go and live among the enemies of the people of God, the Philistines

2.     David was so lost in a fog of despair at this time that he completely lost his way and got into a mode of life completely unworthy of a man of God

3.     Achish, the Philistine king, gave David and his men a city called Ziklag, to live in

4.     They moved there and then pretended to be allies of the Philistines by making raids on other enemies of Israel and bringing the spoils of these raids back to Achish and saying they had really been raiding Israel

5.     Achish was fooled by this and thought David had turned against his own people

6.     How sad, when a man of God seeks the favor of the enemies of God and uses lies, deceit, and outright brutality in order to do so

7.     But such is the course of the man or woman who falls into depression and losses sight of God

D.  Dealing With Depression

1.     I’m thankful for this story; because you know what—I have periods of depression

2.     There isn’t a man or woman here today that hasn’t known times of discouragement and despair

3.     Because we live in a fallen world and aren’t perfect in faith, we all struggle with what John of the Cross called, “the dark night of the soul”

4.     The only difference between us is the way we deal with it

5.     In fact, you know what—the Bible shows us that many of the people we honor as being stalwart examples of faith lost their way and fell into depression

6.     Naomi said, “Call me Bitter, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

7.     Hannah, the mother of Samuel cried out in utter despair at her bareness, “O Lord of Hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me.”

8.     Job complained, “I loath my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint, and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.”

9.     Even Solomon recognized the universal bent toward depression when in Proverbs 14:10 he remarked that each heart knows it’s own bitterness

10. The great Apostle Paul said that he knew what it meant to “despair even of life”[1]

11. Martin Luther’s wife had to rebuke him several times for acting as though God were dead

12. William Cowper, the hymnist who wrote, There Is A Fountain suffered from such paralyzing depression that he was often suicidal.

13. Charles Spurgeon, a man called the Prince of Preachers, and who was well known for his brilliant sense of humor frequently left the pulpit in such a gloomy mood that he would walk directly to his study where he would stay locked away and see no one for hours

14. What are we to make of Elijah crying out to God to kill him after the battle with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel?

15. What are we to say of Jeremiah - called the weeping prophet, the title of his book is called Lamentations!

16. Truly friends, because we live in a fallen world, and battle a real spiritual enemy, and because we stand this side of eternity, we are going to know moments, even seasons of depression

17. The question is, how do we deal with depression?

18. How can we, like David and the rest of the saints throughout time, overcome the darkness of despair and climb the sides of the pit back into the light?

19. First, let’s remember the cause of depression: depression is the emotional reaction to a loss of hope - and we lose hope because we have lost confidence in God

20. If we boil it down—depression is a lack of faith in God

21. Depression results when we think God has abandoned us; that He does not see, does not hear, and does not care

22. The depressed person doesn’t disbelieve in the existence of God; they just have come to believe that He has become detached from them, that He has withdrawn His hand and no longer cares for them

23. Now, I know that psychologists have come up with all kinds of causes for depression

a.      loss

b.     detachment

c.      anger

d.     all sorts of things

24. Indeed, the circumstances that initiate depression may be many, but the reason why people get lost in depression is because they lose sight of God

25. We cannot overcome depression by looking at what initiated it

26. We overcome depression by asking ourselves if we are reacting rightly to that thing

27. And if we are Christians, then we have to remember the promise of God in Hebrews 13:5-6, that He would never leave us nor forsake us but that He is present to help us in our time of need

28. Jesus’ parting words to His followers in Matthew 28 were these words, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

29. We began this morning by looking at David’s dark night of the soul and the Psalms he wrote at this time expressing his despair

30. And while he knew what it meant to be in the pit of depression, he also knew what it meant to come out

31. Notice David’s movement from darkness into light in Psalm 13 . . .

{1}  How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

{2} How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

{3} Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death;

{4} Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

{5} But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

{6} I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

32. David asks for God to open his eyes so that he might see things as they really are

33. Though surrounded by trouble, he puts his confidence in God who cannot fail

34. He remembers how God had never let him down, and is reminded that God cannot fail

35. This is the common testimony of those who have come out of a time of depression: It was always due to their own faithlessness, not God’s

a.      they universally admit they lost sight of God and threw themselves a pity-party

b.     they became preoccupied with their own troubles and felt sorry for themselves

c.      it wasn’t until they got their eyes and faith back on God that they escaped the pit

36. David sang in Psalm 34 . . .

{Psa 34:4-8}  I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

{5} They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.

{6} This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

{7} The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

{8} Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

iii. conclusion

A.  A Proper Perspective On Depression

1.     As we conclude, let’s understand that it is not sin to be depressed

2.     In life, we often encounter difficult times

3.     We all know disappointment

4.     It is not a sin to be depressed

5.     But depression can lead to sin if we allow ourselves to question the love and goodness of God

6.     You know, we live in a culture which has come to believe that it is our right to be free from all forms of emotional pain

7.     One reason why people are flocking to psychologists, psychiatrists, psycho-analysts, and counselors in record numbers is because they’ve been led to believe that if they experience the slightest emotional discomfort, there is something fundamentally flawed in their soul

8.     They believe it is their right to live in an unshaken state of perfect peace and total joy

9.     Let me tell you something Christian, the Bible promises us no such thing

10. The Christian life is no merry jaunt down the primrose path—it is a soldier’s life during wartime

11. There will be disappointments and setbacks

12. In Acts 14 we learn that it was part of the new believers classes in the early church to teach them that it is by “many tribulations that we enter into the Kingdom of God.”[2]

13. Jesus Himself said this, “In the world you shall have tribulation.”

a.      get it?

b.     there will be tough times ahead

c.      there will be dark times

d.     but He finished by saying this, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

e.      when you and I are tempted to despair because of the trials and tribulations, remember that Jesus has already overcome the biggest trial and obstacle facing man, death, and He defeated it

f.       this same Jesus has made you a promise to give you victory as you walk in trust in Him

[1] 2 Cor. 1:8

[2] Acts 14:21-22