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Learning T0 Lean

1 Samuel 21:10-15


Intro: This passage is a strange one to me. Here we see the Sweet Singer of Israel; the giant killer; the man who would be king of Israel; acting like a mad man. Here is a man who has thrown all of his self-respect to the wind. Here is a man who appears to have hit rock bottom in his life. What brought David to this point in his life?

I think this is an answer worth finding. Why? The answer is this: every person under the sound of my voice is going to be affected by this message. You see, every one of us leans on someone or something to help us get through this life. We all have a well developed support system in place. We depend on the people and the things in our lives to help us make it through day by day. In fact, we are guilty of leaning on our support system more heavily and more often that we lean upon the Lord.

But, God did not save us so we could rest ourselves in other people and in other things. God saved us to walk in absolute and utter dependence upon Him. And, when He sees His children leaning on everyone and everything but Him; we can count on His teaching us the lessons we need so that we might learn to lean on Him alone.

I see this principle at work in David’s life. I want to show you how David was taught to learn solely upon the Lord. I want us to learn the truth that what God did in David’s life, He is prepared to do in your life and mine. You see, leaning isn’t bad; as long as we are leaning on the right One. I want to take our time today and preach on the thought: Learning To Lean.


Up to this point, David has done everything right in his life. He has been the absolute model of faith, courage, obedience, integrity and devotion to God and to his king. But, he is still a very young man who is living a long way from his home and family. David needed some stability in his life. So, God, in His grace, placed some things and some people in David’s life to be a support system for him. Let me share a few of those things with you.

A. He Leaned On The Support Of Position – 1 Sam. 18:13 – A humble shepherd boy had been promoted to a captain over a thousand in Saul’s army. He was also the chief musician in Saul’s court. His work gave him stability in his life. He needed that; he leaned on that. Of course, David probably saw his advancements in the army and in Saul’s court as merely stepping stones to the throne of Israel.

B. He Leaned On The Support Of Popularity – 1 Sam. 18:16 – The people of Israel loved David and respected him for what he had done and how he conducted himself before them. David leaned on the support of the people. No doubt, the praise of the people was just another assurance that one day he would be their king.

C. He Leaned On The Support Of People – God placed some special people in the life of David during those difficult days.

1. The Partner Michal – 1 Sam. 18:20, 28 – David was given a wife who genuinely loved him. No doubt David drew great strength from leaning on the support of Michal’s love for him.

2. The Prince Jonathan – 1 Sam. 18:1-4 – Jonathan proved to be a faithful friend to young David. He was David’s eyes and ears in the throne room. Jonathan even placed his friendship to David higher than his allegiance to his own father. David often leaned on the support of his friendship with Jonathan.

3. The Prophet Samuel – 1 Sam. 16:13; 19:18 – The old prophet was also a support in the life of David. Samuel taught David about sacrifice, service and worship. He was a significant support to David during those early years.

D. He Leaned On The Support Of Pride – 1 Sam. 18:15 – David took pride in the life he lived and he knew how to carry himself before me. He probably placed a great deal of emphasis on during the right thing. He had self-respect, self-control and self-esteem. His pride was a crucial part of his support system. Nothing wrong with the right kind of pride!

Thank God for the supports, props, crutches, or whatever you want to call them that God has placed in our lives to help us make it! God has been gracious to you when He has supplied you with an adequate support network in your life!)


A. The Process Of The Dismantling – David’s support system was in place, but it was not going to last for very long. God allowed a series of events to take place in David’s life that destroyed and removed every single prop he had in his support system. One day David was on top of the world. The next day, he was on the bottom. David became a man hunted by his enemies; haunted by death and hounded by destruction. David’s own estimation of his troubles is found in 1 Sam. 20:3b.

You see, God began the process of systematically dismantling every piece of David’s support system. Think of it:

1. David Lost His Position – 1 Sam. 19:8-10 – The Captain of Israel’s army, the greatest battlefield hero in the nation’s history, has become a fugitive from justice. Another prop is taken away.

2. David Lost His Popularity – As one removed from the public eye, David was soon relegated to memory. People probably assumed that Saul would be successful in his attempts to take David’s life. Still another prop removed.

3. David Lost His People – Every person upon whim David leaned in his life was taken away.

a. Michal Was Removed – 1 Sam. 19:11-17 – First Michal tells David of Saul’s plot and helps him escape; then she lies to her father and says that David had threatened to kill her unless she did. She deliberately walks away from David and they relationship will never be harmonious again. Another support is taken away!

b. Jonathan Was Removed – 1 Sam. 20:41-42 – Jonathan goes as far as he can to protect David, and in the end, Jonathan must send David away for his own safety. There is a tearful parting of these two close friends and they meet no more as friends in life. Still another support is removed from David’s life.

c. Samuel Was Removed – 1 Sam. 20:1 – In 1 Sam. 19:18, David went to his old friend and mentor, the prophet Samuel. But, eventually David had to flee from the presence of Samuel, because of the relentless pursuit of King Saul. He lost another of his supports.

4. David Lost His Pride – 1 Sam. 21:10-15 - Here, David reaches the bottom. Here, the last support in his system is torn away and David reaches the lowest point in his life. He goes into the palace of King Achish, the king of the Philistines, to see if this king will give him sanctuary. Imagine, the champion of the armies of Israel runs to the palace of the enemy to try and find a friend!

But, the Philistines have not forgotten that it was David who destroyed their champion. David is filled with fear that the Philistines will retaliate, so he pretends to be a raving lunatic, so that he might escape from these people too. Here he is, the mighty man who killed the great giant Goliath; and he is scratching on the gates and drooling on his beard like a mad man! Oh, how the mighty are fallen! The last crutch; the last prop in David’s support system has been systematically dismantled by the Lord and David has reached to bottom. He has nothing left!

Every dream, every lofty goal, every hope had been dashed to bits at David’s feet. He has nothing and no one on whom he can lean. He is alone, afraid and alienated. God has brought David from the very top to the very bottom of life. Why?

The Purpose Of The Dismantling

– Why did God do this to David? Why did God so afflict a “man after His Own heart?” God did this to David so that David would learn to lean on the Lord and not on all the other props he had constructed in his life! To teach David the great truth that God’s people should lean only upon the Lord, God systematically removed one support after another from under David until he had been taught to lean wholly upon the Lord!

(Note: How we need to hear this truth! All the way through life we lean on one thing and one person after another. We trust look to our parents when we are young. Later we lean on teachers, schooling and friends. Then, our prop becomes a job or a pile of money somewhere. We lean on this crutch and on that prop and we forget a couple of very important truths.)

1. Our Support System Can Develop To The Place Where It Can Take The Place Of God In Our Lives – Deut. 33:27; Isa. 41:10. Look at what you are depending on this evening. Do you ever find yourself trusting people, things and self more than you trust the Lord?

2. Our Support System Can Prevent Us From Looking Up For The Help We Need – Our focus should be vertical and not horizontal! Nothing cripples our walk of faith any more than all the earthly, human crutches upon which we lean. These crutches cause us to look at what we can do for ourselves, or what others can do for us. In the end, all these props will fail; our gaze should be cast heavenward! When we lean on the unfailing prop of God Himself, we can be sure that He will always come through.

3. Our Support System Is Temporary At Best - Every plank in my support system can and will fail; but if we learn to lean solely on the Lord, He will never fail, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20!)

(Note: It’s not easy to take, but the truth is, when the Lord finds us leaning on everything else in our lives instead of Him; He will begin the painful process of dismantling our support system one prop at a time. He does not do this to harm us; but to help us learn to lean on Him alone!)


Did David learn to lean solely on the Lord? I think His did! As the metal of David’s life was tempered in the furnace of affliction and shaped upon the anvil of providence, David learned to lean completely on the Lord. He writes about this process in Psalm 34. If you will notice the title of this Psalm; it shows us when it was written. It came about after all the props had been removed from David’s life. It also shows us that David’s focus had been turned toward God in Heaven. Notice how David learned to lean on the right One.

A. v. 1-3 He Learned To Lean On The Lord’s Praise – The focus of David’s praise has been shifted higher than position, popularity, people and pride. David has learned to lean on the praises of God. Psa. 86:10, “For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.”

B. v. 4-7 He Learned To Lean On The Lord’s Protection – Instead of running to Jonathan, Michal or Samuel to try and find protection; David has learned the lesson that God is the One Who protects His people. Isa. 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”

C. v. 8-10 He Learned To Lean On The Lord’s Provision – He doesn’t need the kindness of others, or the bread from the Tabernacle; he has learned to lean on the open hand of His heavenly Father for the provisions of life. Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

D. v. 11-17 He Learned To Lean On The Lord’s Promises – David has learned that the promises of men do not amount to must. He has also learned that those who learn to lean on the hand of the Lord will see every promise of God fulfilled in their lives. Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”

E. v. 18 He Learned To Lean On The Lord’s Presence – The other props in David’s life failed just when he needed them the most. He has learned that those who lean on the Lord are never without a faithful Friend. Pro. 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

F. v. 19-22 He Learned To Lean On The Lord’s Preservation – In the end, not a single crutch that David leaned on so heavily was able to secure him or protect him. He learned the priceless, eternal truth that God, and God alone, preserves His people. Psalm 61:2, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Conc: This leaning business hits pretty close to home for me. There are plenty of times I find myself leaning on this thing or on that person instead of the Lord. How about you? But, I have also found that when I learn to lean on other things in my life; God will systematically and painfully remove every crutch I have. He will bring me to the place where I am leaning on Him and on Him alone. That is where He plans to bring each of us!

Now, when God begins to dismantle our support system, it can get quite painful. But, we should not fear what the Lord is doing in our lives. He is merely growing us and teaching us that He is all we need. He is all-sufficient; more than enough; He is God Almighty, and He will never fail you, leave you or let you down. He wants us to learn this truth: When we have Him. We have all the support system that we will ever need! Psalm 46!

- sermon notebook
Now, when God begins to dismantle our support system, it can get quite painful. But, we should not fear what the Lord is doing in our lives. He is merely growing us and teaching us that He is all we need. He is all-sufficient; more than enough; He is God Almighty, and He will never fail you, leave you or let you down. He wants us to learn this truth: When we have Him. We have all the support system that we will ever need! Psalm 46!
Good Word Coconut, May we all learn to lean on Jesus the Christ, after all Jesus didn't ask us to come to Him and labor but rather all who labor come to Him and He will give us rest.
"Jesus didn't ask us to come to Him and labor but rather all who labor come to Him and He will give us rest." Amen!

Psa 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

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