Memo 1055: The Power of a Thought

As we continue to read about David, we come upon a season of his life that was not his best version of himself. David despaired of God's continuing help and, being tired of fleeing for his life while he also protected his people, consequently fled to King Achish in Gath, the same king before whom he had acted like a madman in 1 Samuel 21. When he took refuge there this second time, David became a liar, a deceiver, a bandit, a mercenary, and a murderer. What happened? How could the man who had done so much, of whom songs were composed to commemorate his exploits, have fallen so far so quickly? We will see that the source of David's downfall was one single thought. Let's take a look at that thought so we can be on guard against such renegade ruminations in our own lives.


When a missile is launched, it has been programmed to follow a certain course to its target. Let's say that missile is one degree off when it is launched. Could we tell by looking at it that it was off course? No, for it would be imperceptible to the naked eye. Yet I read that a missile one degree off that was launched from New York with a destination of California would be 60 miles off course when it finally landed. That's the way it is with your thought life. It may be a bit "off" at first, but it seems like nothing serious. Just a small thought of fear or doubt or despair won't make that much difference in our lives, will it? It will, and to prove it, let's see where David got off course in this sordid chapter of his life:

"But David thought to himself, 'One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand'" (1 Samuel 27:1-2).

God had preserved David up to that point in his life, but David thought, "I'm tired of this. I'm sick of running and hiding. I'm going to go over to our enemies and pretend to be one of them—even though I'm not." From that one thought came all of David's problems for the next 18 months because he acted on his thoughts as we all do. The power of his thought that at first seemed rational and even excusable after all David had been through led to one problem after another. As we will see later, it almost cost David his family and those of his 600 companions.

What's more, David knew better. This is the same man who had the thought when first seeing Goliath that led to his victory over the giant. While the army "thought" that Goliath was too big to hit, David "thought" he was too big to miss. That one thought—and a correct one it was—led to David's victory that snowballed into Israel's rout of the Philistines. Yet there David was ten chapters later engaging in wrong thinking that almost led to his undoing.


Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Paul taught that we will be transformed not by external things but by the renewal of our minds. Since the business of the mind is thinking, then our thought life plays a role in becoming the people God's wants us to be—or not. David is a good example of this. He thought "right" and he took on Goliath; he thought "wrong" and descended to the depths of depravity in a short period of time. David's despair caused him to play footsie with the devil and the results were not pretty. They won't be for you when you do the same.

How's your thought life these days? Is it causing you to seek out and destroy your Goliaths or to run and hide among the Philistines? Are you playing the world's game acting like one of "them" while trying to stay true to the Lord? Where does your thought process need an infusion of God's truth for a course correction for the missile of your life? The good news is that David came to his senses, as we will see in future lessons, but only by God's grace when the heathen he had turned to in his charade turned on him and sent him packing, I pray the Lord will do the same for you if you have cozied up with erroneous thinking that has led you down the wrong path. Have a blessed week.

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