Activating Extreme Faith

King David- A Man After God’s Own Heart

Activating Extreme Faith

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

 

Welcome! 

How empowering it is to remember when the battles rise against us there is another who is there among us-holding back the waters and keeping the fires from burning us. His name is Jehovah! God Almighty! He is faithful and true! How powerful it is for us to proclaim with all our heart that we trust in our God! Why? Because then we are activating our faith and positioning ourselves to let God do in and through us what only He can do. We are inviting God of all the Universe to show up and move in our lives! 

How often do you do that? Call on His great name and proclaim the greatness of who He is before the enemy coming against you? How often do you proclaim the wonders of His might and give thanks for His faithfulness when it seems all is crumbling around you? How often are you activating extreme faith when you can’t see the outcome but you know God can?

It’s one thing to say we have faith in God. It’s whole different way of living to put your faith in motion believing God is truly in the details of your life. That He is at work as you trust in Him and follow what He asks you to do, to bring you to a time of breakthrough! Do we, do you, truly believe God is all-powerful, good, full of lovingkindness and faithful-even to you? 

 

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

 

How strong is your faith in God? To answer that, you must also look at how closely connected to God you are? How strong is your relationship with God? They go hand in hand.  If your faith is weak, I would most assuredly say, your relationship is also weak or distant. If your relationship is strong, you feel comfortable talking to Him, you feel close to Him, you trust in His Word, then your faith is likely also growing stronger and stronger as well. Trust is at the heart of your relationship, as it is with everyone right? Believing in someone is also important in a relationship, so it is with God. If you want to deepen your trust with God, try taking steps of faith that He asks of you and watch how your trust will grow as He proves faithful. If you want to increase your faith in God, try trusting Him with more areas of your life and see how He cares for you. 

 

Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see. The outcome of our lives, to every battle we face and trial we endure. What will be the outcome? We all want to know. How will it play out? Faith is believing God is in the details and will bring you the very best outcome to fulfill His divine purposes for you, trusting He is good and His promises are true. 

 

David learned to activate extreme faith in God and believed without a doubt, God was always for Him and would bring breakthrough in His perfect timing and way. We’re going to look at a time of breakthrough for David today after years of hiding out from Saul and his men. Finally! Breakthrough came! But not without trials and battles to overcome. Let’s look closely at how David responded to this breakthrough and the battles. Let us learn from David how to activate and live by extreme faith in our lives. 

 

Let’s pray to Jehovah and exalt His great name! Let’s invite Him to move in us and teach us His ways. Let us proclaim our absolute trust in Him today, let us purpose to trust Him and invite Him to release His power through us. 

 

Remember last week David refused to lay a hand on Saul because God had anointed him at one point to be Israel’s king. He declared that it would be God who would deal with Saul as God saw fit and David would choose character over revenge. 

 

God did in fact deal with Saul and his hardened and darkened heart. Saul and 3 of his sons were killed in battle. The running and hiding out was finally over for David and his men. He could breathe again. But the transition was not as smooth as he might like. Israel was a nation was divided. There were many who remained loyal to Saul and then there were those who had become committed to serving David as their rightful king. This went on for seven years. Conflict within the nation. 

 

This is a difficult position for a new leader to be in. He was in fact king as God promised, but it was tumultuous and came with many hurdles to overcome because of divided loyalty. 

 

I lived this in my career multiple times when I would gain a new leadership position. It often came at the leaving of someone else who some if not most of the people had been loyal to. When I was promoted to Director of Financial Services it was a huge promotion in my early career and I was very excited for it. But obtaining it came by letting someone else go that I knew, because she wasn’t performing how she needed to be. That person’s leaving wasn’t my doing or decision, but it was part of the transition none the less. She had worked there a long time-well before I had been there and was well liked by a core group of people. I came up through the ranks on the front lines as she was already serving in leadership roles. So that made it awkward as well. 

 

There is a delicate balance in showing grace and honor to the one who left in front of those who remained loyal, and to leading all forward towards a unified vision. Each time this happened, I thought can I ever just be promoted because there is a new position created instead of it having to include someone leaving first? It’s difficult and stressful at times. Yet, I learned a lot about people’s responses and loyalties-even when someone isn’t performing well, how to lead divided teams towards becoming unified and how to gently bring people along towards a common purpose. I guess as I look back it was part of the journey in developing my character and abilities as a leader. We have to walk difficult paths at times to develop our character and learn how to see the world around us differently. 

 

Eventually after 7 years, the other sons of Saul who had been leaders yet were killed, so there was no one from Saul’s family left leading a nation. The tribal leaders all gathered and came together united crowing David as king over all Israel. FINALLY. After so many years. He was originally anointed to be king somewhere between the age of 14 and 17. He then was on the run from Saul for years following. He became king over one area at age 30 and then 7 more years would pass by and FINALLY King David would reign as God promised over the united nation of Israel. Just process that for a moment when you are getting impatient with God’s timing in your life and the fulfillment of promises in your life. He is faithful to do what He says. He is ever faithful. He just doesn’t operate on our time or get concerned with our impatience. 

 

The promise is fulfilled for David-time to sit back and relax marveling in his kingdom and how far he had come. Wrong. 

 

Not too long after, Israel’s enemies would come against them wanting to overturn this powerfully united nation. They wanted to take David out.  But wait, that’s not fair God! He’s already been through so much…isn’t there a time to just breathe and enjoy all that You blessed him with? He has to face more battles right away? 

 

Yes as so many leaders do when they step into their roles. Let’s see how David responded to these attacks against him and his nation. Let’s learn how David activated extreme faith even as he served as king, and how we can model his ways. 

 

2 Samuel 5: 17-25  NIV

17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off. 22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees.      

24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.”         

 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

 

  1. Pray First (v. 17) 

We see with David when he was made aware of his enemies moving in his first response was to pray to God and inquire of Him for counsel. We see that in verses 17 and 23.  David went to his stronghold, which was a cave he found during the years he was on the run from Saul. It had become a place of refuge, quiet and comfort for him to seek God and talk with Him. So that is where he would continue to go, to his stronghold to better hear from God. Away from distractions, noise and pressures-to just be still before the Lord. 

We can model this as well when we feel the enemy closing in. We go to a quiet, familiar and comfortable place to talk with God and hear from Him. Do you have one? Is there a place you retreat to away from your distractions and pressures to better hear from God? 

David understood that he needed God in his corner to come out victorious in any battle. He knew that only God could see the outcome. Only God knows the beginning and the end and is full of infinite wisdom. He also knew that as he desired to hear God’s counsel, God would freely give it to David. 

 

Psalm 25: 12-15 12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?  He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. 13 They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. 14 The Lord confides in those who fear him; He makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Psalm 63: 1 NKJV  O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;

David made his prayer life, time talking with God and being still to hear from God of utmost priority in his life. Praying was always first for David before action. Notice he says early I will seek You. Let us follow as well and make talking with God, listening to God our great priority and treasure in the early mornings. Let us go to our stronghold-quiet and safe space to receive counsel from God. Let us tune our heart to look for God’s outcome and listen to what He shares with us. 

  1. Listen (vs. 19 and 23)

David didn’t just come complaining to God about how unfair this was or when the battles would finally end. He didn’t come in prayer telling God what he felt God should be doing for him. He came in prayer and he inquired of the Lord, “what should I do God?” Then he waited for what God would say to him. He tuned his heart to hear God’s voice giving him counsel and affirmation in his actions. He did this same process of praying and listening for both attacks in this instance. He didn’t assume when the second attack came that he had the answer or knew what to do. He came back to God again and inquired of Him-seeking God’s counsel before he acted. And God changed up the strategy didn’t He?  He had David catch the enemy by surprise and He sent a supernatural wind to create the sound of marching troops to throw the enemy off. 

See God is in the details of all our plans and He is always willing to go before us on the front line when the enemy comes against us. If David just assumed he knew what to do, the enemy might have very well defeated him and his army. He would have missed the details of how God would thwart the plans of the enemy. He would have missed encountering the supernatural at work because he didn’t invite God to work in his plans. 

 

You might have heard or said the phrase, “the devil is in the details.” And let us strike that from our vocabulary if we do say that. Do you know that it likely derives from an earlier and much more appropriate expression, “God is in the details” from Germany? Why would we give the devil credit for anything when we can call on God and let Him be in the details of our lives? Let us be in the habit of saying and believing, “God is in the details of my life.” Let us come to Him in prayer and listen for what He’ll say to us. 

 

Proverbs 2: 1-5 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understandingindeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Let me just add if we’re going to listen so we might hear from God, that means we have to stop talking first right? We have to stop talking at God and be still before God. We have to stop our runaway thoughts and clear our minds to hear from Him. We have to look with the eyes of our heart to see what He might be showing us. Hearing from God often includes spontaneous thoughts that light upon our mind.  Images or words that pass through. You’ll miss what He’s saying to you if you’re too busy talking at Him or letting your mind constantly run through your list of worries, frustrations or even to do’s.      

Let’s also clarify in order to hear from God we must humble our hearts as David did. Remember he was already am accomplished warrior in battle-which is what drove Saul to his jealous rage against David. He was very capable on the battle field. BUT, there was a key to David’s successes. He did not take credit for them; he always gave credit to God just as we read in today’s Scripture. He kept his heart softened to God so he might always hear God’s wise counsel and direction. Let us not ever think we know best and we don’t need God. Let us not fill up with pride when God does speak to us and think we don’t need His counsel. That is foolishness on our part and we miss the great blessings and victories that will surely come in our lives when we listen and follow His lead.                                                                                

  Hebrews 4:7 “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

 

  • Trust and Obey (v. 25) 

 In our Scripture today we see in verse 25, “so David did what the Lord commanded him.” 

 

Trust and obedience to God go hand in hand. If we trust God, there is absolutely no reason to not move forward in obedience to the ways He instructs us to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s not in our timeline of how life should be going, or if it makes sense in what we think the next step should be or even if we want to do it. If we trust God, we follow what He says because He knows the outcome. Otherwise, we really don’t trust God. It’s really that simple. 

 

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

David trusted God with all his heart and sought His counsel and direction for every battle in his life. When he heard from God, he charged forward in obedience because David stood on the promise that God would give him sustained victories as he remained faithful.  David gave God his heart and devotion. He offered up his life as a sacrifice to God which is what God desires from all of us. 

 

Psalm 40: 6-8 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened—
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

 

Let us not put God in a neat little box according to how we want Him to fit into our lives. Don’t do that. Like David, let God be free to work in your life. Like David, let us see God as our friend, our wise counselor, our advocate and our mighty defender. He saw God as a catalyst for change and put all his trust in Him. Let us believe in God and not doubt in Him, His Word or His counsel.  

 

Conclusion:  David faced every challenge in prayer. David knew God was truly Israel’s leader and Commander of the Lord’s army. It was David’s role to seek and trust Him, standing on His Word. May we activate extreme faith like David when the enemy comes against us and know God will always bring us to a season of breakthrough as we trust in Him. 

Let’s pray. 

 

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Final Blessing: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

 

“The LORD be with you!” “The LORD bless you!” Ruth 2:4*

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