Archive for the ‘Hesed’ Category


Quit hanging on to the handrails . . . Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it every day. (Melody Beattie, “Finding Your Way Home”)

Sometimes it is great fun to go for the ride of your life, such as skydiving, bungee-jumping or zip-lining. The thrill is exhilarating. There is a ride that is much more important, much more exhilarating, but much too frightening for most. It is the RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE! Your very life depends upon it. It is the Gospel ride, the ride that depends entirely on an invisible Savior. Let’s discover the Gospel and see that it truly is the “RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE.”

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

Matthew – the Gospel of the Kingdom. (Matthew 4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.)

 Mark – the Gospel of God. (Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”)

 Luke – the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Luke 8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

 Philip – the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 Peter – the Good News of Peace through Jesus Christ.  Acts 10:36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)

 Paul – the Gospel of the Grace of God.  Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The Gospel – Good News that Brings a Reward

Gospel: εὐαγγέλιον, (euangelion) originally denoted a reward for good tidings; later, the idea of reward dropped, and the word stood for “the good news” itself.(1)

2 Samuel 18:19-22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?

The Gospel is the good news (+ )!The Plus is the Reward of Life with God!
God promises this reward. In fact, we must believe in His reward if we are to please God!

  • Heb 11:6 – You must believe that God is a rewarder of those that earnestly seek Him
  • Heb 12:1 – Jesus endured the shame and suffering of the cross for the reward (joy) that was set before Him

PAUL EXPLAINS THE GOSPEL

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

A. The SCOPE of the Gospel

1. The Plan 1 Corinthians 15:3 … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (mentioned twice).

2. Event in History 1 Corinthians 15:4-6 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…

3. Achievement (between the Father and the Son) Philippians 2:8-11 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

4. Free Offer Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. Application of the Achievement by Faith (forgiveness, justification, life). Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

The application is not the end. Forgiveness and freedom from guilt is great, but God’s purpose does not end with our being born again. The Gospel is given simply for us, it is given to accomplish the Purpose and Pleasure of God. THE GOSPEL …

6. Brings us to God 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, Ephesians 2:12-13 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Finally, the Gospel accomplishes what God is all about…

7. Accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him…

B. The SIGHT of the Gospel

The Gospel Achieves the Purpose and Pleasure of God

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

  1.  God Exercises [ʿāśāh] – “conveys the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view”(2)
  2. God Delights [ āp a ]: to incline to; figurative to be pleased with, desire(3); A verb meaning to delight in, to have pleasure, to have favor, to be pleased(4)

The Gospel Accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God.

We see this in 1 COR 15:1: “the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…”

  • You receive the unfailing love of God (hesed)
  • You stand in the Justice of God secured on the Cross (mishpat)
  • You are continually being saved through the Righteousness of Christ (tsedaqah)

(For definition of hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah and an understanding of their importance in discipleship…)

David made a decision to seek the Heart of God. In His seeking he discovered the ways of God, that those ways are always working to accomplish hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. David grew as a man of God when he reacted the right way to what God was trying to accomplish in his life. God worked in David’s life these three things: hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

C. The SUCCESS of the Gospel

Provides the Vehicle and the Highway

It is important that we see the Gospel as a driving force in our life. The Gospel is much more than a story that you believe in when you are a child and then forget about when you are older. The Gospel is the driving purpose and pleasure of God that is to be with us at Work, at Rest, at family gatherings, at the movies, at the restaurant, when we are dealing with pressures, dealing with physical problems. The Gospel is to be on our minds and in our hearts! The Gospel is the core belief of a child of God. It is the Vehicle that God has provided for us to bring peace, hope, faith, love, justice, righteousness and grace. It is the vehicle that will bring us to Him!

1.  The Gospel is the Death Burial & Resurrection (Vehicle)

a) Christ’s Death proved the Power of God’s Love over our Sin
b) Christ’s Burial proved the Power of God’s Justice over the Flesh
c) Christ’s Resurrection proved the Power of God’s Righteousness over the World

The Gospel Unites Us With God Himself

Not only is the Gospel the vehicle that we are to ride in, it provides the way, the roadway, the highway for our journey.

2. The Gospel is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Highway)

a) The Way to hesed (God’s Steadfast Love)
b) The Truth of mishpat (God’s Justice)
c) The Life of tsedaqah (God’s Righteousness)

The Gospel Unites Us With the Heart Of God - It is according to His Purpose & Pleasure

THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO GOD

Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. To know the way we have to by faith receive the mercy and unfailing love of Jesus Christ. Then we stand in the Truth of Jesus Words, the mishpat. Then we have Life as we abide in the Righteousness (tsedaqah) of Jesus Christ.

So the Elements of Discipleship which we found operating in David as he sought after the Heart of God are here in the Gospel.

3. The Gospel Lights the Way

a) The Gospel is the Lamp shining in a dark place. It that shines in your heart… 2 Peter 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

b) The Gospel is the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ… 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4. The Gospel Reaches the Destination – the Heart of God is revealed and made available to us in the Gospel.

The Gospel accomplishes the Purpose and Pleasure of God, and therefore is the means of developing us into Disciples of Jesus Christ. This is the basis for Gospel Driven Discipleship.

Gospel driven discipleship realizes the Power of the Gospel to transform our lives, and propel us to the Heart of God. Gospel Driven Discipleship realizes that Discipleship is not about your own abilities or efforts, but it is about relying on the Power of Jesus Christ! You must be willing to give up everything or the Gospel will have no power in your life! It will cause the car to slow down and lose power, even stall out.

POP THE HOOD – TAKE A LOOK AT THE ENGINE of the GOSPEL!

My brother Mike bought a Mercedes that cost $197,000. He took me for a ride, but I said it didn’t seem that much better than my Mercedes that cost $60,000. But all he had to do was push the accelerator down. That car literally took off like a rocket. Not a hurky jerky rocket, but a smooth take your breath away rocket. The engine was a V12 that could rocket to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With his car, the engine was the star! And so it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lets pop the hood and see what drives the Gospel.

I Corinthians 15: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

A. The Love of the Gospel is Incomprehensible

Christ died for our Sins…Mercy and Love Incomprehensible. The Gospel is the visible expression of the unfailing love and mercy of Holy God for sinful man. God literally died and experienced the wrath of hell that we deserved because of our sin and disobedience. His love drove Him to pursue us by going to the cross, humbling himself to a horrible death, and drinking the wrath of God against sin.

While Jesus pleased His Father, and satisfied the demands of His justice and righteousness, we must receive this love by faith. We must humble ourselves before God and confess our sin and disobedience. We must need the salvation Jesus has provided. We must accept this gift as the perfect and total sacrifice for our sins. There cannot be one iota of dependence upon self for salvation. It is either all of Christ or it has no power to Bring us to God!

As Paul writes, we receive this loving gift bought with the Holy blood of God’s Son. His love is what we rest upon. There is no looking over your shoulder, no wondering why He is doing this to you, no thinking you have to do something to make Him love you. His love comes from the strength of His Name and His character. It does not depend upon how lovely you are. His love is steadfast, strong, unfailing, based upon His death for you. His love is incomprehensible. His desire is to bring you to Him. His desire is to live in your everyday life.
When the Light of the Gospel applies the Mercy of God to our heart, we are born again. Then the Word of God is applied to our soul and our lives are justified before God. We are made right with God through the application of His justice. Then daily we must lean entirely upon the Word of God for our righteousness, for our victory over this world. It can never be anything of our flesh, or it was belief (eike) without purpose. It was in vain.

Counterfeit Salvation is dependent upon self, upon the strength of your will and your flesh. It is false salvation based upon your interests and concerns. It is a false hope that somehow you can please God enough to allow you into His heaven. It is a belief that sets its eyes on yourself, and not on the Purpose and Pleasure of God alone. That belief is counterfeit, it is vanity and you will spend eternity in Hell. That is the belief that is in vain that Paul talks about.

B. The Truth of the Gospel is Impenetrable

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

  • Jesus acted according to the Truth of God’s Word.
  • Jesus died for our sins-the visible expression of the hesed of God.
  • Jesus body was buried-the justice of God was applied to this world through the broken body of His Son.

His body was anointed before His death… Mark 14:8-9 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

We often ignore the burial, and jump to the resurrection. But the burial was dealing with the body, with this flesh. Sin had corrupted this world, our flesh, and Jesus needed to bring Justice to this corrupt world. He had to make it right so that God could once again say “it is good!” The preparation and burial of His body was significant in that it represented the application of mishpat to this world.

God’s Word is triumphant over this flesh-power over sin, over addiction, over disease!

  • The Truth of the Gospel has application for every area of our lives.

Jesus rose again in victory over sin and Satan and the grave. That victory can be experienced by us each and every day of our lives. That victory came because of His righteousness. His righteousness can be ours. His victory can be ours!

C. The Victory of the Gospel is Inexplicable

that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

His righteousness is ours because of the Victory of the Gospel. All it takes is seeing Jesus for who He really is, our Savior, our Lord, our God!

  • The Gospel transformed a cowardly fisherman into a mighty voice for God.
  • The Gospel transformed a cheating tax collector into a mighty witness to those he had cheated.
  • The Gospel transformed a hateful murderer into a witness before Kings.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful, that to know and experience the Gospel, all you must do is see and recognize Jesus as the Christ for who He truly is.

You can know all the verses we talked about today. You can go to church, you can give money. You may have been raised in a Christian home. You may have done tremendous things on His behalf. The question is this: Has Jesus appeared to you? Has the Light of the Gospel shone in your heart? Has the light of the Gospel shone you your sin, your disobedience. Has the light of the Gospel shown you the steadfast love of God?

THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL HAS POWER TO TRANSFORM

Charles Bradlaugh, a famous Atheist and contemporary with Charles Darwin, once challenged the Rev. H.P. Hughes to a debate. The preacher, who was head of a rescue mission in London, England, accepted the challenge with the condition that he could bring with him 100 men and women who would tell what had happened in their lives since trusting Christ as their Savior. They would be people who once lived in deep sin, some having come from poverty-stricken homes caused by the vices of their parents. Hughes said they would not only tell of their conversion, but would submit to cross-examination by any who doubted their stories. Furthermore, the minister invited his opponent to bring a group of non-believers who could tell how they were helped by their lack of faith. When the appointed day arrived, the preacher came, accompanied by 100 transformed persons. But Bradlaugh never showed up. The result? The meeting turned into a testimony time and many sinners who had gathered to hear the scheduled debate were converted.

I love this Quote about the Gospel:

A.B. Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel “Tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner cancelled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone. (5)

Will you let the Light shine in your life?

A couple who took their son, 11, and daughter, 7, to Carlsbad Caverns. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately was heard the voice of her brother: “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”(6)

In a real sense, that is the message of the gospel: light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. Everyday God shines the Light of the Gospel upon your life. The light is on, but you will not see it if your focus is upon yourself. Focus upon Jesus Christ. You can say yes to the light this very day. If you have backslidden away from the light you can get back to God by simply getting in the car and clinging to the wonderful power of the Gospel. What are your sights set upon.

What are you counting on for success in your life? What are you counting on to take you to God?

(1) William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Gospel”.
(2) Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “ʿāśāh“.
(3) James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2654”.
(4) Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 364.
(5) M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 29
(6) Bob Woods, Pulpit Digest

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Are you ready to Give up and Grab Hold? The plow is sitting out in the field. It needs someone to grab hold and help steer. God provides the power, but He needs faithful disciples to grab hold. The decision to become a Disciple of Jesus Christ is not a decision you make lightly. Nor is it a decision you can forget about and go on your merry way. David had made a decision to follow God, follow so closely that God’s Heart would become David’s heart. God never let David forget that decision. God used test after test to reveal those things in David’s heart and life that were getting in the way of his Discipleship decision. If you make such a decision, God will do the same to you.

God seeks to accomplish three things in the life of a Disciple. Those three things are revealed in Jer 9:24. They are “hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah”. He delights in these three things. These three things are His “good pleasure.”  As Paul wrote: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.(Phil 2:12b-13). If a disciple is to understand anything about God, it is that He will constantly be working in your life to accomplish these three things, for they are His “good pleasure.” If we are to boast in anything, it is only that we know and understand God, that He delights in these three things.

God used every test that David faced to grow and develop these three things in his life. These three things are the very foundation of God’s Kingdom here on Earth, of Jesus’ Kingdom during the millennium, of the Kingdom that the Church has been charged to usher into this world.

You may doubt the significance of these three things. I hope not. Ever since the Holy Spirit revealed this to me, the Word of God has shouted at me with LIFE! 40 years I have been in the Word, and I just last year saw this. I don’t find anyone teaching this on the internet or in writings. I believe it is truth God wants for our age.

David revealed their importance in Psalm 106.

Psalm 106:1-5 “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting. Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, Or can show forth all His praise? How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times! Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation, That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.”

A. They are the Grounds for Praise and Thanksgiving!

1.  Give thanks for His ‘hesed’ (loving-kindness, unfailing love)– it is everlasting
    • His hesed is the basis of His mighty deeds and bountiful praise. We do nothing to earn it or deserve it.
    • Justice is something we must covet, guard, desire, submit to. It is not of us but of God.
    • Requires commitment of heart, soul and strength. 24/7 diligence.
2.  Keep mishpat (Justice) and you will enjoy blessing
3.  Practice (accomplish) tsedaqah (Righteousness) at all times

B. They are the Grounds for Favor and Salvation!

God’s Steadfast Love (hesed), Justice (mishpat) and Righteousness (tsedaqah), when embraced and exercised, will empower disciples to:

1.  See the prosperity (well-being) of the chosen (Result of hesed changing our Heart’s Desire)
2.  Joy in the gladness of Your Nation (Result of mishpat bringing God’s design into our House and Dependants)
3.  Glory with Your Inheritance (Result of the Victory of Righteousness that produces the Hope of a Godly inheritance)

The rest of Psalms 106 is a revelation of what happens when we resist hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

Psalm 106:6-48 We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.

Psalm 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

God saved them for the sake of His Name.Yet look at how they resisted Him:

  • They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert.
  • Thus they exchanged their glory For the image of an ox that eats grass.
  • They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, Wonders in the land of Ham And awesome things by the Red Sea.
  • Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word, But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the LORD.
  • Therefore He swore to them That He would cast them down in the wilderness, And that He would cast their seed among the nations And scatter them in the lands.
  • They joined themselves also to Baal-peor, And ate sacrifices offered to the dead. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, And the plague broke out among them.
  • They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah, So that it went hard with Moses on their account; Because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips.
  • They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them.
  • They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood.
  • Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds.
  • Many times He would deliver them; They, however, were rebellious in their counsel, And so sank down in their iniquity.

Nevertheless He looked upon their distress When He heard their cry; And He remembered His covenant for their sake, And relented according to the greatness of His loving-kindness.

Even in Judgment He Loved them because of His Name! Discipleship is simply the following of God’s Name with all our heart, soul and strength!

He also made them objects of compassion In the presence of all their captors. Save us, O LORD our God, And gather us from among the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name And glory in Your praise. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the LORD!

The Journey through the Wilderness provides us everything we need to learn about what will prevent us from becoming Disciple’s of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew’s being led by Moses constantly resisted God, and so refused to advance in hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. 

But before we look at their example, we must see what God did when David humbled himself and cried out to God amidst the ashes of Ziklag…

David Hasaq’d himself in Jehovah Elohim

Last week we left David “hasaq(ing)” himself in Yahweh Elohim. Instead of becoming angry at God because of what had happened, David humbled himself, confessed his sins, and reached up to God, counting on His hesed, committing himself to following His justice and claiming His righteousness!

1 Samuel 30:7

David then called for the Priest, Abiathar, to enquire of the Lord with the Ephod. God gae instruction to pursue the raiders, and God assured David he would overtake them and rescue all of their families. God then led them to find an Egyptian slave who had been left behind due to a divinely appointed sickness. He gave David the intel they needed. They pursued and found the Amelikites scattered and revelling in their good fortune. They were easily defeated by David and his men. And as God had promised, nothing was lost, not even one toe nail of their families and possessions. In fact there was great spoil taken over and above what they had lost.

David and his men, their wives and children returned to Ziklag, and even divided things evenly, even with the men who had been too discouraged to pursue. (This represents a principle of Victory-it benefits everyone, especially those disciples who are weak with discouragement, or are simply feeding or working in the nursery, teaching the kids) Following the Lord in victory brings strength and bounty to all.

I want us to realize (as we’ll see), that with God, Victory results in Righteousness. Righteousness results in Victory. When even a few stand in Righteousness, the whole is benefited. When no one stands in Righteousness, the whole suffers terribly. However, only one kind of Righteousness is truly Victory. That is the Righteousness that comes from God alone. Righteousness which is by Faith alone. There is no room for self-righteousness or self-effort.

David also shared the Victory with all those who had strengthened him along the way.

1 Samuel 30:26-31 Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, …and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to go… saying, “Behold, a gift for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD “

David was back and battling against the enemies of the Lord! He wanted Judah to know it, that they could count on him when it came to battles against the enemies of the Lord. David was also showing his thankfulness to God and the people who had been a source of encouragement all those years.

When we are zealous for the Lord, we will be zealous in our gratitude for those who encourage us.

Unto the elders of Judah—These were the persons among whom he sojourned during his exile, and who had given him shelter and protection. Gratitude required these presents.[1]

1 Samuel 31

Meanwhile, a real battle was raging on Mt Gilboa, between the forces of Saul and the Philistines. The Philistines prevailed. Saul’s sons, including Jonathon, were killed. Saul was mortally wounded, and fearing what the Philistines would do to his body, fell on his own sword after his armor bearer refused. When the Israelites saw their King dead, they knew the battle was lost, and fled. The Philistines took over the area, and

The Philistines, finding Saul and his three sons among the slain, strip them of their armor, which they put in the house of Ashtoreth, cut off their heads, send the news to all the houses of their idols, and fasten the bodies of Saul and his three sons to the walls of Beth-shan, vv. 8-10. Valiant men of Jabesh-gilead go by night, and take away the bodies; burn them at Jabesh; bury their bones under a tamarisk tree; and fast seven days, vv. 11-13.[2]

2 Samuel 1

An Amalekite comes to David, and informs him that the Philistines had routed the Israelites; and that Saul and his sons were slain, vv. 1-4. And pretends that he himself had despatched Saul, finding him ready to fall alive into the hands of the Philistines, and had brought his crown and bracelets to David, vv. 5-10. David and his men mourn for Saul and his sons, vv. 11, 12. He orders the Amalekite, who professed that he had killed Saul, to be slain, vv. 13-16. David’s funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, vv. 17-27.[3] Look how David honored Saul and Jonathan:

2 Samuel 1:23-27 “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. “How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. “How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!”

Here is David, expressing a heart that holds no bitterness for the way he had been treated. Here is a grateful heart, a heart that is submissive to God, and so he can praise King Saul with an upright heart. God’s hesed was certainly at work in David’s heart!

2 Samuel 2

David, by the direction of God, goes up to Hebron, and is there anointed king over the house of Judah, vv. 1-4. He congratulates the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead on their kindness in rescuing the bodies of Saul and his sons from the Philistines, vv. 5-7. Abner anoints Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, king over Gilead, the Ashurites, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel; over whom he reigned two years, vv. 8-10. David reigns over Judah, in Hebron, seven years and six months, v. 11. Account of a battle between Abner, captain of the Israelites, and Joab, captain of the men of Judah; in which the former are routed with the loss of three hundred and sixty men: but Asahel, the brother of Joab, is killed by Abner, vv. 12-32.[4]

After 10 years of being on the run, going through every test a disciple could imagine, David is ready to reign as King. The Kingdom is still divided. Abner has put one of Saul’s sons as King over the Northern tribes. But for the next 7 years, Saul’s house will decline, while David’s will increase.

Why did David Succeed where Saul Failed?

It began as a young shepherd who fell in love with God and His Law. As he meditated on the Law, God brought all these wonderful insights into his life. He observed and learned the Ways of God.  The Law became the Psalms. The statutes became testimonies of God’s Word in David’s life! David saw the importance of hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah!

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

David’s very life became a testimony to God Law and the mishpat that it contains. “The mishpat of the Lord is true and righteous, more to be desired than honey, or even fine Gold. In keeping His mishpat there is great reward,” and Victory!

Have you made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as His Disciple?

I am not talking about your decision to ask Him into your heart. I am talking about your decision to abandon everything this world offers, and cling totally to Jesus Christ.

  • NASB Luke 14:33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
  • NLT Luke 14:33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
  • ESV Luke 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

You say “I need to hang on to my possessions to use them for the Lord. After all, who is going to provide clothes for the naked, food for the hungry and water for the thirsty?”

  • Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

If that is the reason you place such great store on your possessions, you are sadly mistaken. God knows the motives of your heart. He sees the greed, the lack of trust that is revealed by what you cling to. Whatever you do for the Lord, the test will be “did you do it because you are a disciple, or did you do it because you feel guilty?, or you feel it helps you, or it makes you feel good?” If you do anything for the Lord while clinging to your possessions, you have already lost your reward. The only way to keep the reward of Jesus Christ is to be a Disciple, and serve because He is Lord!

  • Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

That was the reason He told that group of ‘do-gooders’ to “depart, I never knew you!” They were doing good, they were saying “Jesus things”, but they had never given themselves completely to Him.

Are You Ready To Give Up and Grab Hold?

Understand the Lessons of the Tabernacle and the Wilderness Journey:

A. God’s Hesed is in the Centrality of the Ark

1.  Ark of the Covenant.-Law was added as a witness against them.

Deuteronomy 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

2.  Covered with the golden lid- kappōret – the mercy-seat.

Exodus 25:21-22 And you shall put the mercy-seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

The Ark was the testimony of God’s Covenant with His people, symbolic of His protection, provision, and blessing. Through the mercy-seat God could have a personal relationship with sinful man. It symbolized His unfailing love to a very fallible and failed man.

God made a covenant with His people. He was building a Nation, centered around the theme of REDEMPTION, bringing them into a Promised land, a land of milk and honey, a land where He would be their God, their King, their protector, and provider. It represented a victorious land, a land where the enemies of the Lord would be vanquished. Those enemies represented the flesh, sin and Satan.

B. God’s Mishpat is in the Centrality of the Tabernacle

1.  Wherever the Hebrews would go, God’s Justice was to reign as the Law of the land.
    • His justice would guide everything
    • Tent of Meeting became the Tabernacle located in the very heart of the Hebrews.
2.  Justice was centered around the Word and Worship of God.
    • Justice is not Political but Moral.
    • Morality comes through a change within, not from without. True Morality is not legislated.
3. The Tabernacle represented the mishpat of God. It was in the center of the 12 tribes.

As the Lord lays out in detail his design for the Tabernacle, he says, “Set up this Tabernacle according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain” (26:30). The word translated here as “pattern” is, in Hebrew, mishpat, which ordinarily means “justice” or “ordinance.” The unusual use of mishpat in this verse underscores the authority of God’s design. Moses and the Israelites were to be guided by the divine pattern when they set up the Tabernacle[5].

4.  The Temple was designed and built according to the “mishpat” of God.

1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

 The high priest wore a pouch called the breast piece of justice, containing the Urim and Thummim by which decisions were obtained from the Lord (Ex. 28:30). Doing what was right and just in the Lord’s eyes was far more important than presenting sacrifices to Him (Gen. 18:19; Prov. 21:3, 15).[6]

  • He executes justice [mishpat] for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146:7–9
  • The LORD your God . . . defends the cause [mishpat]of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the immigrant, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17–18
  • Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

C.  God’s Righteousness is Seen in His Victories!

Deuteronomy 6:24-25 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’

God promised His people Victory in everything they did, if they followed His mishpat. He termed this victory “Blessing” He assured them that Blessings would pursue them, the image being of a linebacker pursuing the quarterback, only in a good way.

1.  Righteousness is Victory from the Lord, from His Strength

The oldest meaning of tsedaqah, as judged by its use in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:1-31), appears to be ‘victory’.

Judges 5:11 To the sound of musicians at the watering places, there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the LORD, the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel. “Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD.

1 Samuel 12:7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.

When God and Israel mutually fulfill their covenant obligations to each other, a state of righteousness can be said to exist – that is, things are saddiq, ‘as they should be’.

2. Israel’s triumphant victories over her enemies were seen as proofs of the sidqot ’adonay (Victories of God)

In other words, God has bound himself by covenant to ‘make things right’ for his people, and to do so by acting unilaterally on their behalf. It’s true, the “range of meaning” of the word tsedaqah incorporates other meanings, but this meaning is particularly stressed in the Old Testament. .[7]

3.  Righteousness was Promised in Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute mishpat and tsedaqah in the earth.

The strongly soteriological overtones of the term tsedaqah can be illustrated from a number of passages in which ‘righteousness’ and ‘salvation’ are practically equated, particularly in many passages within Isaiah:

I will bring my tsedaqah near, it is not far away, And my salvation will not be delayed. (Isaiah 46:13)

How Then Should We Pray?

Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment (mishpāṭ), but behold oppression (miśpāḥ), for righteousness (ṣedāqâ), but behold a cry (seʾāqâ)[8]

We should be as the widow woman who came everyday to the unjust judge. She cried out for JUSTICE! In Isaiah 5, God looks for justice (mishpat) but sees only mispah or oppression. God looked for righteousness (tsedaqah) but found people crying (tseaqa). It is a play on words, for God sees the opposite of what He desires on earth. The word for “cry” is the same word in Genesis 19:13, which depicts the outcry against the sin of Sodom against the Lord. God is searching our country, hoping to find justice and righteousness, but instead He hears the cry of the oppressed and the sinful.

Genesis 19:13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”

What Should be our Response to Jesus’ plea for Disciples?

We should literally transfer ownership of everything we own, every dream we have, every hope in our heart, and lay it all at the foot of Jesus Christ. He is Lord, and we should hold nothing back. We should then cry out to Him to see Justice and Righteousness here on earth as it is in heaven! We must confess our fleshly attitudes, our bitterness, our temporal values and our moral impurity. We must get rid of every ‘besetting’ sin or habit or item that will hinder us from pursuing hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah!

Lift up the Name of God in your Life, You House and your World!

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

When we resist the Grace of God, we hinder God’s hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah from working in our lives. When we resist the Grace of God, we are being like the Jews in the wilderness, who were overcome in the wilderness, because they failed to believe God’s Word, failed to trust completely in God, and failed to obey God. They failed the Discipleship Test. The following chart illustrates how the Father of Lies works through our stubbornness and sinful resistance of God. Satan even has counterfeit hesed, mishpat & tsedaqah, based upon man’s wisdom and man’s self-effort. Satan does not want us to Honor the Name of God!

Our only decision should be to join the battle of the Name of the Lord! He needs our full and undivided support! He needs us to join Him in fighting the Father of Lies. He needs warrior who are Mighty in Spirit, exercising hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah!


[1] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 Samuel 30″.

[2] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 Samuel 31″.

[3] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “The Second Book of Samuel”.

[4] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2 Samuel 2″.

[6] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 687.

[8] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “6818”.


Our media seems to be fascinated with “Fallen Angels”. There have been movies about them. They have even been in commercials.

Here is a neat commercial featuring “falling angels”

I was curious what our culture thinks about Fallen Angels. If you want to know what Americans think of something, go to Answers dot com, which is “Wiki Answers.” Here are some interesting thoughts:

From Answers.com (Wiki answers)

  • Do fallen angels lose their wings?

Yes and no. The wings may shrivel and fall off. Or the wings may turn demonic and resemble bat wings. Do not hate bats because of this similarity.

  • Do fallen angels get their wings stripped?

Yes, for their sins fallen angels get their wings stripped. They get them back when they save someone’s life.

  • Can a fallen angel get back their wings?

No. Actually, it is said that if a fallen angle saves a human life they can become a guardian angel[1]

I wonder where this book is that says this. It is not the Bible. I am not going to talk about “fallen angels” the ones who rebelled with Lucifer and now serve Satan as demonic beings. They may still have wings, if they had wings, and the Bible says that cherubim and seraphim have wings. They may even look like bat wings (please do not let that prejudice you against those lovable creatures). I want to talk about David, and relate to you how this (I believe fallen) Angel (as he is described) learns to soar in a moment when other Disciples would have fallen on their sword.

1 Samuel 29:2-11 As the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear with Achish, the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years, and since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day.” But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? Is not this David, of whom they sing to one another in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” Then Achish called David and said to him, As the LORD lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you. So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” And David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” And Achish answered David and said, “I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’ Now then rise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who came with you, and start early in the morning, and depart as soon as you have light.” So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David was living a comfortable, compromised life, in bed with the world, loving the enemies of God. His men were happy, growing fat and having children. They were raiding the ancient enemies of God and living off their spoils, while enjoying the protection of the Philistines who were convinced that David had become a stench to his own people. Why? Because David and his men had been lying to Achish for over a year about whom they were warring against. Achish believed David and thought his men were killing fellow Jews in the Negev. But David was killing the warriors and the innocents from the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites.

American Christians Relish Respectability

The world loves a sweet Jesus. We do not want to offend anyone, so often we preach a ‘respectable’ Jesus. The church in America relishes our ‘respectability’. We want the world to see us as good Samaritans, food bearers, and love givers. The world does not want to hear about their sin, their rebellion from God, their pride and neglect of God. The world says you cannot judge, who are you to say whom God loves. Who are you to say who gets into heaven?

So most of us do not really press the point with our good Catholic friends, our good Lutheran friends, our good friends who do not think church is necessary. No, we do not want to disrespect them. We do not want them to dislike us. We would rather be ‘an Angel’, good in their sight. Maybe our Christianity will rub off on them. Maybe it transfers like a cold or a virus.

God is not pleased with David.

God is not pleased with Compromising Christians.

God is not pleased with compromising David. But look how much Achish loves him! Surely, Achish has become a Christian because of David’s influence.

I will repeat, God is not pleased with David. If the World loves you, God is probably not pleased.

David is living a settled, compromised life, and God is about to move him off that fence. You know the fence. It is the same fence many “Joe Christians” straddle. One eye on the entire world has to offer, the other eye on God and all he has to offer. However, what does God say about Joe Christian, the fence straddler? God says “I will vomit you out!”

Look at the Compromises of David:

1. Verse 6: you have been honest (Compromised God’s Unfailing Love)
                The word is “straight” (upright in KJ)

  • Had David been honest? No, he had lied directly to his face. He had fooled Achish into believing he had shot straight with him.
  • When you lie to win the favor of the world, you deny God’s unfailing jealous Love. (Hesed)

2. Verse 6: “I have found nothing wrong in you” (Compromised God’s Righteousness)

  • Had David done anything wrong? Yes, for he had murderedurdering innocent women and children To the world, anything you do is right as long as it is not offensive to whatever standards the world has. The standard for wrong is not God’s Moral Law, it is man’s.
  • When the world is saying you are upright and you murder and compromise to win their approval, you are not depending on the Righteousness of God. (Tsedaqah)

3. Verse 9: You have been as an “angel of God” (Compromised God’s Justice)

  • Being an “angel” to the world requires living outside God’s design and justice.
  • They may view you as an angel, but you are fallen to God
  • An angel of God obeys God’s will and works to establish His will on earth. Angels are messengers of God and alert the world to the Justice of God.
  • David was following anything but God by allying himself with the enemy of Israel. The Justice of God was not guiding his life.

The world is often kind to compromised Christians. They respect them; they regard them as people of ‘character’. Often a compromised Christian is seen as better than the heathens around him. He can even be seen as an “angel,” especially if he is generous. Achish saw David as an upright man, even an Angel of Jehovah!

Had David been an Angel of God? It does appear that Achish may have embraced Jehovah as God.

As an angel of God—There is some reason to think that Achish had actually embraced or was favorably disposed towards the Jewish religion. He speaks here of the angels of God, as a Jew might be expected to speak; and in 1 Samuel 29:6 he appeals to, and swears by Jehovah; which, perhaps, no Philistine ever did. It is possible that he might have learned many important truths from David, during the time he sojourned with him.[2]

Achish probably worshipped his other gods

Three Philistine gods are mentioned in the Old Testament—Dagon, Ashtoreth, and Baalzebub. Two of them were adopted from the people around them, and reflect an attitude of syncretism (combining different – often contadictory beliefs).

  • Dagon appears to be the chief god of the Philistines. He was the fish God, father of Baal.
  • They also adopted Ashtoreth, the fertility goddess of the Canaanites, as one of their gods. The Philistines had Ashtoreth temples at Beth-Shan (1 Samuel 31:10 NIV) and, according to Herodotus, at Ashkelon (Herodotus I. 105).
  • Baalzebub, the Philistine god whose name means “lord of the flies,” was the god of Ekron (2 Kings 1:1-16). Most likely, the Philistines worshiped Baalzebub as a god who averted pestilence or plagues.[3]
COMPROMISE = ANYTHING GOES JESUS

The danger of compromised, world loving Christians hanging with and sharing with the lost, is the adoption of an ‘anything goes’ Jesus. He is more of a good buddy, a Jesus Claus, who loves me in MY world. A compromised Christian will father other compromised Christians, people who are more comfortable in the world than they are in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. These will be those who believe there are many ways to God. Jesus is merely a way to God, not the only way.

David needed to learn that God wanted him to be King over a separate Kingdom, a Kingdom with distinct laws and distinct worship. This Throne would establish the Kingdom for God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who would one day reign as King over the entire world.

Christians are to realize that Jesus is Lord of a Kingdom that is entirely different from this world, and is actually opposed to this world. It is a Kingdom of the Cross-a Kingdom of self-denial, and a Kingdom that is foreign to the ways of this world.

Jesus needs His disciples to work to establish this Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus must be Lord over all, not just part. We are to be subject to His commands and His direction all of the time, not just part of the time. We cannot worship Jesus on Sunday and then worship the Dollar on Monday, my Possessions on Wednesday…Jesus is Lord of all or He is Lord of None. Jesus does not crouch in the corner of your life hoping you throw him a bone now and then. He is Lord, and He tolerates no others in our life.

 The Power of a Transformed Life

Our witness is made powerful from a transformed life. If your life has not been changed, you have no power to touch someone else for Christ. If Christ has not been allowed to break habits in your life, you will have no power to touch someone with the sin overcoming power of Jesus Christ.

Do you want to know why many Christians have never led someone to life changing faith in Jesus Christ? It is not fear, it is not apathy, and it is not a lack of knowledge. It is because they do not know the life transforming power of Jesus Christ. If your life is truly transformed, if you truly know the power of Christ over sin, you will not be sitting around stewing at things you do not like; you will be out touching others with the power of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is first about reconciling people to God. If we are unwilling to follow God and be reconciled to our brothers and sisters, check your heart and make sure Jesus is Lord of all your life.

Being a Disciple of Christ means we have “Powerful Touch”

John 17:18-19 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. Wuest translates literally: “And on behalf of them I am setting myself apart, in order that they themselves also, having been set apart for God in the sphere of the truth, may continually be in that state of consecration.”

Jesus set Himself apart to God, in effect touching God, so that we might be set apart and able to touch God, and continually touch God. Furthermore, our touch of God brings His Glory into our lives, and gives us “Powerful Touch!”

John 17:22-23 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

We have a glory about us that comes from Jesus Christ. That glory is the basis of our unity, and the reason the world knows the love of Jesus Christ. Does this sound as if Jesus was sending us out into the world to act like the world and be like the world? No! That would be no witness to the power and Divine Love of Jesus Christ.

I have heard many, many times that people are sick of the Republican primary process. There is too much fighting and personal attacks. The ads are 97% negative. The fear is that this will not stop soon, but continue for five or six more months. However, I know the most amazing thing will happen, no matter how bloody the battle. Come the primary, every Republican will be holding hands and singing “Kum Ba Yah my Lord, Kum ba Yah!” They will be the most lovey-dovey group on the earth. Why? Because they have to work out their disagreements to defeat their enemy Obama.

Why Can’t Christians Get Along?

I also hear why do Christians have so much discord. Why do they have to talk against one another? Why can’t we just get along?  The reason is three-fold:

  1. They have lost sight of Jesus Christ.
  2. They put their own interests before lifting the name of the Lord
  3. They don’t care if the enemy wins and people die and go to hell.

It takes only one person to erect a barricade based on a fleshly judgment or fleshly power struggle. Self is always the focus when barricades are erected. However, Jesus wants us to be “Bridge-Builders.” As an individual Jesus built the greatest bridge between Holy God and sinful man. Now he wants “His Team” to be “Bridge-Builders” with Him. With the Lost and within His Body. There are times to erect barriers, but only when the purpose of the Body is threatened.
When Christians focus on defeating the enemy, claiming the lost, helping people find Salvation, helping people discover the transforming power of Jesus Christ (BUILDING BRIDGES), they don’t have time to get upset when something doesn’t go their way. In fact, they would start seeking the transforming power of the Lord in every difficult thing they face, even their own bitterness.

FOCUS ON KINGDOM BATTLES

Even the princes advising King Achish knew that Christians must focus on defeating the adversary and not each other:

Verse 4: But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here?

They told King Achish that David could not go fight with them. They probably told Achish, if you want our support in this battle, do not take David. Otherwise, you will fight alone. They could not figure out why David was being so friendly to them, after all, he had been a mighty warrior. Therefore, they did not want to take the chance that he would turn on them and rally the Jewish army against them.

He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us.

God was using these heathen leaders to get David off the fence and focus on the real battle. I thought you were a Christian. You are not supposed to fight with us. You are supposed to be our enemy. So David was forced to leave for his home at Ziklag. Meanwhile the Philistine armies went to Jezreel.

Jezreel: The name of a fertile valley in northern Israel (Hos. 2:22[24]). Its name means, “God sows.” Hosea mentioned it as a place where God will judge Israel.[4]

  • King Saul was about to face God’s Judgment.
  • However, David was spared that, because God had one more lesson for David.
David is pushed to the breaking point.

God is about to call David out and expose the dangers of his compromise and trusting in himself rather than God. David is going to face the ultimate Test for a Disciple, the Pressure of God’s Reproof.

Let’s see if David “spits the dummy”

1 Samuel 30:1-6 Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag, burned it with fire, and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

You try to hide things, and somehow they come out. David had been lying to Achish about his raids on the Jewish settlements in the Negev. Instead, he had been raiding the Amalekites. (Oh, by the way, King Saul was supposed to destroy all the Amalekites, but he disobeyed). Well, the Amalekites decided to take revenge. They raided the Negeb and got to the city of Ziklag. For some reason (God), they did not kill anyone. They took everyone captive and burnt the city to the ground. Ziklag was totally wiped out.

David STRENGTHENED HIMSELF IN the LORD his God!

1 Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

What Did David Do?

Everything they had worked for over the last 10 years was gone. His wives, his children, his possessions. Here he thought he had found a place of comfort and relative safety, and now it was all gone, reduced to ashes. For all he knew the families could have been taken somewhere and abused or worse. The lies and compromises of the last 16 months came weighing down upon him, the accuser was screaming at him through his men and through his own conscience. This is all your fault. You deserved this. God is judging you because you left Him and sought refuge in the arms of the enemy.

Try to imagine what was going on in his heart and mind. Everything that he had hoped for and worked for was suddenly stripped away, and now the men, his loyal men were circling him and holding large stones.

Wow, I have pictured that scene over and over in my mind for over 40 years, and I am still in awe of what happened next. David was facing the ultimate test for any disciple. So what did he do?

David “way·yiṯ·ḥaz·zêq Yahweh Elohim”

Hāzaq: A verb meaning to be strong, to strengthen, to be courageous, to overpower. It speaks of tremendous Moral/Physical strength in the face of impossible situations. This verb is widely used to express the strength of various phenomena, such as the severity of famine (2 Ki. 25:3; Jer. 52:6); the strength of humans to overpower each other: the condition of Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 7:13); David and Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50); Amnon and Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14); a battle situation (2 Chr. 8:3); Samson’s strength for his last superhuman performance (Judg. 16:28). This word occurs in the commonly known charge, “Be strong and of good courage!” (Josh. 1:9). Moses urges Joshua (Deut. 31:6, 7) to be strong.[5]

Hazaq – When Moses & God spoke to Joshua

 Deuteronomy 31:6-7 Be strong (hāzaq) and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.

 Joshua 1:6-7 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Hazaq – God toward those whose heart is upright

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong (hāzaq) in the behalf of them [nasb, "to strongly support them"] whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron. 16:9).

Hazaq – God to His Son (I WILL HOLD YOUR HAND!)

To His Servant, the Messiah, God said: “I … will hold (hāzaq) thine hand …” (Isa. 42:6);

Let’s peek into David’s heart now and see how he strengthened himself in Jehovah Elohim.

He Turned Back to Yahweh Elohim by Delighting in God’s Hesed, Mishpat & Tsedeqah

All we need do is look at the Psalms David wrote during this 10 year period of Discipleship Development. We know these came back to him at this precise moment.

Psalm written when David was Hiding in the Cave

Psalm 142:1-7 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me. (HESED/RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm David wrote when he changed his behavior before Achish (the first time)

Psalm 34:17-22 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (HESED)

Psalm he wrote when Doeg told Saul that David had been helped at the Tabernacle

Psalm 52:7-9 “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. (HESED& RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm he wrote when the Ziphites told Saul where he was hiding

Psalm 54:4-7 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. (JUSTICE)

Psalm he wrote when the Philistines first seized him and were going to kill him until he pretended to be crazy

Psalm 56:9-13 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (HESED/RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm when Saul sent men to watch David’s house to kill him

Psalm 59:16-17 But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. (HESED JUSTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS)

Psalm written while David hid in the wilderness

Psalm 63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (RIGHTEOUSNESS)

I believe this is what he said in his closing prayer. He literally could feel the “Hand of God” grabbing his hand, lifting him up and ‘hazaq’ his heart. David’s Divine wings came out and he started to soar! David was soaring over the rubble of Ziklag, he could see clearly what must be done. What happens over the next few days show what God can do when we rely totally upon Him!

Disciples can soar in Ziklag moments

We must focus on allowing what God Delights in to develop and grow in our lives -“hesed, mishpat and tsedeqah”:

  1. Fix your heart upon the Covenant Keeping God – His Steadfast Love
  2. Appeal to God to establish His justice in your heart and over your enemies.
  3. Rely totally upon God for His Strength and Righteousness He is your only hope

Wrong Response to Bad Situations (Difficulties)

  1. Deny His Hesed-God doesn’t love me, he has brought this on me to punish me.
  2. Rebel against His Mishpat-this is unjust, God made a mistake, I do not deserve this, only I can make this right, seek vengeance.
  3. Resist His Tsedaqah-I can go my own way, do what I want, I don’t need God. I will rely on _______ to get me through this. My hope is in ___________.

How Do Disciples Fail this Ultimate Test?

1. Hasaq can turn into Strength Against God

The strong form of the verb is used in Exod. 4:21: “…I will harden his [Pharaoh's] heart….” This statement is found 8 times. Four times we read: “Pharaoh’s heart was hard” (Exod. 7:13, 22; Exod. 8:19; Exod. 9:35, niv; kjv, rsv, nasb, “was hardened”). In Exod. 9:34 Pharaoh’s responsibility is made clear by the statement “he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart….”

A Disciple Must Chose:

Jeremiah 17:5-9 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

  • Do not allow your heart to rely on its own strength and become hard.
2. Bitterness turns Hardness into Stubbornness

Do not allow bitterness to find a foothold. It will eat at your heart until it is hardened and resistant to God and His Word.

  • God can give great strength to men when they turn to Him.
  • Men may turn their strength into stubbornness against God.[6]

David had gone full circle in his Discipleship Journey.

He started by conquering Goliath through the ‘Hāzaq‘ of God.

1 Samuel 17:50 So David prevailed (hazaq) over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.

He now conquered the fleshly fears that had prompted him to compromise and doubt God’s Name over his life through the ‘hazaq’ of Yahweh Elohim!

Does God Hāzaq your Hand?

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

  • When David went through this final test of this phase of his Journey, things started to move very fast.
  • David was not a fallen angel. However, whatever happened at that dark moment of his life, all of a sudden, David sprouted Wings and Soared!
Pressures provide Opportunities for God’s Kingdom to Grow and God’s Power to Provide
Pressures Provide Opportunities for You to Soar on the Wings of God!

[2] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 Samuel 29″.

[4] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” yizre‘e’l”.

[5] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ḥāzaq”.

[6] William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Strong (To Be)”.


David continues his discipleship journey in I Samuel 26. My first reaction to this chapter was ‘what?’, what are you wanting me to see. David spares the life of Saul AGAIN, and Saul lies to David AGAIN. The only difference I could see between this chapter and chapter 24 were the setting (cave vs. open camp) and what David took (piece of Saul’s clothing vs. Saul’s spear and water).  I had two reactions: Why did David call out to Abner instead of Saul, and why did David even bother sneaking into the camp and risking his life if he wasn’t trying to kill Saul? Did he really think he was going to change Saul’s mind? Nothing had worked so far, so why not accept the reality of the situation. 

But I knew God had this in His Word for a reason. Then the Spirit led me to Psalms 54.

When the Ziphites went and told Saul and said “Is not David hiding among us”:

Psalm 54:1-7 O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

I was thinking about this, and the Holy Spirit struck my heart with the phrase, “they do not set God before themselves, Selah”. And in a moment I thought, somehow this is related to the teaching of Psalm 1.

So I mentally cross-referenced the major characters of I Sam 26 with Psalm 1, and lo and behold, I knew the Discipleship Lesson of 1 Sam 26.

Psalm 1:1-6 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

1 Samuel 26 is a study in contrasts, the contrasts between men who set God before themselves, and men who do not.

Just as Psalm 1 is a Psalm of Contrasts, contrasts between a Blessed man and a Wicked man, so I Samuel 26 is a Story of Contrasts between Disciples of Jesus Christ and men who are not.

Look at the Characters in Psalm One and the Characters in 1 Samuel 26:

In Psalm 1 you have:

  1. Blessed Righteous Man
  2. Ungodly Man
  3. Ungodly Counselor Walk
  4. Sinful Way Stand
  5. Scornful Seat

In 1 Samuel 26 you have:

  1. David
  2. Saul
  3. Ziphites
  4. Abishai
  5. Abner

Psalm 1 and 1 Samuel 26 are about a man who became a Blessed, Righteous and Mighty Man because he always set God before Him. The Blessing is because of God’s Unfailing Love and Mercy (hesed) applied to his life, Mighty because he stands in the Justice (mishpat) of God’s Word, Righteousness (tsedaqah) because of his decisions of whom to sit with.

The other man has become Ungodly because he turned his focus away from God’s mercy by following his own wicked counsel, and fails in the judgment because he refused to stand in the Justice of God, and becomes worthless chaff because he chose to sit and scoff at the Righteousness of God’s Word.

Psalms 54 says that David observed that these strangers risen before him did not set God before themselves. That meant they set themselves before themselves. Whatever they did they always had themselves in view, even if they did anything for God.

In Psalm 1 we know that God was always set before the Righteous man him because of what he delighted in and meditated on day and night – God’s Word! He was constantly setting God before Him through his meditation on the Word. That also translated into obedience, regardless of the cost.

We see the importance of Setting God before us in a concrete, visible and intentional way: Set means to have purpose. There is a Reason you are doing this.

Two examples in the Old Testament illustrate what it mean to Set the Lord before You.

Moses

Exodus 15:22-26 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

Samuel

1 Samuel 7:12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!”

David made a decision to set God before Him day and night through the Word of God.

The Characters of 1 Samuel 26

A. Blessed Righteous Man

David represents the Righteous Man. We know this because in everything he does, he prospers. (verse 3) And in the last verse of our text, King Saul Blesses David, and says you will do many things and will succeed in all of them.

  • David is the Righteous Man because of what he sets before him – God!

B. Ungodly Man

King Saul represents the Ungodly Man. We know this because the ungodly will not stand in the day of judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Saul admitted that he had sinned (in verse 21), and he lied about not seeking to do any more harm to David. He was right about making a big mistake. His big mistake was in not setting the Lord before him, nad as he knew and Samuel had told him, the Lord had left King Saul, and no longer went with him. Saul was nothing to God, just as the wicked is like the chaff of the wheat, driven by the wind.

  • Saul is the Wicked Man because of what he sets before him – himself!

To see this, I want to take you to 1 Samuel 13.  The Prophet Samuel had passed his torch of Leadership to young Saul. He had told him to wait in Gilgal til he came to offer sacrifices and bless his reign. Meanwhile, the Philistines were on the warpath, with serious firepower. They had 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and footsoldiers too numerous to count. The Israeli’s were so fearful that they hid in caves, in tombs, in cisterns, and many made the dangerous crossing of the Jordan to get away.

Saul had only 600 soldiers, none of them armed except him and his son Jonathon. The Philistines did not allow blacksmith’s in Israel, so there was no way to make weapons unless they went to Philistia and paid the Philistines exorbitant prices.

The Jews who did not hide or run away followed Saul to Gilgal, trembling, the Bible says.

So the pressure was on Saul to do something, or the Nation of Israel would be lost. Samuel was late, the pressure was on, so Saul acted. He told someone to bring the burnt offering and the peace-offering to him, and they did.

King Saul then proceeded to offer the burnt and peace offerings to the Lord. Just as he finished, Samuel walked up. Saul went to greet him just like nothing was wrong. Immediately Samuel said, What have you done? And Saul starts giving excuses. The people were afraid, and I needed God’s blessing, so I offered the sacrifices.

Samuel said, you are a fool, for you did not keep the command of God. Saul was not a Priest. He had no authority to offer a sacrifice. By seeking the Lord’s favor contrary to God’s Word, He lost God’s favor. Samuel pronounced that Saul’s kingdom would not last, for God found a man after His Heart to establish the Kingdom that someday God’s Son would inherit.

Saul set himself before God. Saul was an ungodly man, even though he was King, even though he was Jewish, Saul was a wicked man. God later withdrew himself from Saul.

An ungodly man sets himself up as the standard for his life. An ungodly man can believe in God, and prayed the sinners prayer. But a godly man becomes ungodly when  he sets himself before him, and not what God commands.

C. Ungodly Counselor Walker

The Ziphites are the ones doing the Wicked Counselor Walk. David was hiding in their land, the Ziphites were so intent on doing wrong to David that they walked 30 miles or so to tell Saul that David was hiding in their hills. They were brothers to David, in so much as they were of the tribe of Judah. Yet they wanted the favor of a wicked man so much that they were willing to walk all that way simply to give Saul their counsel.

What determines wicked Counsel. How do you walk? You walk by sight! Wicked Counsel is determined by what your eye is focused on. The Ziphites were focused on favor from the King. David had done nothing to them, but their eye was on themselves and what the King would do for them.

Ungodly Counsel is any counsel that does not set it’s eye upon God and His Word.

We are not talking about good or bad advice. We are talking about God’s Word and whether you are walking by sight or by faith. Wicked counsel doesn’t come from just really evil men. It comes from anyone, saved or heathen, that does not Set God and His Word before them.

A Disciple does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. A Disciple does not do the “Ungodly Counselor Walk”.

Two Types of Counsel in this World.

  • There is man’s counsel, and there is God’s Counsel. (Not a mixture or perversion)
  • If a Disciple is to keep on the path to Jesus Christ, he must walk according to God’s Counsel.

What is Counsel that Leads to Righteous Man Walk?

Jeremiah spoke to God’s chosen people these words in Jeremiah 7:23-24:

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

When we disregard God’s Word because it interferes with what we have our eye set on, it will produce an evil heart that is blind to God, and will produce backward walk.

Paul indicated something very powerful as he addressed the Ephesians for the last time:

Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

This was the church that 35 years later John would write: You have left your first love, and now you need to repent. You are still doing great works, but you are doing it for the wrong reason, you are doing it for yourselves. When you abandon your first love, you no longer set God before you in everything. You set yourself before you. Ephesus had changed the “Whole Counsel of God” into the counsel of man, counsel that leads Disciples away from God.

David had a solid understanding of the “Whole Counsel” of God. In Psalms 33 he wrote:

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

The Counsel of God stands forever, it never changes. His Counsel is in His Word, and it will never be changed.

Paul revealed what that Counsel is to a church divided and acting like the world because of a (self) fleshly focus.

1 Corinthians 1:17-25 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The Counsel of God becomes the Wisdom of God for our life when we seek it. Proverbs says we must seek after wisdom. But God says you don’t seek the Wisdom and Counsel of God with you eyesight. You seek it with your heart. (Give me your heart Prov 23:26)

The Counsel of God before the Foundation of the World was the Cross of Crucifixion.

There are several “Before the Foundation of the World” statements in the Bible.

  • Jesus came to reveal the secrets that had been hidden before the foundation of the world.
  • We will reign with Christ in a Kingdom that had been prepared before the foundation of the world.
  • The Blood of the Prophets was shed before the foundation of the world.
  • We were chosen to be in Christ before the foundation of the world.
  • God knew Jesus would die before the foundation of the World.
  • All believers have had their name written in the lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world.

Matthew 13:35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:   “I will open my mouth in parables;  I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Luke 11:50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love
Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,   “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ”  although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
1 Peter 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
Revelation 13:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  

Paul says you don’t find the wisdom of God until you embrace the Cross. You lift up the Cross. You Glory in the Cross! You proclaim to a selfish people that your God is a crucified God. He was made a spectacle to the World, and now, anyone who wants the Counsel of God, the Blessing of God, the Power of God must come and kneel before the Cross, and then lift that Cross up before the World, and willingly bear its shame.

The Cross when lifted up in Evangelism will cause most people to run away. Too many times the gospel is presented with “Me” in view. What do I get out of it? Ticket to Heaven? Sounds Great, Jesus come into my heart, but leave my life alone. I want you to stay in my heart, but don’t ask me to hold up this cross thing before me. Don’t ask me to surrender my comfort, my common sense for some bloody foolish cross. I’ve got to keep my eyes on myself. This is America after all!

Application

How has Jesus Christ impacted your life since you asked him into your life? Are you trusting in Him? Are you setting Him before everything you do, everything you decide? Are you lifting up the Counsel of God, His Cross, and dying to what you want and putting what God wants first?

Are you walking in the Counsel of the Ungodly? Are you walking only by what you see, and not by trust in God’s Word?

We take a step backward when we set ourselves before us. We take a step backward when we fail to set God before us and obey His Word. God wants every believer to set Jesus Christ before us in every situation we face. He wants us to no lean upon our own understanding, hold on to nothing of our self, but to lean completely upon Christ. We have Him alone.

D. Sinful Way Stander

This one may surprise you, but Abishai is Sinful Way Stander. True, Abishai is one of the Mighty Men who faithfully served David. But Abishai stood over King Saul and begged David to let him kill him. He said, I will not need to strike twice.

Sinful Way Standers can be Godly men, Christians. Psalm One says Blessed is the man who does not stand in the way of sinners. Abishai was with David in the cave. He heard him say not to strike God’s anointed. But here he was standing in the way of sinners, wanting to do what a sinful man would do.

The characteristic of Sinful Man’s Way is Standing, which refers to your Back. To stand with sinners for very long you have to put your back into it. Sinners stiffen their neck to what God says to do and stiffen their back and say, nope, that doesn’t apply to me. Walking in the way of sinners usually happens as you set your back to do what you want, even if it is contrary to God’s Word.

Abishai was doing that, stiffening his back and saying, lets kill this guy. It will solve all our problems. But David stopped him, for it was contrary to God’s Word.

Have you ever wondered about the term backsliding? You think it means sliding backwards, and yes it does have that idea. But how did you start to backslide? What led you to doing what sinful way stander does? You did not humble your self to God, you stiffened your back and said, No I will not bow to your ways.

Your Back will prevent mishpat (God’s Justice) from growing in your life. To set your house in order, to bring God’s Justice into your life, yu must prostrate yourself before the cross of Christ!

Sinful Way Stander turns away from God and His Word and His justice in Christ, and does what he wants. He not only sets himself before himself, but he turns his back on God!

Application

Do you know what it means to put your back into it? Have you put your back into your love of God and His Word? Are you kneeling before Him so that you can Stand upon Him? Are you kneeling before Him so you can Stand on the Promises?

Is your back sore? Do you suffer from back pain. Instead of going to the chiropractor for an adjustment, check to see if you are standing in the way of sinners, stiffening your back to God’s Word. The Godly Man stands upon the Word of God and his back grows straight to the Son, developing wonderful leaves and fruit to hand out to those who need it. His leave doesn not wither, and he does not fear the drought or the heat of summer. Whatever he does he prospers in.

The best cure for back pain is to humble yourself before God, confess your pride and your stubbornness and your selfishness, and then bow your back before Him.

E. Scornful Seater

This is Abner. I wondered why David was yelling at Abner! David says, “Are you not a Man? Why did you fail to keep watch over the King? Someone came into camp that could have killed Saul.

Abner had failed to protect his King. He had committed a sin worthy of death.

SCORN: lûs, ‏לִיצ‎ liys, ‏לֵץ‎ lēs: A verb meaning to boast, to scorn, to mock, to deride, or to imitate. This Hebrew verb is frequently found in the book of Proverbs (Prov. 9:7, 8; 13:1; 20:1), and means to deride or to boast so as to express utter contempt. The activity of the scornful is condemned as an abomination to people (Prov. 24:9) and contrary to the Law of the Lord (Ps. 1:1)[1].

How had Abner scorned his King. The word scorn conveys the picture of one whose words or actions express utter contempt. It could be a snide comment, a roll of the eyes, a back-stabbing move, and yes, falling asleep on the job. Abner’s actions conveyed his contempt for Saul and David saw it and called him on it! Abner was sitting in the seat of the scornful and falling asleep.

Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

David himself was later to understand what it meant to scorn God.

2 Samuel 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”

David’s actions with Bathsheba and her husband were treating God with utter contempt, and their baby bore the wages of David’s Scorn. A scornful Sitter is has his eye set upon himself, his back turned against God, and his butt firmly planted, scorning God and saying, Look, I have a right to make up my own mind by what I think is right.

A scorner is content in his own righteousness, and even justifies what he has done.

Abner never said he was wrong, but only questioned David’s right to address them. He revealed his heart as being scornful. Usually scornful people reveal themselves in things they say and do. They may act all Godly and Christian, but eventually their heart will be revealed.

APPLICATION

Are you sitting in the seat of the scornful? Have you defied God’s anointed? Have you said some things or done some things against God’s anointed. You have revealed the scorn of your heart, and you need to repent. Scorn is death to your spiritual walk and growth.

David was a man after God’s heart, and he refused to scorn or even strike God’s anointed, the one God had put in position over him.

We need to abolish the seat of the scornful, we need to confess and repent, and we need to humble ourselves before our merciful God.

Conclusion

Are you a Godly man or woman? Is God always before you? Do you meditate on His Word day and Night? Is your eye set upon Him and what He can Do? Is your back strong in Him and the power of His Might. Are you enjoying success that comes from giving out fruit – witnessing to others, encouraging others, or are you sitting on your butt complaining to others and scoffing at whats going on.

Whether or not you are believe you are a Christian, if God is not set before you, you are ungodly. You are chaff, you will not stand in the day of judgment, you will not be seated in the congregation of the righteous. Your way will perish.

The Lord knows the way of the Righteous. That means he attends to and provides for their way. But the way of the ungodly will perish.

The choice is yours.

As a Disciple you must choose who you want set before you. Do you choose to set God and His Word before you? Do you choose to trust Him and believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? Do you want to obey His commands to witness and minister unselfishly to the needs of our community? If so, He will be here, and He will provide.

If you chose to set yourselves before the church, before God’s Word, and walk in fear without faith in Almighty God, stiffening your back to the Commands of His Word, and scoffing at the righteous and scorning His anointed, then you will not grow as a Disciple, but will become chaff to God, and you will not stand in the day of Judgment.

Christianity is determined not by a prayer. It is determined by your heart, your eye, your back and yes, your butt. It is determined by your life!


[1]   Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 546.


David is a great example of a man who becomes a mighty disciple of Jesus Christ. Sure, I love Peter, Paul, Andrew, Timothy, but no one had their life exposed like David. No Disciple ever had his failures exposed like David. He is a man I can relate too. I hope you can relate to him as well.

Discipleship does not depend upon how much you know about the Bible. You can know all the numerology, all the Theology, all the Eschatology, even all the Soteriology and be dead in your walk with the Lord, and even be dead in your sins.

For Discipleship begins with your eyes being open to the reality of this invisible God. It Grows as the Word of God becomes your source for life, it develops as you learn to depend upon God as you encounter Goliath’s, Saul’s, Doeg, caves and today, a Fool.

Once you have begun your Discipleship Journey by giving your entire heart to God (because Faith has opened your eyes to see this Real Invisible God) then things will be actively at work in your life-hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

I know it is crazy to keep using the Hebrew, but did you know we will speak Hebrew in Heaven? God’s law is in Hebrew for a reason, and I believe when we speak it in praise to God, we will use the original language.

Hesed is unfailing love, the love that seeks us out, that strengthens us, that propels us all because of God’s covenant relationship with us.

Mishpat is God’s justice based upon His Word, becoming the justice of our life, and spreading to our House. Jesus Christ restored the Justice to this world when he was crucified and then resurrected. The Justice of the Cross becomes the justice of my heart and my house.

Tsedaqah is the righteousness that God wants to build in my life. The Justice of God in my heart will always seek to become the righteousness of Christ in my outward life. Righteousness is of Christ, but is in constant battle with our flesh, and this world. It is the righteousness of Christ that is constantly warring with the spirit of Babylon.

A Disciple must always be careful how he battles, for in the battle we can lose our walk with God.

  1. Discipleship truly develops when we deal with people. David’s Discipleship developed as he dealt with people.
  2. Discipleship also develops as we make choices.
  • Goliath chose to worship his strength and mocked God. David chose to exalt God’s Name rather than the fear of man.
  • King Saul chose his pride and arrogance and disobeyed God. David learned to humble himself under the wings of God rather than follow what his men or his emotions told him to do.
  • Doeg chose a selfish reward destroyed God’s servants.
  • David learned that the mercy of God means Justice and Righteousness come as he learns to trust God in the darkness of the cave, or on the side of the Rock.

Discipleship grows as we learn to deal with all kinds of people. In addition, as we encounter people, either our love of God will grow or it will weaken. This is where we find David this morning. He has an appointment with a Fool, a real Jerk, and David is going to develop as a Disciple through this encounter.

Lesson from Charlie the Janitor

In “They Call Me Pastor: How to Love the Ones You Lead”, H. B. London tells about his church janitor named “Charlie”. Charlie was a great cleaner. However, he was so frustrated by the people and how they left the church, that he would have been happier cleaning a hermit’s cave. He complained constantly to the Pastor. To Charlie, the church would have been a perfect place without people. He was constantly harping to the pastor to remind the people to keep the church clean and picked up. He even wanted the pastor to make a statement from the pulpit. However, Pastor London thought about it and realized that the church is not just made for people, it is the people.

“Let’s remember that Jess, Mary, Tony and Erica are the reason the church exists. Mrs. Carter, Mr.Jengling and Susie Mae are also part of the fellowship. Meeting human needs or providing a product is what helps businesses make a profit and defines the purpose of every profession.” It is true for us as pastors as well. Every Kingdom effort is intended to help someone.

The old business model was to focus on making a profit. Focus on the shareholders. The new “Apple” business model is to focus on bringing value to the customer. Give them a product that adds value to their life, and they will grow your business.

The focus is outward on the needs of the customer, not inward on the bottom line.

A church will grow as our neighbors learn we have a product that will add value to their lives. However, if the church focuses on their own bottom line, and wants to cater only to the members (or shareholders) the church will not grow. Our church is not about us, it is about “them”. We must not avoid outsiders; in fact, we must seek to bring value to their lives as we interact with them.

David Discipleship Brings Value

Look at David. He brought value to his men as he openly brought the reality of God into every situation he faced. Look at his interaction with Saul in 1 Samuel 24. David confronted Saul, waving the skirt of Saul’s robe in his hand, and said, see, there is no evil in mine hand. He lifted up God to Saul in verse 15: May the LORD therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.” 1 Samuel 24:15.

David brought the value of God before Saul. And for a moment, Saul responded to the mercy shown him.

1 Samuel 24:19-20 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.

Discipleship is embracing the Value of Jesus Christ for all of your life, and then exalting Him every chance your get. As you do, God will build your House, and your righteousness will be evident to others.

I. David Encounters a Fool

Remember-much of discipleship development occurs as we learn to react to others. God wants us to react to others in mercy, in justice and in righteousness. But underlying all of our dealings, there must be humbleness before God.

When David encountered a Fool, he forgot the humility part, until God sent a very special woman into his life.

A.  The Story – I Samuel 25

Samuel died. Israel mourned, and David went to the desert area of Paran.

The wilderness of Paran — stretching from Sinai to the borders of Palestine in the southern territories of Judea. Like other wildernesses, it presented large tracts of natural pasture, to which the people sent their cattle at the grazing season, but where they were liable to constant and heavy depredations by prowling Arabs. David and his men earned their subsistence by making reprisals on the cattle of these freebooting Ishmaelites; and, frequently for their useful services, they obtained voluntary tokens of acknowledgment from the peaceful inhabitants[1].

Here David’s men provided protection for the men shearing the 3000 sheep owned by Nabal. His men did not demand any food or payment, they simply stood guard. Normally Nabal’s men would have sustained losses, for roving bands of thieves are prevalent when it is shearing season.

David, in accordance with hospitality laws ingrained into the Jewish and Eastern culture, sent his men to request food and provisions in return for their protection. This was nothing unexpected, and Nabal, who was likely informed of the protection, refused proper hospitality. Not only did he refuse, he insulted David. He insulted his father. He implied he was a runaway slave, and said he would be stupid to take food meant for his shearers and give it to someone he did not know where they came from.

The insult was obvious, and David recognized it at once. As soon as he heard the report, he said, Get your swords on Men, were not going to take this insult sitting down. He left 200 men with the stuff, and he and 400 men left to kill Nabal and his men.

Balaam had a similar reaction to his Donkey

Numbers 22:29 and Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”

Was David justified? I believe so. David could not let this insult go unpunished. Nabal rewarded David’s good with evil, and it was David’s desire to bring justice to Nabal. (Only it was David’s idea of Justice).

King Saul was a different matter, for He was in God’s office. But Nabal was simply a churlish fool.

In this day and age, we cannot take justice into our own hands. There were no police in David’s day. There was only honor and insult. An insult required action, or there would be no honor.

Discipleship is about Mercy, Justice and Righteousness being in balance in our lives. David knew Nabal’s actions reflected a man who had no righteousness. He was foolish and evil, and David was going to deal with him.

Now surely David knew the command “Thou shalt not kill”. Did Nabal’s foolishness outweigh God’s command?

B. Abigail Intervenes

To involve oneself in a situation so as to alter or hinder an action or development:

1. Abigail appeals to David with hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah in view.
  1. Justice (for his House) – because that is what David was taking into his own hands. (vs. 28)
  2. Mercy, Unfailing Love – Reminder that David is bound up and held by God (vs. 29)
  3. Righteousness – David will one day rule as King, and there will be no grief or blood guiltiness. (vs. 30-31)

1 Samuel 25:28-31 (28) Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. (29) If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the LORD your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. (30) And when the LORD has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince over Israel, (31) my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengeance himself. And when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.” ”

2. Look at the Special Qualities of Abigail
  • She was respected (25:17).  The servant knew to go to her.
  • She properly reacted to anger (25:33, 35).
  • She had great faith in God (25:26ff).

She is presented as a woman familiar with God. Her confident trust in God allowed her to remain a saint even though she was in a miserable marriage. Her words to David reveal that her faith was very practical in her life (25:26, 27).

  • She was assertive and decisive (25:18ff).

The situation was urgent and Abigail moved in a decisive way to prevent harm. She knew what needed to be done and did it the best she could. She approached David in the customs of the day but she made sure the task was done (25:24). She did not hesitate to tell David that his desire for revenge was wrong. Later she confronted Nabal and told him how foolish he was (25:37).

  • She cared for the safety of her household (25:31).

Abigail’s first priority was the safety of her home. She did whatever was necessary to assure that her family honored God and was safe.

  • She was humble and meek (25:41, 44).

As she approached David, she demonstrated humility. Humility characterized her entire conversation. –Woman of meek and Quiet Spirit

  • She brought Joy to David’s heart. (25:32).

Indeed, her name meant “My father’s Joy”

II. David Discipleship Lessons

Discipleship Definition

Discipleship – “the intentional process of making the virtue of Christ my own, through submitting to His Lordship and Direction, and the daily Hope of Gaining Christ” Discipleship is simply gaining by trading

Here was David, perfectly just in taking action against this insult. But would this have been a Discipleship Development Moment? Not if he killed Nabal. Disciples submit to God and His Direction.

Even though David did not know Jesus Christ, he was about to learn a lesson, for David is a type of Christ.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

A. Fools are People who say “God is Not”.

Both Psalms14:1 and 53: begin with this statement. The fool (nabal) hath said in his heart, “There is no God”. Young’s Literal translation reveals what the italicized (There is) mean: “God is not”[2]. The “There is” is implied, but not in the Hebrew. You could also translate ‘êyn ‘elohiym as simply “No”. A Fool is someone who realizes there is a God, but denies that He has any importance or rule over his life.

There are others…who, while they profess to acknowledge both (God and his governance of the world), deny him in their heart, and live as if they were persuaded there was no God either to punish or reward.[3]

  • Nabal showed he followed his namesake by refusing to acknowledge David, refusing to be hospitable, refusing to share God’s providence.
  • Nabal’s pride was set against God’s right to govern and judge.
  • Terrell Suggs showed he is a fool by saying the Baltimore Ravens do not need God on their sidelines.
  • Our great nation has been playing the fool as we continue to deny God’s right to govern and judge.
  • “The Harbinger”
  • Preachers can be fools

Ezekiel 13:3 Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

  • Fools say No to God because they refuse to admit his way is wrong

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

B. Fools are Dangerous to Disciples.

We saw how David dealt with Goliath. We saw how he responded to King Saul. With both he trusted in the Lord! Even in the cave he exalted God, and said, God, you have your way. David faced these huge obstacles and trusted God more and more.

1. David Lost His Cool

Has that ever happened to you? You handle crises and major battles with grace, and people are amazed how you handle things so well, trusting God!

But face a fool, and you lose it! You get all upset, you blow your top and say some choice words!

2. We have all encountered fools like Nabal.

They are usually overbearing, contemptuous, hardheaded and hard hearted. We have all had our:

  • Kindness met by harshness
  • Service unrecognized, unappreciated.
  • Motives Questioned

3. Has this ever happened to you?

  • Your neighbor (you know the one) complains about your dog pooping in his yard for the 90th time and you go ballistic.
  • The bumbling server who has ignored you all night finally brings more drink and spills it all over you.
  • Your boss says one more snide remark and you blow your top.
  • Your friend says one more nasty comment about your kids and you rip into her.

We can put on our Christian Superman Suit to handle a sickness, or the death of a loved one, and everyone says, wow, he really trusts the Lord!

  • God forbid some fool follows too closely on the highway.
  • God forbid some fool keeps his brights on as he drives toward you.
  • God forbid some fool makes a snide comment about your personal hygiene.
  • God forbid some fool disrespects you and the job you are doing.

Fools can get under our skin; they can elicit emotions of revenge, yes, even of murder.

C.  Fools Threaten our House (God’s Justice)

As Abigail said to David:

1 Samuel 25:28-29 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the LORD your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling.

1 Samuel 25:32-34 And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! For as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.”

1. David would have troubled his house

If David had taken this action, justified in the sight of men though it was, it would have brought blood guiltiness upon his house. He would have “troubled his house” by seeking man’s justice, and not God’s.

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

2. We must be wise in our Heart

The other half of this verse says that if you want to conquer the fools of this world, you have to be wise in your heart.

Fools strike without warning. We often react in the heat of the moment. But if our heart is wise, we can deal with them the way God wants us to deal with them. Abigail was wise in her heart. She was a picture of the Holy Spirit, who brought wise counsel to the heart of David.

She could have said: David, don’t be stupid! Don’t you know that God says thou shalt not kill! Don’t ruin your life by killing David! While it carried the right message, it would not have been well received. David would have perceived it as additional bitter judgment.

Instead, Abigail reached his heart by reminding David about his House, and how David’s Life was bound in a bundle held by God! David’s life was bound up in the one who held his life! Just as Christians, when we enter into salvation with Jesus Christ, from that moment on, our life is bound up in His life! We become a precious bundle to Jesus Christ. From that moment on our life reflects on His life!

David’s life was a precious bundle to God, for David’s life was bound up in God! Therefore, Abigail reminded David that God had a responsibility to take his enemies and sling them away as if slung from a sling. Abigail reminded David of Goliath, and how if David could trust God to deal with Goliath, he could trust Him to deal with Nabal!

3. David’s House and Inheritance was at Stake!

Isaiah 57:13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off; a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain.

4. Wrong Reactions to Fools Will Trouble Your House

Just check the news out to see how people’s lives are ruined by the way they react to fools.

  • A man burnt down a topless coffee shop in Maine because his ex-girlfriend worked there.
  • In Louisville KY, Lequan Washington, 35, started punching his mom in the face when she refused to get him some Kool-Aid. Mom told him to get his own Kool-Aid. Washington told Police that his Mom fired a gun at him.
  • January 4th, a 32 year old man gouged his 62 year old uncles eye’s outs. His uncle was a fool, and finally did something to make the man snap.
  • You can go to YouTube and watch fights in restaurants, fights at school, and fights at the Subway.
  • People get beat by McDonalds Employees.

D.   God Is Best At Handling Fools.

If we can trust God with Goliath’s, with King Saul’s, with Doegs, with the darkness of Caves, we need to trust Him to deal with Fools!

1 Samuel 25:36-38 And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And about ten days later the LORD struck Nabal, and he died.

David needed to be patient. Why ruin his House over a Fool? In treating the injustice of Nabal with more injustice, he would have failed his House, and taught a devastating lesson to his Men.

Luke 12:16-21 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Proverbs 27:22 You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.

E.  Disciples Become Fools when they say “No” to God.

Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

F.  Disciples Hear and Heed the Holy Spirit

Abigail is a perfect example of the Holy Spirit. Her name meant “the Joy of my father” and is exactly the impact of the Holy Spirit! As she humbly plead softly David, reminding Him of God and David’s relationship and potential with God, David’s heart became soft, his emotions more reasoned and he committed Nabal to God.

  • 1 Peter 2:23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Abigail UNDERSTOOD the Ways of God

Think about Abigail just a moment. Here she was married to a Fool, and instead of despising God, or becoming a fool herself, she became a gracious woman, known for her beauty and wisdom.

She is a picture of the Grace of Jesus Christ, who said in John 16:33,  “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Disciples do not have to lose our cool to fools. We simply have to follow the Holy Spirit.

1. God’s Loves the Unlovely, but He resists the Proud.

Jesus loved fools. They surrounded him. They were drunks, thieves, tax collectors. He loved Pharisees, but he had a hard time with their arrogance. Even though he was stern and direct with His rebukes, most refused to repent of their pride.

They should make Christians walk humbly before God, for the truth is we are only one step away from being a Pharisee. That is how dangerous pride is. When pride rears its ugly head, we push God to the side and say, “No God” I know what is best, I can figure this out on my own. As soon as we do, the Holy Spirit starts to whisper in our ear, “you fool!”

2. How did Abigail wind up with Nabal?

It could have been an arranged wedding. He could have been charming at first, and then became more in love with wealth.

Regardless, Abigail displayed total respect for her husband, at the same time appealing to David.

There was no betrayal, no selfishness,

3. Why did she intervene?

What do you do if you are married to a fool? When you are reviled, you revile not, but you commit yourself to Him who judges righteously. Do not take justice into your own hands, but appeal to God and patiently wait for him to bring his justice into your house.

A fool give full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. – Proverbs 29:11

Matthew 7:26-27 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

III. Holy Moments

David Discipleship is a “succession of holy moments in which we count on His grace and strength to get us through”. Alan Redpath

Most people come to church needing a Holy Moment. We do our best with singing and preaching, but church is not the place for holy moments. Holy moments take place as you encounter fools, and Goliath’s, your friends, your spouse, and your children. Holy Moments happen when in the face of someone or something that causes you to rear up in pride or revenge, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit whispers in your ear, and you humble yourself to submit to the Will and Word of God. A Holy Moment takes place when your will is set aside so that you may be set apart for the purpose of God!

David was puffed up with pride. He was owed something, his name had been disrespected, and his sword was drawn, ready to exact justice.

Along came the Holy Spirit in the form of Abigail, meaning ‘my Father brings Joy’ and what she said and did brought David into a Holy moment, where he was reminded once again that Discipleship is practicing God’s mercy, God’s justice and God’s righteousness.

Abigail brought a holy ‘unfailing love’ moment to his heart, reminding David that he was a precious bundle whose life was held by God. So this Holy Moment brought a change to David’s Desire.

Abigail brought a holy moment into his House, by reminding him that his pride was about to bring dishonor to his house, a house that God had great plans for. Who cares what a fool thinks of him and his house. As she reminded David:

1 Samuel 25:28 … the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD…

David must stand upon the justice of God, and fight the battles of the Lord. That requires humbleness, not pride. Therefore, this holy moment was beneficial to David’s descendants.

Abigail then brought a holy moment to David’s hope, reminding him that God was able to sling his enemies like a rock from a sling. That holy moment brought a decision that resulted in David’s development as a Disciple, a Mighty Man of God.

Esau and Jacob

Did you ever wonder why God chose the wimpy, liar, deceiver and thief Jacob to be the father of the 12 tribes of Israel? Why not Esau, a man’s man, a hunter, a skilled fighter? He would make an excellent leader for the Jewish Nation.


God hated Esau and loved Jacob, because the one sin that God despises most in man is his pride and arrogance. God could work with a liar and a thief, but he could not work with a proud man. God saw Jacob transformed into a man who leaned on Him. That never would have happened with Esau, for he was too puffed up. Hebrews 11:21 says that Jacob blessed his sons while leaning on his staff. He had learned that he nust depend upon the Lord God for every aspect of his life. So he blessed as he leaned on the Lord!

Are you on a Discipleship Path this year? Do you desire to Develop into a man of God? Then let this mind be in you which was in our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though He deserved to be treated as God, he deliberately laid everything aside, humbling Himself to Death, even the death of the Cross.

Do you desire Holy Moments in your Life? Then lay aside your rights, your pride, your comforts, and your reputation. Humble yourself to the Holy Spirit, and trust in God to grow you and develop you into the man of God He desires.

As Isaiah wrote: “he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain”.


[1] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 SAMUEL”.

[2] Psalm 14:1 A fool hath said in his heart, `God is not;’ They have done corruptly, They have done abominable actions, There is not a doer of good. (Youngs Literal)

[3] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Psalm 14″.