Archive for February, 2012


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)”.