Journey to Despair (9-13)

Sermon brought to you by guest speaker Bri Sherman. Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached. Discussion guide is found at the bottom of the post.

1 Samuel 28:5-20

Two roads are before you.  One leads to despair, one leads to hope.  It is up to you which road you follow.  It is up to you which road you end up on.

  1. Fear – vs. 5
    1. Fear causes us to spiral, to do irrational things.
      1. Me – SIGNS
    1. If he had kept close to God…
    1. “He saw from the superiority of his enemies, from the state of his army, and especially from his own state towards God, that he had everything to fear.” (Clarke)
    1. When we come face to face with fear, we can do one of two things:

Turn to                       Turn away

  • Vs. 6 – Ritual – Saul went through the motions
    • Urim – by these means priests would inquire of the Lord.  A sort of casting lots.  If Urim, then….., If Thurrim, then….
    • We have all been guilty of going through the motions.  But HEART matters!
    • Think of it this way – teenager cleaning the entire kitchen after YOU host a NYE party…
    • “Men … will go through a great deal of mechanical service in the hope of securing his favor…” (Expositors)
    • “The form of divine service may be kept up or it may not: but God is not their God, and God’s will is not their rule.  They have left God’s ways, they have followed their own.”  (Expositors)
    • We all know someone like this.  1. They go to church, tithe, maybe even serve….  OR  2. something drastic happens (health scare, death of a loved one…) and they fall into the motions quickly.  But without the HEART, it doesn’t stick.  A few months later, maybe even a few years later….they are right back to where they were before…
    • If you have been going through the motions lately, it isn’t too late to turn ritual/religion into relationship!!  You can choose to remain in ritual (it makes you feel good) OR you can choose to repent, OWN your sin, and enter into a real relationship with the Lord.  Put your heart into it!
  • Vs. 7 – Desperation – he began to seek help in the wrong places.
    • Desperate times call for desperate measures…
    • Desperation causes us to do things that don’t make sense.  FRESH PRINCE
    • or things we would NEVER do under normal circumstances.
    • This is where the moment where sin begins to spiral out of control.  It begins to compound – adding one sin on top of another…
    • Think of a drug addict or abortion
    • But what about something smaller like white lies…
    • Saul was sell you soul to the devil desperate….“Since he can discern no comfort either from heaven or earth…he resolves to knock at the gates of hell.”  (Henry)  “It drives the distressed one to wells without water, to refuges of lies, to trees twice dead, to physicians who have no medicines, to gods who have no salvation…”   (Expositors)
    • But here’s the thing about desperation, it can cause us to do crazy in the name of sin OR it can cause us to do crazy in the name of Jesus.  If you are desperate, let it drive you INTO the arms of Jesus, not away.
  • Vs. 8 – Shame / Guilt
    • That shame leads to deceitfulness, hiding, isolation.  Odds are, if you feel the need to hide what you are doing, you might need to check your heart.
    • “Evil works are works of darkness and they hate the light…” (Henry)
  • Vs. 15-19 – Despair
    • Despair is defined as the complete loss or absence of hope.
    • Rock bottom
    • If only he had sought God sooner!  For Saul, it was too late, destruction was at hand.  Israel, himself, and his children.
    • For you – it is NOT too late.  You can hit rock bottom and climb up from there!
    • Keep in mind that the last day, judgment day IS coming, like Saul, destruction can be at hand…
  • Instead…
    • At ANY point you can choose to turn toward Christ instead of away from Him. 
    • “Why, O Saul, do you not fall in the dust before Him?…Saul was incapable of that exercise of soul which would have saved him and his people.” (Expositors)
    • “Most terrible effect of cherished sin!  It dries up the fountains of contrition and they will not flow.  It stiffens the knee and they will not bend.  It paralyses the voice and it will not cry.  It blinds the eyes and they see not the saviour.  It closes the ears and the voice of mercy is unheard.“ (Expositors)
    • 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
    • The choice is before you: Christ or the idol of self.  Life or death.  Choose life.

Digging Deeper

  • Are you on the journey to despair or to hope?
  • Which are you struggling with today: fear, ritual, shame/guilt, desperation, or despair?
  • What steps can you take to make sure you turn toward Christ as you move forward?

Further Reading: Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Numbers 27:21, 1 Samuel 14:41, Isaiah 8:19, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 40:1-17, John 3:16


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