Archive for the ‘Tsedaqa’ Category

I would like 2012 to be a significant year in the life of our church. I want us to get serious about Discipleship. I want discipleship to be discussed in every class room, every committee meeting, every get together. I want the question that is asked most of each other, “How are you developing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?” I want each of us to have a clear picture of how we are to develop as disciples of Christ. It will not happen right away, but over the next 18 months, as we look at every aspect of our church in light of Discipleship, we can make the proper adjustments in how we do ministry, and develop a clear-cut road to discipleship, Biblical Discipleship.

This will not come without some difficulties. Discipleship is difficult, for the way is blocked with Goliath’s. Saul’s and Doegs. But if we continue to kneel before the Cross, and desire to follow the Holy Spirit, Christ will do an amazing work in this church and in your lives.

Many (if not most) Christians Live in a Cave

We need to ask ourselves “Are we walking in the Light?” (If you are not daily in the Word of God how can you think you are walking in the Light?) I believe many Christians are living in a cave, but they may or may not realize it. Their profession of faith in Christ may have been real, but they have stopped walking by FAITH. They walk by sight. And sadly, when you walk by sight, you are blind. You are living in a Cave. The danger is that living in a cave will produce eyes that no longer see the light. They can no longer walk by faith. They can no longer see Him who is invisible. When you become used to the darkness of the cave, you don’t realize how much ‘light’ you are missing. Isaiah wrote about the Lord:

Isaiah 42:5-7 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

When Jesus began His public ministry, he proclaimed:

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

The Jewish people thought they were walking in the light. But in actuality they were held in prison by the perversions of the Law perpetrated by the Pharisees. Jesus opened many eyes to the true Light of the Gospel, but the religious Leaders remained blind, because “we just don’t do it that way”. Jesus did not fit into the mold formed in the cave of their minds and they rejected Him. In fact, they crucified Him, for they refused to follow His light.

Discipleship is difficult, for you follow Christ, not a religion, not a list of man-made rules or traditions. Discipleship requires an ongoing growth and development of a relationship with an invisible Savior. Discipleship requires Faith, for only Faith imparts the ability to see Him who is Invisible.

Jesus proclaimed that He was coming to give sight to the blind. But in order to receive sight, we must be willing to submit to His leadership and commands. Any resistance on our part places us right back in the darkness that Jesus came to free us from.

I.   David Discipleship Involves:

A. Involves Growing Faith, Or It Is Not Discipleship.

1 Samuel 23:29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.

David leaves the Rock of Escape and goes down to the Dead Sea, to find refuge in the Strongholds of EnGedi. EnGedi is a great hideout. Plenty of hide-outs, fresh water, a veritable oasis. EnGedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.  The springs here have allowed nearly continuous inhabitation of the site for 4000 years. The abundant springs and year-round temperate climate provided the perfect conditions for agriculture in ancient times. Solomon compared his lover to “a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of EnGedi,” an indication of the beauty and fertility of the site (Song 1:14).

Even though there are many springs around the Dead Sea, most of them have a high salt content. EnGedi is one of only two fresh water springs located on the western shore of the Dead Sea and, because of the greater availability of land for agriculture at EnGedi, it is the best spring by which to settle.

EnGedi means literally “the spring of the kid (goat).” Evidence exists that young ibex have always lived near the springs of EnGedi. One time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the “Crags of the Ibex” in the vicinity of EnGedi.

David could have settled here and hoped in the natural strongholds that were there in EnGedi. He may not have become content, but he and his men could have resumed more normal lives. They could have still worshipped God, do an occasional good deed, and been safe. That is what a stronghold is, a place of safety due to its position or protection.

But this would not produce the Discipleship that God required of David, nor would it serve to transform David’s crew into Mighty Men. God wanted them to grow in their faith.

So God allowed King Saul to find David. God lead Saul into David’s Stronghold.

 1 Samuel 24:1-3 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.

 His Men are urging David to Kill Saul

1 Samuel 24:4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ”

Perhaps David had told his men of a promise God had given him, a promise of deliverance similar to Abraham. His men believed in David, and when Saul came to them, excitedly they exclaimed that “Deliverance is Here”! Perhaps David identified with Abram, when God delivered his enemies into his hand:

 Genesis 14:17-20 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Encouraged by his men, the Scriptures record what happened next: “Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” His men must have been shocked. Why didn;t he kill him. Their troubles would be over. They could go home. David could be King. But God wanted each of them to learn a valuable lesson. 

1.  Disciples that desire safety and comfort usually end up in the dark as far as God is concerned.
2.  In the cave of safety, our self-centeredness prevents us from seeing the light of Jesus Christ
3.  In the cave of safety we often resort to solving our problems with our own short-sighted vision.

God wanted David and his men to look to Him in the darkness of the cave, not to their own resources. Here was a struggle of conscience pre-ordained of God that would lead these men into the very presence of God!

As John Piper told his church:

But if we do what David did, and follow the call of God—hazards and all—then we will come to this place week in and week out with a sense of deepening reality and power.

That’s essential number one: if God’s blessing is going to be on this place, as a place of real worship, then those of us who gather here must gather as a kind of haven between hazards. Not as a haven instead of hazards but a haven between hazards. True worship will come from the impulse to hazard things for the name of God.[1]

B. Involves Growing Worship, Or It Is Not Discipleship.

Most people associate worship with something you do when things are going OK. We associate church with worship. We go to church when things are normal. I have discovered that when things get “abnormal” that folks don’t really feel like worshipping at church. When we are overwhelmed with house guests. When we experience the loss of a loved one. When we have a tragedy strike us. When we are stricken with a deadly disease.

One thing very obvious about David is His worship of God, especially when things were “abnormal” And David’s worship wasn’t confined to the Tabernacle of the Temple. David worshipped God anywhere and everywhere. But David especially worshipped God when things were “abnormal”, because Worship was what David lived for.

When David found himself in the cave, with Saul but a breath away, followed by his 3000 trained killers, David was justifiably afraid. It was dark, he was trapped, here was Saul, his men outside. David’s men wanted to kill Saul, but David feared God much more than he feared King Saul. Since he was the anointed King of Israel, only God could remove him. It was not within David’s power. Even if Saul was dead, what would the 3000 armed men do when they discovered he was dead?

No, this was problem too great for David. His men needed to learn what David already knew, that God had great power to deal with dangerous or perilous situations in our life. We can see David’s heart response and message to his men in Psalm 57:

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam (instruction). When he had fled from Saul into the cave. 

Psalm 57:1-11 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

David cried out to God to fulfill His purpose in his life. If God’s purpose was to be accomplished by David’s death, then so be it. But David had a promise from God that he would be King, so David cried out for that purpose to be accomplished.

  • David asked God to send out His “hesed” (unfailing love) and his faithfulness
  • David asked that God be exalted regardless of what happened.
  • David affirmed that his heart was fixed upon God.
  • David promised to give thanks to all the people, regardless of the outcome.
  • David worshiped one more time and exalted God.

Because David’s heart was fixed upon God, David always worshipped God in the midst of his problems, and in fact exalted God in the face of his problems. No matter what David faced, he always said “God, this is for you to handle. You be exalted, and however you work this out, I will praise you before all the people”.

We will see this over and over in David’s life. Because his heart was given to God, David sought to see God’s justice in every situation he faced, even in the unjust ones.


Are you overwhelmed with a certain situation? Do you struggle with what God is doing in your life?

  • Confess to God your sinfulness for not giving Him your heart, and for not fixing your heart upon Him.
  • Confess your lack of worship and then bow humbly before Him, and ask Him to fulfill His purpose for your life. Ask Him to be exalted in the situation you are facing. Then bow before Him and say, whatever you want for my life, I accept it and I want it. I want you to be exalted in this situation.

II.  David Discipleship Requires:

A. Requires Humble Submission to God’s Ways, or there will be no Discipleship

There was a mom with a young pre-teen who was neglecting his chores to play his new video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. His room was a disaster, and Mom had enough. She marched into his room and holding her preferred form of politically incorrect discipline, exclaimed “Get up and clean this room or you will know the wrath of Vladimir Makarov!” He knew what that meant, so he jumped up and started cleaning his room. You could tell his heart was not in it, however, and soon he said, “I may be cleaning my room on the outside, but inside I’m playing Modern Warfare 3 and I’m blasting away! He was submitting to a greater force, but only because he had to. But that is not David’s heart in the Cave.

Three things in Psalm 57:1 show a disciple’s (David) submission before God.

  • He cries for mercy. He sees his need from God for mercy and grace. 
  • He cries out for a refuge. He is vulnerable before his enemies, he sees his need for God’s provision. 
  • He calls his refuge the “shadow of God’s wings.” David, the mighty warrior, the anointed of God, says, “In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge.” In other words, “I am a little chick. And I need the covering of my God.” Submission to God requires humility.

Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me”.

Discipleship requires you to submit your will to God’s purpose for you. That took humility for David, especially in front of 600 manly vagabums. But it also requires something else, something that most American Christians stumble at:

B. Requires the Desire for God’s Glory above Our Own Concerns, or there will be no Discipleship

  • Psalm 57:5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
  • Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
  • Psalm 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!

No matter what happens, I want you to be exalted. If it means my death, or my imprisonment, that will be your purpose, and You will be Exalted.

You must be willing to accept poverty, homelessness, sickness, disease, rejection, betrayal, injustice, abuse, anything, as long as it exalts God. A Disciple never says I don’t have to put up with this. A Disciple exalts God to where His glory is between you and any problem you may be having.

Jesus did just that:

1 Peter 2:20-24 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 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. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

We have become a Nation that focuses so  much on our Individual Rights, that we place our supposed rights before our responsibilities. That philosophy has infected our church to the point that we put our rights before our responsibilities as a Disciple of Christ.

  • We want our discipleship to be comfortable, but Jesus says I don’t even promise you a bed to sleep on.
  • We want our discipleship to fit our schedule, but Jesus says let the dead bury their dead.
  • We want our discipleship to be convenient, but Jesus says if you put your hand to the plow and then look back at those conveniences, you are not fit for the Kingdom of God.
  • We don’t want our discipleship to make us so different that we’ll be embarrassed, or laughed at,  , or be embarrassing, but Jesus said “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory”.
  • We want our discipleship to not be too costly, but Jesus says if you are going to follow Him, you must give up everything by dying to self and taking up His cross for you!

We always say that our primary purpose as Christians is to give Glory to God, but what we mean is that we want a nice comfortable life that portrays the good side of God. How dare Him make us suffer! How can our suffering bring glory to Him? I can do so much more for God when I am affluent and generous! Right?

I was reading about the injustices going on in Eritrea. Evangelical Christians are imprisoned, some for life, for simply bowing their heads in prayer over a meal. They are imprisoned in stifling hot shipping containers or underground bunkers. They are never given baths or showers. There are so many forced into a small place that to lay down and sleep they must sleep on their side. The stench is intolerable. They are given one glass of water a day. They get bread if they are lucky. The prison officials do not care if they live or die. Some are executed. Most are tortured. When a new prisoner come, the first thing anyone says to him, “Did you smuggle any razor blades” because they want to kill themselves. Some are given the opportunity to leave if they recant their faith. Most do not. They cannot, for they are Disciples of Jesus Christ. They knew what it would cost them when they gave their lives to Him!

One young woman who was caught with a Bible was arrested and tied with her hands and feet tied to opposite limbs behind the back. Her captors told her, “Jesus will save you now.”[2]

Jesus did not save her. She eventually died. Did she march up to Jesus in Heaven and say “How could you forget about me? How could you let me endure such suffering that I died of dehydration?” No, she wakes up in the arms of Jesus, and when she looks into His eyes, she says, Jesus, I would do it all over again, for your wonderful glory!

Watch Videos Describing the Torture of Christians going on in Eritrea TODAY!

That is what Discipleship is all about. We develop as Disciples as everything in our life, our good, our bad, our successes, our failures, our joys, our sadness’s are laid at the Cross and our only cry is “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” My life is inconsequential to your Glory, but I dedicate it to you, for your use in whatever will bring you Glory!

Psalm 112:1-7 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

A Disciple is never afraid of bad news. He is not afraid of a diagnosis of cancer. He is not afraid of hearing of a loved one’s tragic death. His heart is firm, always trusting God, no matter what the news.

David wrote another Psalm while he was in the Dark Cave:

Psalm 142 -A maskil (instruction) of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

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.

When Surrounded by Darkness, in whom do you trust?

  • Do you trust in yourself, doing what you think is best?
  • Do you trust your friends, to get their help?

If David had done either of those, we wouldn’t be studying his life.

David cried out to God, knowing, that

  • “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!”
  • “You are my refuge, my portion!”
  • “Bring me out of the darkness of this cave, and I will give thanks to your name!”
  • “You deal bountifully with me!”

David turned to God when he was backed into a corner, deep in the darkness of the cave!

What lessons of Hesed, Mishpat and Tsedaqah are in this experience of David’s?

Hesed, Unfailing Love-was in his heart as he refused to kill King Saul. His love for God and trust in Him was stronger than any feeling of hate that might have welled up and led him to take vengeance into his own hands.

  • As a result those men with Him saw the Mercy of God in David’s actions.

Mishpat, justice, was brought into David’s House as both he and his men realized that God must be trusted even in perilous situations where you are tempted to do things your own way. God’s Justice must reign in your response to every situation, good or bad.

  • His men saw that, and the House of David grew strong in the ways of God that day.

Tsedeqah, righteousness, was David’s Hope as He agreed to wait upon God. Even though that meant years of struggle and hardship, it was worth it because David’s Hope was to be in God and His strength, and not in himself. Temporary relief would have brought eternal damnation.

  • His men saw David’s Hope, and would learn to trust God!

Then ask God to grow your Faith to see Him in the Darkness.Do you want to Grow to be a Mighty Man or Woman of God in 2012? Do you want to draw closer to Christ than ever before? Do you His love to be sweeter than ever before?

  • Worship God more faithfully and He will give you more reasons to worship Him.
  • Humble yourself to being a little chickie, needing the protection of His wings.
  • Desire God to be exalted in whatever you face this next year.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

2 Samuel 22:29-30 For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Psalm 18:28-29 For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

When surrounded by Darkness in Whom Do You TRUST?

Isaiah 50:10 … Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

How are YOU developing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

Overflow through Me!

In days of barren darkness,
I need a light to encourage, refresh,
bring life – God’s word, and grace, and peace.

In a dark and barren world,
God’s Spirit lives within me to be a Light,
abundantly stretching forth, bringing life for all.

Lord, fill me with your light – allow it to shine through me!


My dad was not always a godly man. It wasn’t until his early 30’s that he started going to church. My mom was the ‘religious’ one. Even when we switched churches when I was 14, his religion was more of a Sunday thing. Our Christmases were as secular as the next door heathen families.

When I was planning for college, Dad seemed to change. He wasn’t religious anymore. God wasn’t a Sunday thing anymore. All of a sudden, it was Jesus Christ. All of a sudden everything he did was all about Jesus. Jesus owned everything he had. Christmas was about Jesus Christ. I liked it, because Jesus had become real to me as well. I was going off to Bible College. It was as I was getting ready to leave that he came to me and with tears in his eyes (my Dad never cried) he said that God was giving him a second chance. In fact that became one of my Dad’s favorite sayings, that God is the God of second chances. Anyway, he asked me to forgive him for not being a good father to me.

Holding Benjamin

Just 3 ½  years after that, I fould myself with a one month old baby boy, back at home celebrating Christmas with my family and my 18 year old wife, Lydia.

That Christmas morning was overwhelming, as my Dad read the Christmas story by candlelight. Here I was, a new daddy, holding my baby boy as my Dad read the story of Mary and Joseph becoming new parents. So let’s join my Dad as he and Mom listen in as I now read the Christmas story with you.

Luke 2:1-38 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Most people stop the Christmas Story here, but Dad kept on reading…

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

As Dad read the part of Simeon holding the baby Jesus and proclaiming Jesus is the light of revelation to the Gentiles, I understand that Jesus had revealed that light to my Dad, and now my Dad wanted me to see that light, so that I could be a good father to my son, Benjamin. The greatest gift I ever received from my Dad is the light of the reality of Jesus Christ. That light burns in my heart and life today 37 years later, and it burns in the heart and life of the son I held in my arms that morning.

Did I make mistakes? Too many to count! Has the light always burnt brightly in my life? No! But the Light was always there drawing me into His presence. Is my family perfect? No, but the Light of Christ is at work in my family, and I pray He is at work in yours.

I only remember a few of the gifts my parents gave me. But I will always remember the gift my Dad gave me that Christmas, the Light of Christ from his life to mine, to guide me as I fathered my children. He had passed that light to me, and now I am passing it on to my children and grandchildren.

When the magi visited the infant Jesus, they presented gifts to Him, treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The amazing thing about those gifts, is that this morning, Jesus is re-giving them to you and me. That’s right, the greatest gifts you will ever receive at Christmas, are not sitting under a tree, but they are here, in this Bible and they come from Jesus Christ.

Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

I know in American culture it is customary for us to give gifts to the one whose birthday we are celebrating. But in may cultures (Asian, Burmese), if it is your birthday, it is a day for you to serve or buy a meal or give gifts. The more you serve and give the better your next year will be. Jesus is going to have a great year next year, because He is giving us some amazing gifts.

Let’s open OUR presents from Jesus this morning.


The first gift that Jesus gives us is gold, pure gold. Pure Gold represents the pure unfailing Love that Jesus loves us with. Gold is a good representative if Christ’s Love, because Gold is almost impossible to destroy. It is impervious to most acids. Gold is very dense and heavy, a massively solid material. Just a 3 x 3 cube would weigh over 36000 pounds. Yet as solid and dense as Gold is, it can be stretched and used to cover anything. It can be beat on thousands of times until it is microscopicly thin, yet it is still Gold. Paul prayed that we would know the height and depth and length and breadth of the Love of Christ. His love is so solid that it can dash any problem, so yielding that it can take any thing we can throw at it, so flexible that it can cover any sin we could ever commit. His love is never failing.

This Gold was in the Garden of Eden, in the land of Havilah, and the river Pishon flowed around it. Pishon means spreading, and is a picture of the Holy Spirit taking the Love of God and spreading it throughout the world.

Havila means stretch of sand. Abram in Genesis 13:2 was described as being rich in gold.  God promised him a house with descendants as numerous as the grains of sand. Certainly the unfailing love of God extended to every descendant of Abraham. The Love of Christ knows no limits. It knows no boundaries. The love of Christ seeks every sinner, no matter how great their sins. The love of Christ, symbolized by the gold, comes from the ‘hesed’ of God, the mercy of God. When God instructed Moses in how to build the Tabernacle, as God’s House on the earth, he told him to construct the innermost room covered in Gold. This room, the Holy of Holies, is where the High Priest would offer the sacrifice as atonement for the sins of all of the Jews. The ark was covered in gold, which formed the “mercy Seat” Here the offering would be presented before Holy God in utter darkness. Everything in the room was covered in gold, picturing the mercy and love of God. God would see the sacrifice, and His love and mercy would flow upon the Jewish people. The reason His love and merices could flow is because God knew one day, His only begotten Son would hang upon the cursed cross on Mt Golgotha, and there, Jesus would demonstrate His unfailing love for all the sinners of the race of Adam, as He would become their sacrifice, and take upon Himself all their ghastly and dastardly sins. There on Mt Golgotha, the golden love of God was poured out upon the sands of mankind, as His Son satisfied the Holy demands of God’s Eternal Law!

The veil before the Holy of Holies was forever rent in to, from top to bottom, showing the world that God’s unfailing love was now upon the world, because of the forever sacrifice of His Son.

God’s Holy Spirit calls whosoever will to come to the Cross of Salvation, and humble yourself before this unfailing Love, pictured by the purest of Gold! Only at the cross can you receive this gift of forgiveness, right standing and Hope of eternal Life in Jesus Christ.

The spirit of Babylon has corrupted this gold. Indeed, many choose the gold itself instead of the love and forgiveness it represents. One day, Babylon will fall…Jesus Christ who reigns in Heaven above, is clothed in a golden sash across His heart. He will judge the world on the basis of His pure Love. Anyone not found in His heart, anyone not found in His Golden Love becasueof their rejection of Him, will live for all eternity without His Love, in a place where there is no love! They have followed the spirit of Babylon, which decieves with a false gold, a false love:

Revelation 17:4-6 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

This Golden Gift of Christ is Salvation, the New Birth, the True Wealth that only God gives to those who have Faith to Trust Him!

All those who receive the Golden Gift of Christs Love will one day walk in a city whose very streets are pure gold. We will forever walk held up by the unfailing Love of Jesus Christ

Glory to God in the Highest! God’s Hesed is everlasting!


The next gift that Jesus gives us is  Frankincense. Frankincense is tapped from the scraggy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense trees have the ability to grow in extremely harsh environments. They can even grow directly out of solid rock. How they can do this is still unknown, but the Boswellia trees that grow on rock develop a swollen disk like trunk which prevents it from being torn away from the rock during violent storms. The tears from the trees which grow on solid rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma.[1].

  • Frankincense comes from the Hebrew levonah, meaning “white”.[2]

Frankincense was the main ingredient in the holy incense used in the Tabernacle and Temple Worship of Jehovah.

The altar of incense was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was situated in the Holy Place near the curtain before the Most Holy Place. The high priest burned incense when he tended the lamps (Exodus 30:1-9).

Once per year, on The Day Of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and burn incense there before The Ark Of The Covenant.

Frankincense was used in the grain offering (Leviticus 2:1, 2:16, 6:15, 24:7), but was strictly excluded from the sin offering (Leviticus 5:11)

Incense was used to symbolize or accompany prayer (Psalm 141:2, Luke 1:10, Revelation 5:8, 8:3).

Jesus is our High Priest, ever living to offer prayers on our behalf.

Every morning and evening the sacred incense was burned. (Ex 30:7, 8; 2Ch 13:11) Once a year on the Day of Atonement coals from the altar were taken in a censer, or fire holder, together with two handfuls of incense, into the Holy of Holies, where the incense was made to smoke before the mercy seat of the ark of the testimony. (Leviticus 16:12, 13.)

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Through His Intercession, Jesus secured our Justification!

Jesus gives us the gift of His Justice, secured by His stripes, His blood, and His tears. He is interceding daily for us before His Father. His prayers are being offered even now for us, that we would honor God’s House, that we would continue His work and build a House that honors God!

Through the Frankincense of Christ, our sins, though they be a scarlet, are “white” as snow.

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

and being made white as snow, we are brought into God’s House of Justice. Frankincense is never used in the sin offering, for Frankincense is the Holiness of God’s Justice, secured by the blood of Jesus Christ. For by His stripes we are healed.

This incense was placed upon the golden Altar of Incense by the High Priest to be burned before the Lord. It was to be a sweet odor unto the Lord. Through Jesus the stench of our sinful life is converted into a  beautiful fragrance before God.


Myrrh is harvested from the Commiphora myrrha tree in a process similar to frankincense. The myrrh is the hardened resin produced from the taps of the bark. Myrrh means “bitterness”. It was used in perfumes, but most of all it was used to embalm the dead. It also had a numbing effect so was used as an antiseptic and pain killer.  A cousin tree  produced the famous “Balm of Gilead”.

Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia. The related Commiphora gileadensis, native to Eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Arabian Peninsula,is the biblically referenced Balm of Gilead.[3]

Myrrh is much different from the valuable gold and frankincense gifts. Myrrh symbolizes suffering, trials, tribulations, and afflictions. The church of Smyrna is known as the “Suffering Church”. The name “Smyrna” comes from myrrh. Suffering and persecution is something that Jesus experienced from the beginning of His life, from the flight into Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod, to the end of His life, to His wrongful crucifixion. In fact we are told that suffering was such an integral of Jesus’ life that, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Jesus never escaped the myrrh, the persecutions, throughout His entire life. No one has suffered more unjustly than He. And just as He was given the gift of myrrh by Wise Men, so we too, along with the gift of gold (salvation), and the gift of frankincense (holiness), are to receive the gift of myrrh (suffering) from the hand of the Lord, the wisest of men. It is not done to destroy us, but to teach us obedience. Suffering, trials, tribulations, persecutions are a natural part of this life. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11)

The sufferings of Jesus produced Righteousness for all who come to Him. Indeed, we cease from sin as we suffer with Him.

Of these three gifts, only myrrh is mentioned at the beginning and end of Jesus’ life.

“Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19:39-40).

Gold – symbolizing the (hesed) unfailing love of God which leads to our being born again, is a one time gift.

Frankincense – symbolizing the (mishpat) justice of God applied to our life-our justification-is given to us all at once when we are born again.

But myrrh – symbolizing (tsedeqah) righteousness, must be experienced all our life. Our righteousness is in Christ, but only as we learn to die to sin and to Satan and to the flesh, and that will be a life-long journey.

As we experience the myrrh of life, we will have the gold of His unfailing love sustaining us, and the frankincense of His intercessory prayers encouraging us.

The end result is that we step forth clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all eternity! We walk forever on streets of the Golden Love of God, forever in His House, living and developing as His children!

These three gifts that we have unwrapped this morning are Christ’s forever gifts! But just as He has re-gifted them to us, so we should re-gift them to others!

[2] Klein, Ernest, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English, The University of Haifa, Carta, Jerusalem, p.292

I am not against dogs. I love dogs. My only use of ‘dog’ when it comes to “Doeg” is for ease of remembering and to gain an understanding of how David felt as he realized he was now a wanted man, being pursued by “Doeg’s”. Everyone who desires to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ, must realize there are “Doeg’s” that will work to cause us to stumble from the “way of a disciple”. David encountered Doeg in 1 Samuel 21. Let’s see what lessons on Discipleship can we learn.

The very first lesson God taught fleeing David took place at Nob. He had an encounter with a ‘Dog’ (Doeg). (This is not to condemn “Dog the Bounty Hunter“). He is a just a scary looking “Dog” and he pursues relentlessly.

After David left Jonathan at Gibeah, he fled to Nob, the place of the Tabernacle, the city of Priests. Thus began his ‘life as a fugitive’ from Saul, a period of ten years during which he was ‘public enemy number one’ in all of Israel! (1 Sam 21:1-29:11).

God used this time of forced exile to develop David into the Disciple worthy of the Kingdom, in fact, a Disciple worthy of leading the Kingdom. God wanted David to face various tests of his faith, trust and hope. God wanted David to lay the foundation of a Kingdom that one day His very Son would rule over. So that foundation must not be in anything of man, or man’s working. The Foundation of the Kingdom of Christ must be in His Justice and His Righteousness. Therefore David had lessons that God wanted him to learn, lessons that would develop David into the Disciple worthy of establishing the Kingdom of His Son!

The Psalms that David wrote during these 10 years offer insight into David’s Discipleship. While it’s difficult to determine the background of every psalm, it’s likely that David’s fugitive years are reflected in Psalms 7, 11-13, 16-17, 22, 25, 31, 34-35, 52-54, 56-59, 63-64, 142-143[1].

God Wanted David to Rely Solely on Him

Psalm 18 is the Psalm he wrote when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. It reveals the Diploma David earned after 10 years of extreme Graduate School!

He began his Psalm of praise with a strange statement coming from a “mighty warrior” who had eluded Saul’s vast army for 10 years. This is not the kind of thing you would hear today from a WWE champion like ” Triple H” aka “The King of Kings”.

 “I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies”. Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)

Becoming a Disciple is about learning not to rely on your own strength, but to rely on the one who is greater than everything!

David’s Experience with Doeg

 Then David came to Nob <means fruit[2]; Nob was in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives >[3]. to Ahimelech <means ‘my brother is King’ [4]>, the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David trembling and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?”

Nob was known as the town of Priests. The Tabernacle was here and because of David’s relationship with Samuel, he thought he would be welcome here. It was also the responsibility of the Priests to keep provisions on hand for those in need. It was an hour and half walk from Gibeah. It probably took David longer for he had to travel at night, without light, to escape those seeking him. It was the morning of a Sabbath when he suddenly presented himself, alone, unarmed, weary, and faint with hunger before the high-priest.

Ahimelech was frightened to see David looking so, without his usual delegation.

And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place.

He may or may not have been aware of the conflict between David and Saul. But certainly he thought something was up. However, David had reasonable answer’s for all of his questions. The King’s business had been so pressing and secretive that David was forced to leave without adequate provisions and weapons.

David Needed Mercy in the Form of Provisions

Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is Holy bread— if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

David was on the run, homeless, penniless, and had likely been three days without food. He came to the place where he had prayed to so many times. He needed mercy from God. He didn’t need a lecture or a sermon. He needed God’s mercy!

This little incident allows us to evidence the decay into which the priesthood and offerings of the people had fallen. The fact that there was nothing to offer David except the shewbread reveals the poverty of the priesthood, and the neglect of such by the people. If people would have been offering sacrifices, there would be plenty of food.

The Table of Shewbread

When you walk into the tabernacle you enter a door that leads to the holy place. The priest had at his right hand the table of shewbread or also referred to as the table of the presence. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold. Its size was 2 cubits (3 feet) in length by one cubit (1 1/2 feet) in breadth and a height of 1 1/2 cubits (2 1/4 feet). Around the table was a border of gold and then a little further in, on the table top, an additional border which would hold the contents in place. The table had four legs, and two gold-plated poles were inserted through golden rings attached to the legs for transporting.

  • “And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.”

The purpose of the golden table was to hold 12 cakes of bread made of fine flour. They were placed there in two stacks (or rows) of six, each loaf representing one of the tribes of Israel (Lev. 24:8).

  • Lev 24:5-9 And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD. Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the LORD made by fire, by a perpetual statute.”

Significance of the Bread of Presence

  • Fine Flour (from the earth)
  • Baked (agony and suffering)
  • Unleavened (nothing artificial)
  • Sprinkled with pure frankincense[5]

Bread Sprinkled with Pure Frankincense

Frankincense was given to Baby Jesus, and symbolizes His office as High Priest, offering prayers of intercession before the Father for us. Here, sprinkled upon the bread that is to be always before the face of God, it illustrates the truth of what Jesus declared in John 6.

I AM the Living Bread

John 6:51-58 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven– not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

When David ate the Shewbread, he was prophetically eating a symbol of the Savior that he hoped in, and who offered his body a broken sacrifice for him. That broken body is ever before the face of God, offering prayers on our behalf! This is a picture of how our Hope is not in our own strength, but the strength that comes from the Bread of Life!

Recent studies by an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, have indicated that burning frankincense resin helps to alleviate anxiety and depression. The University of Munich found the anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense very effective as a treatment for joint pain and arthritis[6]

 2000 Years Later, Jesus faced a similar situation:

Jesus is walking with his disciples through a corn/wheat field. It was on a Sabbath, and they were very hungry. So they plucked the grain and ate it. (I’ve eaten freshly plucked wheat, so I know they must have been very hungry to eat it). Some Pharisees watched and immediately cried “law breakers’!

According to the Pharisees, the disciples reaped a crop. They threshed it by rubbing the berries in their hands and breaking the hulls off. Then they winnowed it by blowing the hulls away. By doing so, they were guilty of preparing a meal.

Jesus said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: (4) how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? (5) Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? (6) I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. (7) And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (8) For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:1-8 (ESV)

Jesus deliberately drew attention to one of the Sabbath’s main purposes: It is a day of mercy and not a day of sacrifice.

Christ’s referred to 1 Samuel 21-when David ate the showbread. He wanted the Pharisees to understand that the Sabbath is to benefit a mercy needing man. David benefited from the Mercy of Ahimelech in giving him the showbread at a time when he was starving and weak. Mercy for the weak and hurting trumped the Law. Christ is always about Life, not Death.

The Pharisees didn’t understand Jesus. They did not see the Life He offered.

The Sabbath is a Day of Mercy for it is a Day of Hope!

David was about to learn the need for Hope!

The Doeg

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

It so happened in the Providence of God, that on this special Sabbath, one of Saul’s principal officials, the “chief over the herdsmen,” was in Nob, “detained before Jehovah.” The expression implies that Doeg was obliged to remain in the sanctuary in consequence of some religious ceremony—whether connected with his admission as a proselyte, for he was by birth an Edomite, or with a vow, or with some legal purification. (22:22)[7].

Doeg’s presence at the tabernacle is a mystery. He was an Edomite and whose presence would not normally be welcomed. He was “detained before the Lord” at the sanctuary (1 Sam. 21:7). Perhaps he had become a Jewish proselyte and was following the Hebrew faith in order to hold his job. As Saul’s chief shepherd, Doeg could easily have become defiled so that he had to bring a sacrifice to the Lord.

David knew that Doeg would report to Saul what he had seen at Nob and that this would mean trouble.Perhaps that is why he was not being honest with Ahimelech, so as to insulate him from the wrath of Saul.

Doeg Tells Saul

1 Samuel 22:6-19 reveals the Destructiveness of Doeg

(6) Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. (7) And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, (8) that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” (9) Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, (10) and he inquired of the LORD for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” (11) Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. (12) And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” (13) And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” (14) Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? (15) Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.” (16) And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” (17) And the king said to the guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the LORD. (18) Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. (19) And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword. 1 Samuel 22:6-19 (ESV)

Doeg, wanting to gain from Saul, (Saul had just mentioned what he could give people), told about David being offered help by the Priests in Nob. He did not reveal that David had gained the help by misleading Ahimelech. He knew his information would better him at the expense of the Priests.

When all of Saul’s servants refused to go against the Priests, Saul turned to Doeg, and he not only killed all the priests, but he went to Nob and killed everyone there, boys, girls, mothers, even infants. He totally wiped the city of Nob from the face of the earth. Doeg was not only a Doeg, but he was a Destroyer.

Doeg is a Disciple killer

David had faced Goliath, and defeated him with a single stone. David’s heart was so united with God’s that there was nothing of this world that could defeat him. Now David was on the run from his authority, the anointed King of Israel. David had the love of Jonathan, and a few servants, but no one else to aid him, except God. So he came to the Tabernacle for food, provisions, and to inquire of the Lord for guidance. There he encountered Doeg, and David knew he was evil, but he had no idea what would happen. Perhaps he had an inkling, and that is why he did not tell Ahimelech the truth.

As a David Disciple you will encounter Goliath’s, you will encounter Saul’s, and you will encounter Doegs.

Doegs are very dangerous to Disciples, for they lurk in the shadows. They don’t come directly at you. Often they are an unseen enemy. But Doegs are very deadly. Doeg is derived from the Hebrew ‏דָּאַג‎ (dāʾag). It is a verb meaning to be anxious, to fear. This word describes uneasiness of mind as a result of the circumstances of life[8].

Doeg represents the fears and anxieties that lurk in our mind as a result of the circumstances we are in. Those fears and anxieties threaten to kill our trust and hope in God!

David described how his sin made him ‘dāʾag

I confess my iniquity; I am troubled (dāʾag) by my sin. Psalm 38:18 (NIV)

 Jeremiah used the word ‘dāʾag’ to illustrate how Disciples are to be:

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 (dāʾag) in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 (ESV)

Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. One poignant moment immortalized by Rembrandt depicts Jeremiah grieving over the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. Tradition has him in a grotto just outside the North Wall of Jerusalem. It is under the hill called Golgotha. He wrote the five poems of Lamentations near the  place where our Savior was crucified.

Jeremiah’s sermons and prophecies were ignored and scoffed at by the leaders of Jerusalem. Jeremiah (in a message from God) encouraged the soldiers to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar to save the city. They threw him into an empty cistern in the King’s palace prison and he sank in mud up to his armpits. They left him there to starve to death, hoping to silence him. Still he kept on preaching the Word of the Lord. Fortunately an Ethiopian man, a court official, persuaded the King to release Jeremiah. It took thirty men with ropes to pull Jeremiah out of that mud.

As much as Jeremiah was despised. As grief-stricken as he was when he wrote this:

How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave. Lamentations 1:1 (ESV)

Jeremiah did something totally crazy:

While he was imprisoned, Jeremiah received a visit from his cousin Hanamel. Hanamel wanted to sell Jeremiah a piece of land in their hometown of Anathoth. It was a foolish request, for the land was already in control of the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar. Furthermore, Jeremiah was in prison for treason, and unable to use the land. Jeremiah bought the land in front of many witnesses, saying:

‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’ Jeremiah 32:14-15 (ESV)

In spite of his grief and despair over the circumstances he was in, Jeremiah never lost his Hope in God.

Jeremiah discovered a Hope that is greater than all our fears:

  •  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25 (ESV)
  • There is hope for your future,” says the LORD. “Your children will come again to their own land. Jeremiah 31:17 (NLT)

Jer 14:8 Calls out to the Hope of Israel – its Savior. Then He reveals the coming Hope:

Jeremiah’s Hope – The Lord our Righteousness

“For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Our Righteousness.’ yehōwāh tṣid̠qēnû (from tsedaqah) Jeremiah 23:5-6 (NLT)

 Fear versus Hope (Doeg vs the Lord)

Discipleship is all about knowing the ways of God, embracing and understanding all that He delights in. He delights in hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. (Jer 9:24)

The hesed of God strengthens our heart to defeat Goliath. The mishpat of God enables us to endure the injustice of Saul, as we focus on our responsibility to build our house by reaching out to the lame and lost.

The Tsedaqah of God allows us to conquer the Doegs of life by focusing on the Hope we have in Christ, and His righteousness.

The Psalms that David wrote after these encounters reveal that David learned this exact lesson:

David wrote Psalm 52 when he learned of Doeg’s murderous actions

The Steadfast Love (hesed) of God Endures: To the choirmaster. A Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”

(5) But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah (6) The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, (7) “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!” (8) But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. (9) 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. Psalm 52:5-9 (ESV)

God told David to go to Gath (when he inquired of Ahimelech), for God wanted David doubly learn this lesson. God wanted David to never forget!

After Being Seized in Gath

Psalm 34: “Of David, when he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away”.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears…In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles…For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need…Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD. Psalm 34:4-11 (NLT)

Psalm 56: In God I Trust “To the choirmaster:. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath”.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4 (ESV)

David learned that the fear of the Lord conquers every other fear (vv. 9-16). When you walk in fear of the Lord, you walk in His Righteousness. When you walk in His righteousness, you are no longer walking in fear or anxiety. Doeg can never push you from the discipleship path!

How are you handling the Doegs of Life? Are circumstances getting to you? Is fear lurking in the corners of your mind? Have you been hoping in something that has let you down? Perhaps it is time to follow David, and learn the fear of the Lord, learn that Jesus is your Righteousness! Life is never meant to be up to us. There are too many “Doeg’s” that lurk in the shadows. Fear is a discipleship killer. There is no fear of man when we walk in fear of the Lord, when we walk in the Righteousness of Christ!

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – History, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 264.

[2] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5011”.

[3] 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”.

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

[7] Alfred Edersheim, Bible History Old Testament, (London: Religious Tract Society, 1890), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “CHAPTER 12”.

[8] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “393: ‏דָּאַג‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “‏דָּאַג‎”.

I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God… 1 Kings 5:5 (ESV)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Psalm 127:1 (RSV) 

I Samuel 16-20 reads better than any soap opera on television. Imagine this script for the Young and the Restless…

Our show is set in beautiful Jerusa City, where Victor Saul has established himself as the King of the enormous Newman Cosmetics Empire. He is losing his mind slowly, and his son Jonathan is questioning his authority openly among the staff. Victor Saul sees a promising young man in Jack David Abbot, and takes him under his wing. Immediately Jack David lands Goliath Industries, the largest cosmetics account in the company’s history. Everyone is buzzing about the heir apparent to Newman Cosmetics.

Victor Saul, his mind turning inward, starts to question everything Jack David does. He even gives him impossible tasks to try to humiliate him. However, every time young Jack David accomplishes the tasks in spades, and his fame within Newman Cosmetics grows. Indeed, people throughout Jerusa City are singing his praises.

Victor Saul becomes more jealous, and his twisted mind begins to see Jack David as his worst enemy.

Jonathan, oldest son of Victor Saul, sees what is happening to his father, and his heart goes out to Jack David. The two become best friends. Jonathan gives Jack David his office and a key to the executive bathroom. He assures Jack David he will always have his support, and he will always have a top management place at Newman Cosmetics.

Meanwhile Victor Saul’s mind is getting more confused and paranoid. The medicine fails to work. He tries to kill Jack David not once but twice. Jack David, the trusting loyal employee that he is, refuses to see what is happening. Victor Saul even tries to kill his own son, Jonathan. Finally, Jack David realizes his only option is to flee Jerusa City and hide among the vagabums of Sin City. But before he goes, Jonathan and Jack David make a pact to always have each other’s back, and Jonathan, knowing that Jack David will someday become President of Newman Cosmetics, makes Jack David promise to always care for his children and grand-children.

Far from being a story line for a soap opera, this actually happened in the life of David. Before we examine the Scriptural account in detail, we must clear a hurdle of understanding about the ways of God.

Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and an evil spirit ⌊sent⌋ from the LORD began to torment him, 1 Samuel 16:14 (HCSB)

Most people stop here. They do not understand how God could send an evil spirit. That isn’t what God is supposed to be about, is it?

Understanding comes when we examine the Hebrew meanings.

(14) Now the Spirit <rûah – breath> of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit <raʿ rûah, ‘bad breath’> from the LORD tormented him. (15) And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. <bāʿat(h), makes you afraid (wake up bathed in sweat)>…(23) And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed <rāwah – A verb meaning to breathe freely> and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:14-23 (ESV)

King Saul had been cut off from God because of his sin, pride and presumption. Samuel told Saul that God departed from him, just as Saul had turned his back on God. God still uses our conscience to communicate with us, and Saul’s conscience was troubled. His sleep was haunted by fears, regrets, and pressures. The breath of God that is normally sweet to one who lovingly listens, becomes toxic and troubling to one who has turned away. God has “bad breath” and as such Saul was tormented as he would try to sleep. I believe Saul was having ‘panic attacks’ and may have suffered from “Panic Disorders”.

Saul Suffered from Panic Disorder

God assures us in His word, that when we consciously turn away from Him to do evil, He will bring our fears upon us:

I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.” Isaiah 66:4 (ESV)

Saul, when confronted with his disobedience by Samuel, admitted that he had fears:

“I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 1 Samuel 15:24 (ESV)

Saul confessed he was given to fears. Without God’s Spirit in our lives, we lose our peace of God. We are then left with our fears. All God has to do is whisper in our ears, revive guilt, revive hurt, and our fears start to overtake us. We have troubled sleep. We have panic attacks. Those attacks can develop into panic disorder. Our fears grow more intense. We are more withdrawn. We retreat from the outside. We drive away those who seem to trigger the fears. I believe this is what happened to King Saul.

I have talked with people who have suffered through panic attacks. They are not fun. You cannot breathe; you think you are going to die. I believe the evil Spirit was just the whisper of God to an evil conscience, a conscience racked with fears. The sweet breath of God became bad breath, for the peace of God had left Saul.

Somehow, the playing of David would quiet Saul, and he could breathe freely. Therefore, he could sleep.

Modern Medicine can be the Spirit of Babylon

One way that the Spirit of Babylon (modern medicine) has worked against God is by allowing people to cope with their guilt and sin through drugs. If God troubles our sleep, we just go to a Doctor and get a drug. There is no need to repent and humble ourselves before God. There is no need to go to someone we have offended. There is no need to heal a family rift. We simply take pills to sooth our conscience and mask the bad breath of God.

I realize that many Christians take sleeping pills or something to help them sleep at night. However, I firmly believe in the power of the Word of God.

  • … He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)
  • Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
  • (31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)

Instead of first seeking a medicinal solution to your troubled sleep, seek God and the sleep He gives to those He loves. Perhaps there is something between you and someone else that is blocking this love. Relationships with people cause us to sleep outside the love of God, and open our hearts to fears.

If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)

Restless Sleep is often a signal that there is a strained relationship, a secret sin, a lack of trust that is causing a rift in your fellowship with God. Instead of going to the Doctor, and popping a pill, James gives us this advice:

… Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 (ESV)

 Sweet Breath vs Bad Breath

Without the Holy Spirit in your life bringing the sweetness of God to your heart, God has bad breath <raʿ rûah>. His breath upon you brings your fears to mind. He awakens our conscience to torment us. Only when we LOVE Him does His breath turn good and sweet! Romans 8:28 is a conditional promise. The condition required for all things to work together for god is that you LOVE God!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (ESV)

Romans 8:28 is a promise to those who love and submit to God. If you view the events of your life without Scriptural Glasses, things will not make sense. You will live a hurt and bitter life. God’s Glasses given to those who love Him will allow you to see how He is working things for your good!

I do think Saul had some serious problems. His mind was scrambled to the point he forgot who David was. Even though Saul knew who David’s father was (read I Samuel 16:18-23) King Saul had to ask:

As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.”  And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” 1 Samuel 17:55-58 (ESV)

For some reason King Saul could not remember who David was, even though in Chapter 16 he had sent to Jesse for permission to have David stay with him. Saul failed to recognize David. So he asked him, whose son are you?

David’s Humble Response

David, with blood still on his hands, the head of Goliath over against the wall, holding the giant sword, could have done a goal line dance and said, It don’t matter whose son I am, because Samuel anointed me the next King of Israel! I am coming for your throne! But no, that was not David, for he was after the heart of God. He simply, humbly and proudly declared himself the son of Jesse, Saul’s servant.

As we looked at David’s battle with Goliath, we saw a young man zealous for God. A young man whose very heart was bound up with the reputation of God. He simply could not tolerate Goliath treating His God that way.

Right away, we understand that we must plan to face Goliath’s if we are to be disciples for Jesus. Goliath is the World, the Flesh. Goliath is Babylon… Goliath is Satan condemning us, trying to humiliate us and render us defeated. Goliath represents everything this world will use to try to defeat you, or to turn you away from discipleship. Fame, Money, Strength, Status…Goliath wants to destroy your heart’s desire for God. Goliath wants you to fear, distrust, and doubt the power of God.

To conquer Goliath, we must be armed with the Unfailing Love of God. We must be so in love with God that His desires strengthen our desires.

David defeated the Giant of the world, and proved that his heart remained bound to the heart of God. David never saw the next Battle coming…

Saul is Coming

The Next Discipleship Hurdle we encounter is the one you never see coming. Goliath, sure, but Saul? God knew that things were going to get worse for his young disciple. He knew that David would need something more to get him though his troubles with King Saul.

We Need Jonathan to Face Saul

Yehônātān- from (Yehovah) and (nathan); Jehovah-given[1] Jonathon was Jehovah-Given.

David was about to experience the worst imaginable betrayal. He was going to experience the gross injustice. Most men would crumble in the face of what David was to experience.

But for now, God gave to David Jonathon…

The Justice of God is about building His House, His Temple. One day Christ will reign on earth, and mishpat will be known throughout the world. The house of the righteous will flourish.

But for now, God gave to David Jonathan…

Injustice reigns in this world. The cries of orphans, of persecuted, of enslaved ascend to heaven. The house of the righteous is crumbling. The kings of this world have lifted their fist at God and said we do not need you. Justice is corrupt and only for the favored. Who will reach out to the oppressed, the forgotten?

But for now, God gave to David Jonathan…

I want to look at the Scriptural accounts of David and Jonathan, and perhaps we can discover how God used this relationship to effect mishpat, and in so doing build David’s House. From 1 Samuel:

1.   Jonathon’s Soul was knit to David

18:1 The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

2.   David was placed under the Authority of Saul’s House

18:2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.

3.   Jonathon made a covenant with David

18:3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

4.   Jonathon stripped himself and gave everything to David

18:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

  • Jonathon was commander of Saul’s army. (13:2) By giving his ‘robe’ to David, he was making David the commander of the Army.

5.   David had success in battle

18:5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

6.   Saul began to eye David and treat him badly

18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day on. (10) The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. (11) And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice. 1 Samuel 18:9-11 (ESV)

7.   Saul retreated into his own jealous world

18:15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. (16) But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them. 1 Samuel 18:15-16 (ESV)

8.   Saul devises a plot to do evil to David

18:21: Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law”. 1 Samuel 18:21 (ESV)

9.   David responds

18:27 David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king that he might become the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.

10.  Saul makes David his enemy

 18:28 But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, (29) Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually. 1 Samuel 18:27-29 (ESV)

11.  Saul decides to Kill David

19:1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. 1 Samuel 19:1 (ESV)

12.  David finally flees to the Priest.

19:18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. (19) And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 1 Samuel 19:18-19 (ESV)

13.  David flees to Jonathon

20:1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 1 Samuel 20:1 (ESV)

14.  David seeks Jonathan’s Help

20:3 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” (4) Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 1 Samuel 20:3-4 (ESV)

15.  Jonathan & David Covenant Together

20:13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. (14) If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; (15) and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” (16) And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD take vengeance on David’s enemies.” (17) And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 1 Samuel 20:13-17 (ESV)

16.  Saul Makes his Deadly Intentions Known

20:32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” (33) But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. (34) And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him. 1 Samuel 20:32-34 (ESV)

17.  David and Jonathan say Farewell

20:41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. (42) Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’ ” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. 1 Samuel 20:41-42 (ESV)

Application for Disciples

Who Does Saul Represent?

Saul was the King, but a King under the curse of sin. Therefore, Saul represents all those people we will encounter, who because of their position and their actions, would cause us to doubt the power and provision of God. Saul represents the Injustices of the World!

One day Jesus Christ will reign and justice will be throughout the world. But until that day, we are faced with living in a world that is under the curse of sin. That curse means that we will encounter injustice, even from people in authority over us.

You will be hurt by parents, by teachers, by administrators, by employers, by family, by Pastors. Injustice will try to kill your love for God. Injustice will depress, will defeat, will trip you up to the point of giving up.

Imagine young David, a hero in the mind of most of his brothers, anointed by Samuel to be the next King, having to flee Jerusalem to save his very life. The one trying to kill him is his King, the Lord’s anointed. He flees to Samuel, and Samuel cannot do anything.

Saul represents the injustices a young disciple will encounter as he sets out to follow God. Saul was protected in his position by God’s word. David, fearing God, could do nothing but run.

Along into this Injustice came Jonathan. He was Given to David by God.

Who Does Jonathan Represent?

Jonathan was a gift of God. He knit his soul to David; He gave up his robe, his reputation, his everything for the sake of David. He gifts to David. Those five gifts are a picture of grace, grace given to endure the injustice David was about to experience.

So who do you think Jonathan represents? Yes, Jesus Christ.

Jonathan is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (NIV)

Sometimes the trials of life become so great that we begin to doubt the power of God. We wonder if He really cares about what we are going through. When the ones who are causing the pain are one who are supposedly Christians, or parents, or children, or relatives, we want to give up on this God who obviously doesn’t care to set things right.

Jonathan’s Covenant

If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD take vengeance on David’s enemies”. And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 1 Samuel 20:14-17 (ESV)

Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’ ” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. 1 Samuel 20:42 (ESV)

What Discipleship Lessons Does David Teach Us?

1. Don’t Turn Away

Psalm 44:15-19 provides insight into David’s character

(15)  My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me, (16)  For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger. (17)  All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. (18)  Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; (19)  Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

Though David was sore broken in the place of dragons, he never forgot God, he never turned back, he always kept his feet on the path God had for him! How many modern day Christians can say the same!

2. Build Your House With the Forsaken

David did not allow the injustices of Saul to turn him away from God’s love and promises. The love of his friend Jonathan was a constant encouragement during the dark time of his flight from Saul. The words of David’s Covenant were never forgotten, and provided motivation to endure until God fulfilled His promises. Once justice was restored to David’s life, he immediately returned to building his house and honoring his word!

And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Samuel 9:1 (ESV)

“ …Is there no one still left…to whom I can show God’s kindness?” – 2 Samuel 9: 3

  • Ziba, the servant of Saul’s household, is brought before David and asked who is left of Saul’s family. He replies that there is someone, a man by the name of Mephibosheth.
  • He was born “Mireb Baal” meaning “opponent of Baal.”
  • Now his name was different. Mephibosheth meant “Son of Shame” all because that one day when everything changed.

“He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan [‘s death] came from Jezreel”. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth” – 2 Samuel 4:4

There are a great many people like Mephibosheth. They have been injured by someone else’s stumbling. They have been injured by injustice, by a Saul.

(The lameness we inflict may not be physical. It may be spiritual or emotional. Sometimes we injure without knowing what we have done to someone else.)

Ziba tells David that Mephibosheth is living in Lo Debar (literally “Place of no pasture”), far beyond the River Jordan.


David has Mephibosheth brought before him and then begins one of the most beautiful exchanges of the Old Testament:

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.

David said “Mephibosheth!”

“Your servant,” he replied.

“Do not be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

DAVID: He says, “Do not fear…” (Ever heard that phrase before?) The three promises include the man, the land, and the clan. When David did so, he was practicing the three things in which God delights (Jer 9:24)

  • HESED: The Man: David will show loving-kindness (unmerited favor) to Mephibosheth because of David’s relationship with Jonathan.
  • MISHPAT: The Land: David will restore to him all the land that Saul’s house owned.
  • TSEDAQAH: The Clan: David will treat him like his own son, including him in his family and allowing him to eat at his table.

These were all unconditional promises. Mephibosheth did not ask for them; they all came out of the goodness of David’s heart.

Conquering Saul is Done by Building Your House

Consider the Poor, David says.

Psa 41:1-2 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.  The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.

Consider Your Children

Psa 37:28  For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

Don’t Let Saul Give You An Excuse to Turn Away

Psa 119:121  I have done justice and righteousness: Leave me not to mine oppressors.

Discipleship Insight

Understanding that God provided a friend who has brought you into his house, so that he might help to make things right in a messed up world. Then, when you are made right through His love, it is your job to bring someone unfortunate into your house, and make things right for them.

Jesus came into this sin-sick world and called out: Is there anyone left to whom I can show the kindness of God?

Then He sought out the poor, the broken, the blind, the lame, and the needy. He brought them into His house and showered His love upon them through His death upon the Cross. Now He is in Heaven, building many mansions, calling to us: Is there anyone left who can show the Kindness of God to a lost and dying world?

Covenant Love

  • Comfort in time of Confusion and Uncertainty
  • Encouragement when things are going against us
  • Refuge in the midst of a Storm

Covenant Love

  • Sees us through the injustices of Life
  • The bridge to a forgiving heart
  • Enables us to Endure

Covenant Love

  • Seeks to provide Justice where there is injustice
  • Opens our Heart to the Lame and Undeserving
  • Enlarges its House with the poor and needy.

Jesus knit His Soul with ours. He wants us to reach out for His Lost Children

A trucker was yawning as he passed through rural North Carolina on Interstate 95. Only two more hours of driving, and then a good meal, some TV, a call home, and a warm bed. Most days on the road were like that–not quite as glamorous as some  Country-western singers suggest. A brown sedan entered the highway just ahead and began weaving back and forth between lanes, causing the trucker to throw his rig into a lower gear. At first he thought it was a drunk, but as the trucker came closer, he saw it was an older man shaking uncontrollably. The trucker was wide awake now. The car swerved violently, whipping its CB antenna like a fishing rod. “That’s it,” thought the trucker, “the CB.” So he called in, “You in the brown Chevy, if you can hear me, pull over. Pull off the road!” Amazingly, the car slowed down and pulled to a stop alongside the road. The trucker pulled up behind him and jumped out of his cab. The elderly man staggered from his car and fell into the trucker’s hands. On a rock on the side of Interstate 95, the older man poured out his story of months of fear and pain that accompanied the illness of his only daughter. He was returning now from the hospital where she had revealed that she had decided to cease any further treatment. In the hospital, each put on a face of stoic strength. But out on the road, it had suddenly come over him, and waves of tears and grief overwhelmed him. The encounter was over in less than an hour. Wrenching sobs gave way to serenity, to a warm embrace, and to a new resolve to share pain rather than deny it.

 The trucker offered a simple prayer and they resumed their journeys. For 50 miles they traveled in tandem, the young trucker using the CB to voice words of encouragement to his new friend. Finally, the trucker announced his exit was next. The trucker said farewell, and asked if his friend could make it the rest of the way. Suddenly, a third voice could be heard across the airwaves. “Breaker 19, don’t worry, good buddy. Go your way. I’ll see him home!” Glancing in his rearview mirror, the trucker saw a livestock truck move into the exit lane behind the brown sedan. –From a sermon by Norm Lawson[2]

Remember the Forgotten Children of Eritrea living in the Mai Ayni Refugee Camp.

[1] James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “3083”

As a young boy, David prayed to the unseen, invisible God who met with him out in the fields near Bethlehem, as David kept watch over his father’s herds of goat and sheep. It was an important job, but a dirty job nonetheless. David would not be able to worship at Jerusalem, for most of the time he would be unclean due to the bloody and dirty duties of a shepherd. Most families hired out this job, but David volunteered. His older brothers said, sure, go ahead and be a dirty shepherd. We will go off to fight a war with the Philistines.

It was there, in the loneliness of the fields, that David grew to know this awesome, invisible God.

One day he got into trouble. Perhaps it was wild animals, perhaps it was thieves, but he found himself in danger. In that foxhole of danger, this young boy looked up to heaven and cried out:

Psalms 25:1-5 (NIV) 1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4 Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

David declared His trust and hope in this invisible God. He declared that this invisible God was his Savior. However, David wanted much more than salvation, much more than deliverance from a treacherous situation. David declared his lifelong devotion to know and understand this awesome invisible God.

He cried, “Show me your ways O Lord, and teach me your paths”.

David said, “I not only need saving right now, I need to know your paths for my life. I want to understand your ways O Lord, so that I can walk in your paths”.

I have often said that the decisions you make as a young man or woman will determine where you will end up when you are in your 50’s. Those decisions have life altering effect.

Here is this message in video:

Little did David realize what he was asking for, how much trouble and pain he was going to endure to know the ways of God. God showed this young man His ways. Moreover, David records a summary of what he had learned, something that I have been talking about the last couple of weeks.

Psalms 33:5 (ESV) He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

Psalms 89:14 (ESV) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

David saw that the ways of God center upon hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah. Little did that young boy know that by asking to know the ways of God, and to walk in his paths, that those paths would lead to the Throne over all Israel. Moreover, because of that one little decision that David made as a young boy, this is what God’s Word says about David’s reign:

2 Samuel 8:15 (HCSB) So David reigned over all Israel, administering justice and righteousness for all his people.

In addition, because of that young boy’s decision, he would one day lead his “House” in declaring:

Psalms 106:1-3 (ESV) 1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? 3 Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

From David’s Last Words

2 Samuel 23:5 (NKJV) “Although my house is not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire (ḥēp̠eṣ), will He not make it increase (ṣemaḥ)?

  1. Heart (For all my desire)
  2. House (A Covenant with me and my House)
  3. Hope (He will make it Grow)

Discipleship MUST FOCUS on three areas of your life:

  1. Your Desire. (For this is all my salvation and all my desire)
  2. Your Dependants. (Responsible for your House)
  3. Your Development. (Will He not make it grow?)

God’s Plan for Discipleship…

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV) 23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Discipleship requires a Choice…

The spirit of Babylon is diametrically opposed to being a disciple. The spirit of Babylon will trip you up on your journey to gain Christ!

Wise Man – Boasts in Wisdom – Splendor (God employed wisdom as His master craftsman to create all things[1] (Psalms 104:24 (ESV) O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.)

Mighty Man – Boasts in Might – Status

Rich Man – Boasts in Riches – Success

Here God takes direct aim at the spirit of Babylon and says it has no place among His people. These cannot be any part of His Discipleship plan! Then He says, if you are going to boast, boast in this, that you understand and know me, that you know what I delight in!

Discipleship should lead us to delight in what God Delights in, to knowing and understanding God!

David’s First Words

He Desires to be a Mighty Tree

Psalms 1:1-6 (ESV) 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Walk not in the counsel of sinner – Do not get seduced by the ‘splendor of this world and its wisdom and beauty’. They will infect your heart and your desires.

Do not stand in the way of sinners – do not be caught up in what they think brings status and worth; do not hang around them and what they go after. You may think that it is just a little fun, that no one will get hurt, or you deserve it. But do you want that in your HOUSE? Will it bring your HOUSE closer to God?

Do not sit in the seat of the scorners-do not think because you have success that you can scoff at God. When you sit in the seat of the scorners you no longer develop the virtue of Christ, you no longer have Christ as your Hope. You become worthless to God!


The root system of the redwood tree is surprisingly shallow, especially given the great height the mature tree attains. There is no taproot and the other roots may reach no deeper than 6-12 feet. The major roots are about 1 inch in diameter. And they typically spread 50 to 80 feet. One way in which the trees are able to remain upright for millennia is by growing close together with other redwood trees, intermingling root systems. In the picture below, a number of redwoods crowd together in a typical grove.[2]

Chose to be Disciple or become Worthless to God

2 Samuel 23:6 (NASB) “But the worthless (belîya‘al), every one of them will be thrust away like thorns, because they cannot be taken in hand;

Belîya‘al. Worthlessness. Belial from belî and yaʿal: “not, without” and “to be of use, worth, or profit”. This concept of Belial became a proper name for the prince of evil, Satan, in the pseudepigraphal literature, the Zadokite Document, and the War Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls. See also 2 Cor. 6:15 and 2 Thes. 2:3[3].

What Does God Delight in?

  • Lovingkindness – Hesed
  • Justice – Mishpat
  • Righteousness – Tsedaqah

‏These are God’s Covenant Virtues

חֶסֶד‎ HESED

Hesed is the active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those with whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Unfailing Love)  

This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament, and is especially frequent in the Psalms. Is that any surprise since the Psalms were written by a man after God’s Heart.

Hesed has three components working together: “strength”, “steadfastness”, and “love”. Take one away and His hesed is not complete. Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness.

Ḥesed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.

Marital love is often related to hesed. The prophet Hosea applies the analogy to Yahweh’s hesed to Israel within the covenant (e.g., Hosea 2:21). Hence, “devotion” is sometimes the single English word best capable of capturing the nuance of the original. The RSV attempts to bring this out by its translation, “steadfast love”.[4]

However, ḥesed is not only a matter of obligation; it is also of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but also of mercy. Hesed describes God’s devotion to those He has a relationship with. It is an active, seeking love that is based upon strength and resolve. It is devotion of the heart. Hesed comes from the very heart of God! It is His desire for His people!

Hesed is the Active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving-kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Jim Tompkins)

Hesed is the Heart & Desire of God

Jesus Christ on the Cross is the visible expression of the Heart and Desire of God! Discipleship begins with our Heart and our Desires committed to following God’s Heart and God’s Desires!

The Spirit of Babylon (Satan) seeks to steal your devotion away from God by corrupting your heart by the foolish wisdom of man and the corrupted splendor of the world. He wants you to desire what this world has to offer! He wants you to think your desires are OK and actually wise!

When Satan tempted Christ to turn the stones into bread so He could eat, Satan was using the most simple, basic splendor of this world to cause our Savior to sin. However, Jesus demonstrated the hesed of God when He refused, Matthew 4:4 (ESV) But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”  Our Life is not in the Splendor of the things that this world has, even basic splendor like Bread.

Our Life is in the Splendor of God and His Word, for it expresses the Hesed of His heart! So when your Heart and your desires desire God’s hesed above all, you will begin your discipleship journey!

‏מִשְׁפָּט‎ mishpāṭ

Mishpat is God’s Kingdom design in place within man through the reign of Christ in our hearts. His Kingdom design must grow to encompass our life, our family, our church –  our ‘House’. (Justice)

Mishpat begins in the external and transforms the internal (Describes the design and function of the Tabernacle)

God has a Kingdom in His heart, a kingdom of justice, of order, a kingdom that is at work in heaven and his desire is for it to be so on earth.

The Tabernacle was an earthly type of the Justice that God seeks on the earth. (Exodus 26:30; 1 Kings 6:38; and Ezekiel 42:11 this word is used in reference to the design of the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and the future temple prophesied by Ezekiel, respectively. Significantly, in all these passages it refers to the design or arrangement of God’s dwelling place.)

When His Son came to earth, He did what was necessary to empower this justice on earth. One day He will claim this inheritance and establish God’s Justice on earth. Until that day, we as His children, have an earthly tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit dwells. God can establish His justice in our lives. His Son can reign in our hearts and everywhere our foot trods. Mishpāṭ, as justice, i.e. rightness rooted in God’s character, ought to be an attribute of man in general and of judicial process among them (Psalm 106:37).

Mishpat expresses the nature of God and the demands of God. He desires His mishpat to reign on earth, and to reign in the hearts of mankind. His mishpat is what condemns us; His mishpat is what Jesus Christ satisfied upon the Cross. When God’s mishpat reigns in your heart through faith in Jesus Christ, you stand before God uncondemned. You have standing before God. You have the very ear of God because you delight in the mishpat of Jesus Christ!

Your standing in mishpat is for the benefit of your House, for your dependants. Jesus died to bring many sons to salvation. Jesus desired to bring mishpat to His House, this earth, and right now is building mansions for us to bring to the New Earth where He will rule over His House in mishpat!

mishpāṭ. This justice is primarily an attribute of God all true mishpāṭ finding its source in God himself and therefore carrying with it his demand. “When therefore the Scripture speaks of the mishpāṭ of God, as it frequently does, the word has a particular shade of meaning and that is not so much just statutes of God as the just claims of God. God, who is the Lord, can demand and He does demand” (Koehler, OT Theology, pp. 205-206). All the right (justice, authority, etc.) there is his, “because Jehovah is the God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18, cf. Genesis 18:2

Satan tempted Christ to throw himself from the tower overlooking Jerusalem. Certainly, God would honor His word and protect His own son, as Psalms said. Satan was saying, OK, if you live by the Word of God, let me see if you really believe. However, Jesus responded by quoting Deut 6:16, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”.

Jesus realized something that we need to embrace. God’s mishpat reigns! God desires to order this world according to His mishpat. It begins in our heart and our life. It is not to be scoffed at, questioned, and argued with. God is not someone you can trifle with and presume upon His mercy (hesed). God’s Justice is certain.

Even Jesus, the only son of God was not about to presume upon God’s mercy if He fell from the tower. Jesus knew that His Father was Just, and His Mishpat would reign.

You must understand that God delights in Justice. He delights in proper standing with Him. We have no proper standing with God. We have no special status with God. God’s justice is totally blind, even when it came to his son. So for you to seek after status and hope it will put you in better standing with God is ridiculous. You are tempting the Lord God. You have no concept of what He is about. You are doomed, and your house will be in shambles!

When the mishpat of God is the standing and status you seek for yourself and your house; your dependents will be established along with you in the House of God! When you desire Right Standing before God, this is the beginning of discipleship!


Because of our right relationship with God, we are free to embrace His righteousness. His righteousness transforms our lives and our environment. The righteousness of Christ within prevails and causes us to outwardly triumph!

Right Behavior and Attitudes that grow from a Right Relationship.

Conquering Righteousness In Action

Tsedaqa begins in the internal and transforms the external.(JT)

The difference between mishpat and tsedaqa is that mishpat begins in the external and transforms the internal. God’s justice becomes ingrained in our character. Tsedaqa begins in the internal and transforms the external. The justice of God in our heart becomes righteousness that transforms our lives and our environment. Inner righteousness prevails and causes us to outwardly triumph!

Tṣedāqâh implies relationship. A man is righteous when he meets certain claims which another has on him in virtue of relationship”. It is that which “triumphs and prospers” deliverance, salvation or triumph — tṣedāqâh (reaches, relates, rewards– delivers, saves and causes to triumph) The word describes the attitude and actions God had and expected His people to maintain. He is unequivocally righteous;

Satan’s third temptation was to show Jesus all the Kingdoms of the World and their glory. Satan would give all these to Jesus if He would fall down and worship him. Jesus. Matthew 4:8-10 (ESV) 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve”.

Satan was offering Christ “SUCCESS” without the sacrifice of the Cross. God was going to give Jesus all the Nations, so why not go ahead with what Satan wanted.

Christ had a purpose, to worship His Father God with His life. Christ came to serve His Father in fulfilling His will. That was SUCCESS to Christ, serving His Father, whatever it cost, even his life. Success is in Development into what God desires for our life. Success is based upon being conformed to the Hope of Jesus Christ!

So let us build the Foundational Wall of David Discipleship.

A Disciple is one whose Heart is given to God, whose Status is in Christ, whose Life is Developing into Jesus Christ, and every aspect of his life is based upon the Hope of Jesus Christ.

The World says Seek Splendor, all the beauty and bling the world can offer. The world says to promote yourself, seek status even if it means the sacrifice of your family. The world says seek success and display it to the world, the more you have the more successful you are. You can be a Christian without being a disciple.

We find Jeremiah 9:24 in the New Testament as well.

Jer 9:24 is in SALVATION: Ephesians 2:8-10

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  

‘By grace you have been saved’ is God’s hesed, ‘we are His workmanship’ is his mishpat, ‘good works…walk in them’ is His tsedaqah! These are the foundational virtues of His Covenant of Salvation through the Blood and Body of Jesus Christ!

Jesus Puts Discipleship in perspective:

Discipleship is a Feast that you must sacrifice to attend

Luke 14:12-33 (ESV) 12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” 15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him,(Status) ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, (Success) ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, (Splendor) ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor (success/righteous) and crippled (standing/justice) and blind (splendor/singleness of desire) and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ” 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

The ones that were initially invited to the feast gave excuses which corresponded to the three ‘Spirit of Babylon’ components. The three temptations of Christ focused on those very same things. In response to the declined invitations, the servants were told to go and seek poor people, for they are open to the success of God through His righteousness. They realize they have no righteousness of their own. They invited the crippled and lame, for they realize their need for God’s status, for they have no standing of their own. Then they invited the blind, for they would be most open to seeing the Splendor of God. They are not distracted by the splendor of man.

Many ask to be excused because they have been infected with the ‘spirit of Babylon’. Discipleship begins with a heart given totally to God and His desires. There can be no ‘hold backs’! There can be no hesitation. Discipleship begins with a need for Jesus Christ to be our life!

Discipleship begins with a Decision to Yoke and Learn

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV) 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Rest which is given –  Rest which must be found

Discipleship is never given. It is granted only as you let go of those thorns of Babylon and take His yoke, and learn of Him!

If you try to put the yoke on and still have some thorns, that yoke will hurt. It will be so uncomfortable. You will not last. However, if those thorns are cast down, you will discover his burden is light, his yoke is easy.

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 (diapragmateúomai)[5];

Do you want to trade your life, your comfort for Jesus?

[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 337.

[3] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “246: ‏בָּלָה‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 111.

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

[5] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “megauploaddiapragmateúomai”.