2 Samuel 1:6-10

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 10, 2002


Several things have been taking place at the same time.  David had been running from Saul and had been living with the Philistines for a year and a half.  When the Philistines decided to mount a huge attack against Israel in the north, David almost found himself pitted against his own people.  But the Philistines didn’t trust David and sent him home from the battle.  When David got home to Ziklag, he found that the Amalekites had raided the city and had taken everything, including all the families of he and his army.  After asking God for direction, David and his men pursued the Amalekites and not only won a great victory, but were able to recover everything that the Amalekites had taken.  Meanwhile, the Philistines attacked in the north, and King Saul was slain in battle on Mount Gilboa, along with three of his sons, including Jonathan.  We now pick up the story with David being back home in Ziklag and a messenger arrives from the war front to report to David what has happened to Saul.

2Samuel 1:6-10

:8 I am an Amalekite

Amalekite = “dweller in a valley”. These were wandering, wicked, nomadic people who lived in the desert south of Canaan (1Sam.15:7; 27:8), descendants of Esau (Gen.36:12).

The Amalekites are an interesting parable or picture about the “flesh”.

What is the “flesh”?

The word “flesh” can be used in the Bible to talk about our skin and bones, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.

When I talk about “feeding the flesh”, I’m not talking about eating hamburgers and drinking milkshakes.  When I talk about “starving the flesh”, I am not telling you to stop eating food.

The word “flesh” is another term for our “sin nature”, that part of us that wants to rebel against God and disobey all that He commands.

(Rom 7:18-19 KJV)  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. {19} For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
(Rom 8:5-8 KJV)  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. {6} For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. {7} Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. {8} So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

The Scriptures say that this “flesh” of ours will produce certain things in our lives.

(Gal 5:19-21 NLT)  When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, {20} idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, {21} envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
These are the kinds of things that our sin nature produces.  If we continue to live a live that demonstrates these kinds of things, and we have no inclination to change, we are not in a good place with God.

Gospel – For some of you, the very first step in this is going to be to open your heart to Jesus.  Without Jesus’ help, you are powerless over your own sin nature.

:10 So I stood upon him, and slew him

Saul had tried to kill himself when he was wounded by the Philistines in battle (1Sam. 31:4) .  But instead of dying, he lingered.  The Amalekite finished Saul off.

The first time we have a recorded encounter between the Amalekites and Israel is in:

(Exo 17:8-16 KJV)  Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. {9} And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. {10} So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. {11} And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. {12} But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. {13} And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. {14} And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. {15} And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: {16} For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Jehovah-nissi = “Jehovah is my banner”. It’s the idea the Yahweh is our “rallying point”, He’s the one we gather around, He’s the one who brings the victory.

Victory over the flesh


1.  Victory in prayer.

It was when Moses had his hands lifted in prayer and surrender to God that Joshua had the victory.

In the Garden, when Jesus was praying and the disciples kept falling asleep, Jesus said,

(Mat 26:41 KJV)  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Our sin nature is weak against temptation.  But one of the ways to battle the flesh is through prayer.

Mathew Henry said: We do not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting, but Moses' hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual any service is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it.

2.  Victory in support.

Moses was not able to keep his hands up by himself.

We need to support each other, lift each other’s hands.

(Heb 3:12-13 KJV)  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. {13} But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
exhortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, to console, to encourage. This is the word used to describe the Holy Spirit, the “Comforter”, One who is called alongside to help.
We need to encourage each other because we can fool ourselves to the point where our hearts become hard.
This is why I get concerned when a person doesn’t seem to form any kinds of friendships in the church.  Who is going to encourage you?  Who will know when you’re struggling?

Later on, God gives the nation another reminder about Amalek:

(Deu 25:17-19 KJV)  Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; {18} How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. {19} Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

3.  Victory in rest

The flesh often attacks us when we are “weak” and “feeble”.  When the people found “rest” in the Promised Land, they were to deal with the Amalekites.

Though temptation can hit us at any time, the most difficult times to deal with are when you are the weakest.
Again, when Jesus was going to the Garden of Gethsemane, He warned Peter:
(Luke 22:31-32 KJV)  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: {32} But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Not only was Jesus going through a time of temptation in the Garden, but so were the disciples.  Jesus prayed, but the disciples slept.  Jesus was obeyed the Father, the disciples ran away.

We will find it hardest to resist temptation when we are weak and sleepy.

I know that some of us tend to struggle with being lazy and being too easy on ourselves, but others can tend to push themselves too hard.  When you are worn out, you become a target for Satan.  There is a reason for God telling mankind to take a Sabbath.  God wants us to learn to rest and be refreshed.  Come away.

4.  Victory in death.

God said that He wanted Israel to “blot out” the memory of Amalek.  It was “kill or be killed”.

The time for this to happen would come when Saul was king.

(1 Sam 15:2-3 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. {3} Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Saul did kill a lot of Amalekites, but he didn’t do what God commanded.  He didn’t completely wipe them out.

(1 Sam 15:8-9 KJV)  And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. {9} But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
In fact, as we found out last week, not only had Saul spared Agag, but later David would have another huge group of Amalekites capture his entire town (1Sam. 30).

Now we see the horrible irony of it all.  Saul himself is killed by an Amalekite.

It really doesn’t even end there.  Later in history there will be a descendant of Agag, an “Agagite” who would rise to power in the Persian Empire.  His name was Haman.  And he got very, very close to wiping out the entire nation of Israel.  You can read about it in the book of Esther.
Warren Wiersbe:  “The sin we fail to slay is the one that slays us.”

God’s solution for the flesh is not to pamper it.  God’s solution is death.

The Bible says that we are to think about our “flesh” as if it were dead, as if it had been crucified with Jesus on the cross.
(Rom 6:11-13 KJV)  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. {12} Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. {13} 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.

We are to think that our sin nature no longer has absolute control over us because it is dead.

The Bible talks about us actually “putting to death” our flesh.
(Rom 8:13 KJV)  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
What does this mean?  Does this mean I’m supposed to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger?
No.  I think it’s a little harder than that.  I think it means that we are to …
Starve it.
(Rom 13:14 KJV)  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

(Rom 13:14 NLT)  But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don't think of ways to indulge your evil desires.

There’s an old Eskimo proverb: “Inside every person there are two dogs that are fighting.  The one you feed is the one that wins”.
This is one of the things that happens on retreats.  You go away to a place where there is no TV, bad music, or movies, and you feed your spirit on the Word of God.  This is why we can have such a “spiritual high” at the end of a retreat.  Yet when the retreat is over, if we go back to our old habits of feeding the “flesh”, our “sin nature”, we end up right where we started.
Our sin nature is constantly crying out to us, “Feed me”.  At times it can give us the impression that it’s dying of starvation and we take pity and feed the creature.  Big mistake.
(Gal 6:7-8 KJV)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} 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.

Just as we need to starve the flesh, we also need to feed the spirit.

Every year our kids’ Christian school has a “Spirit Week”.  One of the things they try and get the kids to do is to not watch any TV for an entire week.  Boy that’s tough.  Spirit Week starts tomorrow.  Maybe even today.


The Call of the Barnyard

A flock of wild ducks was flying in formation, heading south for the winter. They formed a beautiful V in the sky, and were admired by everyone who saw them from below.

One day, Wally, one of the wild ducks in the formation, spotted something on the ground that caught his eye. It was a barnyard with a flock of tame ducks who lived on the farm. They were waddling around on the ground, quacking merrily and eating corn that was thrown on the ground for them every day. Wally liked what he saw. “It sure would be nice to have some of that corn,” he thought to himself. “And all this flying is very tiring. I’d like to just waddle around for a while.”

So after thinking it over a while, Wally left the formation of wild ducks, made a sharp dive to the left, and headed for the barnyard. He landed among the tame ducks, and began to waddle around and quack merrily. He also started eating corn. The formation of wild ducks continued their journey south, but Wally didn’t care. “I’ll rejoin them when they come back north in a few months, he said to himself.

Several months went by and sure enough, Wally looked up and spotted the flock of wild ducks in formation, heading north. They looked beautiful up there. And Wally was tired of the barnyard. It was muddy and everywhere he waddled, nothing but duck doo. “It’s time to leave,” said Wally.

So Wally flapped his wings furiously and tried to get airborne. But he had gained some weight from all his corn-eating, and he hadn’t exercised his wings much either. He finally got off the ground, but he was flying too low and slammed into the side of the barn. He fell to the ground with a thud and said to himself, “Oh, well, I’ll just wait until they fly south in a few months. Then I’ll rejoin them and become a wild duck again.”

But when the flock flew overhead once more, Wally again tried to lift himself out of the barnyard. He simply didn’t have the strength. Every winter and every spring, he saw his wild duck friends flying overhead, and they would call out to him. But his attempts to leave were all in vain.

Eventually Wally no longer paid any attention to the wild ducks flying overhead. He hardly even noticed them. He had, after all, become a barnyard duck.

Edited from More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright 1995 by Youth Specialties, Inc.

I think that we can feed our flesh to the point where we are no longer “wild-duck-followers” of Jesus Christ.  It’s not always easy to be obedient to God and to discipline ourselves to hang in there for the long haul. When we are feeling that way, that’s when Satan tempts us to “fall out of formation” and to join the barnyard ducks of the world.

God wants us to fly.  God has much more than just a muddy barnyard for us.

Perhaps you’ve had a tough time getting back into the air to soar with Jesus and the rest of the “wild ducks”.  There’s a trick that pilots use to get their airplanes in the air – they turn the plane into the wind to help their takeoff.

The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit being like “wind”.  The Greek word for “spirit” is pneuma, meaning “wind” or “air”.

5. Victory in the Spirit

(Gal 5:16 KJV)  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Open up your heart to the Spirit.  Turn yourself into the wind and spread your wings.