Original Intent

Have you considered how Jesus helped others to properly understand and apply the Law by looking at the original intent of the Law? Many times He was correcting how the Jewish leadership were applying laws on the Sabbath, marriage and staying away from unclean things.

Let’s look at a few examples today:

When the Jewish leadership was upset and disgusted that Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners, it seems they were looking at laws about staying away from unclean things. But Jesus corrected their application of those laws by looking at God’s original intent.

Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

As the Pharisees were harshly judging Jesus and His disciples for plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath, Jesus pointed them to original intent. God did not design the Sabbath as a merciless way to punish men. He never intended to make hungry people starve and suffering people to keep suffering on the Sabbath. That was not the original intent. God did not make the Sabbath Law first and then make man, it was the other way around, Jesus pointed out.

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

The Pharisees once again came to Jesus to challenge Him on marriage. They had many competing views on marriage, especially on what Moses said in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 about marriage and divorce. Jesus took them once again to the concept of original intent. What did God design for marriage from the very beginning? That should guide any understanding and application of any law on marriage, Jesus said.

“Have you not read? …but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8)

As we study, understand and apply the Word of God, we need to look at the “whole counsel of God.” We can run off and apply a passage incorrectly if we don’t consider everything God has to say on the matter. That’s why Jesus often in these discussions asked the simple question, “Have you not read?” (Matthew 9:13; 12:3,5,7; 19:4; 22:31-32). It’s up to us to keep reading, studying, searching and praying for God to help us see His heart so that we can properly understand and apply His word.

A Tip for Bible Study

Here is a simple outline to follow when studying the Bible. It is called the Inductive Bible Study method, but I believe Jesus used this same outline long before anyone named it.

The three basic steps are:

  • ObservationWhat does the text say?
  • InterpretationWhat does the text mean?
  • ApplicationHow do I apply this text practically?

Know the text well before you try to interpret (understand) it. Properly understand (interpret) the text before you try to apply it. Think of what happens when that order is not followed. We could potentially apply passages that we have not understood properly because we did not carefully read them to find out what they really said.

Take Jesus’ discussion with a lawyer in his day. Read Luke 10:25-37. You can see how Jesus was tested or challenged by this lawyer. Jesus first of all directed the attention to the Scriptures, “What is written in the Law?” Observation. Then Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to show how to properly interpret the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Interpretation. He finishes with telling the lawyer, to “go and do likewise.” Application.

It is a basic outline but very helpful, and if you start there you’ll be on a good road to better Bible understanding.

Revelation 1:3 – Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy (observation), and blessed are those who hear (understand – interpretation), and who keep what is written in it (application), for the time is near. 

David and Uzzah: It Matters to God, Part 5

Today we wrap up our study of the account of David, Uzzah and the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13 and 15). We are going to zoom in on the concept of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. There is a perfect example of this with David and the Ark of the Covenant.

David learned the value of worshipping in spirit and in truth.

There were two worship services we can observe in our texts for this week. The first is full of spirit-filled worship (1 Chronicles 13), but they were transporting the Ark in a way that disobeyed God. They were not worshipping in truth. Uzzah died. The second worship service came three months later (1 Chronicles 15; 2 Samuel 6:11-15) after David and the Priesthood looked into the Word to see what God instructed. They made the necessary corrections, and then we see a second worship commence. That worship service was just as spirit-filled and full of emotion and passion, with even more reverence than before. This time, however, they were worshipping in spirit AND in truth.

First Worship Service – Spirit WITHOUT Truth

1 Chronicles 13:1-4
1 David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader.
2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us.
3 Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.”
4 All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

What they were about to do for God and how they were going to worship God was based on what was right in the eyes of the people. They all consulted with each other on what to do.

1 Chronicles 13:5-10
5 So David assembled all Israel from the Nile of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim.
6 And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord who sits enthroned above the cherubim.
7 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahiowere driving the cart.
8 And David and all Israel were rejoicing before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.
9 And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled.
10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.

David and all Israel were rejoicing before God with “all their might” in the worship service. They had great passion and fire for God, and their motives, I believe, were right on point. But God was angry and Uzzah died. They were worshipping with all the spirit, but without the truth.

Second Worship Service – Spirit WITH Truth

1 Chronicles 15:1-3
David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.
2 Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever.
3 And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it.

The first worship service began with people making agreements and consulting with each other on how they think things should be (1 Chronicles 13:1-4). The second worship began with people asking God how things should be.

1 Chronicles 15:13-16
13 Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.”
14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel.
15 And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.
16 David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.

We can take note here of the reverence for God’s word when it comes to worship. They had not sought God according to the rule (verse 13), but the second worship service was “according to the word of the Lord” (verse 15). That did not change their spirit, though. They still played loudly and raised sounds of joy to the Lord (verse 16)!

2 Samuel 6:11-15
11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
12 And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing.
13 And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal.
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.

Do you see the reverence and care in verse 13? Do you see the rejoicing in verse 12, the dancing in verse 14, and the shouting in verse 15? They were absolutely careful to do things God’s way, but they did not lose a bit of passion in doing so!

1 Chronicles 15:25-29
25 So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing.
26 And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.
27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod.
28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.
29 And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart.

Spirit AND Truth

It seems, by my limited observation, that many times people either have spirit OR truth. We are either worshipping with all the genuine passion and emotion and not obeying God’s instructions for worship, or we are doing things “by the book” but everyone looks like they are at a funeral! God wants our hearts and our obedience! He wants spirit and truth!

John 4:19-24
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

In His discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus first dealt with the “Where” of worship. There was a debate between Jews and Samaritans of the proper place to worship. Jesus said there was a time coming when the “where” won’t matter. Jesus also addressed the “What” of worship, and clearly said the Samaritans were worshipping in ignorance. Finally, Jesus instructed her on the “How” of worship. As you can see from what Jesus said, God is “seeking such people” who will worship Him in “spirit and in truth.” He added an exclamation point with the word “MUST.” This is not an option, this is how God wants it. Spirit AND truth.

So, how about you? Personalize it and put these words from Scripture in your heart. God wants all of you in worship. We are to love God with all our hearts, souls, spirits and minds. Are you worshipping God with all of your being? Do you seek and search out what God wants for you in worship or are you like those in the 1st worship service? Do you just go along with what everyone around you agrees is the right course? Remember these lessons from David and Uzzah, because it truly does matter to God. We hope it matters to you, too.

David and Uzzah: It Matters to God, Part 4

Efficiency and Expediency

We are focusing this week on the account of David and Uzzah (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13, 15).

If you were transporting a heavy, very valuable piece of extremely important religious history…wouldn’t you try to find the most efficient and expeditious way to move it? Add this factor – You are transporting this sacred box over miles and up a mountain.

What if you are in that leadership discussion with David and the Levites and someone brings up, “Hey, let’s build a new cart and pull it with oxen.” Without any guidance from God’s word, wouldn’t you think, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” Makes sense to me! That would make this great work of God more efficient.

What we can see from these texts is that our ideas for efficiency and expediency will result in big problems if we don’t look first for God’s authority. In order for something to be helpful it must first be lawful.

How is it that over 2,000 years of church history we have had all kinds of things introduced into the church even with the best intentions? Maybe others responded to those ideas with, “Hey, that’s a great idea, let’s do it!”? Is it any different than what happened in the days of David? We have great ideas, ways to “improve” and make the church better. But have we fallen prey to the same problem of David and Uzzah? Did we look into God’s word to see if that’s what God wants?

We can look at the Reformation Movement for great examples of this concept. People started reading the word and then they realized that many of the established practices of the day were not founded on God’s Word. Did you know that many of the Reformation leaders rejected instrumental music in worship because they found no authority for it in the New Testament? This is just one example of men and women who did like David and “sought God according to the rule.”

Has God changed since the days of Uzzah? Is He any less concerned about our obedience to His instructions?

Jesus told us that in order to worship God “we must” worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). When Paul wrote about how the church at Corinth was to worship he said that those instructions were the “commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:36-37). As Paul wrote the young evangelist Timothy, he said that those words were from God so they would know how to behave in God’s church (1 Timothy 3:15). Nope, God hasn’t changed (Hebrews 13:8). If we want to do great works for God, we still need to look in the Word and see what God has to say first.

David and Uzzah: It Matters to God, Part 3

Have you ever purchased a gadget or piece of equipment, but fail to read the owner’s manual? A lot of folks like me do that – we just try to “figure it out.” Then months go by, and you wonder why something doesn’t work right or you say, “What does this button do?” You go dig through your piles of important stuff you have yet to file and you find that handy owner’s manual that came straight from the manufacturer. After a minute, you slap your head and say, “Oh, that’s what that button is for!”

In yesterday’s article we saw from the Law of Moses that God clearly described and indicated how the Israelites were to transport the ark of the covenant.

Exodus 25:10-15 – “… And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.

It makes me think that the people by the time of David are staring at those poles and saying, “I wonder what those are for?” Here’s why I think that. Look at the text of 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13.

2 Samuel 6:5-11 (1 Chronicles 13)
And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.

When Uzzah was struck dead, David was at first “angry,” then “afraid of the Lord.” I can understand why at first David was angry. He is, with a pure heart, trying to do a wonderful thing for God and now Uzzah is toast. David was angry, but God’s punishment was just. The next emotion is “fear of the Lord.” Remember that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). David is now afraid, and he asks a great question in utter confusion as Uzzah lies dead on the ground.

“How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”

He did not know! David’s (and everyone else’s disobedience) was not based on a rebellious spirit like King Saul where they said, “Who cares? We’re going to do it this way!” They were genuinely trying to do good for the Lord. But they were doing so in ignorance of God’s plain instructions. Someone at our congregation, Josh, suggested after my sermon that the priests used the poles to get the ark on the cart. Great point. But again, we will see that they did not use the poles as God intended.

So the next thing we see is that David parks the ark of the covenant for 3 months at Obed-Edom’s house. That goes well for Obed-Edom, but keep in mind that this great work of God is now halted for 3 months while everyone figures out what to do.

Here is where 1 Chronicles 15 comes in. By the way, if you only read the account of David and Uzzah from 2 Samuel 6, you will miss some very important details that are mentioned in 1 Chronicles.

1 Chronicles 15:1-2
David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever.
1 Chronicles 15:11-13
Then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.”

Notice a few things in that passage:
  • No one may do this but the Levites.
  • No carts…you have to carry the ark.
  • We got in trouble with God because the ark was not carried, it was put on a cart.
  • Because we did not seek Him according to the rule.

What happened in these 3 months? David and the rest of the leadership eventually got the Book of the Law out and searched to see what God had to say about it. They did not seek Him according to the rule…that means even the priests and Levites were unaware of this 400-year-old instruction from God. Even religious leaders can be ignorant of what God says in His Word! But again, ignorance joined with zeal for God is not a pass for disobeying Him.

Romans 10:1-3
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

One final note for today: “We,” not “You” or “I”

David, as a leader, took ownership of his own failings. He said, “We” did not seek God’s instructions. He did not say, “You” failed. As a king and as a humble servant of God, David knew that he had his own personal responsibility to search God’s word. I’ll leave you with this final passage from Moses about Israel’s kings. It needs to be true for any leader of God’s people whether in politics, in the home, at work, or in the church.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20
“When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose…And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”

David and Uzzah: It Matters to God, Part 2

We continue our study into the account of David, Uzzah and the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13 and 15).

Today we look at what God actually said in His word about how to transport the ark of the covenant. What we will see is that the instructions were plain, and that they were right there in the Law of Moses for King David or the priesthood to read and learn. It was clear that these 400 year old instructions had been forgotten, because no one knew how God wanted to transport the ark. Remember that God was teaching His people through this the value of His holy presence symbolized by the ark of the covenant, and also the critical importance of obeying exactly what God said.

God cared how they transported the ark of the covenant.

When God gave Moses instructions on how to build the ark of the covenant, He gave very specific commands on how to move the ark.

Exodus 25:10-15 – “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.

Notice that the priests and Levites were given carts (wagons) by God, but NONE were given to the Kohathites who were to transport the “holy things” (including the ark of the covenant). Why? Because God wanted it carried.

Numbers 7:1-9
On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils, the chiefs of Israel, heads of their fathers’ houses, who were the chiefs of the tribes, who were over those who were listed, approached and brought their offerings before the LORD, six wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for every two of the chiefs, and for each one an ox. They brought them before the tabernacle. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Accept these from them, that they may be used in the service of the tent of meeting, and give them to the Levites, to each man according to his service.” So Moses took the wagons and the oxen and gave them to the Levites. Two wagons and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service. And four wagons and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari, according to their service, under the direction of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because they were charged with the service of the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulder.

God cared whether or not they touched the ark of the covenant.

In Numbers 4 God through Moses gave instructions on how to prepare the ark for transporting. He was specific on how it was to be done and who was to do which task. The high priest and his family (Aaron and his sons) were to prepare the ark, and the Kohathites were to carry it. But they could not touch it…lest they die.

Numbers 4:1-15 – And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, as the camp sets out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry these, but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die. These are the things of the tent of meeting that the sons of Kohath are to carry.

Take note here. This is important. Let’s ask ourselves some questions.

Did God say how He wanted the ark of the covenant to be moved? Yes! We see at least 3 occasions here in the Law of Moses where God said, “Use the poles! Carry the ark.”

Did God say He wanted the ark carried because there were no wagons (carts) available? No. There were plainly other ways of transporting the ark, but God did not want them to be used.

These instructions were 400 years old by the time of David – Did that change anything with God? The instructions were written around 1400 BC and David lived around 1000 BC. Think of the arguments we could make, such as, “Well, times have changed. God wrote that 400 years ago, and it’s outdated, we have to get with the new times.” Or, “Well, maybe God cared about that 400 years ago, but does He care about it today?”

Is ignorance of God’s plan instructions a pass or excuse for disobeying what God said? Nope. What we see in the account of David and Uzzah is that God still cared about what He said, even if David or the priesthood had forgotten it.

More to come tomorrow, Lord willing.

David and Uzzah: It Matters to God

Yesterday, I preached a sermon about the event in David’s life where a man named Uzzah reached out to steady the ark of the covenant, and he was struck dead by God. This account is found in 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13 and 15. It serves as a great lesson in several areas, specifically in respecting God and His authority, but also in the area of leadership. I intend to write on this topic today through Friday, Lord willing.

If you haven’t studied these chapters, or if you haven’t studied them lately, I encourage you to take time to look over them and read what transpired.

2 Samuel 6:1-4
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.

1 Chronicles 13:1-7
David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader. And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and from the LORD our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us. Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.” All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people. So David assembled all Israel from the Nile of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD who sits enthroned above the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart.

Here are a few observations for today from the above texts:

The Ark of the Covenant symbolized the Holy Presence of God. God was teaching the nation of Israel the importance of reverence toward the Holy Presence of God. This golden box with golden cherubim on the lid (Mercy Seat) was to be put in the Holiest Place of the Temple behind a veil. No one could touch it, and only the High Priest once a year could go near it. And when he did, he brought blood to “atone” (cover) the sins of Israel. Sin keeps us from the Holy Presence of God ever since the Garden of Eden, and without a blood sacrifice for our sins, we cannot come close to God’s presence. He is holy, we are unholy.

David, having a heart for God, had a great desire to brink the ark of the covenant home to Jerusalem. In the 40 year reign of King Saul, nothing was done with the ark. Worship was not a priority for King Saul unless it served his own selfish purposes. David was completely different. He knew that the presence of God and the worship of God was central to the health of each Israelite and the nation as a whole.

David and the leadership overlooked one major detail – HOW to transport the ark. We will look tomorrow at God’s specific instructions in the Law of Moses about transporting the ark. God was clear and plain. What we will see later this week is that David and the priests did not look into the Law to see what God said. Those 400 year old instructions were right there in the book!

David and the leadership team all AGREED on the plan of action. As you can see in the above passages, David and his leaders all agreed on this course of action. But remember, please remember, that consensus does not equal truth! Just because they all agreed on what to do, doesn’t mean that it was the right way to do it. A lot of bad things have been done by consensus.

Take time to meditate on these passages today.

David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 4

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,

God called David from shepherding sheep in order to shepherd the people of Israel. What in the world did David know about leading a nation? Not much, but what he did have was valuable to God. David had the right heart, and you can’t teach heart. God could teach David and would teach David everything he needed to know about being a king. But David had the right start…a great heart.

Think about some simple things David learned as a young man in the field shepherding sheep:

  • He learned to meditate upon God. David from the very beginning had a heart that was devoted to God. You can tell from his Psalms that he spent time outdoors looking up and around at the amazing creation of God. This started young for David. Would this come in handy later as David was fleeing from Saul, facing giants, planning wars, managing all the minutia of being a king? Absolutely!
  • He developed great musical talent. Not only did this soothe David and his animals, it would later bring David into a king’s palace to soothe troubled KIng Saul. These talents would also be used later as David wrote worship music and created many instruments to go along with that worship music. Those Psalms are still being used in worship 3,000 years later.
  • He learned about faith and facing adversity. As a shepherd, he had to face cold and heat, life and death. Read about the other shepherds in the Bible, a shepherd has to think about pasture, dark valleys, robbers, weather, good water, sickness, predators, etc. Would those skills come in useful later in life? Sure, he was learning how to multi-task, even when life and death were at stake. But he showed great care and devotion to his sheep, and God knew David would show that same care and devotion to the people of God (Psalm 78:70-72).
  • He learned to be faithful in a few things. If you are not devoted to your job at McDonald’s, why do you think God will bless you with being CEO of a corporation? If you are not dedicated to sweeping the floor at work and you cut corners and lie about how much work you did, you will do the same thing when managing billions of dollars. It’s that simple. Jesus said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12). David was faithful with his father’s few sheep, and God gave him the kingdom of Israel.
  • He learned how to use a sling. Do you think that will come in useful later with Goliath? Shepherds by necessity became deadly with a sling and stone, and David’s skill he learned keeping sheep would one day take down a giant.

Sometimes we minimize and discount the little jobs and little lessons we are learning on a daily basis. It’s like the college student that wonders why he has to take a certain class that has nothing to do with his desired career, and then maybe later he realizes he did learn something in that class that was valuable to him later in life. It is easy to forget that God is preparing us for future work in His kingdom. The work you are doing now, and the faith lessons you are learning now will someday be used in a powerful way later in life. That’s just the way it works. David didn’t know that being a shepherd was training him to be king, but God did.

 

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

Here is a link to David Served God’s Purpose in David’s Generation, Part 3

Are You Hungry?

One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
(Proverbs 27:7)

In this proverb, like a lot of the Proverbs, there is a contrast. There is someone who is full. They have stuffed their bodies so full, that even the taste of the sweetest substance on earth is not appealing to them. Then there is the other person who is famished. He is starved. This guy will take anything you give him and he’ll love it. Raw brussel sprouts with lemon peels? Yum, I’ll take it! Do you remember the woman who described herself as a dog who was happy to eat the crumbs from Jesus’ table (Matthew 15:27,28)? That’s the image of a truly hungry person.

So here are two quick observations for today:

  1. The “hungry” people have a different perspective on life. When we are so full in our minds by being consumed with the things of this world, we really have a hard time being grateful. Even the sweetest things in life just don’t bring us pleasure. We can be so full of stress, worry and busy-ness in this world that even a sweet baby playing can be annoying. But then spend time around someone who has faced serious disabilities from birth. I find a lot of those men and women see even the bitter things as sweet. They are so grateful, joyful and have a wonderful perspective on life. It might be good for you and me to spend more time with folks like that. We can learn to develop a “hungry” attitude that appreciates life and any blessing.
  2. The “hungry” people have a different perspective on the Word of God. They will listen to sermons, read the Bible, dive into the difficult stuff. Even the “bitter” things of the word are sweet because they are so hungry for drawing closer to God. The full person can’t even stomach the sweetest things of God. There is just no room in the tank for it. It might be that you have to put aside some of your regular entertainment, and shut off the devices more often. Start “tasting” the word, and with the Holy Spirit’s living power in that word you will develop a hunger (Hebrews 6:4-5; 1 Peter 2:1-3).

“And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!'”
(Luke 15:16-17)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(Matthew 5:6)

The Written Word Comes from THE Word

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
(Hebrews 4:12-13)

Last night in our Bible class, we were discussing the power and living nature of the Scriptures. The reason this book is like no other is because it flows from the mind, soul and being of an all-powerful God. The word of God, the Scripture, is the very breath of the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is living, so His words are living. He is active in the world, so His words are also active. Jesus is powerful, so His words are powerful. The words Jesus said were often sharp, so naturally the written word that came from His mouth would also be sharp. Jesus read the hearts of men, nothing was hidden from Him, and the same goes for the words from His mouth, they read our hearts. His word is just like Him in that it shines the light and exposes the darkness.

There is no other document like the Bible ever written in human history because there is no other person like Jesus. He authored every word.

May we today stand in awe of the Scriptures, as we stand in awe of the Savior and Lord who gave it to us.