Watch Your Tongue Before Outsiders 

What do Christians hope to gain by speaking evil of the church to the world?

Second Samuel 1

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 15, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – No suggestions


  1. When something bad happens in the church, 
    1. what, if anything, do you say to outsiders about it?
    2. Have you thought about
      1. whether what you say pleases the Lord? or
      2. whether you are helping or hurting the church?
  2. How did men and women of God in the Scriptures conduct themselves? 


  1. Second Samuel 1.1–10 – Is It Good News that the King Is Dead?

    1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had stayed two days in Ziklag, 2 on the third day, behold, it happened that a man came from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. So it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. 3 And David said to him, “Where have you come from?” So he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 Then David said to him, “How did the matter go? Please tell me.” And he answered, “The people have fled from the battle, many of the people are fallen and dead, and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 5 So David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?” 6 Then the young man who told him said, “As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7 Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8 And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 He said to me again, ‘Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.’ 10 So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.”
  2. Second Samuel 1.11–12 – David Mourns the Death of the King

    11 Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. 12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
  3. Second Samuel 1.13–16 – David Orders the Death Penalty

    13 Then David said to the young man who told him, “Where are you from?” And he answered, “I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite.” 14 So David said to him, “How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go near, and execute him!” And he struck him so that he died. 16 So David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’”
  4. Second Samuel 1.17–27 – David Laments Saul and Jonathan

    17 Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow; indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher:

    19 “The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places!
    How the mighty have fallen!
    20 Tell it not in Gath,
    Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon—
    Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
    Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
    21 O mountains of Gilboa,
    Let there be no dew nor rain upon you,
    Nor fields of offerings.
    For the shield of the mighty is cast away there!
    The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.
    22 From the blood of the slain,
    From the fat of the mighty,
    The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
    And the sword of Saul did not return empty.
    23 Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives,
    And in their death they were not divided;
    They were swifter than eagles,
    They were stronger than lions.
    24 O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
    Who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury;
    Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
    25 How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!
    Jonathan was slain in your high places.
    26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
    You have been very pleasant to me;
    Your love to me was wonderful,
    Surpassing the love of women.
    27 How the mighty have fallen,
    And the weapons of war perished!”

  5. Keep It within Our Ranks 
    1. Listen to verse 20 again,

      20 “Tell it not in Gath,
      Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon—
      Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
      Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.”
    1. David loved his nation and
      1. would not tolerate anyone doing evil to her or
      2. speaking evil of her.
        1. When bad things happened to her people or to her leaders,
        2. even because of their own sin,
          1. he still taught his nation not to announce it to others.
          2. Why would anyone want to announce it to outsiders?
    2. When David received news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan,
      1. he lamented greatly the deaths of both men,
      2. although Saul had been a wicked man, trying to kill David.
        1. He called them the “beauty of Israel.”
        2. In verse 19, he labeled them the mighty.
        3. In verse 21, he spoke of Saul as mighty.
        4. Verse 22 – he said that Saul’s sword was not empty.
        5. Verse 23 – he said that they were beloved and pleasant.
        6. Verse 24 – he spoke of the good things Saul did.
        7. Again in verse 25, he said Saul was mighty.
        8. Finally, in verse 27, David lamented the fall of Saul the mighty.
      3. Although Saul sought to harm David,
        1. David refused to harm Saul
        2. with sword, spear, or words.
          1. David loved his enemies,
          2. blessing those who cursed him,
            1. doing good to those who hated him and
            2. praying for those who spitefully used him and persecuted him.
    3. Whether David liked it or not,
      1. whether Saul was righteous or not,
      2. the Lord God of heaven made Saul king.
        1. Therefore, to raise a hand against Saul
        2. was to raise a hand against the Lord.
          1. To seek to overthrow Saul as king,
          2. was to seek to overthrow God’s arrangement.
        3. Therefore, when Israel lost a leader,
          1. it was not a cause for rejoicing, but
          2. it was a cause for sadness and sorrow.
      3. David wanted his poem taught to the children of Judah.
        1. What was Judah to learn?
        2. What are we to learn?
          1. Listen yet again to verse 20,

            20 “Tell it not in Gath,
            Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon—
            Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
            Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.”
            (2Sa 1.20).
          2. Gath and Ashkelon were cities of the Philistines,
            1. long-time foes of Israel.
            2. They would delight in nothing more than
              1. to hear of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan,
              2. who had both killed many Philistines.
                1. David did not want the women of Philistia
                2. to have any reason for rejoicing over
                  1. the downfall of Israelite men,
                  2. whether those men were righteous or wicked.
          3. The Philistines would hear anyway, but
            1. David did not want it to be
            2. from the mouth of a rejoicing Israelite, but
              1. it would be better if it came from the tear-drenched pen
              2. of a heart-broken Israelite.
        3. Micah the prophet embraced David’s lesson.
          1. In the opening chapter of Micah’s Book,
          2. he wailed over the sins of Israel and Judah.
            1. He mourned the horrible destruction
            2. that was on its way for the two nations.

              8 Therefore I will wail and howl,
              I will go stripped and naked;
              I will make a wailing like the jackals
              And a mourning like the ostriches,
              9 For her wounds are incurable.
              For it has come to Judah;
              It has come to the gate of My people—
              To Jerusalem.
              10 Tell it not in Gath,
              Weep not at all;
              In Beth Aphrah
              Roll yourself in the dust.
              11 Pass by in naked shame, you inhabitant of Shaphir;
              The inhabitant of Zaanan does not go out.
              Beth Ezel mourns;
              Its place to stand is taken away from you.
              (Mic 1.8–11).
    4. Both David and Micah did not want bad news published abroad.
      1. They especially did not want Israel’s enemies to know of it.
      2. Concerning the expression, “Tell it not in Gath,”
        1. Jason Jackson said,

          “It represents the idea that bad news does not need to be published unnecessarily, and the best interests are often served when information is not broadcast indiscriminately—however true it may be” (“Tell It Not in Gath,” Gospel Advocate, August 2006, page 32).

        2. Jason commented further,

          “Our brotherhood would be served better if men considered what not to say and not to write when they publicize their grievances before an unbelieving world.

          “Some, however, like the Amalekite who brought Saul’s crown and bracelet to David (2 Samuel 1:1–10), hope for recognition for ‘having the courage’ to expose the latest scandal or false teacher under the guise of defending and telling the truth.”

    1. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ.
      1. Therefore, as we love one another, so we love Him.
      1. As we love Him, let us we love one another.
        1. What we do to one another, we do to Him.
        2. What we do to Him, we should do to one another.
          1. Do we want to be guilty of having shamed His church?
          2. Or would we rather like to have Him find us glorying His church?
    1. Consider this application of First John 4,

      If someone says, “I bless God,” and curses his brother,
      he is a liar;
      for he who does not bless his brother whom he has seen,
      how can he bless God whom he has not seen?
      And this commandment we have from Him:
      that he who blesses God
      must bless his brother also.
    2. In Colossians 4, the Holy Spirit said,

      5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside (Col 4.5).
    3. In Genesis 13, Abraham saw the potential damage
      1. when the world sees brethren divided.
      2. Listen to the comment of Moses and then Abraham’s words,

        7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren” (Gen 13.7–8).
    4. Truly, as Nehemiah said, in Nehemiah 5, to his contemporaries,

      9 “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?” (Neh 5.9).
  1. Do Not Speak Evil of a Ruler 
    1. If what I have shown you is true,
      1. then we have to watch especially what we say about leaders.
      2. Of course, we think we have good reasons for speaking evil of a leader.
    2. However, watch Paul in Acts 23,

      1 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” 4 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” 5 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people’” (Acts 23.1–5).
    3. During the Civil War battle for Vicksburg, Mississippi,
      1. a Union commander had climbed a tower to observe the Confederates.
      2. A Confederate sniper saw the commander, but
        1. instead of shooting him,
        2. cursed him, warning him to get down or he would be shot.
          1. The sniper’s commanding officer rebuked him
          2. for speaking evil to a leader!
    4. Likewise, hear the words of Michael the Archangel to the devil,

      8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 8–9).


  1. Do you want to hurt your fellow Christians or help them? 
    1. If you want to hurt them,
      1. tell the world why you despise a fellow Christian, but
      2. keep in mind that you will answer to God for what you say.
    2. If you want to help them,
      1. keep bad news to yourself or within the ranks of the church, and
      2. the Lord shall favor you as He did David.
  2. What if you are not even a Christian?