Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Are The Man! Awwww..... Man!

It’s so human for us to see the character flaws of people all around us, and at times it’s so easy for us to point the finger at the other person, so as not to draw attention to ourselves. For me personally, I’m often quick to point out how others are “not minding God” only to be reminded of “when’s the last time I went to the hospital to visit the sick”, or take your pick. No, I admit that I am not perfect, and I apologize for criticizing others too.

David’s life had quickly become very complicated. He had slept with another man’s wife, who had consequently become pregnant. To cover it up, he had her honorable husband Uriah killed in battle so that he would never find out of the king’s treacherous dealings. As for the people finding out, I imagine that David quickly took Bathsheba as his wife – kind of “shotgun wedding” style to cover up the obvious of her being pregnant. Maybe David felt like he had all the bases covered and that he could try and melt back into mediocrity. No way. God would not give him peace while he was in sin. God wanted to wake him up and show him the error of his ways. God sent his prophet Nathan to talk to him.

Nathan started talking about this other worthless character, about how this rich man who had all he wanted, and lacked nothing, wanted more. Even though this rich man was blessed with abundance, desired what someone else had. The rich man took the only possession that this poor man had, a single lamb who this man raised from a baby, treating it as one of his own children. Even though the rich man had more than enough, he stole from the poor man, the only lamb he had to make a feast for a traveler. Back again to seeing the character flaws in others, God spoke through Nathan this story in a way that would convict David. In fact, in a way that David would convict himself. David was furious to hear this supposedly true story from Nathan and said, [2 Samuel 12:5] “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! [6] And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David those dreaded words, “You are the man!”

Nathan then went on to remind David all the good things that God had already done for him like, anointing him king over Israel, delivering him from the hands of King Saul who was out to kill him, giving David king Saul’s house and all his possessions after Saul killed himself in battle, and by giving David to be king over all of Israel, and then all of Judah. And finally, by reminding David that if that hadn’t been enough, God would have blessed him more, according to his will…. What a knuckle-head, right? I mean who in their right minds would have given up all of that for a fleeting moment with another man’s wife. But, I am only speaking sarcastically. A very big lesson to be learned is that God put this detailed story in here for a reason. Think about all the great things that David had done, and how many of them are only mentioned briefly…. Then think about this story and realize that it is spelled out in great detail and is put there as a warning for every man. We all must be careful on what we do, and where we are, and what consequences will follow.

David’s character had been tarnished. His sin had been exposed to him, and his kingdom, and the nations around him. How humbling this was for David. What happened after this shows the character of David that God loved. The repentant character, the humbled character, and the deeply wounded character that God desires when we sin. It’s quickly summed up in the story told in 2 Samuel by this verse, [2 Samuel 12:13] So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." But it’s not until you read over in Psalms 32 or Psalms 51 the true depths that David went through before finding God’s forgiveness.

In Psalms 32, David is praising God for his forgiveness, and for covering or hiding his sins. David admits in this Psalm, the struggle and guilt that he felt before his sins were confessed, before his sins were admitted. David says that he felt terrible, he was burdened with sin, and he was pressed and could not move because of his guilt. The moment he admitted his sins to God, God lifted his hand from him, and blessed him with his mercies.

In Psalms 51, David calls out for God’s mercy, loving-kindness, and tender mercies. David begs God to blot out, or cover over his transgressions so that God will not see them any longer. David begs God to wash him and cleanse him so that he will be found pure in his sight. David admits his sin to God. Even though David had affected the lives of Bathsheba, of Uriah, and of the child who died from Bathsheba, and even the punishment of sin which would be borne in his own household, David admits that to God and God alone has he sinned. David continues by asking God to bless him with joy and gladness so that he may rejoice. David asks for a clean heart and for a renewed and steadfast spirit within him. David asks God not to depart from him, not to take his Holy Spirit away from him. God finally uses David to teach us through the Holy Spirit what God desires most of all from us in these situations: [Psalms 51:16] “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise.”

Yes, I find myself to be like David in the fact that I am not perfect, though I have not sinned in this same way as this story is told. I certainly am a sinner who is forgiven. My prayer is that I will remember David’s character and if I am convicted of sin, when I have come to my senses that I too will pour out myself like David did, and be forgiven by God our creator.

I’m forgiven and you can be too.

Am I listening to what God is saying in His word?

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Lesson On Being Forgiven

The story of David is such an interesting one to me. From just a very young man, he was chosen by God. One story is told found in 1 Samuel 16 when God told the prophet Samuel that He had rejected Saul as being king over Israel. He told Samuel to go and anoint a new king over Israel that would be found among the sons of Jesse - but He didn't tell him who it would be. Upon seeing Jesse's first son, a strong and handsome man, Samuel was sure that God's anointed was before him. God told him no, (v.7) "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him (them - all of Jesse's sons except David, the youngest). For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." And what a heart God saw in David. I believe it is a big reason why the story of David takes up a good amount of the Bible. His story is so important. David's life was a world-wind of ups and downs, blessings and curses, right decisions and wrong decisions, full of joy and pain. The character that I'd like to focus on is David's heart. We are all like David in the aspect that at times in our life, we made a bad decision. A decision that haunts us in the future. A decision that keeps pestering us and will not go away. It's how David handles those situations that I find interesting - and sometimes hard to put in practice.
It's good to remember that God removed king Saul because Saul chose not to obey God. We should always allow ourselves to be used by God for good - not for bad. David had the right attitude from the beginning, a servant attitude, willing to take risk for better gain - remember his servant attitude in bringing supplies to his brothers at the war camp, only to allow God to work through him by taking the risk of facing Goliath. God strengthened David, and enabled him to speak these words to a giant: 1 Samuel 17:45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."
Several years later in king David's life, David heart was not right. David was not acting as he should. In a time where David should have been with his army in battle, he stayed behind. Sometimes, finding ourselves in the wrong spot and in the wrong time can definitely lead us into trouble. In fact, I'd like to offer you a link to one of the best articles I've read on this same topic. Please be sure and visit this link later for a wake-up call by clicking here:
The story of David's fall with Bathsheba is one that reminds me of a snowball rolling downhill. Once David got started, he couldn't stop and things went from bad to worse. David shouldn't have been there to begin with, but he should have been elsewhere with his army. He was probably bored with nothing to do - Idleness brings about destruction. David looked, and he saw a beautiful woman. "Whoops" he said, "let me run back inside and get that image out of my mind while I find something more productive to do". No, David didn't say that. In fact, he sent his own messengers to her house - her husband by the way was gone out to war with the rest of the guys. David is actively pursuing this encounter - he's the king after all, and he can have and do anything he wants - right? After the sinful deed was done, he / they then find out that she became pregnant - the snowball's getting bigger and bigger.... David hatches a plan to bring Bathsheba's husband back for a little R & R. Well, this backfires. Uriah was an honorable man, and chose not to even stay with his wife while the rest of the army's still out there fighting. He stayed and watched guard over king David with the rest of the people. David still tries to persuade him a few more times. Even drunk, Uriah stands firm for what is right. Finally, David writes a notice to Joab to place Uriah in the front of the battle, and retreat from him - so that he may be killed. What a cover up! He's in the clear now, and he can have Uriah's wife and child. Well, no. God would not allow this to happen unchallenged.
Check back later for a continuation to this story and find out how David was restored back into good graces with God and his people.

Am I listening to what God is Saying In His Word?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I have been at a loss for words for several days. I haven't been focused. I haven't been able to say what I feel, because I don't know what I feel right now. In just a few days, my wife and oldest son and myself will be taking a very long trip to Crownpoint, NM to share the gospel with some Navajo people. We've never been there, and we don't know what to expect. Also, this is so much out of my character, out of my comfort level that I'm completely beside myself. Or more accurately, not myself. I wrestle with my insecurities, and then knowing that I need to put my trust in God and let Him take control. I fear the unexpected and I dread the unknown. Yes, I feel Satan is having his way with me right now, and dropping little hints in my ear like, "what in the world did I sign up for", or "wow, I'm sure gonna miss my own bed".
Nothing. My mind is as blank as a deserted road. No one for miles and miles. Just me.
Dear God, I pray that you will fill me with your spirit. That you will be with us all on this trip we are about to take. That you will watch over us, and guide us, and show us that you are with us. Help to calm our nerves, and give us courage and strength to stand up to such a task as this. Bless our efforts. Reveal yourself to us and give us words to speak. Allow your Holy Spirit to work through us so that we might share your message of hope, joy and peace with others who do not know you. Help us to encourage those who do know you, who need encouraging. Allow them to encourage us and may we help to strengthen each other. Thank you for blessing those people who have already helped by supporting this trip. Bless us all and watch over us and may your kingdom continue to grow. In Jesus holy name, Amen.