1 Sam. 30:1-20 HOW TO HANDLE YOUR CRITICS
Intro: Criticism! No one like to receive it, but it will come anyway!
Regardless of how well you live your life or try to conduct yourself in front of
others, there will always be those around you who will find something to
Who can forget the life of Job? Here was a man that the Lord called
"perfect and upright, and one that feared God and escheweth evil."
Yet, when various calamities fell upon his life and Job's friends came to be
with him, all they could find to do to Job was to criticize him. Notice what
they said about this man of God, "You are a hypocrite!", Job 5:4-5! "You
are a windbag!", Job 8:2! "You're just getting what you deserve!", Job
5:8-15! "You have a bad attitude!", Job 5:17! There are many more verses
that could be mentioned where the friends of Job attacked and criticized this
godly man. Yet, through it all, Job stuck with the Lord and never turned on
God. As a result, he was restored and blessed by the Father.
Have you ever been criticized by others? Of course you have! And, you
will be again! When it comes your way, you need to know how to respond
to your critics so that you can have the victory.
In this passage, we find David on the run from King Saul. He has fled
to the land of the Philistines and is waiting there for the Lord to deliver to him
the kingdom of Israel. During this time, there arose a series of events that
lead to David being criticized by his own people. In fact, verse 6 tells us that
they were even talking about stoning David to death over this thing.
Tonight, I would like for us to look into this passage and see what
brought about their criticism and how David handled himself in the face of
their attack. The lessons gleaned from these verses will help us when we
too find ourselves the focus of criticism. Let me speak to you for a few
minutes about How To Handle Your Critics.
I. V. 1-5 THE REASON FOR THEIR CRITICISM
A. 29:1-5 A Misguided Decision - Ill. The context. In all reality, David
probably had no business trying to help the Philistines defeat Israel.
Whatever his reasoning, David was leading his troops to fight against
their own people. When things turned out as the did, his men were
justified in questioning David's decision.
(Ill. When criticism comes your way, one of the main things you need
to ask yourself is, "Is this true?" Instead of reacting defensively
against your critic, try to put yourself in their shoes for a moment and
try to see the issue through their eyes. It may be that they are right,
at least to degree. Give them the benefit of the doubt.)
B. V. 1-3 A Military Defeat - Ill. The context! When these men returned
home, they found that their town had been destroyed by the
Amalekites. To the minds of these men David was responsible for
this event. If they had been home, instead of away to fight in a war,
they could have defended their wives, children and property. Their
distress is easy to understand!
(Ill. Apparently David was doing what he thought was right. However,
those around him saw things a different way. We just need to
remember that not everyone will agree with us all the time. There will
always be those who could do it better, or who would do it differently.
The critics are always close at hand!)
(Ill. John Wesley was deeply disturbed by people who seemed to
enjoy criticizing others, especially those who were in the Lord's work.
Once while he was preaching, he noticed a lady in the congregation
who was well known for her critical attitude. All through the service
she sat and stared at his new tie. When the meeting was ended, she
came up to him and said very sharply, "Mr. Wesley, the strings on
your bow tie are much too long. It's an offense to me!" He asked if
any of the ladies present happened to have a pair of scissors in their
purse. When they were handed to him, he gave them to the critic and
ask her to trim the streamers to her liking.
After she clipped them off near the collar, he said, "Are you sure
they're right now?" "Yes", she said, "that's much better!" "Then let
me have those shears a moment," said Wesley. "I'm sure you
wouldn't mind if I also give you a bit of correction. I don't mean to be
cruel, but I must tell you, madam, that your tongue is an offense to me
- it's too long! Please stick it out, I'd like to trim some off." Of course,
Wesley didn't follow through on his threat, but he sure made his
C. V. 4-5 A Monumental Discouragement - Ill. The context. When the
tragedy is discovered, the men weep until they can weep no more and
needing a scapegoat, they turn on David, v. 6. However, what they
failed to realize, and the Bible points this put, David's wives were
among those taken captive. They were simply concerned with
themselves and refused to see the bigger picture.
(Ill. Such is the way with critics! Very often, they are so caught up in
themselves, how they feel, what is happening to them and how they
are being affected that they cannot see things objectively. The best
way to deal with this is to do what David did: Don't respond to your
critic! Criticism often has the effect of injuring the critic more than the
one criticized! One fellow put it this way, "If criticism had has any real
power to harm, the skunk would be extinct by now."
I. The Reason For Their Defeat
II. V. 6 THE REACTION TO THEIR CRITICISM
A. A Heavy Heart - David is bothered by their reaction. He has suffered
just as much loss as they have. His heart was broken that the people
had turned on him. In their defense, they were just looking for a
scapegoat. Often this is the case in criticism. The critic uses his
criticism as a means of raising himself in the eyes of others. Dr. M.R.
DeHaan made this statement, "It is a dead giveaway when you meet
a person who is always criticizing and finding fault with another brother.
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred he's trying to divert attention from
his own sins by pointing an accusing finger at someone else."
(Ill. Unfair and unjust criticism always has a way of striking you right
in the heart. It is painful, when you have done your best, to know that
someone is observing your life to find fault. It is natural to be bothered
by criticism. However, criticism should never be allowed to control
(Ill. The wife of a hard to please husband was determined to satisfy
him for just one day. "Darling", she asked, "what would you like for
breakfast this morning?" He growled, "Coffee and toast, grits and
sausage, and two eggs - one scrambled and one fried." She soon had
the food on the table and waited for a word of praise. After a quick
glance at his plate, he exclaimed, "Well, if you didn't scramble the
wrong egg!" The moral? Some people will never be happy no matter
what you do, no matter what you say, no matter to what lengths you go
to in order to satisfy them. People like that are not worth you're the
time it takes for you to try and make them happy. Does it hurt when
people criticize? Yes! But in the end, the only Person Who deserves
to be pleased at all costs is God! Therefore, let the critics criticize and
the complainers complain. If God is pleased with your life and mine
then we have accomplished something of the first order!)
B. A Humble Heart - Please note that David did not respond to his
critics! He was upset and hurt but he did not retaliate.
(Ill. The danger of being criticized is that it can cause you to develop a
spirit of bitterness toward the criticizer. The surest way to fuel the fire
of criticism, as well as the speculation that the critic may be right, is to
go on the defensive. The best response to criticism is no response at
(Ill. Colonel George Washington Goethals was the primary supervisor
responsible for constructing the Panama Canal. This feat of
engineering called for the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to be
linked by a canal dug across the country of Panama. Since its
completion, ships have saved millions of combined miles by being able
to go through the canal and avoid the trip around the tip of South
America. While the work was being done, Colonel Goethals had to
endure severe criticism from back home which predicted that he would
never be able to finish, what his critics called an "impossible task".
This man refused to listen to his critics and pressed ahead with his
One day a subordinate asked this question, "aren't you going to
answer your critics?" "In time", the Colonel replied. "How?", the man
asked. The Colonel smiled and said, "With the canal!" His answer
came loud and clear on August 15, 1914 when the Panama Canal
opened to traffic for the first time.
This man answered his critics by sticking to the task at hand and
humbly doing the work which he had been assigned! What a lesson
for the child of God!)
C. A Hopeful Heart - When David did react, notice how it came about.
David turned to the Lord and called on His name. He knew that things
might look bad for him and for his men, but David knew that the Lord
was in control of all the matters of life. In the face of criticism, David
turned to the Lord for encouragement. The word for "encouraged"
means "to seize something as a support to give yourself strength."
David did what we could all learn to do and that is to take our trouble,
along with our critics, to the Lord!
(Ill. Far too often, we try to take matters into our own hands. We want
to handle our critics. We want to ell them off. We want to put them in
their place. Our best course of action is to take them to the Lord and
ask God to show us if their criticism is valid. If it is, then deal with it!
If it isn't, then we need to leave our critics in the hands of God. He
knows far better than us how they need to be dealt with! And, you had
better believe that He will deal with them! Rom. 12:19)
I. The Reason For Their Criticism
II. The Reaction To Their Criticism
III. V. 7-20 THE RESULTS OF THEIR CRITICISM
A. V. 7-10 David's Faith Was Visible - When the critics began their
harassment of David, he responded by turning to the Lord in prayer.
He knew that retaliation was not the answer, but the families of David
and his men needed to be saved and he went to the Lord to ask for
God's guidance. It was evident to all his critics that David was
walking with God in spite of their attack!
(Ill. There is a lesson here for you and me. When we are criticized
and attacked, our best response is simply to carry on with business
s usual! Just keep on serving God and be what the Lord has saved
you to be. He will bless that attitude more than He could ever bless
an attitude of bitterness and one that lashes out at its enemies.)
B. V. 11-17 David's Faith Was Vindicated - David, through the
providence of the Lord was lead in the right direction and he and his
men found the Amalekites and they defeated them. Because David
refused to get caught up in little personal battles, God was able to
use him in a great way to secure victory for himself and for the
people. By his actions, David proved that he was who he claimed
to be. They doubted his leadership abilities before, but now they
know that David is the man that they should be following.
(Ill. Again, there is something for us to learn here. If we will stick by
the Lord in the face of our critics and attackers, then we can be
assured of God's help and of the fact that He will see us through
C. V. 18-20 David's Faith Was Victorious - These verses tell us about
the great victory that the Lord gave to David. Did you notice that they
recovered everything, v. 18-19? Did you also notice who got the
credit on a human level, v. 18-20? David got the credit! Now, those
men who wanted to stone him and were critical of his life were forced
to admit that David was right.
Conc: Do you see that truth that is displayed here? Criticism is going to
come your way! However, you have the choice as to how you respond to
that criticism. As I close, I would like to share with you 4 steps to take when
you are criticized by another. Perhaps these will help you when that next
critic unleashes his or her long tongue against your life.
1. Accept criticism as inevitable.
2. Carefully examine the source of every criticism. Some may be valid, but
many are not! Ask yourself, "Who is the one saying this thing?"
3. Decide not to take criticism personally. Look at it objectively and try to
learn from it. Ask yourself, "Is there any truth to this?"
4. Commit the matter to the Lord and with His help rise above it! Allow Him
to vindicate you in His own time and in His own way. If we fail to cope
with criticism, we will become like our critics!
It may be that you are being forced to deal with an issue like this right
now. Maybe you are being criticized. I don't know why the Lord sent this
message, but I ma sure that someone here this evening needed some of
this. If this spoke to a need in your life, then I would like to invite you to
bring that need before the Lord and allow Him the opportunity to do His
great work in your life.