Chapter 4: David and the Young Man of Egypt

1 Samuel 30:1‑25  •  29 min. read  •  grade level: 5
1 Sam. 30:1-251And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 2And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. 3So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 7And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. 9So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. 10But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. 11And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; 12And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. 13And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. 14We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire. 15And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company. 16And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 17And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. 18And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 19And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. 20And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil. 21And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. 22Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. 23Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. 25And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day. (1 Samuel 30:1‑25)
Some of these incidents in the life of David are like the "puzzle pictures" most of us have seen. When you first glance at them you only see a tree or an animal or something of the kind. But as you examine it more closely, you begin to see a great variety of pictures in it. You see men and birds and beasts and fishes and trees and many other things. And the more you look the more distinctly they appear. And you wonder that you did not see them all at first. A casual glance would not detect them.
Now, that is something like these verses I have read. A careless reader would see nothing in them but an interesting historical incident. But there is more. There is a wealth of gospel illustration in them, and I think no very lively imagination is required to see it, either. Just keep the eyes of your heart open, and your ears, too. As Peter preached in the house of Cornelius "the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word." Some present may have been gazing about the room at Cornelius' splendid furniture and the magnificent pictures on the wall, or studying the fashion of some lady's latest bonnet, or absorbed in thought about their business or their pleasures. Only those who heard the Word were blessed. May you hear in your hearts tonight the "Gospel of Christ" foreshadowed in this narrative. "Hear and your soul shall live.”
David and his men had been away from Ziklag for a time. When they return, to their surprise and dismay they find their city burned, their property stolen, and, worst of all, their wives and children carried off. After recovering somewhat from the shock, they start in pursuit of the Amalekite invaders. Some of the band become exhausted on the road and are left in charge of the stuff by the brook Besor, while David and four hundred of his men continue the pursuit. They find a half-starved abandoned slave—an Egyptian—in the field, who, after being fed and somewhat revived, promises to guide them to the marauders' camp. But he first exacts an oath from David that he will neither take his life nor deliver him up to his old master. They set forward again and surprise their enemies in the midst of their festivities. Most of them are slain, and David recovers all—the wives, the little ones, and all the stolen property.
This young Egyptian represents the sinner. They find him in the field, just where Jesus finds poor sinners. "The field is the world." By nature we belong to Satan's world. Christ must seek and find us, as the shepherd sought and found the poor lost sheep.
Notice three things in connection with this "young man of Egypt." They are his citizenship, his condition, and his captivity.
First, his citizenship. In verse 13 David says to him, "Whence art thou?" He replies at once, "I am a young man of Egypt." He frankly acknowledges his citizenship; Egypt was his native land. Now, Egypt is a striking and instructive type of the world. I do not mean this physical world or earth on which we exist, but this moral scene in which men live and seek for satisfaction. It is that moral order of things which had its beginning in Cain's day, when he "went out from the presence of the Lord," and he and his descendants built cities, sought out witty inventions of brass and iron, manufactured musical instruments and looked for a good time, generally in forgetfulness of God. And that continues to the present day. The Word of God shows the land of Egypt is a picture of this. There Pharaoh (type of Satan) ruled and tyrannized. There, too, the elect nation of Jehovah were groaning in bondage beneath the cruel lash of their taskmasters. It was a place where the true God was unknown, and the inhabitants worshiped and served the creature instead of the Creator.
Then, too, they were, in a way, independent of God. They had the Nile River to irrigate the country and were not at all dependent on the dews and rains of heaven. Twice a year the river overflowed its banks. They built dykes along the riverside, and here and there canals were cut in them. When the river was high they opened these canals. This overflowed the fields and meadows all along the Nile for miles and miles. Then when the river began to fall, they closed the canals, which prevented the water escaping from the inland. After a while, the sun evaporated what water the soil did not absorb, and they reaped abundant harvests of grain and hay without a drop of rain or dew. This is like the world. They have no need of God. Their springs are all down here. Christians can say, "All my springs are in Thee." God is the source of all their joys. All their hopes are centered in Christ above. They look to heaven for everything. "The ungodly are not so." Their resource is some "river." For some it is gold and stocks and houses and land. Give others the ballroom, the theater, the cards and the novels, and they are satisfied. They have no care for Christ! Egypt had its river, and the world (which spiritually is called Egypt) has its river, too.
Christians are not of the world. The Lord Jesus says so. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:1414I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)). Paul says, "Our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven" (Phil. 3:2020For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20)). They are "citizens of no mean city," even "Jerusalem which is above," where gold is trodden under foot and where there are "pleasures forevermore." "The Lamb is the light thereof," who, the Apostle says, "gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world" (Gal. 1:44Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:4)). If you are unconverted, you belong down here where Satan is "god" and "prince." As "god," men worship him (unwittingly); as "prince" they serve him. Christians, Thomas-like, say of Jesus, "My Lord and my God.”
Where is your citizenship, my friend? "Whence art thou?" Must you answer, "I am a young man of Egypt"? Would you, in truthfulness, be compelled to say, "I am a young lady of this moral Egypt; I am a woman of the world"? Come now, be honest. You belong to one place or the other. It is morally impossible to belong to earth and heaven. Some professing Christians do not seem to know this. They say, "We're going to make the best of both worlds." They remind me of the fable of the bats. The birds and the beasts were at war, and the bats determined to remain neutral. To the birds they declared themselves to be birds, and to the beasts they confessed themselves to be beasts. Once they were birds of the air, and once again they were beasts of the field. God will not have such shifting and neutrality. The Red Sea rolled between the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan. Canaan represents the heavenlies, where the saints of God belong. There they had no Nile to overflow its banks. They were entirely dependent on "the early and the latter rains."
The Red Sea typifies the death of Christ. It is Christ's death that separates Christians from the world. The cross divides the human race. It was by the cross of Christ that the world was crucified to Paul and he unto the world (Gal. 6:1414But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)). It stands like a mighty barrier between the justified and the condemned. It is like a wall of fire between the servants of Christ and the subjects of Satan. Remember this, beloved fellow-Christian. Act upon it. God saved a certain man, and he came clean. His break with the world was complete. When enticed to return to the world and his old companions, he used to say: "No; when I left the rebel ranks I burned the bridge behind me." He had in his mind the old generals who, to make sure of success, used to burn the bridges behind them, so as to cut off all opportunity for retreat. This is the practical side. The doctrinal side is that God is taking "out of the world a people for His name" (Acts 15:1414Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14)). The man or woman who dies a citizen of this world must go to hell. Let this question search your heart: "Whence art thou?”
The next is his condition. This was deplorable. Three things may be said of him: he was sick, starving, and abandoned.
First, he was sick. He says, "Three days agone I fell sick" (1 Samuel 30:1313And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. (1 Samuel 30:13)). He was just like you, my unsaved friend. You are sick with an awful disease. It is sin, and it ends in eternal death: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)). The poison of sin is in your soul and doing its deadly work. You are like the people in the desert, dying of the serpent-bite. You commit sin. "And sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:1515Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:15)). This is more than the death of the body—It is eternal death in the lake of fire!
But thank God there is a remedy for sin! It is the gospel. The Apostle says, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth" (Rom. 1:1616For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)). You may be cured of your disease of sin tonight, my friend! "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)). Do you want salvation? If so, get healing for your soul tonight!
There are three ways of treating God's remedy for sin. You may reject it, neglect it or accept it. Let me illustrate it. Suppose a fearful plague is raging in this city. Thousands die on every hand. No physician can help the stricken ones: It produces fatal results in every instance. Remedies seem useless. I myself am smitten with the plague. A stranger comes just as I am at the point of death and leaves me three bottles of medicine, saying it will cure me if I take it immediately. I take a bottle and am cured completely: I am overjoyed! I have two bottles left and think of others dying without hope. There are Mr. Black and Mr. Brown. I will hurry off to tell them of my remedy and give them each a bottle. So I hasten down to Mr. Black, who is almost gone. I go to his bedside and say: "I have good news for you." "What is it?" he faintly asks. I tell him of the remedy and of my own remarkable recovery. To my surprise, he rises in his bed and cries angrily: "Be gone with your quack remedies! It’s all a humbug. You are a medical fanatic. Talk no more nonsense to me. I will not have it!" He rejects it deliberately, and I sadly turn away. In a few hours he is in the throes of death. He is like the atheist who would take Christ's servants by the shoulders, throw them out of his house and fling the Bible after them. He rejects the Gospel and insures his soul's damnation!
But all are not atheists. There is another class, and Brown represents them. I hurry to his house. Time is precious, and he may soon be gone. I say to him, "Brown, rejoice! You need not die. I was once as low as you, and I have a remedy. It cured me, and here it is. Take it immediately, if you value your life!" He politely thanks me and tells me I may leave a bottle on the stand. I do not wait to see him take the medicine. I have one bottle left and hurry off to a Mr. White whom I know to be dying. Brown intends to take the remedy, but it is nearly teatime, so he puts it off till after tea. After tea he takes a quiet smoke. Then he glances over the evening paper, dozes, falls asleep and never awakes. He has died with a remedy within easy reach, but neglects it. Scripture says, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:33How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)). Someone has said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Men and women intend to have the question of their souls' salvation settled someday. And it will be, but with most ... just too late. It will be settled contrary to their expectations, with heaven closed against them, and hell, with all its horrors, open to them as neglecters of God's great salvation. "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing" (Prov. 13:44The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. (Proverbs 13:4)). Desiring the salvation of your soul is not enough—you must lay hold of it at once! "Behold, now is the accepted time" (2 Corinthians 6:22(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:2)). Do you think lost souls in hell ever expected to be there? Only a few of them. If we could descend to those deplorable regions of remorse and question those who heard the Gospel as you hear it now, most of them would say they never thought they would be lost. Nearly all expected to be saved before they died. But death suddenly overtook them or their hearts grew hard and calloused as the years slipped by. Then, before they knew it, they were past all hope. "I am lost, lost, lost; yet I always meant to be saved!" a young girl cried as she lay in the agonies of death. O man, woman, child—do not delay! NOW is the golden moment!
Well, I leave the neglecter, and turn towards the house of Mr. White. I enter his room and say: "Thank God, you need not die, my man! Here is a remedy. It has cured me, and it will cure you!" "Thank you," he gasps, as he takes a long, deep draft and is saved. He accepts the remedy!
Sin-sick soul, accept God's remedy tonight. It is within your reach. "Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven (that is, to bring Christ down from above)? Or, who shall descend into the deep (that is, to bring Christ up again from the dead)? But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:6-96But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:6‑9)).
Paul at Athens had three kinds of hearers. "Some mocked." They were the rejecters. "And others said, We will hear thee again of this matter." They were neglecters. "Howbeit, certain men clave unto him, and believed." They accepted and were saved (Acts 17:32-3432And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33So Paul departed from among them. 34Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (Acts 17:32‑34)).
Which class are you in, my friend? Oh, be wise in time. "Why will ye die?”
The young man of Egypt was starving. For "three days and three nights" he had eaten nothing. How like the prodigal of Luke 15:1717And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (Luke 15:17) this is. "I perish with hunger." Hunger makes a man dependent. He is thus made willing to be ministered unto. For a season, souls in this state are likely to seek to satisfy the cravings of their hearts with "husks." And the devil helps them. He wants to keep them somewhat satisfied, if possible, short of the Bread of Life. He fears to have them turn towards God for satisfaction, for he knows they will find it there. So he entertains them to the best of his ability with everything the world affords. And he has plenty of ministers to do this kind of work. They can do it beneath the cloak of Christianity, too. Such are "transformed as the ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:1515Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:15)). They appear as ministers of Christ, but they don’t preach Christ. The world seeks entertainment. So these men apply themselves to the art of entertaining, so that even starving souls are caught for a time. They are like Nero, who, when Rome was starving, sent to Egypt for shiploads of sand for the arena, instead of corn for the famishing inhabitants. He would amuse a starving people. What the poor world needs is Christ—the Gospel. Would to God there were faithful men in every corner of Christendom who would preach only Christ as the bread of life to perishing souls. There are actors, lecturers and clowns enough in the world to tickle the ears of perishing men and women, without the professed servants of Christ attempting to do the same.
Turn from the chaff and the straw of a mock Christianity, with its ceaseless round of entertainment. Christ alone can meet the deep and desperate need of your perishing soul. He not only saves, but, glory to His name, "He satisfieth the longing soul” (Psalm 107:99For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:9)).
Then, the young man of Egypt was abandoned. He says, "My master left me, because three days agone I fell sick" (1 Sam. 30:1313And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. (1 Samuel 30:13)). His heartless master left him in the field to perish when he could not use him any longer. And that's the way the devil treats his servants. He uses them as his tools as long as he can. Then, when he cannot use them anymore, he leaves them to their fate. Thus he treated Judas and hosts of others before and since.
But it is not so with Christ. He never turns away from any. He saved a Mary Magdalene. He revealed Himself as a Savior to the Samaritan woman. He assured a dying robber of a home in paradise with Him. He saved a mad inquisitor called Saul—the very "chief of sinners." His call to the very worst of Adam's race is this: "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." George Whitefield used to often cry out in his preaching: "Christ will even receive the devil's castaways." A poor wreck of a woman was once passing the door of the tabernacle just as the great soul-winner uttered this startling declaration. They struck her; hope revived in her breast, and the next day she called on the earnest evangelist to ask him if it was really so that Christ would receive such castaways as she was. He assured her from Scripture that He would, and she became "a brand plucked out of the fire." Thank God, I say, for such a Savior to proclaim and such a Master to obey and serve. Is He Savior and Lord to you, my friend, or are you still lost and Satan's slave? You belong to either Christ or Satan, as we shall see.
The last is his captivity. The young man of Egypt confessed himself to be a servant to an Amalekite. "And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite" (vs. 13). He was a bond slave. He belonged to this Amalekite. Now, Amalek is a type of the flesh that is in us and by which Satan enslaves the sons of men. By "the flesh" I mean man's evil nature—that which in us produces the various lusts and passions. Amalek was Israel's most bitter and implacable enemy, and the Lord had sworn that He would have war with Amalek forever (Exod. 17:8-168Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9And 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. 10So 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. 11And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12But 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. 13And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14And 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. 15And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: 16For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. (Exodus 17:8‑16)). So also now, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. 5:1717For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)). Now Christ came not only to deliver us from the terrors of death, as we have already seen, but also from the enslaving power of sin—from serving that indwelling sin, that we may live unto God.
When David's men discovered this young man of Egypt, they brought him to David. Thus true servants of the Lord always aim to bring both sinners and saints to the Lord Himself, knowing well that none but He is able to meet their various needs. Andrew found his brother Simon. "And he brought him to Jesus" (John 1:4242And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. (John 1:42)). To make the Church a sort of Noah's ark for safety is a huge delusion. Christ is the ark and the sinner's only refuge. You must be brought to Christ, my friends, or perish. You must always be in contact with Christ, my brethren, or starve and grow worldly.
The Egyptian brought to David is assured by him of his safety. Then he enters David's service. He begins to serve him. "And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company" (vs. 15).
Now note the order. Assurance of salvation first, and service afterward. It is not first service, and then security. The young man will not make a move in David's service till he has the assurance of his own security. He was wise in this. Are you as wise, my friend? Have you the assurance of your own salvation? If not, you have no business doing so-called “Christian” work. Security is not gained by service, though hosts of men have that idea. "By grace are ye saved, through faith...Not of works lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-98For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8‑9)). If man were saved by works, heaven would be a wretched place. I'll tell you why. Heaven would be filled with boasters. One hears boasting and bragging enough down here, until it almost makes him sick. How blessed to be in a place one day where there is no boasting! Why, if sinners were saved as some men preach and as the majority of people suppose, we might hear conversations like this in heaven: “Who are you?”
"Oh, I lived in the days when Noah built his ark.”
“And how did you succeed in getting here?”
“Well, I'll tell you. I had a good deal of sympathy with Noah, and took an interest in his work. I worked a number of weeks for nothing on the ark, and I donated several thousand feet of lumber and a good many kegs of spikes and nails. That's how I got here.”
Such boasting would be heard on every hand; every man praising himself and outdoing his neighbor. Thank God, there will be no boasting there. "Where is boasting, then? It is excluded. By what law (or principle)? Of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:27-2827Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:27‑28)). We are saved by the grace of God on the justifying principle of that faith which clings to Jesus and the blood of His cross, and not of works or anything of us, lest any man should boast.
Christ has done the work that saves. Behold Him on the cross between two mocking thieves, though His rightful place is on the throne of God, the center of adoring hosts of angels. Though "King of kings," He wears a crown of thorns. The Creator of heaven and earth, He hangs in shame between the two, as if unfit for either place. He cries, "I thirst," though He made the gushing springs and cooling brooks and all the mighty rivers. The cup of the wrath of God is pressed to His stainless lips, and He drains it. The sword of divine justice is uplifted, and He bares His spotless bosom to receive the stroke. The storm of God's anger against sin is bursting upon Him, and He bows His blessed, sinless head beneath the blast. Hear that cry that comes from the very depths of His suffering spirit: "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?" God makes Him sin for us—He who knew no sin. He is made a curse for us, that He may become the eternal source and fountain of all blessing. The heavens become black and the earth is quaking. The very rocks are rent as Jesus, the Savior, makes atonement. Three awful hours have passed, and in triumph He exclaims: "It is finished!" Then He bows His head, yields up the spirit, and the mighty work is finished! All praise be His! The anthem of the redeemed is this: "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood ... to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever" (Rev. 1:5-65And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5‑6)). To the Son of God belongs all glory and all blessing. And to the sons of men is offered free salvation.
Works follow faith. The Egyptian serves when he is assured of his security. We believe and are saved apart from works. Then we begin to serve. A little verse expresses it:
I need not work my soul to save,
For that my Lord hath done;
But I would work like any slave,
From love to God's dear Son.”
Scripture says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:1010For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)). But many there are who try to serve the Lord before they have salvation. There must be the tree before you can look for fruits. Who ever saw a crop of apples growing on a telegraph-pole? Unconverted souls are just as dead as any telegraph-pole. Scripture describes them as being "dead in trespasses and sins.”
“No works, no penance can suffice,
'Tis life dead sinners need.”
The young man of Egypt enjoyed assurance of his safety, David's oath assured him. He trusted David.
Do you have assurance, friend? Do you know for certain that you are saved? You say, "I hope so," or "I think so.”
Indeed! And are you satisfied with uncertainty on a subject this serious? Were you starting on a long journey and one asked you, "Do you have your ticket?" would you answer, "I hope so"? Could you rest short of being sure?
God's word alone can make us sure, as David's word assured the young Egyptian. It says to them that believe, "By grace ye are saved" (Eph. 2:55Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:5)). Also, "Who hath saved us ... not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:99Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9)). And also, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:55Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)). I am not left to my feelings. I know it from the Scriptures. If I am in a dark cellar, I must feel my way. A man in the dark must be guided by feeling. But if I have a light to go by, I do not have to trust to feelings. God's word is the lamp that gives us light and makes us certain. I dare not trust my feelings. Isaac trusted his feelings and was deceived. "And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice but the hands are the hands of Esau" (Gen. 27:21-2221And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. 22And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. (Genesis 27:21‑22)). He made a disastrous mistake. He went by feelings, instead of being guided by the voice. The voice of God alone can give us certainty. And the Scriptures are the voice of God. Listen. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (1 John 5:1313These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)). "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:3636He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)).
The Egyptian felt much different after eating the "bread," the "piece of a cake of figs," the "two clusters of raisins," and drinking the "water." No doubt of that. But I am sure he did not say, "I know my life is going to be spared and that I am not going to be given up to my old master, because I feel so refreshed and strong." No, he had the word of David—David's oath to make him certain. God's word is as good as His oath. And that Word assures all true believers that their souls are saved, and that forever! "But," says someone, "I have seen converts go back and fall again beneath the power of Satan." And I have seen skyrockets in the sky at night that looked like falling stars. But they were not. God's almighty power suspends the stars in empty space. They never fall. Sky-rockets are not stars. They are from beneath—earth-born, and they are man-made. Stars are heavenly and the work of God's creative hand. Man-made Christians will go back. They may look like Christians, and, like rockets, they may even make a brilliant show. But “sky-rocket converts” never hold out. God's converts always do. They are said to be "kept by the power of God through faith" (1 Peter 1:55Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)). Peter's light grew dim. He stumbled, but his faith continued. There was a work of God in his soul, and he did not fall away and perish. Thank God we are saved with an "eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:99And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:9)).
I’ll notice briefly two words, and then I'm done. They are the Amalekites' enjoyment and their judgment. They were making merry in fancied security when David swooped down upon them like an eagle on its prey. "Behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth; eating and drinking and dancing....And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four-hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled" (1 Samuel 30:16-1716And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 17And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. (1 Samuel 30:16‑17)).
They were having a "merry time," as people say, when the vengeance of David was threatening to destroy them. Those Amalekites are like this God-hating, Christ-rejecting, Spirit-resisting, grace-abusing world. The awful judgment of God is threatening them, but they eat and drink and dance and sing as if it were not so. The Apostle says, "When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:33For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)). He describes this impending judgment. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power" (2 Thess. 1:7-97And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (2 Thessalonians 1:7‑9)). Jude says, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 14-1514And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14‑15)).
Christ is coming, sinner. Are you prepared to meet Him? If not, what madness to be making merry! Many years ago, a servant of Christ named Samuel Whiting was itinerating about the states of New England. One night he stopped at a tavern where a company of young men and women were spending a merry evening. As Mr. Whiting passed them on his way to his room, he said to them, with deep solemnity: "Friends, if you are sure that your sins are forgiven, you may be wisely merry." His words dropped like a thunderbolt in their midst. They soon dispersed to their homes to think about the danger of their unsaved souls. Are your sins forgiven? If not, beware. You are not "wisely merry." Think, I beseech you, of the awful danger to which you are exposed. No man knows when Christ may come. I solemnly believe the hour of the world's impending judgment is about to strike. "The end of all things is at hand," the Apostle Peter writes. "The time is short," Paul says. Soon, very soon, will the long-delayed and threatened stroke descend. Woe to you then, poor sinner!
The indifference of men is appalling. Thirty-five or forty years ago, this country was shaken from Maine to California, and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Now all seems still as death. Is it the calm before the storm? the hush anterior to the tempest? In the days of Noah and Lot, they were living in easy unconcern, as they are to-day. But the flood came and the fire descended. "Sudden destruction" came upon them in the midst of their festivities. My unconverted hearers, "Flee from the wrath to come!" The Amalekites perished without warning. But God has warned the world, and it stands without excuse!
The young man of Egypt was with David when he came upon the Amalekites. He once belonged to their company and was one of them. Had he not been separated from them, he would have surely shared their fate. If unconverted, you are of that world of sinners, "whose judgment now for a long time lingereth not, and whose damnation slumbereth not." Turn from it now, before the vengeance of God destroys you with it. God has borne with it long. The sins of Christendom reach up to Heaven and cry for vengeance. Christ is your only refuge. Come to Him now, and, like Noah in the ark and Lot in the mountain, you will be safe from the sweeping storm. Like the young man of Egypt, you will be taken out of the world and away from this scene before the stroke descends. You will appear with Christ, along with those ten thousand holy ones who accompany Him when He comes to earth to war and judge.
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him" (Psa. 2:1212Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:12)).
One question before I close. It is the first clause of the thirty-eighth verse of the twenty-first chapter of Acts: "Art not thou that Egyptian?”