Two Kings – David

March 8, 2017

Image result for photo king DavidI Kings 14:8

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

We looked at the first of Two Kings – Saul.  This man was the people’s choice, and he, with many flaws, failed to lead Israel in a godly manner!  Now, lets examine briefly the second of Two Kings – David.  Here is what the LORD said of him in I Kings 14:8:  “…My servant David…kept My commandments and…followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes.”  This statement was given to Jeroboam I, the first king of Israel after the northern kingdom broke away from the southern kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam, Solomon’s son.  God was saying that compared to David, Jeroboam was not a good king!

But this summary of David from I Kings 14:8 gives me pause – as does another in Acts 13:22 (quoting I Samuel 13:14):  God…gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ ”  I find such praise from the LORD amazing in light of David’s many failings:

•      I Samuel 21:10-15 – David pretended insanity before the Philistine king Achish, because he was afraid that he would be arrested for having fought against the Philistines and having killed Goliath their champion in battle which resulting in the Israelites’ victory over the enemy army (see I Samuel 17:1-53).

• God told the Israelites that any future king should not have many wives (see Deuteronomy 17:17).  From the time of Adam, one woman per man was God’s ideal! (See Genesis 2:22-24).  But, in II Chronicles 3:1 through 3, six of David’s wives are named, and in verse five, a seventh – Bathsheba – is listed.  It is recorded in the same chapter, verses 6 through 9, the names of another ten children, implying more wives!  Also, in verse 9 it says, “…besides the sons of the concubines.”  So other women were involved with the king.  David had a lot of wives and concubines – going against the revealed will of God!

•      II Samuel 11:1-5 – The king lusted over beautiful Bathsheba when he saw her from his palace bathing on the courtyard roof of her nearby house.  Although David knew she was married to one of his faithful army officers, Uriah, he sent for her, engaged in intercourse with her, and she became pregnant!

•      II Samuel 11:6-15 – David tried to cover up his infidelity by bringing Uriah home on leave from a battle with the Ammonites, and encouraging him to go have sex with his wife – even getting the man drunk!  When that didn’t work, the king wrote an order to the army commander Joab to position Uriah in battle in such a way that he would be killed!

•      After that fiasco, family troubles plagued King David!  This indicated, not just punishment from God, but David’s failure as a father to raise godly sons!

      ✞      David’s son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar! (See II Samuel 13:1-20).

      ✞      Another son, Absolom (Tamar’s brother), murdered Amon for having violated his sister! (See II Samuel 13:22-29).

      ✞      Absolom tried to wrest the kingdom from his father, planning in that rebellion to kill David! (See II Samuel 17:1-4).

      ✞      Adonijah, another son of David, also tried to usurp the throne of his father! (See I Kings 1:5).

•      One of the last sinful acts of King David was to order a census of his potential army (see II Samuel 24:1-4).  This was against God’s will and, in the end it cost the lives of 70,000 Israelites! (See II Samuel 24:15).

David was not by his own actions a righteous man!  He was a great sinner!  How, then, could God say of him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22)?

      ✞      Although he was a great sinner, David was also a great repenter! (See Psalms 51 and 32 in that order).

      ✞      He knew the meaning of substitutional atonement (which is fully explained in the New Testament – see for instance Romans 4:23-25; II Corinthians 5:21).  For in Psalm 32:1 and 2 David wrote:  “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity….

      ✞      He was clean and holy before God and accepted by Him because of his faith in the promises of the forgiving LORD!

While Saul was the first king of Israel, he was not first in God’s eyes!  David was God’s choice – so much so that the LORD promised his dynasty would last forever! (See II Samuel 7:16).  And that dynasty culminated in Jesus Christ, of whom it is written in Luke 1:33:  “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.

Make sure this Jesus, the Son of David is King over your life!

Two Kings – Saul

March 6, 2017

Image result for photo king saulI Samuel 8:7-9

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

This study will examine Two Kings, the first being Saul, the second David.  Here is God’s instructions to Samuel in I Samuel 8:7 through 9 (condensed):

      …the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they
      say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me….Ac-
      cording to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought
      them up out of Egypt, even to this day — with which they have forsaken
      Me, that I should not reign over them….they…served other gods — so they
      are doing to you also.  Now therefore, heed their voice.  However you shall
      solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who shall
      reign over them.

Israelite leaders had approached Samuel in I Samuel 8:5:  “Look, you are old, and your sons to not walk in your ways.  Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”  Like all the nations?!!  This is what God designed for Israel, written in Deuteronomy 7:6:  “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God…[He] has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”  Israel was not to be like all the nations!

Although it does not specify this in the Scripture record, I think why the people wanted a king – a big king! – was because there were among the enemy Philistines five giants coming up through the ranks of the Philistine army – one of whom was Goliath! (See also II Samuel 21:16; 21:18; I Chronicles 20:5; II Samuel 21:20).  Here is what is recorded in I Samuel 10:23 and 24:  “…when he stood among all the people, he [Saul] was taller than any…from his shoulders upward….So all the people shouted…‘Long live the king!’ ”  Yes, they had their choice – a six-foot, eight-inch big man!  But what was he against a nine-foot, eight-inch giant named Goliath?!!

Considering Saul – what were some of his personality defects?

•      Although he showed bravery in many cases, he too often tended toward fearfulness!

      ✞      When Saul was first introduced to the Israelites as their king in I Samuel 10:21 and 22, the people couldn’t find him because he was hiding “…among the equipment.”  It seems he was scared at the idea of being king!

      ✞      In I Samuel 15, Saul was commissioned to carry out God’s curse against the Amalekites and completely wipe them out (see Deuteronomy 25:17-19).  But the king didn’t do it.  “He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and…spared…the best of the sheep…oxen…fatlings…lambs, and all that was good, and was unwilling to utterly destroy them.” (I Samuel 15:8 and 9).  He made excuses when confronted with his failure.  But finally, in verse 24, Saul confessed to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

      ✞      As David increased in popularity among the people, it says in I Samuel 18:29, “…Saul was still more afraid of David, so Saul became David’s enemy continually.

•      Saul was also a jealous person!

      ✞      He was so jealous to protect his throne, especially after his disobedience, and Samuel’s confronting him.  The prophet told the king, “…the LORD…has rejected you from being king….[He] has torn the kingdom of Israel from you…and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” (I Samuel 15:23 and 28).  Over the next few years, the king’s jealousy burned greatly, and he hunted David, trying to kill him multiple times – wasting national resources on that fruitless pursuit!

      ✞      After David killed Goliath, the Israelites praised him:  “…the women had come out…singing and dancing…‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David this ten thousands.’ (I Samuel 18:6 and 7).  ” And King Saul, according to I Samuel 18:8 and 9…

              …was very angry…and…said, “They have ascribed to David ten thou-
              sands, and to me…but thousands.  Now what more can he have but
              the kingdom?”  So Saul eyed David from that day forward.

•      God rejected Saul – not only as king, but also as a person – and Saul always seemed to fight against the LORD!

      ✞      Samuel told Saul in I Samuel 15:26, “…you have rejected the word of the LORD….

      ✞      In I Samuel 16:14 it is written:  “…the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.

      ✞      According to Deuteronomy 18:11 and 12, “…a spiritist, or a medium, or one who calls up the dead…are an abomination to the LORD….”  But at the end of his days, Saul had to fight the Philistines – and he was scared! (See I Samuel 28:5).  When God didn’t answer him, he turned to a forbidden medium who lived in Endor (see I Samuel 28:7).  Although it does not happen so in any other known case, God actually allowed thiswitchto call up Samuel!  And Samuel told Saul that…tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.  The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” (II Samuel 28:19).

      ✞      Here is the sorry record of Saul – his epitaph, if you will – in I Chronicles 10:13 and 14:

              So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against
              the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also
              because he consulted a medium for guidance.  But he did not inquire
              of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over
              to David the son of Jesse.

Be careful to personally obey and follow the LORD closely!  And be careful also concerning whom you chose as your leader!

David And The Dwarf

March 3, 2017

Image result for photo david and goliathI Samuel 17:10, 42-46

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Goliath was a big man. According to I Samuel 17:4 his “…height was six cubit and a span…” – about 9 feet, eight inches tall!  Some scholars think he was the last of the giants of Genesis 6:4 – the offspring of angels and human women, called in Hebrew, “nephilim”.  But Goliath was a dwarf compared to David!  And our featured Scripture of I Samuel 17:10, 42, 43, 45, and 46 shows us why he was a dwarf!  (The Scripture here is condensed to save space):

      …[Goliath] said, ‘I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that
      we may fight together’….when the Philistine…saw David, he disdained
      him….And…cursed David by his gods….And…said… ‘Come to me, and I
      will give your flesh to the bird…and beasts….Then David said to the Phil-
      istine, ‘You come to me with a sword…spear, and…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.  This day the LORD will deliver you…and the camp
      of the Philistines…into my hand….’

Goliath, the giant versus David, the small teenager!  But something reversed that lop-sided comparison!  What was it?  It was David’s trust in the LORD God of Israel!  That there is only one true God is affirmed morning and evening by Orthodox Jews when they recite the Shema, from Deuteronomy 6:4 through 6:

      Hear, O Israel:  The LORD our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love
      the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all
      your might.  And these words which I command you today shall be in
      your heart….

According to the Bible, while “…there are many gods and many lords…” (I Corinthians 8:5), “…there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5).  So while the Philistine cursed David by his gods, David was trusting in LORD God of Israel the true God!

You know the rest of the familiar story – I Samuel 17:49-51:

      …David put his hand in his [shepherd’s] bag and took out a stone; and he
      slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank
      into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.  So David prevailed
      over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and…ran and stood over the
      Philistine, took…[the Philistine’s] sword and cut off his head….And when
      the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

What can I take away from this great incident that will affect and change my life?  I believe it is this:  We must have confidence in our God, and verbalize that confidence and the resultant victory over what we are facing!  Both of these go before the actual thing to be accomplished:

•      Our confidence must be in God!  David certainly voiced this confidence:  “This day the LORD will deliver you…and the camp of the Philistines…into my hand…” (verse 46).  But two things bolstered his belief:

      ✞      He was familiar with the promises of God!  Although David did not have the finished canon of Scripture we have today, he had at least the first five – perhaps up to eight – books of the Bible.  For instance, it says this in Leviticus 26:7 and 8:

              You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before
              you.  Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall
              put ten thousand to flight:  your enemies shall fall by the sword before
              you.

And David was also familiar with the heros of the past who also trusted in such promises.  Gideon was one of them – and in Judges chapter 8 is the record of how Gideon defeated a vast army of Midianites and Amalekites with an army of just 300 men!  How did he do that?  He put his faith in the promises and power of God!

      ✞      David also had successfully put these promises of God to the test before!  Yes, he was only a shepherd guarding his father’s sheep.  But this was the testimony of this young shepherd to King Saul in I Samuel 17:34 through 36:

              Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a
              bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and
              stuck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it rose
              against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.  Your
              servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Phil-
              istine will be like one of them….

•       We are to verbalize our confidence in God!  David certainly did!  I am thinking of three Scriptures that are certainly worth memorizing and verbalizing as we confront what we are to battle:

      ✞      I John 4:4 – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them [false prophets, evil spirits, even antichrists], because He who is in you [the Holy Spirit] is greater than he who is in the world [Satan].

      ✞      Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

      ✞      I Corinthians 15:57 – “…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So go out and be a David!  Anything you then confront will be a dwarf in comparison to God!

Selling Our Product – IV

March 1, 2017

Image result for Photo gospel preacherSong Of Solomon 5:10, 16

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Ok, I am adding one more blog to the Selling Our Product series.  As I thought about the whole subject, I don’t think I emphasized enough one point I want bring up more thoroughly now.  And for our featured Scripture I have chosen Song of Solomon 5:10 and 16:  “My beloved is…the chief among ten thousand….His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely.  This is my beloved, and this is my friend….

While this is a poem expressing the love between King Solomon and his Shulamite bride (see Song of Solomon 1:1; 6:13), it has also been seen to portray two other spiritual relationships:  The love of God toward His wife Israel (see Isaiah 54:5, 6; Hosea 2:16-20), and (since the early Church Fathers) the love-relationship between Christ and His Church, His bride! (See II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27, 32).  It is this last relationship upon which this blog is based – Christ and His Church.  And I want to emphasize that aspect which relates to Selling Our Product, that is, we have an absolutely superiorProductto offer people!  So let’s take Song of Solomon 5:10 and 16 phrase by phrase and see what we can learn:

•      Verse 10 – “My beloved….”  Paul refers to Jesus Christ as Beloved in Ephesians 1:6 when he writes that we are “…accepted in the Beloved.” (See also Matthew 3;17; 17:5).  What the apostle means is, if the Father accepts Jesus and what He did on Calvary (and, of course, He does), we – in Him – are just as accepted !  Why is Jesus our Beloved?  The answer is in I John 4:19:  “We love Him because He first loved us.”  Further, in Romans 5:8, Paul declares, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  He showed us His love by dying for us!  Also, in II Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV), Paul calls believers, “…beloved of the Lord….”  Is it then any wonder that the ‘Product’ we are offering people would be called my Beloved?

•      Verse 10 – “…the chief among ten thousand….”  Among ten thousand?  Jesus Christ is utterly unique – One among billions!  That’s why God Himself had to come to earth incarnate!  There has never been another human being who could be perfect enough to pay the penalty for sin!  As it is written in Acts 4;12 (International Standard Version):  “There is no salvation by anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.

•      Verse 11 – “His mouth is most sweet….”  When officers of the temple police were sent to arrest Jesus, they came back empty handed.  Their excuse? “No man ever spoke like this Man! ” (John 7:46).  When asked if the twelve disciples wanted to leave Him after Jesus laid down some very hard teaching in John 6, Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68).  As Job said in Job 23:12, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  Oh, the sweetness that flows from the lips of Jesus!

•      Verse 11 – “…yes, he is altogether lovely.”  As a small child, I once knew a woman whom I thought was absolutely beautiful.  But she was not that physically attractive.  She just had such a wonderful personality that it made her total person altogether lovely!  It is prophesied of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53:2 that, “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”  But so many were attracted to Him – even little children! (See Mark 10:16).  It was His beauty that drew people to Jesus – the beauty of God Himself come in human flesh! (See John 1:1, 14).  So altogether lovely is He that, over the centuries, millions have counted it joy to suffer for Him (see I Peter 4:12-16), even to lay down their lives for Him! (See Revelation 2:10).

•      Verse 11 – “This is my beloved….”  Yes, He’s mine!  Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”  This becomes very personal – so personal that I can truly say,This is my Beloved !

•      Verse 11 – “…and this is my friend….”  Jesus told His followers in John 15:13 through 15:

      Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his
      friends.  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No
      longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his mas-
      ter is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard
      from My Father I have made known to you.

Paul tells us in Colossians 1:21 that “…you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled…to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight….”  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son, the Savior of the World,KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS ” (Revelation 19:16) is my Friend !  And He can be such a friend to anyone who opens themselves to His Saviorhood and Lordship!

So as we go out to others as ‘sellers’ of Jesus Christ to those who obviously need Him, is there any greater Product that we can offer?  Go confidently, and ‘sell’ Him to the lost!