Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part Two)

June 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 6 Comments
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We noted King David’s many blessings in Part One. The Bible is not a book of fairy tales, myths, or legends. Its Author, the Holy Spirit, does not hide the sins, shortcomings, and ugly truths about its heroes. When David sinned with Bathsheba, there seems little doubt that his pride over his might, favor, and accomplishments played a part in his fall. However, when we go back and look carefully, we can see that this was perhaps not the chief cause of his downfall. David was actually being a good steward of these blessings God had given him.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Luke 16:10

When David was blessed in fighting, he gave God the glory (as recorded in many of the Psalms), and was obedient to fight God’s enemies. When David was blessed in his family he didn’t just indulge his sons; he gave them responsibilities. When David was blessed with fame, God knew he could trust David to give God the glory. When David was blessed with faithful friends, he listened to them, and obeyed God’s Word. When David was blessed with feasting he didn’t become greedy or gluttonous; he became generous and giving.

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

II Samuel 9:13

When David was blessed with fear he didn’t lord it over people; he sought ways to show kindness.

And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?

II Samuel 9:1

So, what else could have played a part in David’s lusting for Bathsheba and subsequent entrapment in sin? If you are a Christian, when you were saved, a great victory was achieved over Satan. Your salvation was a tough loss for Satan, and you may have been given a brief period of reprieve after that, but it didn’t take long for the Devil to get back up and come after you again. It might have been the next week, the next day, at school or at work. It might have been the next Sunday at church, or it might have been when you told your spouse or family or friends. It might even have been in the car on the way home from church! Pharaoh was forced to let God’s people out of Egypt, but he changed his mind and came after them before they even reached the Red Sea (Exodus 14). Jesus said, “Get thee behind Me, Satan” (Luke 4:8), but many of us are too nervous to have him back there where we can’t keep an eye on him. Thankfully, we don’t have to trust Satan. We have to trust the Lord Jesus.

David looked like he had on all his spiritual armor.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

But there was a chink in David’s armor. The Devil is wily. He’s watching us closely. He’s looking for weakness. “Wiles” are tricky schemes, traps, snares, treachery by guile. That’s one reason why we must be very careful about placing a novice Christian in a position of leadership.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

I Timothy 3:7

We must also try to be kind and meek and mild, and not contentious.

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

II Timothy 2:26

Satan does not stop attacking Christians, even when they are not serving the Lord. He does not make deals with believers. He does not really expect to get true Christians to bow down and worship him. We’re already saved. He can’t take us to hell. He wants us to think about ourselves. One of his main temptations is to tell you to do what feels good. Do what’s easy. Look out for number one. No rules, he says. Just “rights.” Then, once you’re worshiping yourself instead of worshiping God, he has a very limited agenda. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).

David had a weakness – a chink in his armor – and that’s all it takes: one “occasion” (Galatians 5:13; I Timothy 5:14). An “occasion” is a foothold. It is what happens when you allow the enemy to build a little encampment inside your walls of protection. Next time, we will try to identify the “occasion” that Satan used to trap David.

Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part One)

May 16, 2012 at 9:42 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 3 Comments
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The events in II Samuel Chapter 8 took place after the incident at Ziklag and after the death of Saul. After defending himself against numerous enemy attacks, David received a brief period of rest from God before he went on the offensive, counterattacking. David experienced:

I. Blessings in Fighting

At this point in David’s career he was not a leader who simply sent out men into battle. David was a leader who fought in person.

Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went.

II Samuel 8:6

And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went.

II Samuel 8:14

David’s accomplishments in battle – against the Philistines and against the Syrians – were so spectacular that God gave him:

II. The Blessing of Fame

And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

II Samuel 8:13

God also gave David:

III. The Blessing of Fairness

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

II Samuel 8:15

And:

IV. The Blessing of Family

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.

II Samuel 8:18

Priests were there to make sure David had access to the Word of God. In this way, God gave David:

V. The Blessing of Faithful Friends

And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;

II Samuel 8:17

It is good to have friends who are loyal, but the best friends are friends who are men of faith.

God gave David:

VI. The Blessing of Fear

David feared God, and David’s enemies feared David. Most of the people he conquered became his servants.

And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.

II Samuel 8:2

God gave David:

VII. The Blessings of Forgiveness and Feasting

And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.

II Samuel 9:1-2

Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.

II Samuel 9:11

Mephibosheth was of the house of Saul, the man who had tried to kill David, yet David showed him forgiveness, kindness, and treated him like a member of his own family.

God gave David:

VIII. The Blessing of Favor

David was wealthy, healthy, handsome, talented, smart, strong, loved, respected, and trusted – all in II Samuel Chapter 9 – but only two chapters later, we see David fall into his greatest sin – the incident of his affair with Bathsheba and subsequent murderous cover-up. Was David so blessed by God that he became filled with pride and fell into sin? Or was there something else going on behind the scenes? Stay tuned for Part Two, in which we will delve deeper into what it means to be a good steward of our blessings.

Warning Sign #4: Fear of Curses

June 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Posted in When Good Preachers Go Bad | 7 Comments
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“I don’t know about you, but I for one ain’t a-gonna stay in Lodebar no more!” crows the frantic, sweaty, and haunted prosperity preacher. His reference, although you would be hard-pressed to tell it, is actually from the Bible – sort of:

Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

II Samuel 9:5-7

One of the greatest fears of a prosperity preacher is that he will wind up in some obscure place of poverty, far away from the limelight, while others are feasting at the king’s table without him. Having watched a little too much TBN, he is desperate to get out of the sticks and into the inner circle of health, wealth, greed, and fame.

See, Mephibosheth, the lame son of King David’s late best friend, Jonathan, was dwelling in Lodebar, a place of “no pasture.” The prosperity preacher sees this as a “cursed” place. No one drives fancy vehicles or lives in mansions or performs at stadiums full of slavering fans at “Lodebar.” It is a place of anonymity. What the prosperity preacher fails to see is that Mephibosheth was brought to the palace of the king not because he discovered the mystical incantation which broke the “generational curse.” It was actually because David, the foreshadowing type of the greater Christ, took pity on Mephibosheth for the sake of his father, Jonathan, and decided to show him grace.

The curse we need to be most concerned about today is not the “curse” of poverty or of physical disability or of obscurity in this world. The real curse is the sin curse. The reversal of that curse comes only through the saving power of King Jesus, who seeks lost sinners, adopts them into His family, and will one day seat them at the table of His presence forever more!


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