The Desires of the Flesh - 1 Samuel 25:39-44
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
In 1 Samuel 25:1-31, David and his men were held back from dealing harshly with Nabal (fool). Abigail (father’s joy) stopped David and his men in their attempt to avenge themselves with a murderous rampage. Starting with verse 39, God deals with the wicked in His time. Nabal is dead. Abigail, who asked David to remember her, now willingly goes with David’s servants to become his wife. David is already married to Michal, Saul’s daughter, who was left behind when he fled from Saul. Continuing to go against God’s standard for marriage, which is one man and one woman for life, David marries another woman, Ahinoam of Jezreel. We often think of David as a godly hero of the faith. We tend to overlook his faults and focus on his positive traits as a man after God’s own heart. Ignoring his sins provides a false picture of sin and its consequences. This allows us to make excuses for our own failures. However, giving in to the sins of the flesh ultimately leads to multiplied sorrows. David had over sixteen wives and many concubines. His family life was full of disaster, animosity, murder, and hatred. Three of his sons attempted to murder him, one of his sons was murdered, and his daughter was raped.
1.  Warnings to leaders
A.  Deuteronomy 17:14-20: “When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” Kings must not multiply horses, wives, or riches. Leaders are to be faithful to God, fear the Lord, read God’s Word to avoid pride and keep them from sin.
B.  Galatians 6:1-10:  “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” This passage reminds us that God is not mocked, and we will reap what we sow. Sowing to the flesh leads to corruption. Sowing to the Spirit leads to life everlasting. Beware of thinking, “I can handle it.” This foolish behavior needs to be confronted, as it will eventually lead to failure. We are our brother’s keeper and need to be accountable to each other. King David started living as if he was above the Law. God will bless us when we do things His way, and He will discipline us when we disobey Him.
C.  Proverbs 20:1 warns against strong drink: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” The words to King Lemuel are found in Proverbs 31:1-9: “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”
D.  Proverbs 5:15-23, 6:23-31, 7:1-27 warn against immorality, infidelity and stealing.
2. Why do leaders often fall into the sin of immorality?
Leaders suffer from discouragement, relentless attacks, and exhaustion. Other times, they experience continuous flattery that clouds their perception of reality. Instead of turning to God to deal with the emotional, physical, and spiritual ups and downs, leaders often attempt to self-medicate. Self-medication enables a leader to keep up the hero-complex and takes the form of sinful indulgences. They think it is okay. They see themselves as valuable because of their position or possessions.
3.  Where does sin come from?
Pride: lust of the flesh (passions), lust of the eyes (possessions), and the pride of life (power). 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
4. How can I combat the flesh?
A.  Be strong in the Lord.
Joshua 1:6-9: “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Remain grounded in God’s Word, and do not follow pagan idols.
B.  Predetermine to do that which is right.
Daniel 1:8: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel purposed in his heart beforehand that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or drink. Before an attack comes, and it will come, determine to do right. Remember your relationship with God is your priority.
C.  When tempted, immediately turn yourself over to the Lord.
Romans 6:11-18: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Feeding the flesh with sin will lead to consequences that affect your life.
D.  Avoid unnecessary temptations. Remove them from your life.
1 Corinthians 10:12-15: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
David tried to heal his own hurts by relationships that ruined his home and family. We can determine to do things our own way by feeding the flesh, or we can determine to do things God’s way. May we be quick to heed God’s warnings, be strong in the Lord, and predetermine to do that which is right. Find someone you can be accountable to. When tempted, turn to the Lord. Avoid temptation by abstaining from all appearance of evil.