#2 (The “Great Escapes” Series)




TEXT:         1 Sam. 21:10-22:2


INTRO:       Fear is a powerful force ... it can really affect your thought processes and behavior.


Once when my folks were gone after a Sunday p.m. service my sister Linda and I were home alone as young kids when we heard a loud crash like someone trying to rip the door off at the entrance to our kitchen from the outside.  Gripped with fear I looked out the window and saw a shadow move across the door outside and then again a loud bang.  With great fear my sister fled and hid in the corner behind the chair quivering like a little puppy ... she couldn't even speak, only whimper!  I in turn fled behind the TV shaking like a leaf.  When no one entered the house I started to get brave and went to the window to look out when it happened again, a loud crash and a shadow outside, the earlier scene of whimpering and hiding repeated itself, for a while we were frozen with fear ... finally I made my way to the phone and called a neighbor who was the sheriff of our city, his wife came over and stayed until my mom and dad returned.  The outside door was nearly ripped off its hinges, but the reason was simple, gusts of wind had grabbed the outside door which hadn't closed well when my folks left, the shadow was the wind blowing the bushes near the door.  Fear left when we realized what had happened but until then we were strange creatures doing silly stuff!  Fear can do many strange and sad things to us.  God gives us ways to escape the path of fear!


PROP SENT:   The Bible teaches us that fear can severely affect our behavior and our faith in negative ways, but God has provided an escape from fears that can damage us.  The first way out is the knowledge that God is in control of all things, the second is the knowledge that He will grant us others of like faith to stick with us ... these offer an escape from fear!


I.   FEAR'S REACTIONS   21:10-15


A.   Careless    21:10-12

1.   David was in the midst of great fear.  King Saul was out to kill him!

a.   David already knew Saul was not a normal man anymore, he could be very dangerous.

b.   David knew you didn't mess around with crazy people!

c.   In his panic he makes plans to escape from Saul and go into hiding.

2.   The problem is that David does some pretty silly things, he is somewhat careless as he is driven by his fears!

a.   This is something that happens to us all when we are afraid, we can become quite odd and irrational!

b.   It can be quite funny later on when we look back, but we are all quite capable of the ridiculous when we are afraid!


ILLUS:    A man who was quite afraid to speak publicly was asked to deliver a speech at a public dinner.  As he hurried to get there, in his fear he had forgotten his false teeth!  While sitting there trying to figure out what to do he leaned over to the man next to him and said, "I forgot my teeth, what can I do?" "No problem" the man next to him said, "I just happen to have some extra sets with me"… so he reached into his pocket and produced a set.  The man tried them but they didn't fit; he said, "they are too loose!"  The man produced another set, "try these"... he did, they were too tight.  Again and again he tried, finally a pair fit perfectly.  The man finished his meal and gave his speech with these false teeth.  After dinner the speaker went over to thank him for saving the day saying, "I want to thank you for your help, where is your office, I've been looking for a good dentist?"  The man answered however, "I'm not a dentist, I am the local undertaker!"  What fear will get us to do! – Source Unknown


3.   Even David was not immune to doing careless things when he was afraid!

a.   Notice that David asks for a weapon, (vs. 8-9) if he is going to flee he would like to have a weapon handy.

b.   His plans are to flee to Gath, the land of the Philistines!  It was one of the 5 major Philistine cities!

c.   Notice in verse 9 which weapon David chooses to take with him!!  HE TAKES THE SWORD OF GOLIATH!!

(1.  Remember who Goliath was?  A PHILISTINE!

(2.  The unusual size of both Goliath and his armor would make his sword stick out like a sore thumb in Philistine territory!

(3.  David was pretty careless to take this sword and go into Philistine territory!

(4.  Fear can make anyone careless!

4.   Sure enough, when David arrives in town the Philistines figured out who he was, it was likely the sword of Goliath that tipped them off!

a.   This produces new additional fear, when we are careless we often add more fear to the existing fear that already resides in us!

b.   Now David's fear will drive him out of another territory.

5.   David's careless choices in going to Gath now produce even more fear and carelessness, it now becomes craziness!


B.   Crazy!     21:13-15

1.   Now David had to figure out how to escape from the Philistine city of Gath, his plan was a "crazy" one, literally!

a.   David feigns insanity, he scratched the doors with his fingernails, banged on stuff, probably screaming, and drooled saliva from his mouth on purpose!!

b.   Fear can drive you crazy or at least get you to act like it!

c.   It can move you to do things that ordinarily you wouldn't consider doing!

d.   If your carelessness makes your fear worse you will probably do more than just careless things, you'll be willing to do crazy things!

2.   Here's where the other saints come in ... we need to keep our eyes alert to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  When you see them going off on tangents from normal behavior you might want to check to see if they need some ministry, perhaps they are being driven by fear; instead of attacking them try probing to find out if they need help!

3.   We are all capable of being strange when we are very afraid!  At such times we need a reassuring hand, not condemnation!


ILLUS:      Several years ago an eastern paper reported the following true story:  A woman was driving home one night when she noticed a truck behind her that was traveling uncomfortably close to her.  She stepped on the gas to get ahead of it, but it picked up speed and stayed right on her tail!  No matter how much she tried to loose the truck it stuck with her close.  Now scared she exited the freeway but so did the trucker, now panicked, she started driving crazy ... down one way streets the wrong direction, going through red lights and stop signs but to no avail, the trucker did the same!  With fear in full swing she finally pulled into a gas station to a screeching halt and jumped out of the car screaming for help from the wicked trucker who was chasing her down!  To her amazement, the truck came to a screeching halt behind her at the station and the trucker jumped out but didn't run toward her, but toward her car!  Grabbing the back door of her car and jerking it open he pulled out a man with a knife from the back seat of her car!  The woman thought she was trying to escape an evil truck driver who desired to harm her, when in fact the trucker from his higher vantage point in his cab behind her car had noticed the man hiding in her back seat waiting for a moment when he could hurt her!  The trucker was saving her, not trying to harm her ... she was running from the wrong person!  Luckily she didn't lose the trucker!  It was a good thing her crazy efforts to lose the trucker had failed!  A lot of sinners try doing this with God, they run from Him; they think He is after them to destroy their lives when He is really trying to save them from the real enemy! – Source Unknown


4.   David's “crazy” efforts seemed to work, the Philistine King Achish says, "AM I SO SHORT OF MADMEN THAT YOU HAVE TO BRING THIS FELLOW HERE TO CARRY ON LIKE THIS IN FRONT OF ME?" 21:15

a.   The king lost interest in David really quick.  He had enough crazy people to deal with already in his kingdom than to welcome another one!

b.   So David escapes from the Philistines and runs to a cave in the wilderness called the cave of "Adullam."


II.  FEAR'S REFUGE!    22:1-2


A.   Comfort    22:1

1.   The cave of Adullam is a place where God will be able to heal David of his fear ... the name "ADULLAM" interestingly enough means: “REFUGE.”

a.   This cave would meet the immediate need of danger that David felt he was in ... a safe haven!

b.   God often provides a "haven" that is safe when we are gripped by fear, it might be a place or it might come by friends who reach out to us at such times!

c.   God is a very present God in the times of trouble just as David wrote in several of his Psalms later on!

2.   Here, David could rest in safety, his fear could subside ... and plans could be made for a more sensible response than the crazy and careless attempts earlier!

3.   When fear strikes it is sometimes best to remove yourself from the circumstances that have brought the fear so a rational approach can be made to deal with it!

a.   This is done where abuse happens in homes.

b.   This is done when things are running out of control.

4.   Although God provides this cave as a refuge from the grip of fear it would not be the place where David could stay forever, in time he would have to also face the fear and deal with the real issues!

5.   This initial ministry was God's way to put an end to the run-away nature that fear often grips us in, to calm things down for a more constructive approach.

a.   This cave was not exactly deluxe accommodations, but it met the need of a place of safety, a refuge!

b.   God at times uses many different ways to meet the need of refuge, even unexpected ways at times!


ILLUS:     An infantry company commander in Vietnam by the name of Paul Stanley relays the following story to illustrate this point:  On one occasion after the enemy had withdrawn he came upon some of his men who were surrounding a wounded Viet Cong soldier.  The man was shot through the lower leg and helpless; frightened by these American soldiers he was hostile to any attempts by them to help him.  He threw mud and kicked dirt at them with his good leg anytime anyone tried to get near him.  Fear was all over his face.  As he approached his men they said, “Sir, what do we do, he's losing blood fast and needs medical attention right away ... but he won't let us near him.” He said he remembers looking down into the face of a 16 year old boy full of fear and saw him as someone in need instead of the enemy ... he unbuckled his pistol belt and hand grenades and while speaking in a gentle voice backed off his men and slowly bent down and moved toward him.  The Viet Cong soldier let me slide my arms under him as I knelt down unarmed and I picked him up.  As I walked toward the helicopter he began to cry and hold tightly to me, all the time staring at me, no longer with defiant eyes, but fearful ones.  Never having ridden in a helicopter he panicked when we took off but I put my hand on his shoulder as if to say, “it will be o.k.” ... after landing I picked him up and walked toward the medical tent.  As we crossed the field I felt the tenseness leave his body and his tight grasp relax, his eyes softened and his head leaned against my chest, the fear and resistance was finally gone, he had surrendered, He was now safe! – Source Unknown


B.   Companionship    22:2a

1.   The next element of God's meeting the issue of David's fear includes lots of companionship!

a.   First his family comes to him; an important issue concerning the family of God is hinted at here!

b.   It was his family that came to him; people in fear don't always reach out like we would like them to!

c.   They all recognized the importance for David to have them around!

2.   This would be the second course of healing for the fears of David ... first a safe place and now brothers and sisters who come to him!

3.   The next wave of people is interesting; they included 3 groups of people, and not the kind of people you would think God would use for help:

a.   The distressed.

b.   Those in debt.

c.   The discontented.

d.   These are still the ones who often minister to others.

4.   These by the way are not "negative" people; they were the good people who were also afraid living under an evil king like Saul!

a.   The fact that they too were afraid is interesting for they come to join up with David!

b.   It is ok to be afraid; the best way sometimes to deal with that fear is to help others who are also afraid!

c.   The bond would become strong between them all!

5.   David was no longer alone in his fears, others who admitted to their own fears were standing with him!

6.   In the company of others fear can turn to courage!

a.   There is little doubt that many of these men would later become the "MIGHTY MEN OF RENOWN" under David's rule as King!

b.   These band of renegades ... fearful, in debt, hurting over the present evil rule of Saul, together are transformed into a band of courageous, faithful, soldiers of right!

7.   There is something powerful in ministry to one another that can get Satan on the run ... that's why Satan will keep you from fellowship when you are feeling weak and afraid!

a.   Satan will fill you mind with lies like:  “Nobody else has fears like you do!” or “nobody will understand” ... or “they won't do anything to help you” or “you’ll be the laughing stock of the congregation if they know,” etc.

b.   Don't listen to this voice from hell!

8.   God in creating the church is doing much the same today to minister to our fears as He did with David in sending him the fearful downtrodden men to become a courageous band of fighting saints!


C.   Courageous    22:2b

1.   David goes from being lonely to leader!

2.   While 400 men wasn't exactly the largest army in the world it was a start!

3.   Fear is conquered in stages!

4.   Individually each of these men were fearful and weak ... together with each other and holding a righteous cause they had courage and faith, and the result was great strength and peace!

5.   Victory over fear comes by the help of others as well as God's help!


CONCLUSION:   Fear can drive us crazy – literally!  It can make us do dumb things also.  Yet, God is faithful to help us overcome fear.  He enables us to escape from fear so we can be productive citizens of His kingdom.