Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.” So David arose and went over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought him. Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” So that day Achish gave him Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
1 Samuel 27:1-7
For those who were with us last week, you may remember that the theme of our sermon revolved around the New Testament encouragement to not grow weary in doing good. This was the theme of the sermon because of the example we saw in our text from David, who was a young man and God’s anointed king over Israel. Yet for years, he lived on the run because the current king at the time, a man named Saul, was bitter, jealous, and paranoid towards David, even though David was good towards him.
As you remember, the reason why Saul was so bitter, jealous, and paranoid is that Saul understood that David was a threat to his power and control. So, what we have read multiple times over the past several chapters were different attempts Saul made on taking David’s life. It was an obsession for Saul. In 1 Samuel, you get the sense that Saul woke up trying to figure out how to kill David. All day long, he would strategize on how he would kill David. As Saul laid his head to pillow at night, David was what he thought about.
So in 1 Samuel, as Saul obsessively tries to kill David, we read this reality put David on the run, trying to escape the murderous hand of Saul. However, even though David was on the run for years, throughout our study of 1 Samuel, we have seen David continue to do good, even good towards King Saul, which could not have been an easy thing for David to do.
Can you imagine how weary David must have been to do good towards Saul? In our study of 1 Samuel, the two places where we most clearly read about David doing good to Saul were in chapter 24, where David spared Saul’s life in a cave. Rather than kill Saul, all David did was cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. As you remember, David did this even though all those around David tried to convince him that he should seize the opportunity to take Saul’s life, which, by the way, would have made it much harder to continue doing good when everyone else was trying to convince you otherwise.
Then, in our text last week, in chapter 26, we read a story that had many parallels to the story in chapter 24. In our text last week, David found himself in a place where he could once again have easily killed Saul. As you may remember, David was able to sneak into Saul’s tent without anyone knowing about it, and as David sneaked into the tent, Saul’s trusty spear was thrust into the ground at his head. So it would have been so easy for David to take the spear and Saul’s life, especially considering that once again, that was the counsel given to him. One of David’s men who sneaked into the tent with David not only encouraged David to kill Saul but even offered to kill Saul for David.
Yet, in chapter 24 and again in our text last week in chapter 26, David did not grow weary of doing good. David spared Saul’s life even though Saul certainly did not do good to him.
In our text last week, David provided us with a good model, a good example, a good exhortation, to help spur us on to not grow weary in doing good. But now we get to our text this week, where we see David move from being weary to being defeated, despondent, depressed, burned out. Emotionally, it appears he simply could not do it anymore. So whereas last week’s text and so many others in 1 Samuel concerning the model of David are there to encourage us, inspire us, I think today’s text is there to help us identify with our weakness and how easy it can be to move from weary to defeated.
With that as our intro, look back with me in our text starting in verse 1, where we read of a bit of an internal conversation David had within his own heart, which is already a red flag for us in our text. David, weary David, is getting counsel from his own heart. This is not a good thing. In our text, in David’s own heart, he came to the conclusion, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.” Up to this point in 1 Samuel, no doubt David was discouraged, he no doubt was weary, but not like this. Up to this point in our study, David has exhibited so much confidence in the Lord, confidence in the promises the Lord made to him, confidence in the timing of God’s work, confidence in the Lord bringing forth justice.
But now, today, at the start of our passage, it was as if all that confidence dissipated, and he was left simply with despair. David moved from being discouraged but still trusting to defeated and overwhelmed with doubt. Here in our text today, David was convinced that things were never going to change, seemingly convinced that the Lord was not fully with him. And because of that, David’s heart convinced him that it was only a matter of time before Saul would finally capture and kill him, particularly if he tried to stick around Israel.
And because he was so defeated, we read that in his heart, David came up with a plan. A plan where he concluded that there was nothing better for him to do than to just get completely out of the area and escape to the land of the Philistines. Now, for a moment, let’s remind ourselves who the Philistines were. They have actually come up multiple times in our study of 1 Samuel. We first met the Philistines in chapter 4 when they captured the ark of God, only to place the ark in a temple of their pagan god Dagon, which was a symbolic act. The Philistines believed that their pagan god Dagon had defeated the one true and living God of Israel.
However, as you might remember from that story, the Lord knocked over the huge statue of Dagon to fall prostrate before the ark of God, which started a chain of events that eventually led to the ark of God being returned to Israel a few chapters later.
In chapter 13, the Philistines went to war against God’s people and were so successful in their attack that God’s people had to hide in caves and holes just to try to save their own lives. If you remember, back in chapter 13, it was really the downfall of Saul who performed the unlawful sacrifice in an attempt to manipulate God in his attempt to defeat the Philistines.
In chapter 14, we see more ongoing battles between God’s people and the Philistines. In this chapter, God was able to provide a miraculous victory through Saul’s son Jonathan, where the Lord confused the camp of the Philistines into such a panic that they started to attack each other.
Chapter 17 is the famous passage of David and Goliath, who was a Philistine. It’s a passage that began with God’s people and the Philistines in a bit of a staring contest on who would make the first move to kick off the battle.
In chapter 18, we read of more ongoing battles between God’s people and the Philistines, where David himself was able to lead God’s people to some decisive victories over the Philistines.
Finally, in chapter 21, which details a different time when David was not in a good emotional place, likewise, he fled to the land of the Philistines. However, David barely escaped with his life after he was spotted in the city of Gath. For David, his escape required him to put on his acting hat and act mentally ill, which helped keep his identity hidden.
Throughout 1 Samuel, there has been nothing positive about the Philistines. There has only been conflict and war, conflict and war between God’s people and this pagan nation. Yet here in our text today, down, discouraged, defeated, despondent, burned out David decided that the best plan for him going forward, where there was nothing better for him to do, was to head right into the pagan land, right into the teeth of the ongoing enemy of God’s people—the Philistines.
In our text, as he put this plan together in the counsel of his heart, he concluded that if he could escape to the Philistines, Saul would despair of seeking to kill David within the borders of Israel, so that in the land of the Philistines, David would finally escape out of Saul’s hand. Think about how defeated David was here in verse 1. He was so defeated, so despondent, so filled with doubt that in his heart, he concluded there was no better option for him but to head into the land of the ongoing pagan enemy of God and His people. This was a failed plan that he had tried a few chapters back in chapter 21, where he was barely able to escape with his life.
Friends, we will talk about this more at the end, but this is one of the many reasons why we can’t take counsel in our own hearts, especially when we are feeling defeated. Far too often, our own hearts lead us to very foolish places.
In verse 2, with his plan in place, we read that David got up, took his 600 men, and went to Achish, the son of Maoch, who was the king of Gath. Gath was one of the capital cities of the land of the Philistines, seemingly the same Achish David had fled from in chapter 21. David’s counsel in his own heart concluded that the best thing for him to do was to now flee to Achish, which further shows that David was not well.
In verse 3, we see that as David came to Achish, Achish received David and his men. We’ll get to why that was in just a second. Continuing at the end of verse 3, as David was received, he was able to live with Achish at Gath, along with all of his men and his household, including his two wives.
Let me mention here, as was mentioned a few verses back when we first learned that David had multiple wives, this was sin in David’s life, which would prove to be ongoing sin for him as throughout his life he had sexual sin towards women. So even though we can learn a lot from David on the positive, we can also learn from him on the negative as well, including here, not to play around with the traps of sexual sin, which he certainly did.
In verse 4, as David lived in Gath, we read that this information made its way back to Saul. When Saul heard that David was in Gath, we read that he no longer sought David. Perhaps because Saul was afraid of the Philistines, as much as he hated David and wanted David to die, it was just too risky for Saul to pursue him into the foreign land. Or perhaps Saul no longer sought to kill David because Saul perceived he was no longer a threat to him. I am sure Saul’s PR people did a great job of using David in Gath to label him a traitor, which chapter 30 seems to show some indication of.
Whatever the reasoning, Saul gave up his pursuit, and I should mention here that it does prove that David did have some truth when he took counsel in his own heart and fled to Gath. Saul indeed left him alone. By the way, this is one of the dangers when we take counsel in our own heart. Often, there are some elements of truth in them. Unfortunately, those elements of truth often are not married to trust in God, which I think was true of David throughout chapter 27. Different commentators I read this week pointed out that David throughout this text was relying on his cunning insight rather than relying on the Lord and His word. This is such a temptation for us.
Especially when we are burned out, which we will talk about more in just a bit.
In verse 5, after David and his men were originally with Achish in Gath, we read that David was hoping to relocate and settle down in the country. So David went to Achish and said, “Achish, if I have found favor in your eyes, could you give me and my men a place to dwell in one of the country towns?” I think this was just a further indication of how down and defeated David was. He didn’t head to Gath for some R and R, where he hoped to recharge his batteries before heading back home, which is what he did in chapter 22 when he fled to Moab, the home of his great-grandma Ruth.
You get the sense in our text today that in David’s mind, this was going to be a little more permanent. He was looking to settle down and plant roots with no intentions of heading back home. Rather, he was defeated, waving the white flag here. He was giving up on one day becoming the King of Israel, just aiming to live a nice, quiet life out in the country, away from all the drama and heartache that came with the good that he was doing.
In verse 6, as David made his request, we see that Achish agreed to it and gave David Ziklag, a location lost to history. However, most scholars believe it was maybe around 15-25 miles to the southwest of Gath, perhaps for cunning David, just far enough away from Achish that he could have a little more freedom to do his own thing out from under Achish’s watchful eye.
In our text, as David and his men were given Ziklag, we read that up to the point when 1 Samuel was written, that area belonged to the kings of Judah until that day. This information is setting up this text to show how the Lord was still at work through defeated and cunning David in ways that the Lord was still accomplishing His will. We will get to this when we come to the end of our study in 1 Samuel. So even though David here was giving up on doing good, the Lord was still at work doing good.
Verse 7 tells us that as David and his men moved to Ziklag to put down roots, they were in the country of the Philistines for a year and four months. This was probably far less time than what David expected when they unloaded their ancient moving truck, yet still enough time for a lot to happen, for the Lord to be at work as He was pursuing David.
Verse 8 is where we see the reason Achish was so willing to let David and his men enter his land and give David and his men Ziklag to be their home. Let’s be mindful here that David was just as much a rival to the Philistines as they were to him. In fact, one could argue that David was more of a rival to the Philistines simply because David always won. You can imagine how much the Philistines hated David. After all, David even got the win over the giant man, Goliath. So if you were a Philistine, imagine how much you would have despised David.
Imagine how much you would have feared David. So why would Achish let this victorious rival warrior into the land and be so accommodating to him? Well, because we read starting in verse 8 that David basically came to Achish to be his willing mercenary. In our text, they were willing to go and make raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites, each of which were tribes who lived in or near the Philistine land. These tribes were inhabitants of the land from of old, as far as Shur to the south in the land of Egypt.
In verse 9, as David and his men would go on raids, what they would do is strike these tribes in such a way that they would leave neither man nor woman alive. But we read they would spare whatever livestock was present, whether it be sheep, oxen, donkeys, or camels. And as David spared the livestock, we see that David would also gather together all of the garments to take back the spoils to Achish.
Now, let me hit pause here just to think through what is happening. It’s a little hard to know how to best interpret this, so let me give you a few options. First option: David’s actions here further underscore how off David was in this text. Here he is being a mercenary, a soldier of fortune for Achish, killing Achish’s enemies in such a way that he completely wiped them out and not only did he wipe them out, he pillaged what they had, only to give it to Achish as a spoil of war.
Now, let’s explore these options further. The first option is that David’s actions here would have made Achish and the dreaded Philistines that much more powerful. The second option is to see what David was doing here as an indication that he had finally come to his senses and was back to trusting in the Lord. It’s not a sign of how defeated he was but a sign that the fog had lifted. In the book of Joshua, when God’s people entered into the Promised Land, they were instructed to wipe out the pagan tribes of the land. Similarly, in 1 Samuel, the Lord instructed Saul to wipe out the Amalekites as part of God’s just judgment on them for their wicked ways. So it’s possible that in this text, David leaving neither man nor woman alive was an act of God’s just judgment, and David was simply doing what Saul had failed to do. In the end, David wasn’t strengthening the Philistines; rather, he was weakening some other enemies of God’s people in ways that would allow them to concentrate more of their efforts on defeating the Philistines. That’s the second option.
Then there’s a third way to understand this, which is what I tend to think happened. David did come to his senses, but here he was trying to back his way out. However, he wasn’t necessarily trusting in the Lord; instead, he was relying on his cunning and clever thoughts. He was trying to weasel himself out of the predicament he had put himself in when he fled to the Philistines.
As mentioned, there were prior instructions to wipe out the tribes listed in our text today. So perhaps that instruction was still binding on David, although we do not get that information in the text concerning whether it was or was not still binding on David as part of his responsibility.
However, what we do know is that when Saul was told to wipe out the Amalekites in an early passage in 1 Samuel 15, he was also instructed to wipe out their livestock, whether it be sheep, oxen, donkeys, or camels. One of Saul’s failures in chapter 15 is that he spared the livestock, which angered the Lord. So even if David was just in wiping out the various tribes listed in verse 8 as part of obedience (which is debatable depending on how you feel about this command being binding on David), the action of David taking the spoils back to Achish seems to me to be much less debatable.
At least to me, this really feels like David trying to be cunning, trying to be sly and crafty, attempting to manipulate Achish to win him over with the spoils. So, at least to me, I think this is David attempting to get himself out of the jam that he put himself in at the start of the text. Perhaps he sought to use some elements of obedience, i.e., wiping out the tribes, but using that obedience as almost an outlet or an escape for David to start backing himself out of the jam.
I will let you decide on your own which of these options you think was happening here.
As mentioned, I think this was the third option that I just gave you. David came to his senses, recognized what he did, and acknowledged how he put himself between a rock and a hard place. So he was trying to back his way out, happy to try to do the Lord’s work, but also happy how the Lord’s work could be used cunningly by him to help weasel his way out. Let’s be honest here; isn’t this us when we might put ourselves in some kind of jam due to our own poor decisions?
When we might be excited for some kind of opportunity for obedience, but we do it with mixed motives because at least part of us sees the obedience as a way to manipulate our way out, making the obedience not fully for the Lord but also for ourselves. I think that’s David here.
Verse 10: As David did his mercenary work, Achish would get reports from David to see where it was that he made a raid that day. And as Achish asked for a report, David responded with something like, “Today, I went against the Negeb of Judah,” or “I went against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or “I went against the Negeb of the Kenites.”
A few quick thoughts here just to help us understand what he’s saying: Negeb refers to a region to the south of where the land of the Philistines was located, right on the border of Saul’s kingdom, perhaps even into Saul’s kingdom.
As David shared reports of who he went against, he would say it was against the various tribes or clans who were located in that region, the region of Negeb.
Secondly, if this was actually what David was doing, it would have been a sign that the fog actually did not lift from him. Rather, it would have been a sign that he was still defeated and really in a bad place. The reason for that is because from what we see in 1 Samuel, at least two of the three tribes listed here in verse 10, the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites, were allies of God’s people. In chapter 15, we already met the Kenites, and they were listed very favorably. Then when we get to chapter 30, both of those tribes are listed in ways that also appear to be favorable. So if David was indeed acting against those tribes of Negeb, not only was he fighting for his enemy, but more than that, he would have been fighting against his allies.
However, the third thing I want to point out here is that most scholars actually don’t think what David told Achish was true.
It appears that the report David gave to Achish was a false report, a lie from David. Those were the tribes that David made his raids against. So the report that David gave to Achish seems to be a further attempt by David to be cunning and deceitful, where he lied and made up stories about raids against the allies of Israel to cover up who he actually was raiding, which were indeed enemies of Israel.
Now, let me mention here that at times, deception might be the right thing to do. Let me give you two classic examples. The first is the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua, where Rahab hid two spies of Moses and was deceptive when enemies of God were trying to track them down. In her deception, she saved their lives, and because of Rahab’s actions, she is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. The second is a story from somewhat recent history, the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family, who famously hid Jews from the Nazis. They were deceptive to the Nazis when they came to Ten Boom’s home. So, at times, deception might be the right thing to do.
But at least to me, what David did here feels a little different. This still feels to me a little more like David trying to dig himself out of the hole he put himself in.
Verse 11: As David gave his deceptive report to Achish, we read once again that David would leave neither man nor woman alive from the tribes he actually raided to bring to Gath. Our text tells us that David would kill them all because he didn’t want Achish to find out where he actually was raiding. David did this because he continued to take counsel in his own heart, thinking to himself, “Lest they should tell Achish about us and say, ‘David has done this.'” Meaning if anyone from the tribes he actually attacked survived, no doubt they would tell Achish what David was up to, which obviously he didn’t want Achish to know about. This is why he killed them all.
To me, the way the author presents this, I think he wants us to see that this is more of David covering his own tracks, trying to dig himself out of the pit, trusting in himself, his own wisdom, and cunning. He didn’t wipe out those tribes for the Lord but to save himself.
The end of verse 11 tells us that this was not just a one-time thing David did, where he lied once, deceived once, and then immediately felt bad about it and repented to the Lord. Rather, we read that this was David’s custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines. Meaning, once he went down this path, he felt he had to keep going.
It’s clear that to cover up one deception, David had to create other deceptions, and this continued to snowball. He thought it was the best course of action to the point that it became David’s custom. The burned-out and defeated David in our text today looked so different from the weary David we read about in the last few chapters.
Finally, our text today ends with verse 12, where we read that David was successful in his cunning behavior and his game of deception because Achish bought into what David was saying and trusted him. Achish thought to himself, “David has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore, he will always be my servant.” This clearly indicates that Achish believed David was attacking the allies of Israel who were located in the Negeb region, which certainly would have made God’s people turn on David if that is what he was actually doing.
As I close, I do have several thoughts for us concerning feeling burned out, defeated, and despondent, which perhaps some of you this morning are currently experiencing. So I have a few things I want to point out:
First, burnout is a real thing, especially if there is prolonged weariness that you have been carrying. Eventually, weariness might overwhelm you to the point where you cross the line into burnout.
Friends, the reality that we see in the Scriptures is that we all are weak, we all are frail, and we all are nothing but dust. This means we all can fall prey to burnout; none of us can just go, go, go without it eventually catching up to us. Even if you are as great as David, burnout is a possibility.
I think this is especially true in the burnout culture we live in, where it is so tempting to always be on the go, running from one thing to the next, with little to no margin. Even if we find downtime, we give it to things like endlessly scrolling on social media and listening to one podcast after another, never letting our minds rest. Even before sin entered the world, God created us to have rest. So how much more do we need to be mindful of rest now that we battle the effects of sin?
In the context of our passage, David was weary, weary from always being on the run, and it eventually caught up to him.
Now, unlike us, where we almost choose to put ourselves on the run, David was forced to be on the run by Saul. But even as great as David was, I’ll say it again, it caught up to him, and David crashed. He started to trust in the counsel of his own heart more than he trusted in the counsel from the heart of God. By the way, let me mention here, in chapter 22 when David was getting some R and R in Moab, the prophet came to him and told him that the Lord’s desire was for David to go back to Judah and remain there. Yet in our text, David burned out, trusted his own counsel, rejected God’s word, and fled from Judah. This would have been hard to believe because, up to this point, over and over again, he was such a rock, such a great model of trusting in the Lord and His Word.
For us, because burnout is real, even for the best of us, we have to be wise with our time, our schedules, and how we are investing our energy to ensure we are doing things that can help prevent burnout. On the negative side, this might mean for some of you really need to learn to say no to work. You put in an honest week’s work, but once that is fulfilled, you have to step away. For others, this might mean you really should consider cutting out things like social media and podcasts because all they are doing is keeping your mind going and going, which is not sustainable. Our minds need downtime.
For still yet others, this might mean you have to take an honest look at your schedule and cut out things that just are not necessary, just so you can have some margin. On the positive side, as you cut out things that can lead to burnout, create space to do things like engaging in various spiritual disciplines, Bible intake, prayer times, and Scripture memorization so that the Lord can fill you.
But it’s not just spiritual disciplines that we should engage in. For some, create space so you can go for family walks or have time to play with your kids and engage with your spouse. Do things with friends. For some, maybe you just need to slow down to take in a sunset or gaze at the stars. One of the things Jesus actually instructed us to do in the Sermon on the Mount was even to watch the birds. When is the last time you slowed down to do that?
Furthermore, let me encourage you to take vacations, particularly vacations that are restful, not on the go. Turn off your work computer and pick up a book or a fishing pole. This is why my family is such a big believer in camping; if you have the ability to camp, let me encourage you to do it.
To say it again, we are all weak, frail, nothing but dust, and we can be weary for only so long before we move into burnout, defeat, despair, despondency, overcome with doubt. So we have to live our life, number our days humbly, by being good stewards and understanding that burnout is real.
Which leads to the second thing I wanted to mention here.
Burnout comes with symptoms, and the model of David in the text reminds us that burnout can really mess with us and cause us to do some really foolish things. So, it’s important to know some symptoms to help us spot burnout, not just in ourselves but also in others. This is part of why we want to connect as a community – to help each other not move from being weary in doing good into burnout.
By the way, one of my favorite stories in the Bible that I think speaks toward that end is with Moses and his father-in-law Jethro in the book of Exodus. In that story, Moses was basically doing everything, having his hands on so many things within Israel. It wasn’t good for him, his family, or God’s people as a whole for Moses to have his hands on everything. So, in the story, as Jethro was observing Moses, he could see how weary he was. He simply went to Moses to tell him, “Hey Moses, what you are doing is not good; you are going to burn out.” Moses, lovingly rebuked by his father-in-law, humbly accepted the criticism, and Jethro and Moses put together a much more sustainable plan for Moses that really benefited everyone. To say it again, we’ve got to help each other here, and one of the ways we help is to know some symptoms of burnout.
Now, I’m sure there are more signs and symptoms than what I am going to give here from what we see in the text, but that being said, I do think these are common ones.
I will give you 3.
The 1st symptom is a trust in self. Which does not necessarily mean you are burned out. But when you are burned out, this is very common. Where you are so defeated by life, that the only person you trust going forward is yourself. Where the only counsel you receive in life decisions is the counsel in your own heart. Where you can’t really even trust in the Lord.
And this is certainly true of David here. This was the start of the text, where we could see right away in verse 1 that something was not right here with David. Rather than trusting in the Lord, his promises, his word, David took counsel in his own heart and decided it was best for him to head to Gath to find refuge.
Friends, when we are burned out, we go into this survival mode, and in survival mode, often the only person we trust is ourselves. No one can speak into our life.
2nd symptom: irrational behavior. When we are burned out, burning out, we start to do things that in our right mind we would never do. In fact, in our right minds, it would be shocking to do these things. That is a real part of this story today. Shocking irrational behavior by David. Shocking at the start to see him deny the Lord and leave Judah after we just saw him show such trust in the Lord throughout the time we have met him in 1 Samuel, including chapters 24 and 26 where he encouraged others so boldly to trust in the Lord.
It was shocking to see David not only leave Judah, but he then picked up his things to head to Gath, the home of his enemy. Then, while he was in Gath, which was his attempt to save his own life, he hired himself out as a soldier of fortune, which only would have put his life at great risk. David was not thinking clearly here. He was not acting rationally. He was not able to connect the dots or see a bigger picture or put together a thoughtful plan. In his survival mode, he was acting irrationally.
3rd symptom: Hopeless outlook. Which really is one of the biggest signs of burnout; you just feel hopeless. I think we see this in two places in the text. First is when David concluded at the start that if he didn’t leave, Saul would eventually fulfill his quest and kill him. Second is when David sought to put down roots in Ziklag. I think both of these acts were David waving the white flag of life, where he was so defeated he lost hope. The fog was so heavy he didn’t think it would ever lift.
Now, as mentioned, I am sure there are more symptoms than these. And as mentioned, these symptoms do not necessarily mean you are burned out, but they are common, and they are things we need to be mindful of for ourselves and for those around us.
Which leads to the last thing I wanted to say before we close, which relates to those who are seeing these symptoms in your life or maybe even the life of someone you live with: what are we to do if we are burned out? The love of Jesus is there for people who are burned out.
Here is typically what we do when we are defeated:
1. We simply stay there and live a shell of life where we have no hope, no joy, no purpose. Rather, we are just waiting for our time to die, which feels like David in the beginning of the text.
2. We try to dig ourselves out by our own strength, our own wisdom, our own effort. To say it one last time, to me, this feels like what David was doing at the end of our text.
But neither of these options of what we typically do are good. But there is a good one, a really good option. In fact, it is the only option. Friends, when we are burned out, defeated, despondent, weak, there is a savior for us, a savior who loves his people, whose name is Jesus. And Jesus is one who can identify with us in every way yet without sin.
However, friends, the good news is even though Jesus is without sin, for our sake, he became sin to take on the punishment of our sin, which he took upon himself on the cross, only to rise again on the third day to prove that indeed he is the victory over all things, where sin, death, and the devil have been defeated.
And in the Scripture, as Jesus came to die and rise again, as mentioned, he identifies with us in our weakness. And as he identifies with us, as he knows that we are nothing but dust, please hear the words that he calls out to us:
“From Matthew 11: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
And friend, know that as we come to Jesus, even when we come to him completely defeated, Matthew 12 goes on to tell us: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench.” Rather, in his love, Jesus will care for us.
So, friend, today, if you walked through the door waving the white flag in defeat, please turn to Christ and by faith, let him be your strength in your weakness. Trusting fully in him, not in self.