David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 3

Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,

We continue our dive into the life of David and that he served God’s purpose in his own generation. At a practical level for David that meant as a young man he focused on being a shepherd of his father’s sheep. Even when he knew his next job was going to be king of Israel, he still did his everyday job of tending to the sheep. As an older man, while serving as king, David wanted to build a temple for God. God blessed David for his desire, but said, “No…Solomon your son will build the temple.” How did David respond? He devoted the rest of his life to preparing Solomon and Israel for the building of the temple.

Let’s summarize it this way:

  • When David was young, he didn’t focus on the job he was GOING to do, he focused on the job he CURRENTLY HAD.
  • When David was older and king, he didn’t focus on the job he ASKED God to do, he focused on the job God WANTED him to do.
  • Are you and I like David?

Here are a few points to consider about God’s purpose for you:

  • Let God DECIDE what your purpose is. For David as a young man it was shepherding, as an older man it was mentor and temple-preparer.
  • Let God DEFINE what a great purpose and work is for you. David could have gotten a big head as a young man, saying I’m going to be great someday and be king. Instead, he knew greatness at that period in his life was serving God and keeping sheep. As an older man he wanted to do this great work of building the temple, but God’s great work for David was preparing Solomon to build the temple.
  • Let God DETERMINE the right time for you to live out that purpose. David didn’t know when he would become king, so he just kept doing his job and living for God until God revealed the right time for him to be king.

 

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 1

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 2

David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 2

Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,

If you were working at a fast food restaurant, and a prophet of God came to you and said that none of the current candidates would become President of the United States (I would say, hooray!!). But then you are told by the prophet that YOU will be the next President. On January 20, 2021, you will be sworn in as the next President and move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Would you leave your headset at the drive thru and tell your boss you quit?

Most would. But the young teenager David didn’t do that, did he? Nope, he went right back to work as a shepherd in the field watching his father’s sheep.

For today’s briefing, I want to walk you through a few verses and ask some simple questions along the way.

What was David doing BEFORE he was anointed to be the next king? He was “keeping the sheep” of his father Jesse (1 Samuel 16:11).

What was David doing AFTER he was anointed to be the next king? When David was called to play music for King Saul, it was said that David was “with the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:17-19).

What was David STILL doing while he worked at the king’s palace to play music for the King? He went “back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep” at Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17:14-15).

What did David make sure to do WHENEVER he was sent back to the king? David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper…and went.

Now, men, that is a sermon left for us from a young teenager. He wasn’t entitled, he was humble and grateful and dedicated to his job. Even when he knew that he would soon live in a palace and be the king of all Israel, he still did his “lowly” job of shepherding sheep. He wasn’t even shepherding his own sheep, they were Daddy’s sheep. Look at that attitude!

Do you want to know why God called David to be king? Here is a great reason why, David didn’t get too big for his britches. His heart was humble and dedicated to God, his job, and his family.

Psalms 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

More to come on this.

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, part 1

You Are Free to Be Misunderstood

I heard someone say this week that “You are free to be misunderstood.” He followed that statement with something like this, “If you are free, then others are free too, and they will misunderstand you at times. If you go around obsessed with correcting everyone’s misunderstandings then you become enslaved.”

That’s pretty good stuff.

We are free. And with that freedom comes the reality that not everyone will like us, not everyone will understand us, and that others will have a complete misunderstanding of our thoughts and motives. We can’t chase that around and make it our obsession to right every wrong, because then we are truly enslaved. Enslaved to how others view us. Enslaved to what others are saying about us. Enslaved to correcting every misunderstanding.

Here is a great scriptural example of this concept. Nehemiah had led a group of captives from Persia to Jerusalem for the express purpose of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. As he led the people in this great work for God, he faced every opposition imaginable. One form of this opposition came in chapter 6 when people were making up stories about Nehemiah to get him off the wall and do him harm. Read what the text says.

Nehemiah 6:1-9 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.” Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. 

Did you see that Nehemiah recognized the great work of God he was doing? He could not come off the wall to come down with those who were just trying to cause problems. He also knew that the stories others were telling were just fabricated in their own minds. Nehemiah had the focus, strength and wisdom to keep on the work when lesser men would have come off that wall to defend themselves.

You are free to be misunderstood. There are times to clear up misunderstandings, but then there are times you realize that you will just enslave yourself going around trying to change everybody’s misconceptions. Even Job got caught in this trap, he got lost in justifying himself instead of defending God (Job 32:2; 40:8), so if it happened to Job, it can happen to us.

What Kind of Faith?

I am reading a series of books with my 11 year old daughter that are written by J Warner Wallace. He is a cold-case detective who uses his skills as a detective to analyze the evidence for God, the Bible, and Jesus as the risen Lord.

Here are the books that are in the series:

  • Cold Case Christianity for Kids
  • God’s Crime Scene for Kids
  • Forensic Faith for Kids

Here is the link where you can purchase them at Amazon

Detective Wallace and his wife also have an online “Academy” for kids where they can go through these books and fill out worksheets and watch videos. At the end they get a certificate like they are a real detective. It’s pretty cool. My daughter loves it. Here is the website.

casemakersacademy.com

In the book Forensic Faith for Kids, the point is made about the different kinds of faith (pg. 30).

  • Unreasonable faith – This is a faith in spite of the evidence
  • Blind faith – This is a faith without any evidence
  • Forensic faith – This is a faith because of the evidence

What kind of faith does God want us to have? A faith in spite of the evidence? No. A faith without evidence? No. How about a faith based on evidence? Yes!

Think of all the times that God tells his people to look at the evidence for His creation (Psalm 19; Romans 1:20; Acts 14:17; Isaiah 40:26). He does not want us to believe Him without any evidence, nor does He want us to believe in spite of the evidence. You may have friends or teachers that say Christianity is based on blind faith, but that just isn’t so. Jesus gave us plenty of evidence and He wants us to investigate it.

But that doesn’t mean that God answers all our questions. J Warner Wallace makes a great point where he talks about how a jury can convict a criminal based on great evidence, but there are still always unanswered questions. Having faith in God based on evidence does not mean that we will figure every question out in this life.

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

And They Laughed at Him

 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district (Matthew 9:23-26).

They laughed at Jesus. The crowd is surrounding this family and the little twelve year old girl that just passed, and they are crying, playing flutes and wailing. That, I believe, was a normal part of how things went when a loved one passed. In comes Jesus and says she is not dead, just sleeping. Can you imagine how you would react if Jesus came into a room with your departed loved one and declare to you that she isn’t really dead?

How would you and I react? We might have had the same reaction. We’d like to think differently that we wouldn’t laugh at Jesus, but I think a lot of us would probably have had the same instantaneous response. You’re nuts, Jesus, that girl is plainly dead. Of course she was dead, and Jesus knew that, but Jesus also knew what he was about to do.

This wasn’t the first time people laughed at something God said. Remember Sarah? When God told Abraham that ninety-year old Sarah would have a baby, she laughed in her tent (see Genesis 18:9-15). God was pretty merciful to her, because then she proceeded to lie that she didn’t laugh! But again, put yourself in Sarah’s sandals, her body was effectively “dead” when it came to childbearing (Romans 4:19), so laughing would be a natural reaction to God’s promise of her bearing a child. Don’t forget that Abraham also laughed at the same promise (Genesis 17:17).

Interesting that God named Abraham and Sarah’s child, “Isaac,” which means laughter.

Here we have two examples in Scripture where God came into a hopeless situation and promised the impossible, and the reaction was the same. The people laughed. God then continued to work the impossible and their sadness and hopelessness led to true rejoicing and a faith that was strengthened.

Maybe we are facing situations in our own lives that we might consider “dead” or “impossible,” but remember that God can bring to life what we consider dead, and he can make possible what we see as impossible. Let’s finish with a question that God asked of Abraham and Sarah after Sarah laughed.

Genesis 18:13-14 – The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

The Spirit Spoke By David

2 Peter 1:20-21 – “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

When you read the Psalms, who is speaking? Well, we know that half of the Psalms were written by David, but other Psalms were written by men like Solomon, Moses and Asaph, and even that guy “Anonymous.”

But when you read the Psalms, you and I need to remember that as these men spoke, the Holy Spirit was speaking through them. Please consider these verses that say that very thing.

  • 2 Samuel 23:1-2 – As David called himself the “Sweet Psalmist of Israel,” he added that “the Spirit spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.”
  • Mark 12:36 – When Jesus quoted Psalms 110:1, He said, “David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared…”
  • Acts 1:16,20 – As Peter was talking to the disciples, he quoted the Psalms of David and said, “Which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David” (Psalm 41:9; 69:25; 109:28).
  • Acts 4:24-30 – When Peter and John led the disciples in prayer, they quoted the Psalms, specifically Psalm 2. They observed, “through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit…” (Psalm 2).
  • Hebrews 3:7 – The Hebrew writer recognized that when he read the Psalms he was listening to the Holy Spirit as noted, “Therefore as the Holy Spirit says…” when he quoted Psalm 95.

Here are a few observations for today as we consider that the Psalms come from the mind and mouth of God.

  • Psalms cover all aspects of life and every situation we face in life. God breathed through these men divine guidance for us as we live everyday life.
  • If God’s Holy Spirit was in David’s heart and on his tongue when wrote the Psalms, then God’s Holy Spirit will be directing our hearts and tongues as we read it. As we face the variety of trials and circumstances, let’s get the Psalms in our hearts and may it flow from our mouths.
  • David and the other Psalmists were used by God as they were in every situation of life. God worked through David to write incredible Psalms as David faced those various circumstances. When David was victorious (Psalm 18) or surrounded by enemies (Psalm 22,59), God wrote Psalms through David. As David mourned for his sins (Psalm 32,38,51), or as he had spiritual victories (Psalm 119:11), God wrote Psalms through him. While David sat in a cave (Psalm 57,142), or in the wilderness (Psalm 63), or in a field meditating about the universe (Psalm 8) or in enemy territory (Psalm 34,56), God wrote amazing Psalms for us through David. At all stages and situations in David’s life, God worked through him and created teaching and encouragement for countless others.

He has not hidden His face

Psalms 22:1 – To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

We studied Psalm 22 last night in our Bible class. This Psalm is about Jesus’ death on the cross and His gospel that is preached afterwards. But in this Psalm we learn about the intimate relationship that Jesus had with His Father. It is a relationship we all can have with God the Father now because of what Jesus endured at the cross.

The Psalm begins with the question, “Why have You forsaken me?” Jesus, during the most horrible and dark time of His life, felt forsaken and abandoned by God. Verse 1 says that God seems so “far” from Him. Jesus’ requests in verse 11 and verse 19 show what He is thinking. He asks the Father not to be far from Him. That tells us again that Jesus feels at this point that God is far from Him.

But was God “far” from Jesus at the cross? Did God “hide His face” from Jesus at the cross? Was Jesus “forsaken” by the Father at the cross?

Read verse 24 of this Psalm, and you will see the answer:

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

Read that again. Slowly. God did not hide His face from Jesus, even at the cross. Even at the darkest moment of humanity, even when Jesus the innocent and holy Lamb was taking upon His shoulders the sins of the entire planet, God did not hide from Him. God was very near to Jesus, even at the cross. Jesus, like many other followers of God, felt abandoned, but was never abandoned.

Verse 21 also shows that God answered and rescued Jesus.

So, when Jesus promised you and me that “I will never leave you or forsake you,” can you believe it (Hebrews 13:5-6)? Will God ever abandon you? When you are at the darkest moments you can possibly imagine as a follower of Jesus, will God forsake you? Never.

David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation

Acts 13:21-22 “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'”

Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,”

David served God’s purpose and God’s will in his generation. But what does that really mean at a practical level? For David here’s what it meant: He wanted to build a temple for God and His glory, but God said, “No…your son Solomon will build it for Me.” So at a practical level for David, he spent the rest of his life preparing Solomon and the nation for the temple-building project. This was God’s calling for David.

God gave David a clear “to-do” list, and David went about that job with “all his might” (2 Chronicles 29:1-2). He defeated the enemies on every side, creating peace and national security. David organized the priesthood into divisions so they could divide up responsibilities in leading temple worship. He also did the same for the military, so it would be properly organized. During his reign, he collected a TON of money through his military victories and he took a big stash of his own cash to put in the treasury to help build the temple. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, he also drew out and wrote out the building plans for the temple. Again, with God’s guidance, command and inspiration, he designed musical instruments for worship and he wrote all kinds of worship music to be used in the temple. David was one pretty busy dude during his reign! On top of that, David gave first importance to the spiritual training of his young son Solomon and helping him see the value of God’s wisdom.

This was God’s purpose for David in David’s generation. God said “No” to building the temple, but “Yes” to helping get all the preparations together to build that temple.

I’ll leave you with this thought: You may not get to do the job you think you should do for God, but what can you do for God? How will you, like King David, dive in to help prepare the next generation of God’s people so that they can be ready to build God’s house in their generation? Are you serving God’s purposes for you in your generation?

David and Saul: A Contrast in Two Hearts, part 2

Psalm 78:70-72 – He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.  So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

Yesterday we began looking at a contrast between two hearts: the heart of King Saul and that of King David. Why was David a man after God’s own heart? Why did God choose David over Saul? Let’s look at this side by side comparison.

Saul was led by fear. David was led by faith.
Saul sought his own glory. David fought for God’s glory.
Saul viewed the battle as his to win. David saw the battle as belonging to the Lord.
Saul was his own counsel. God was David’s counsel.
Saul blamed others and did not take accountability for his actions. David looked in the mirror, accepted the blame and took accountability for his own behavior.
Saul only valued the word of God when it lined up with his thoughts/plans/lifestyle. David valued God’s word as a light to shine in the darkest recesses of his soul.
Saul worshiped his way. David worshiped God’s way.
Saul destroyed and drove away those who were in anyway a threat to his image, status, plans and power. David surrounded himself with those who were free to give him advice and differing opinions (Samuel, Nathan, Bathsheba, Joab, etc.), and sometimes they were pretty blunt when they gave that advice…yet he listened to their counsel.
Saul took matters into his own hands, David put matters in God’s hands.

Which man was perfect? Which man did everything right? Which man always made the right choices? Well, neither man was perfect. David made some real bad choices in his life, too.

But let me ask you this question: Which man do you want leading you?

And let’s ask ourselves this question: What kind of leader are we? Are we a Saul or a David-type leader?

David and Saul: A Contrast in Two Hearts, part 1

1 Samuel 13:14  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 

God rejected King Saul as being leader of His people. He sought for a new leader, one who was after His own heart. God was looking for a man who saw things the way God saw them. One who would value and cherish the things of God and the people of God. That man was David.

What was the difference in the leadership style of David and Saul? It came down to heart. What did God see when He saw King Saul? When you read 1 Samuel 13-15, you will see what God was seeing.

1 Samuel 13 – King Saul did not wait for God. He was a man who was led by fear, and went about doing things his own way. You will see fear dominate his leadership decisions for the rest of his reign in Israel. His best counsel was within his own head (vs. 11-12). What you see in the life of Saul is that instead of seeking God’s counsel and the wisdom of those who could have helped him (Samuel, David, Jonathan), he chose to isolate himself from those who could have helped him. He also surrounded himself with people who agreed with him and drove away anyone who thought otherwise.

1 Samuel 14 – King Saul sought his own glory in battle (vs. 24), and his glory-seeking almost cost his own son’s life. As his son, Jonathan, put it, “My father has troubled the land” (vs. 29).

1 Samuel 15 – King Saul did not obey God. Frankly he was rebellious. God commanded him to completely destroy the Amalekites, including their livestock, and he chose to spare the best and bring them home. He was so proud of himself that he went and set a monument up for himself (vs. 12). When the prophet Samuel called him on it, Saul did not take accountability for his actions. He blamed the people for his lack of leadership; he blamed fear of the people for his disobedience to God (vs. 15). Saul tried to justify bringing home the animals because they would be sacrificed in worship to God (vs. 15). When he finally fessed up to sinning, his main concern was that he keep his status among the elders of Israel (vs. 30).

You can see what God saw, and why God took away the throne from Saul. But what was it about David that was different from Saul? Why would his leadership be different? You will see David sin, and you will see him make some bad choices as a leader, but what was the real difference between Saul and David? Why would God approve of David on the throne versus King Saul? We’ll look at that tomorrow, Lord willing.