Discipleship and the Deadly DSCR Virus
I don’t believe we fully understand how bad off Job got. I have been with many people who were suffering from the pain of cancer, of burns, and it is horrible. Thank God they were always on morphine or some other drug to keep them comfortable. Most of us know what pain is, even constant pain, but Job experienced something that I don’t think we can begin to relate to.
Job 2:7-8 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
Most people think he had some skin disease that resulted in pussy sores or boils (Hebrew word sehiyn). But I believe it was much more painful and deadlier than that. Hezekiah had šeḥiyn’s and he nearly died from just one. The Lord told the physician to put figs on the šeḥiyn and he was healed .
If Satan is given permission to mess with your body, I don’t think he throws any punches. He had a whole arsenal of diseases, and I think he picked one we call MRSA.
Have you ever had MRSA. It’s a horrible bacterial infection. MRSA not only attacks your skin, it can get into your bloodstream, heart or lungs, even your urinary tract
It can produce:
Chest pain, Chills, Cough, Fatigue, Fever, General ill feeling (malaise), Headache, Muscle aches, Rash and even Shortness of breath.
If you ever had a MRSA boil you know you can try and get it to pop, but the infection can go down so far, noting reliefs the pain and the burning. Imagine one big MRSA boil being able to torment your life and cause all those symptoms, and even casuing your death. Now imagine 200 or 300 of them all over your body. I don’t think we can even begin to imagine the pain he was in. I mention this because as bad as some bacteria and viruses are, they don’t even begin to compete with the pain and the damage caused by the DSCR virus.
The CDC doesn’t want you to know it, and it is kept out of the press for fear of inciting riots, but the DSCR Virus is on the verge of being a pandemic.
You never heard of the DSCR virus?Let me tell you about it.
Once upon a time the devil decided to have a garage sale. He did it because he wanted to clear out some of his old tools to make room for new ones. After he set up his wares, a fellow dropped by to see what he had. Arrayed on a long table were all the tricks of his infernal trade. Each tool had a price tag. In one corner was a shiny implement labeled “Anger—$250,” next to it a curved tool labeled “Sloth—$380.” As the man searched, he found “Criticism—$500” and “Jealousy—$630.” Out of the corner of his eye, the man spotted a beaten-up tool with a price tag of $12,000. Curious, the man asked the devil why he would offer a worn-out piece of junk for such an exorbitant price. The devil said it was expensive because he used it so much. “What is it?,” the man asked. The answer came back, “It is discouragement. It always works when nothing else will.”
Yes the DSCR virus is that old enemy, discouragement. It is the Devil’s favorite way of destroying Disciples, of renderng them powerless, and yes, even causing their death.
We all know from hard experience how the devil uses the DSCR Virus to keep us from moving ahead. When anger won’t stop us, when lust can do us no harm, when envy finds no foothold, discouragement always works. It is the devil’s number one tool.
Free Dictionary defines discouragement as “the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles . Wordreference.com says to discourage is to “Cause (someone) to lose confidence or enthusiasm”.
The opposite is encourage, which is to put courage, confidence and enthusiasm into someone. Discouragement is anything that takes the courage out of someone. DSCR is a dangerous virus. It literally sucks the spiritual vitality out of you.
The DSCR virus causes you to lose your heart, and then it messes with your eye sight and then moves into your soul.
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT IT DID TO DAVID…IN 1 SAMUEL 27
J Vernon McGee wrote this about this chapter in his “Thru the Bible Commentary”
Here is David -- discouraged, despondent -- doing something he should not have done. He leaves the land of Israel and goes to live among the Philistines. There is nothing in this chapter that would reveal that David is a man of God.
That is his only comment on this chapter in his commentary. There is nothing more to learn, so he moves on.
I Believe this Chapter is Rich in Application for our Church this Very Day.
1 Samuel 27:1 Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”
A. David Settled.
David Said in his Heart…I shall perish by the hand of Saul…There is Nothing Better for me…
I see David as a Confident Leader:
• Psalm 7:9-10 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.
I see David as the picture of Braveheart:
• Psalm 37:30-31 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
“tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!”
I see him always Trusting in God:
• Psalm 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
But Discipleship is hard. It is a constant battle. You can’t let your guard down, because there is an epidemic of DSCR going around. It is highly contageous. Just one case of DSCR can break out in a church and drag the whole church down.
Discouragement can be caused by a lot of things. Rick Warren says there are four major causes: Fatigue, Frustration, Failure and Fear.
David had been on the run for over 8 years now. He had experienced major victories in his life and walk before God. He had spared Saul’s life once in the cave at En Gedi (I Samuel 24). Then he had spared Nabal’s life when Abigail interceded (I Samuel 25). Then he had very recently spared Saul’s life again when he crept into the camp and found Saul sleeping (I Samuel 26). You would think that he was unstoppable, that he was a Spiritual Giant. But he was a man like you and me. He was vulnerable to the DSCR virus.
Certainly he could have grown weary from the constant pressure, he could have grown frustrated by God’s seeming inactivity, he could been in one of those moments where it seemed he had failed, he could have finally given in to the fear that certainly was warranted by his circumstances.
But I think the main cause is when you settle for your circumstances.
“HANG ON, HANG TOUGH, HANG IN THERE” – God never, never settles. He never never hangs in there!
God practices and delights in Righteousness. The Key to being Righteous is the Focus of you Hope, who you are counting on for your righteousness, who you are allowing to live throu Simply because we feel we are not righteous, do we give up and accept our sin and failures? Do we give up praying to God because He never answers. Do you give up on a son or daughter simply because they seem so set against God?
Do we say, well that’s the way it always has been, so why fight it?
REMEMBER THE LITTLE WIDOW LADY?
Luke 18:1-8 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” There is a direct connection between FAITH and your heart!
Faith Never Settles. Faith Never accepts an Adversary. Faith is Always Praying. When Faith fades, we lose heart, we become discouraged. We have settled.
When you Settle instead of Struggling, your immune system gets weak and the DSCR Virus can take hold. It seeks out your HEART!
Listen to David as the DSCR virus takes hold of his heart:
• Psalm 38:10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
• Psalm 40:12 For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.
When you can only focus onyour sins instead of focusing on His forgiveness, you know the DSCR virus has infected your heart and caused you to feel defeated.
DAVID BECAME DISCOURAGED
• Psalm 69:1-21 Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. … Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace. You see all that my enemies are doing. Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me. But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst.
God seemed distant to David. His faith could not take God’s silence, and so it became weak, until He gave up on God doing anything. He gave up believing God’s Word. He settled. He said this is my life, Saul will kill me, and there is noting I can do. My life is over, God has left me, I might as well do the best I can.
His Heart had become infected by the ‘WOEME’ disease that results from the DSCR Virus
“WOEME” disease is deadly. It slowly attack a persons heart, soul and eventually their strength.
Symptoms can appear gradually, or all at once.
Faith is attacked and grows weak. God seems distant, uncaring. His Word is dry and uncomforting. Circumstances seem to careen out of control. God shrinks and circumstances grow. You react by relying on counsel from friends, or from what seems rational.
B. David Skews
“I shall escape out of his hand.”
Why? Because you have taken your focus away from God and placed it on you, and what you are trusting in. WOEME Disease blinds our spiritual eyes.
I shall escape out of his hand…
Circumstances are distorted, and become the main influence upon your life. Not only is your life affected, but your family and friends can become infected.
Your House is affected because you are reacting to God’s Design.
Bad Focus will cause you to lose sight of God’s Discipleship Ways
Bad Focus will cause you to react to God’s Lessons, and He will stop teaching you His Paths!
Psalm 25:4-5 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
DISCOURAGEMENT IS A DISCIPLE KILLER!
Now, if you asked David if he was discouraged, he would shake his head and no, not at all. I still love God and follow him. I just think this is best for all of us. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.(Flashback: You did try it and it didn’t work too good)
Most Christians will tell you they are not discouraged either, they are just doing what’s best.
I hear them all the time. They have excuses for not going to church, excuses for not reading their Bible, excuses for working on Sunday, excuses for gossiping, excuses for dishonoring authorities. But what is at the heart of our decisions to go our own way and do what is best for us?
Think about it.
• ENCOURAGE – DISCOURAGE
• IN GOD – DISTANT FROM GOD
• IN THE COURAGE OF GOD – DISTANT FROM THE COURAGE OF GOD
• CONFIDENT IN GOD – CONFIDENCE IN SELF
• OBEDIENCE TO GOD – OBEDIENCE TO SELF
• IN THE WORD – IN THE WORLD
• IN – DIS
DSCR is a virus that develop into much more than discouragement, or WOEME disease.
Look at all the other side effects.
Disheartened by obstacles, failure, or criticism
Distressed and fearful, lacking courage and confidence
Disillusioned, losing hope for the future
Disinterested, apathetic, lacking initiative
Doubtful about the value of certain actions
Down on himself/herself, with a poor sense of worth
It develops into estrangement from God’s Word and justification for a selfish course of action.
Let’s Examine David a little Closer. What was the result of his heart sickness that led him to think he had to settle and move to Philistia for protection.
1. David’s Perspective was SKEWED
1350–1400; (v.) Middle English skewen to slip away, swerve.
It all begins when David starts to think about his situation. For nearly nine years he’s been running from Saul, Doeg, Ziphites, Abner, 3000 trained killers, fools, you name it, David had encountered them.
He chooses to focus on what might happen instead of what has happened.
He chooses to focus on his own resources instead of God’s promises.
David writes God out of the picture. He thinks it is all up to him, and he has to do what a man has to do. After all God helps them that helps themselves! No, that is a lie of Satan. That statement alone is used to justify actions that are not dependant upon God, but dependant upon man. It is a fleshly statement, a worldly philosophy that will lead you away from God and into the arms of Satan.
2. He Made a Dumb Decision.
1 Samuel 27:5-6 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes”
He sought the approval of an ungodly enemy.
Have you ever made a dumb decision? At the time you made it it seemed the best thing to do, but later on you realize what a dumb thing to have done. Thankfully God forgives us of our dumb decisions. God allows us to learn from our dumb decisions, and become mighty disciples. In fact, those dumb decisions wake us up to the fact that our life is out of whack with God. It’s important that we not hold those dumb decisions against a repentant heart, which David later had.
3. His Decision Led to Compromise.
1 Samuel 27:6-7 So that day Achish gave him Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
The children of Israel were not to mix with the surrounding nations. Over and over the warning was given and every time somebody tried it, disaster resulted. David knew all that and he did it anyway. I’m sure if you had asked David as he led his band toward Gath, “Are you deserting God?” he would have said no. He probably would have been insulted by the very question. “Me, desert God? Are you kidding? I believe everything I always believed.” “But David, these are not God’s people.” “It makes no difference. I’m going to go live there for a while until the pressure is off. It’s not a big deal. I can have my quiet time in Gath just as easily as I can in Israel.”
We always have an excuse when we compromise. Some of us are doing it right now. We are involved in some things that would shock anyone if they knew the truth. We said something, we’ve done something that we normally wouldn’t do, but we feel we have a good excuse. You know you are compromising when you have to explain away some command of God in order to justify what you are doing.
You can be singing louder than anyone this morning, writing a big check for the offering, and be a compromiser. When the lights have faded, friends have gone, you are laying in bed thinking about your life, you have to ward off the discouragement with music or pills or alcohol.
Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David and his men and their families. Ziklag is a variation of Zahaliku, which means downward slopes
Taking our eyes off God and His Word, and then depending upon yourself or other people to do what’s best for you, often leads us slowly downward until we end up doing things we would never dreamed we would do. What starts as a fleeting thought or reaction becomes a plan, a plan becomes a commitment, and eventually a commitment becomes a lifestyle. We cope with our weaknesses by settling down and living with them as friends.
C. David Stews
1 Samuel 27:8-11 Now David and his men went up and made raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish. When Achish asked, “Where have you made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.” And David would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring news to Gath, thinking, “lest they should tell about us and say, ‘So David has done.’ ” Such was his custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines.
David got in to a stew of lies, deception and murder. He and his men found safety, but at what cost. David was like Lot who chose the well watered plain, and whose soul became tormented because of the sin surrounding him. Compromise often leads us to a stew. Have you ever heard the idiom: “stew in one's own juice”? It means to suffer the consequences of one's own actions. It comes from a Middle English word from the 1350’s “stewen or stuwen” - to take a sweat bath!
Oh, I’m sure David justified his actions. After all, God had commanded Joshua to kill all the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. I’m sure he thought he was actually doing God’s Will!
Not only is David living a lie, but now all the men and their families are involved as well. David had to keep trying to please Achish by lying about his raids, and hope that no one ever escaped or witnessed what they were doing. If David had any conscience at all, it must have been tormenting him like crazy.
When we compromise, we’ll always end up in a stew. Not only us, but we often take others with us. Our lies and selfishness can hurt a lot of people. The saddest think about taking our eyes off God, and spreading the DSCR virus, it quenches the Holy Spirit. It can even remove the Blessing of God.
D. David Stinks
1 Samuel 27:12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”
David didn’t think he stunk. In fact, he thought, I’ve done a good thing. I am ridding the land of foes of old, more mighty men are coming to me, the Philistines think I’m with them, I don’t have to sleep with one eye open, the men are spending time with their wives and having babies. Life is good. King Saul is a distant worry.
Vs 4 says Saul stopped looking for David, and vs 12 says Achish was very pleased with David.
The Devil stopped pursuing David and the world was OK with him.
If he was a good Southern Baptist he would be standing up and saying look how God has blessed me!
Things were going well. He gets up in the morning about nine, reads the Ziklag Gazette, goes down to the gym to work out with the boys, in the afternoon he raids a nearby village, and in the evening maybe there’s a feast. Not a bad life.
Disobedience often results in a temporary lessening of pressure.
E. Disciples Seek
After the Israelites heard the report of the spies, they became afraid, their faith in God’s Word went to nothing, and they decided not to trust God and depend upon Him to conquer the giants.
At that point the message of God came to the people through Moses.r Moses pronounced the judgment of God upon the people, that they would all perish in the wilderness and never enter the promised land, they
Deuteronomy 1:41-42 “Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. And the LORD said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’
They people went anyway, and were defeated, and lived the rest of their lives in the wilderness. They settled, they skewed, they stewed, and eventually they stunk as rotting corpses in the desert. O, they still went to church, they still enjoyed their grandkids, but they were walking as defeated corpses, defeated because they failed to trust God when it counted.
MOSES FELL DOWN BEFORE THE LORD
When God was giving the two tablets of stone to Moses, there was a great noise coming from the base of the mountain. God told Moses to hurry up and get down there, because the people had corrupted themselves.
Deuteronomy 9:12 And Jehovah said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people that thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
This word shāḥat was used before as God described why He destroyed the earth in the flood:
Genesis 6:11-12 And the earth is corrupt before God, and the earth is filled with violence. And God seeth the earth, and lo, it hath been corrupted, for all flesh hath corrupted its way on the earth.
God’s world became corrupt because the people took their focus away from God and placed it upon themselves. The Jews became corrupt when they removed their focus from God and placed it on themselves, corrupted by the thinking of the fleshly Egyptians.
Once again, at that point, God told Moses that He would destroy those people, and Moses could start over with an uncorrupted group of people.
Moses pleaded with God, and then fell on his face before the Lord for 40 days and night, neither eating or drinking, and God relented.
DISCR anything-discourage, disenfranchised, discord, disheartened, disillusioned, distant is all dangerous, because it comes from a heart that had been corrupted by wrong influences, wrong thinking, wrong focus and wrong people.
If we want to keep wandering around as stinking corpses, we will not change. But if we want to experience victory, grow in faith, grow in Jesus Christ, grow to the point where we are seeing people saved, we are seeing Disciples grow and develop, then we need to fall on oyr face before the Lord. We need to confess our sin, we can’t settle, we must keep coming before our Father against any adversary and let Him know that we still have Faith we still believe His word.
James 4:4-10 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.