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

Worse Than The Flu

Proverbs 18:14 – A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

Lots of folks around us are sick right now. The flu and other yucky-ness is going around. I had my own bout with it the past few days.

The above verse says that a man’s spirit will endure sickness and even carry us through the few days we are ill. We can be sick for a few days, fight a cold or flu and get over it. Our inner spirit isn’t much worse for the wear.

But Solomon says that if our spirit is crushed…who can bear it? It is a sad thought, but very true. We see in the previous chapter of Proverbs that “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). A vibrant and hopeful spirit can sustain a person and give them the drive to heal physically, but when someone is completely broken inside, their physical condition will many times deteriorate to match their inner state. They just give up physically because they have given up on the inside. David said it this way, “my heart is wounded within me” (Psalm 109:22).

There are those living in our midst who are broken and crushed, and are on the verge of completely falling apart. As we think about those around us who are like that, I want us to consider what the Proverbs says about words and the power of words to those who are broken.

Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 15:13 – A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

Proverbs 15:23 – To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!

Proverbs 16:23-24 – The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

If you see those who are broken, remember that “a good word” may help him or her today. Those “gracious words” are like honeycomb and may actually help improve that person’s health. Our words have that power!

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.

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.

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.

Be Thou My Vision

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

It is the year 2020, and there are going to be a lot of 2020 Vision references around in the media, so we’ll try not to wear that out here. However, it is a great opportunity to talk about vision, especially God’s vision.

As we saw in the above passage of Scripture, the prophet Samuel was told by God not to look as man looks, but to see as God sees. Samuel thought the biggest, tallest dude would surely be the next king, and God said, “Don’t look at it that way.” Samuel was looking at the physical stature of a man, God was looking at the heart. The oldest son, Eliab, was rejected by God to be the future king, and so was every one of Jesse’s sons in the room. They had to go out into the field to find David, the youngest of the sons who was out keeping the sheep. He wasn’t even invited to the party initially, but God said, “This is one…this is the man I’m looking for…this is the future king!”

What made David so “kingly” to God? Because he saw things God’s way. He was a man after God’s own heart. His vision was tuned in by His Father above. David’s eyes saw things through God’s lenses, and that’s why he was chosen.

Our prayer for all of us is that we will be transformed in 2020 to see as He sees, not as man sees.

Here are the words to a very old Irish hymn:

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night. waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always; Thou and Thou only, first in my heart. High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won, may I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall, still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

11 Days or 40 Years?

Happy New Year! Hard to believe it is the year 2020!

Deuteronomy 1:2-3 It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them…

Moses just had to be tired when he wrote the above passage. Think about the above words. The journey for the Israelites to get from Mount Sinai (Horeb) to the land of Canaan was 11 days. That 11 day trip took 40 years. Can’t you see Moses as he wrote this? Just slapping his forehead with his hand. 40 years!!!! It should have taken 11 days!!!

We can all think of things that took longer than they should have. That song that could have been over in a minute and a half, but they repeated the chorus a gazillion times. Or it was that story that someone was telling you that could have taken a few sentences, but you got the exhaustive version. That person probably said, “To make a long story short” several times while telling the long story. Maybe it was an explanation of how to do something that could have taken thirty seconds…but on and on and on it went. We could have done the job ten times over by the time it took them to explain how to do it. Or how about the sermon that could have taken 15 minutes, but felt like it lasted 40 years?

But why did this journey from Egypt to the Promised Land take so long? Because the people flat out rejected God and did not believe Him. They rebelled against Him and did not trust His promises. With everything they had seen of God, all of the miracles, all of the love, all of the power, all of the deliverance, they simply chose to follow themselves instead of God. They in every way were ungrateful and stubborn. So, God said they would not enter His rest (see Numbers 14).

They were right at the edge of the Promised Land, and God said, “Okay, everybody out of the pool.” You can hear the beeping of the Israelite moving van as it backed up and turned to go back into the wilderness for a long 40 year spin around the same desolate ground.

Let’s reflect upon this concept together as we begin the New Year. How many 11 day journeys have we started in life with God that sadly turned into 40 year endless circles around the same ground? How many of our relationship problems are 11 day problems that we have allowed to turn into 40 year problems? Is our faith and attitude like the Israelites? God is trying to bless us richly and take us into the Promised Land, but we choose the 40 year whirl in the wilderness?

Think about it this way…do some simple math. 40 years times 365 days is 14,600 days! 11 days or 14,600 days. Do we want to be circling around in the hot desolate wilderness for 11 days or 14,600 days? Here’s another simple math problem, take 14,600 days and divide it by 11 days. What you will find is that the Israelites’ journey took 1,327 times longer than it should have!

Why suffer going around the same mountain when we can face our attitude and relationship issues head on and move on to the Promised Land? Here’s the simple fact that you and I need to understand: God will let us stay in the wilderness. If that’s where we want to stay and die, then that’s our choice. He will allow us to keep circling the same mountain of problems until we deal with our own issues and stop blaming others. It’s our choice. 11 days or 40 years.