Sunday, March 9, 2014
II Samuel 24.1-10
As we shared last week David knew the victories he experienced came from the LORD. He wrote Psalm 124 with this thought in mind.
Psalm 124:1-5 If the Lord had not been on our side—let Israel say— if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us,the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.
He knew that if the LORD had not been on their side, there would be no more Israel. God is a Promise Keeper. He was keeping His promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
David used the pictures from nature's floods in Psalm 124 to describe the disaster that would have happened if the LORD had not been on their side in battle. He taught it to Israel.
Yet we see David leaning on his own understanding and therefore his own strength here. Here the man after God's own heart has a lapse of faith, yielding to the temptation to lean on his own understanding. When a person God has chosen makes a bad decision it has ramifications that are always larger than one can imagine:
*Abraham's decision to father a child with Hagar
*Joseph's brothers selling him as a slave
*David deciding to number the troops
David failed to keep his own words of Psalm 124
1. Numbers Do Not Tell The Whole Story. vs.1-3
God has resources we know nothing about. He knew that! Goliath...
On the run from Saul, he wrote how it was the LORD Who kept him safe.
David's desire to number the troops was a move away from God's help, a turning from depending totally on the LORD, a shifting of his confidence in God's ability to protect and deliver them to having confidence in the flesh.
Paul wrote to the Philippians about this.
Philippians 3:3-7 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Do we look at our resources as that- loss for the sake of Christ. David faced Goliath in the power of God. He refused the armor and took his sling. He depended upon God.
Leaning on our own strength as a believer is like David is Saul's armor. It does fit, it encumbers us and makes it hard to walk. Yet it is a temptation. As a young shepherd boy David refused it, now as the king, and he had so many instances of God helping him to remind him, he still caves in and depends upon man's strength.
Joab and his commanders advised against it. Joab's question in verse 3.
Why would he want to do such a thing?
2-Laspe of Faith
3-Worry about the Future
1 Chronicles 21:1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.
The temptation to prepare for battle if the we have to it alone is ridiculous.
David was going against his own words, "the battle is the Lord’s."
We are in a spiritual battle today and the battle belongs to the LORD. We cannot fight the spiritual battle in our strength. If we try we will be defeated an depressed an discouraged.
2. Ignoring Good Sound Advice is Pure Foolishness! v.4
David overruled good advice from those who had seen the power of God firsthand.
To not take advice is a form of pride. "I know better."
When pride comes in and it is insidious, any good counsel is rejected, often not even allowed a hearing. Maintain a teachable spirit always. Some of us because of our background or the make up of chemicals in our brain have to fight against this need to be right (even when we are wrong). A teachable spirit must be developed and maintained. The strong willed and the gullible must develop it.
Joab had been a good commander, a faithful friend, a loyal subject to David. His question (v.3) is worthy of thought and an honest answer. David gave neither. He had this in his mind and we really don't know what caused it but we need to take the warning here.
Beware after God has been faithful to you your whole life that you do not doubt on Him on the very areas He has proven Himself faithful before. Be careful that you always feed your faith the Word of God.
It is possible that David, after the LORD had blessed him so abundantly with military success that he neglected the prescribed reading of Deuteronomy 17.14-20 and the rest of the law. It would not be the first time this happened to a child of God. Spiritual breakdown occurs when there is a lapse of feeding the spirit... beware of substituting service to the LORD for this.
We must continue to press in. Retirement is in heaven!
3. Too often we don't realize the wrong until we have done it and guilt kicks in.
- vs. 8-10
But before we do the wrong God is faithful in warning us. He spoke through Joab.
He speaks through His Word.
He speaks through people.
He speaks through His Spirit to our spirits.
The census was completed.
Way more than originally came into the land under Joshua.
The difference between Numbers and numbering under David was this. In Numbers God gave the command. Here David is doing it. It was for different motives.
The tendency to trust in numbers rather than God. Finances... age are all measured in numbers.
Why do we concern ourselves with things God is taking care of?
So many things have grieved the LORD because we began to count or take stock.
Perhaps much of failure in the past has come through numbering our own capabilities. How much do we count on the power of God? Today everything is numbered, projected and figured out leaving no room for God to move... and then we wonder when He doesn't!
We are given spiritual armor for this battle we are in and with it we will win! Don't rely on your own strength, your own resources, your own abilities. Rely and trust in God.
Remembering the lessons of the past, Relying on the LORD in the present to take care of the anxieties of the future. Make this the theme of your life.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
II Samuel 22:1 David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
David had his struggles in life, early on.
There was the jealousy of his brothers, after he, the youngest was annointed by Samuel.
There was the jealous rage of Saul, which after the victory over Goliath, drove the King mad. Jealousy is never justifiable. In these cases even more so because David was a humble person.
There was the battles with all the surrounding nations to bring peace to the land of Israel.
David was at war in some form or another for about 20 years.
David never forgot, never got away from the fact that it was the LORD Who gave him all these victories.
His mantra his whole life was rooted in his early days of the conversation with Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.”
The Battle is the LORD's. Victory comes from Him.
David expresses this even more fully in Psalm 124, no doubt after the victories spoken about in our scripture this morning.
1. Believers Should Sing To The LORD.
Ephesians 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Singing is the language of the heart. The times when I am among brothers and sisters of a language other than English, when they sing, I can join in with them in English with the songs I know. To the ones I do know the words to I can enter into the praise of God in my spirit as they sing.
I sing little ditties to my grandkids, make up words to well known tunes or tune that I make up.
David had a relationship with the LORD where he would take up his heart, let loose of praise within and worship. Probably Psalm 23 was composed this way.
God looks at the heart, not the voice quality. Where does music come from? from your heart!
This was a song of praise to God for the victories He had given David.
We can sing to the LORD and we should all the time, in all circumstances.
David sang this when he was on the run from Saul:
Psalm 34:1-3 I will extol the Lord at all times;his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord;let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
Our music heritage is deep and wide. As believers we have the Psalms, we have the hymns of the church, we have worship choruses and it continues to this day. God gives a song!
Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lordand put their trust in Him.
He even gives us songs in the night to sing to Him.
Job 35:9-10 “People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night..."
2. When God Answers Prayer We Ought To Praise Him
Always but especially at these times.
I have to confess. Sometimes I need the LORD to remind me. He has interesting ways of doing that in my life. As I was going over my notes Saturday.
David was doing that here. The Psalms are full of requests from David.
But they are equally full of full of thanksgiving. The Psalms reflect what should be in our prayer life. They are the prayer book of the Bible.
So often we do a little praising then rush right to our requests. It shows our faith but lacks gratitude! We have to be obey the promptings to thank God much the way children need to be by their parents. He prompts us in many ways. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
This Psalm, this chapter of II Samuel, is a response to God answering prayer in the life of David particularly when it came to his enemies.
He wrote out this Psalm. We ought to write down the blessings. Speak of them often. Not just in church but always! I was taking my kids to the airport the other night and the sky was gorgeous with the clouds and sun. I took a few pictures, then we began to talk about God being with us. The grandkids were listening. We talked about moments when the LORD put on these displays in the heavens. It was so good.
Psalm 92:1 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.
No wonder David wrote
Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
3. When God Delivers Us We Should Express Gratitude.
David prayed over Saul more than any other person.
Saul was the king but David was God's anointed.
Saul was rejected and David was God's chosen.
There was no way this was going to end well.
It went on for 10 years. A decade of nightmarish hell for David.
He lived like a dog, being hunted like an animal.
Then God brought him to the place of being king over all Israel.
Then he led the army of Israel in battles.
2 Samuel 7:1 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he wanted to build the temple.
God told David through Nathan it would be his son but that God would build a house for David and there would never cease to be one of His descendants on the throne!
God gave him some wonderful promises. He wrote this Psalm in that time. A Psalm could be written from each one of our lives concerning what the LORD has done for us!
Many have done that in the hymns they have written.
Like this on Fanny Crosby wrote.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
2 Samuel 21:1 During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
David was a godly leader. He was the king of Israel. Zadok and Abithiar were priests- speaking to God on behalf of the people. Nathan was a prophet- speaking to the people on behalf of God. Ira was David's personal priest. We have seen the close working relationship which David had with these men, spiritual leaders who advised, counseled and even when necessary corrected the king.
It is good when leaders have spiritual counselors.
Billy Graham, "America's pastor", advisor to all the Presidents from Harry S. Truman on...
Prayer Service prior to inauguration.
Trinity Church/ Saint Paul's Chapel in the city. Washington kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge.
We are moving away from our roots of a nation forged in faith. The answer to the question "Can we return?," will only be revealed in the near future. Often we do not realize the blessings of God for doing right, for respecting His law, for respecting Him and others, life until after they are removed.
While it is good when leaders have spiritual advisors, it is wonderful when our leaders are godly and seek to honor God.
David was a man after God's own heart. He received this commendation in when he was in his late teens/ early 20's. He had a heart for God's kingdom, for justice and righteousness.
David was a man of passion. We see that in the Psalms. He experienced great highs and great lows. Yet he was steady in his faith in the LORD. That never waivered.
1. Godly Leadership is sensitive to the current circumstances and how they relate to the LORD.
There are those today that say national disasters, terrorist acts and other such things have nothing to do with the LORD. How crazy! In World War II the churches of England were filled with people praying to God, asking Him to help their country King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer. Churches here after 9-11 were filled with prayers being offered up to the LORD.
After three years of famine David began to think. He had the Book of Genesis. He knew about Joseph. Joseph is mentioned in the Psalms. He knew about the famine.
He had the Torah. He read the Book of Deuteronomy. David loved God's Law.
Psalm 40:8 I desire to do your will, my God; Your law is within my heart.”
After three years of famine, David did some soul searching. He saw the famine as a Divine Disturbance. David knew how to interpret events in the national life. He was humble. He was a strong leader but he was very humble. What a wonderful combination!
David was more concerned about God's glory than his popularity or survival.
David saw this famine as an indication God as displeased with something in the national life.
Deuteronomy 28.15, 23-24 David loved the law.
Blessed is the nation who has man after God' own heart leading them.
Psalm 78 speaks of this wonderful godly leadership:
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servantand took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep He brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
I wish our leaders would be brave enough and discerning enough to see what is going on in our country today. So many of our troubles have come from us saying to God we will have our own way. I cannot get away from Anne Graham Lotz's words a few days after 9-11.
Afterwards Ann Graham Lotz had this conversation:
She spoke with the Early Show's Jane Clayson on Sept. 13, 2001 to offer some comfort to the families of the terror victims.
Jane Clayson: We've turned to your father, the Reverend Billy Graham, so often in times of national crisis. What are his thoughts about what happened on Tuesday?
Anne Graham Lotz: I turned to him also. In fact, I called him last night
after you all called to arrange for this. He's reacting like a lot of
Christians around the country, we're all praying. I think about those people you just showed. I wasn't sure I'd be in control when you came on because it just provoked such emotion to see these people carrying pictures of their loved ones and knowing they don't know if they're alive or dead.
And at a time like that, I know the families and the friends of the victims
can hardly even pray for themselves. They don't know what to say or how to pray. I want to say to them - families and friends of the victims, that there are thousands of people in this country who are carrying you in prayer right now. And we're praying for you with hearts filled with compassion and grief and just interceding on your behalf, asking the God of all peace and the God of all comfort to come down in a special way into your life and meet your needs at this time. My father and mother are also praying like that.
Jane Clayson: I've heard people say, those who are religious, those who are not, if God is good, how could God let this happen? To that, you say?
Anne Graham Lotz: I say God is also angry when He sees something like this. I would say also for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their fist at God and said, "God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace." And God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life. Removing His Hand of blessing and protection. We need to turn to God first of all and say, God, we're sorry we have treated you this way and we invite you now to come into our national life. We put our trust in you. We have our trust in God on our coins, we need to practice it.
How I pray that our leaders would have this perspective.
David saw something was wrong and he did what was right.
2. Godly Leadership seeks the LORD.
Notice David did not come up with a human plan. He did not consult his agricultural minister. He didn't consult his minister of the interior to figure out how to build aqueducts to get water to the fields. He didn't look to the surrounding nations for help. He looked to heaven. He sought the LORD.
The most humbling thing a man can is look to heaven. Bowing your heart and raising your eyes to the LORD shows the true perspective David wrote about in Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?
We have in II Chronicles 7.14 God' Prescription for a Sick Nation. So few leaders follow this. David knew this in his heart although it would be given by Solomon his son long after he had died. Perhaps he even communicated this thought to him while he was living and teaching him.
The Hebrew word used here for seeking the LORD means both intensive and intentional seeking.
David knew the answer to the famine in Israel was in heaven. God knew and so he purposely sought the LORD. I would like to have had the record of David's prayer here. He might have called on those spiritual advisors to join him.
Praying intentionally and intensively is a great need today!
Pastor Jim Cymbala, "Is your church crying out to God? And if not, why not?!"
His priority was the spiritual health of the nation. He knew things were out of whack because something was wrong.
Proverbs 14.34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
When the nation has sinned godly leadership admits it and confesses it and corrects it, same in all relationships- family, church, personal
3. Godly Leadership seeks to correct and make amends.
Mephibosheth - keeping the promise made to Jonathan years ago
Satisfy the effects of the violence of Saul.
Saul committed war crimes against the Gibeonites.
The law demanded fair and equal punishment for each crime (Exodus 21.23-25). Saul had killed innocent people, so his family had to pay the price to purge the innocent blood from the land (Deuteronomy 19.11-13) David also saw to it that the dead in Saul's family had a decent burial.
It is the work of a godly leader not only to get things done, but first to assure that things are being done decently, in order and honoring to the LORD. The pressure to lead without this in place is a temptation all leaders who want to serve in God's kingdom must overcome. It is high pressured temptation which is also very subtle.
The nation of Israel was in trouble. David got to the root of the problem by going to the LORD, seeking Him intentionally and intensely. He did not sweep the problem under the rug. He did not say, "LORD it wasn't my fault. It didn't happen on my watch. Why should I be responsible for it?" Godly leaders take responsibility for the sins of the past. When I came... Test of my faith.
Godly leadership needs to be emphasized today. Along with leadership techniques and actually above them is the need for leaders to be Christlike and godly.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sunday, February 16, 2014
A Message About Standing Alone
II Samuel 19.9-15
As a believer there will be times when we will find ourselves standing alone if we stand up for Jesus. As difficult as they are, they can be the most precious times of fellowship with the LORD.
We so seldom get extended alone time with the LORD. When we stand alone we get an abundance of it. These times are rich with sweet fellowship, extended times of prayer and feasting on God's Word.
These are times when God can speak directly to our hearts. We live in noise. This is a time of a huge media glut. We can forget what silence is in our busyness. When we are still we experience that the LORD is God. When we quiet our hearts because we are alone God speaks. The silence brings quiet peace to our souls.
We learn to stand alone through the difficulties of life. We learn to put into practice the promises of God, to lean on the LORD, to find strength from Him during times when we are called aside.
David had these times in his life. He wrote of them in the Psalms. I think on of the reasons David was a man after God's own heart is that He knew how to stand alone. He had lots of practice as the family shepherd. Out in Bethlehem's fields, out there with just the sheep and the LORD, David embraced loneliness and also found his dearest friend was God Almighty. He had to draw on this when he fled from Saul and from now from Absolam.
Jesus, although He had the 12 He was teaching and women who saw to their needs who followed Him we are told:
John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
So often what we see as a trial can be turned into a great blessing.
For example Paul, the apostle, was traveling all over the world spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Then he was arrested and imprisoned. From that prison he witnessed to the guards, he wrote letters to the churches he had planted and he prayed for.
To the Philippian Church he wrote (Philippians 1:12-14)
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
2 Samuel 15:13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
David had to stand alone. He wrote Psalm 3 and 9 during that time.
The reason David had lost his position as king temporarily was due to the majority of Israel siding with his rebellious son, Absolam. We live under a majority rule in this Republic called the United States of America. That does not mean the majority is always correct. Throughout history there are times when the majority has been wrong. This was one of those times. When the majority is wrong and we realize it we learn what it is to stand alone.
How can we avoid being in the wrong company even if it is the majority?
How to Avoid Siding With the Majority When They Are Wrong:
*Don't Be Carried Away By Appearance!
Absolam was very handsome.
2 Samuel 14:25 In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him.
It is easy to be taken in by someone who is very handsome or pretty. They are charming and they charm us.
Remember what Solomon wrote at the end of Proverbs.
Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
A person with charm may appear to be gracious but they are often manipulative. Hidden beneath their pleasantries are some ugly motives and dark deeds. Charming people have a harder time surrendering to the LORD because they have to lay down the charm on the altar and die to it.
Such was the case with Absolam. He acted like a prince but turned out to be an adversary, someone who, unlike his father, David would lift his hand against God's anointed.
Stop judging things by mere appearance.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
John 7:24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.
2 Corinthians 10:7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
*Don't Be Taken In By Charisma
2 Samuel 15:5-6 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
He was slick. Unfortunately many charismatic fellows are. Absolam was a manipulator.
Many with charisma use it in the wrong way. It too is a difficult thing to surrender to Christ.
Discerning people ask questions... the right questions.
Dr. Goslaw and Art
I have to confess that there are times when a person with charisma has affected me... as I get older I am thankful for the lessons of the past. I am thankful for the growth in the LORD of not jumping to wrong conclusions about people who have potential to do great damage.
*Keep a Keen Ear and Eye Towards Those Who Sow Dissension in the Name of Justice.
2 Samuel 15:2-4 He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”
Absolam was a crafty man bent on rebellion.
There are no kingdoms without critics.
*Rebellion against God's anointed is rebellion against heaven itself.
*If a person points out a fault in leadership that affects you he can steal your heart away. Be on your guard.
*Whenever I hear someone criticize someone else a little yellow light blinks and I am wary of that individual. I have so many flaws that I have need to take care of myself!
David had a few people from Judah who weren't buying Absolam's line.
These were loyal and wise.
They stood alone against all Israel. Actually standing meant fleeing.
They stood on the right side.
They weren't swept into the conspiracy.
They were in the minority.
They left with him except for a few "spies".
Many times being in the minority actually means being on the right side. Standing alone is something we are called to as followers of Jesus.
How To Stand Alone In This World
1- Be sure of who you are in Christ.
Get your identity from being His.
Galatians 3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith...
2-Stand firm in Him.
Don't be swayed by the latest. Stick with His Word.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
3- Keep your eyes fixed on Him.
Straight ahead with Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
One day the battle we are in will be over. The spiritual battle we are presently in is one of the heart, soul and mind. Through God's power we can overcome and be more than conquerors through Him Who loved us!
Monday, February 3, 2014
II Samuel 17.14
Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.
God is in control. There are times when it seems like that is not so but He is.
It is never safe to judge things from a human standpoint. So often we reach incorrect conclusions. Add to that the negativity and skepticism many struggle with and we have the recipe for disaster in our minds. We must learn to rest in God's Sovereignty. It is a process as we mature in our walk with the LORD.
For all David knew this was the end for him reigning in Jerusalem and possibly the end of his life. We have all had those moments when we felt it was all over, this is it. Perhaps we have even said like Esther, "If I perish I perish."
Most of the time we cannot see the Sovereign Hand of God. We see our circumstances. We see the next step but cannot get a handle on the big picture. If we jump to conclusions they are usually incorrect, way off. In fact if you jump to a conclusion you will almost certainly jump to the wrong one.
Absolam was seeking to take the throne by rebellion. God never blesses rebellion. David could have when Saul was pursuing him but he did not. In that decade of hell David learned some invaluable lessons about the ways of God. By doing what was right he experienced the Sovereign Hand of God. It is always best to experience it that way! Now that Absolam is rebelling against him he is reacting the same way when Saul threw spears at him and hunted him down. He is submitted to whatever God's will is. He knows deep in his heart that God is in control.
So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel." For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom.
This was the first time anyone said this - people always favored the advice of Ahithophel. One reason Absalom liked Hushai's advice was because it appealed to his pride.
Yet God was in control. The throne of Israel belonged to Him, and He alone decided who would sit on it.
Absalom had the smartest man in Israel on his side, but David's prayer was mightier than Ahithophel's smarts. God could lead Ahithophel to give foolish counsel that was listened to (as in 2 Samuel 16:20-23). Or, God could allow Ahithophel to give great advice and yet have it be rejected. God was in control; the LORD had purposed.
"This is one of the great principles of life which every page of the Bible emphasizes and illustrates. Men cannot escape God. They go their own way, but that way never sets them free from the authority and the invincible power of God." (G. Campbell Morgan)
Why had the LORD purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel? Because David prayed. Prayer moves the hand of God, and David prayed: O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness! (2 Samuel 15:31).
That the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom: In all of this there was a severe chastening for David, and he knew it well. Yet God did not forsake David during this time of chastening. He was there for David at this time also. He was not out to destroy David, but to correct him.
We should always be aware and trust God's Sovereignty, seeking to line up our prayers to His Will. Get to know, seek to know the will of God on the subject, then throw your cares on Him.
1. When Things Seem To Be Going One Way That Could Be Just a Feeling.
Jacob during the famine.
Genesis 42:36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”
It was actually opposite! The same could be true of your situation today. Everything was about to come Jacob's way.
We do not always read situations right.
Sometimes we can see things very negatively and we feel down.
Sometimes we have to ignore our feelings! Far too often we entertain them to the point they occupy our minds continually. God is in control.
Many times we have to pray ourselves out of the pit of despair. David did this over and over again in the Psalms. He is our example here. Jesus is our example in prayer always!
2. When All Seems Dark, It Is Not!
Depression due to the weather
SAD= Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you have negative tendencies you will have to purposely get yourself in the sunshine. You get Vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is not only good for bone health but the sunshine lifts your spirit.
I pastored for 5 years in what was called "Dismal Valley" by the locals. I remember seeing the sun come through the windows of the parsonage when I moved back to Long Island and feeling warmth inside and out.
"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark you don't throw away your ticket and jump off you sit still and trust the train engineer "- Corrie Ten Boom
Albert Eldersheim believes December 25th is close to the time of Jesus' actual birth.God sent the Light into the darkest time in the northern hemisphere.
In the beginning darkness was upon the face of the earth.
God helps us see past the darkness to show us He is in control.
What do we do in the darkness? We wait for the dawn!!!
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heartand wait for the LORD.
Psalm 130:5-6 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope. I wait for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
3. When The Book Seems To Be Ending Remember God Loves To Write Last Chapters!!!
Joseph, a string of these!
Daniel in Lion's Den
Peter in Prison
Jesus in the Grave
You may have had family turn against you like Joseph, been thrown to the lions like Daniel, feel like you are in a prison like Peter was but remember Jesus is victorious! God loves to bring His people through things. He delivers us!
If you are feeling like the end is near remember God is in control.
You can count on it.
You can rest in it.
There comes a point when we need to stop and rest in the work that God has done through us. We often are faced with the question or you going to rest or be restless?
Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of his circumstances (Isaiah 8:11). Without the sovereign hand of God Himself, nothing touches our lives. Do we discern His hand at work, or do we see things as mere occurrences?- Oswald Chambers
From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is in control. It is the theme of the Bible. It is a truth, mark this down... God is in control.
Now I know that the Lord rescues His anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power. Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the LORD our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm (Psalm 20:6-8 NLT).
Sunday, January 26, 2014
2 Samuel 15:24-29 Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city. Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see it and His dwelling place again. But if He says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to Him.” The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You and Abiathar return with your two sons. I will wait at the fords in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
God's will is not always easy to discover and sometimes even more difficult to do.
David had to do a difficult thing.
1. David accepted the consequences of his sin.
*He didn't complain.
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing.
Life is so good even when tough times come if you follow that verse.
We are to live complain free lives!
Even more so when we are facing the consequences of our own sin or foolishness.
*He didn't excuse himself.
He faced that this too was part of Nathan's prophecy from the LORD.
*He didn't try and get people to feel sorry for him.
Get people to pray, not to feel bad for you.
David was alone a lot during this time. He sent people away and back.
2. David Left Jerusalem in an Act of Surrender.
*He didn't fight.
Here we see Christlikeness. David was not about to split the kingdom over a rebellious son. He was not about to have fellow Israelites die so he could remain on the throne. He left the throne for the sake of peace.
*He didn't promote the family feud.
He could have. He didn't.
Be still. Be a peacemaker in the family. Don't stir the pot.
Proverbs 11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind. lit= to stir up sediment, dregs... things settled down... doing this makes things bitter.
Don't promote or even participate in a family feud, rather be a peacemaker.
*He surrendered not to Absolam but to God.
That is always the point of surrender. It is not about surrendering to our adversaries. It is about us surrendering to the LORD. We may think we are wrestling over Esau but it is really the LORD we are contending with. This is not always easy to see. David saw it. He submitted to God.
*He left the things that belonged to God alone.
He returned the ark and the High Priest.
3. David Left His Future in God's Hands.
Completely. There really is no surrender unless it is complete surrender.
We can trust the LORD with our future.
We do not need to worry.
We plan, David had a plan.
Then we trust the LORD.
This is one of the most difficult aspects of surrender, trusting God for tomorrow. If we are not to worry about tomorrow, we must trust him for tomorrow. If we trust Him for tomorrow we will have peace this day, not the absence of trouble, but the peace within that surpasses all understanding.
Trusting the LORD for the future involves:
1. Remembering His faithfulness continues through all generations.
2. Recalling specific times when He has come through when there has been no human help in sight. (It Will Be Worth It All)
3.Realizing that we are here today because of His faithfulness and mercy and grace!
4.Looking to Jesus, not to what is ahead, not projecting but like Abraham and Sarah:
Romans 4:16-21 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Hebrews 11:11-12 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We're tossed and driven on , no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav'n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem - just go to Him in pray'r.
Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.