Posts Tagged ‘Fear’


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”.


Advertisements

We experienced the ‘Blizzard of the Century’ last week in Kansas City. Actually it was no big deal, because I remember snows like it when I was in 4th – 7th grades. But it was the most snow we had seen at one time since those years. The snow and low temperatures combined for peak demand and slow delivery of propane. I was greeted with a call on Friday that we were out of propane at church. We had a ‘failure to communicate’ experience with our new propane provider. Calling them twice, even speaking to the owner only confirmed our fears, there was no way to get propane to us on such short notice. They were backlogged over a week with other frantic customers. My calls to other propane providers confirmed the backlog.

A subdued (ha!) panic came upon me as I told Gary “This is a disaster! We’ll have to cancel church because the church will be too cold!” (Inwardly I was saying, how could this happen?) I remember Gary saying, “All we can do is pray!” and pray he did. However, my fleshly business man self went to work, trying to figure out a way out of this ‘disaster’. When I found out the Fellowship hall was heated with an electric furnace, I figured we could at least have church in the basement. All we need to do is cancel Sunday School, and all meet together for worship. Glory, the day is saved! So I hurriedly made a phone tree announcement about the change in the Sunday service. I was still ‘anxious’, but at least we had made the best of a bad situation. My ‘Jacob’ character had figured out what to do. (Jacob is a picture of the fleshly, business savvy Jew, trusting not in God but his own strength. I am a lot like Jacob).

Within a couple of hours of my phonetree call, I received the message that our propane supplier had juggled things and could get to us Saturday morning. That was great news, but now what would people think when they get another call saying everything was OK again. So I decided to wait until Saturday and MAKE SURE we had heat before calling. I made the call, Sunday came, and everything was OK.

Monday morning I read a devotion from a devotional book I have been reading since 1972, “Table in the Wilderness” by Watchman Nee. You would think I had learned this by now, but no, God constantly has to deal with my natural self! The verse focused upon was John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; MY PEACE I give unto you”. I was reminded that I have been given the deep undisturbed peace of God. No matter the chaos going on in this world, God always maintains His peace. He is sovereign, and His purpose is always accomplished. I was reminded of Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

By reacting to the lack of propane in my flesh, I threw the peace of God out the door! I ignored the ‘Peace Guards’ protecting my heart! God knew all along what was going on with our propane tank. Being empty wasn’t a ‘disaster’ to Him! He never lost His peace! Why did I?

Kenneth Wuest translates Philippians 4:7 this way: “the peace of God which surpasses all power of comprehension, shall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

When I focused on the ‘disaster’, I opened my heart to the enemies of God’s peace. I allowed the enemies of panic, worry, dread, pride, anxiety, and fear to assault my heart! God has placed His ‘Peace Guards’ as a protective garrison for my heart. His ‘Peace Guards’ are there to keep my heart from those sins which reflect a lack of trust in God! Yet with one phone call I knocked the sentries down and opened my heart up to fleshly emotions and fears that robbed me of my confidence in God!

I learned a valuable lesson! Call on the Peace Guard’s whenever we are confronted with a ‘disastrous’ situation. God never loses His cool! His ‘peace guards’ surround and garrison our heart so we don’t need to lose our cool either! Are God’s ‘Peace Guards’ stationed around your heart?


Parable of the Oppressed Widow

1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1-8

This parable teaches us five things which are to be an integral part of our Christian walk:

  1. Always pray
  2. Never give up
  3. Pray earnestly for God’s Justice in the world
  4. God will give justice when His people cry day and night.
  5. Praying for justice for the oppressed takes great faith.

What is the connection between Justice and Faith?

Justice is not an easy thing to seek. It seems the closer we get involved with people and neighbors, the more injustices we see. Parents who neglect and even abuse their children. People who are oppressed with addictions. Politicians who seek to line their own pockets and the pockets of their contributors rather than benefit the people. Preachers who bend the truth of God rather than alienate big givers. Manufacturer’s who take advantage of cheap labor, even children in foreign countries. I could go on and on. Most of us have experienced injustice ourselves.

It can be a false accusation, a stinging insult, a theft of something precious, an abusive public official, an inconsiderate neighbor. We even experience injustice within our families, with abuse, mistreatment, mishandling of money, fighting over inheritance.

The is injustice aplenty in this world. People right now are imprisoned, or being forced to work as slaves, or forced to serve as child soldiers, and many are being murdered simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Justice and Faith are Vitally Connected

In Revelations we find a strange situation. Previous martyrs are crying out to God to avenge their deaths. They desire to see His justice on earth. Instead of rushing to see their satisfaction, God tells them to be patient, and to know that several more will die.

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. Revelation 6:9-11

God told them that there were going to be more martyrs. The number was not yet complete. He told them to rest a little while longer.

That is not what we want to hear. We want the injustice to stop. We want the murdering to stop. We want the abuse, the slavery the torture to stop! But God says to REST a little longer!

The connection between justice and faith is that while we long for justice, while we plead day and night for justice, we must NEVER lose faith that God is in control, that God knows exactly what is going on. We must have faith that God cares deeply about the injustices in this world. But God has a plan and that plan will be accomplished in His time!

The Importance of Faith

Revelations reveals further that God has a plan, and we must patiently endure and be faithful to Him, regardless of the circumstances.

If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. Revelation 13:10

Good Samaritan’s must plead and come to the aid of the oppressed, but we must never, never, never lose faith that God is in control! We must be patient and faithful as we wait for His throne to complete His work!

Who is an Intercessor?

The picture of an intercessor is found in Rom 8:26:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

  • An intercessor helps – sunantilambanō, made up of sun, “together with,” anti “over against,” and lambanō, “to take.”

The word speaks of the action of a person coming to another’s aid by taking hold over against that person, of the load he is carrying. The person helping does not take the entire load, but helps the other person in his endeavor.

So, the Holy Spirit who indwells us comes to our aid in our spiritual problems and difficulties, not by taking over our responsibility and giving us an automatic deliverance without any effort on our part, but by taking hold of us, giving us His peace and power and help to allow us to work out our problems and overcome our difficulties.

The word “infirmities is astheneia, “want of strength, weakness.” It is the same word used for the sick people that Jesus healed.[1]

  • An intercessor pleads (huperentugchanō)

 

It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who ‘happens on’ one who is in trouble, and ‘in his behalf’ pleads on behalf of his needs, because he does not know how to express or is too weak to cry out for help.

Are you an Intercessor?

You may say no, but I know you have been an intercessor before. You have had a sick child before, or a sick friend or loved one. You came beside them, comforted them. You cried unto God for their healing.

You may have even done something like what Joyce Moore did in Thailand, throw yourself over someone who was being beaten.

Do not say you can not be an intercessor. An intercessor is simply someone who sees someone weak, in trouble, oppressed, and you come along side them, take some of the load and pray to God or plead with a Doctor, or an authority, on their behalf.

Why is it important that we all be intercessors?

Our eyes will be opened to see God’s power and His role in bringing His Justice to this world!

Let’s see how this worked in David’s life as we read from his Psalms:

  • Ps 69:1-3 – He is in dire straits. He is weary of crying out, he is to the point of giving up on God.
  • Ps 70:1-6 – He needs God quickly, the troubles are still great, but he is exalting God
  • Ps 71:1-5 – He has taken refuge inGod, his deliverer. He is confident of God’s power.
  • Ps 72:1-4, 12-14 – He desires God’s justice to reign in the land. He has a heart sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.

The best intercessors are those who have experienced the deliverance of God in their life! Always keep your focus on the power of Christ to change lives, to deliver the lost.

You may have a child in the bondage of sin, you may have a loved one in the bondage of sin, don’t make excuses for your cold heart, get a vision of them crying out in Hell for all eternity, crying out for you, think about that til your cold heart is melted and you are on your knees crying out to God for their souls.

When Jesus comes back will he find faith in the earth?

He will if we take being intercessors seriously!

Why should we be concerned for Justice in the World?

  • Your heart for Justice reveals your heart for God!

Consider what Micah wrote:

6 “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly (righteousness) with your God? Micah 6:6-8

Jeremiah reveals that there are three things that God delights in, and if we are to boast in anything, it is in that we understand God’s nature.

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.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

God DELIGHTS IN Justice

  • Deuteronomy 10:17-19 – For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 16:19-20 – You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
  • Deuteronomy 27:19 ‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
  • Deuteronomy 32:4 – “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
  • Psalms 33:5 – He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

We are Commanded to Seek Justice, to Intercede on behalf of the weak and oppressed

  • 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalms 82:3-4
  • 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. Psalms 146:5-8
  • 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:16-17
  • 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Hebrews 11:32-33

The Good Samaritan did three things that demonstrated the nature of God.

  1. He showed mercy on his wounded enemy.
  2. He demonstrated his own personal righteousness by stopping to offer help regardless of the cost or the consequences.
  3. He used his time and possessions to restore justice to his enemy.

Now think about what Jesus did for you…

  1. He showed mercy on you, wounded and dying from sin, his enemy.
  2. He demonstrated His righteousness by doing whatever it took, regardless of the cost, knowin it would take his total humiliation and horrible death.
  3. He used his time and His total self to restore justice to his enemies.

Our view of the Good Samaritan is hopefully going to produce the following changes in us:

  1. As Christ Followers, we must get close enough to people to see their needs, even those who we would not normally get close to. Our focus determines how we regard our time and possessions. We invest them in showing God’s mercy to the weak and needy. Our focus and investment reveals our heart of mercy.
  2. As Christ followers, we have a responsibility to watch out and protect those who are weak, hurting and sick. Our heart for the sick reveals our heart for our Savior. We invest our time and possessions in bringing righteousness to the weak and needy. If we are righteous before God, we can offer righteousness to the sick and weak and diseased.
  3. As Christ Followers, when we get close enough to people to see their needs, we will also discover the injustices in this world. We share God’s desire to see His justice upon all people. We invest our time and possessions in seeking justice for the weak and oppressed and enslaved. Our focus and investment reveals whether we are intercessors for justice.

Why Does the World need Intercessors?

29 Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. 30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” Ezekiel 22:29-31

God despises those who oppress the weak, and rob the land of justice. People who suffer oppression have three forces affecting their state of mind, robbing them of their ability to see God and His power. God seeks people who will stand in the gap and take up the cause of the oppressed, and cry out for justice.

There are three harsh realities faced by oppressed people such as these.

1.  First reality is a state of helplessness.

Gary Haugen, founder of a group called International Justice Mission, or IJM, surveyed seventy religious organizations that operate relief and development programs.

Every single agency polled said that throughout the course of their work around the world they encountered “serious situations of abuse … *including+ forced labor, sex trafficking, corrupt seizure of land, and corruption in the public justice system.”[2] Unfortunately, when aid workers tried to confront the injustices they saw, they received little to no help from local authorities. David drew this observation:

The absence of an effective public justice system blocks every step the poor take to change their social condition. For example, the staff of a renowned aid and relief agency reported to IJM that coercive labor was undermining its efforts in Southeast Asia to enroll kids in school. Young children were being forced to roll cigarettes for seventy to eighty hours per week or to weave carpets in makeshift factories. Though these practices are illegal throughout the region, the guardians of the law look the other way. If they refuse to stop the slave owners, to whom can the children turn for help?[3]

Talk about a state of helplessness! Just imagine if that were your child. Suppose your eight-year-old daughter was denied enrollment in your neighborhood elementary school and was then forced by threat of violence to roll cigarettes for ten to twelve hours a day. And then suppose that when you as the parent rushed to the police chief to register your complaint and demand your child’s freedom and insist that she be allowed her rightful education, rather than jumping into a squad car to go arrest the perpetrator of this injustice, he simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

Would you feel helpless?

2.  Second reality is the state of hopelessness.

Joyce and David Moore could have simply been another tourist in Thailand, gone home, and wiped the injustice of that country out of their minds. After all, the situation was hopeless. What could they do?

With Jesus Christ we are never hopeless. They sold everything they had and moved to Thailand. We support Joyce and David as they do what they can to bring the Hope of the Gospel of Christ to boys and girls who were hopeless.

Are they stopping the injustice, the slavery, the abuse? Not totally. But they are making a difference. They aren’t closing their eyes, they are interceding on behalf of the hopeless.

What are you doing? Who has the hope of heaven because of your intercession?

Jesus Christ descended from heaven to earth in order to bring hope to the hopeless, regardless which continent they call home. And I, like you, would feel utterly and completely hopeless if I were staring at the prospect of either starving my entire family or selling one child into slavery. I would feel hopeless upon selling that child as I considered her prospects for the future: What do you suppose becomes of a twelve- or fourteen-year-old virgin who begins prostituting herself lest she face beatings and even death?

These are seemingly hopeless situations.

3.  Third reality is a state of fear.

In 1993, a Pastor Keith Grimes (head of TTT, Teaching Teachers to Teach) visited Kalingalinga, Zambia, and he heard about its great pride: its singing boys. He auditioned scores of them to form a choir to tour the United States. He called it the Zambian Acappella Boys Choir (ZABC).

The choir generated huge donations. One ministry budget statement that CT obtained reveals that the choir in one year brought in $1 million.

The rosy promises made to the choirboys before they left home turned into a nightmare for them in America. For nineteen months, the boys were made to sing four to seven concerts a day. If they were tired or sick, they would be threatened. When not singing, they were made to dig a swimming pool hole at the headquarters by hand. They were housed in a trailer. If they complained about anything, their “boss” would cut off the gas so they could not cook. Denied any medical care, several of the boys became seriously ill. When they were much later rescued and given check-ups, three of the boys proved to have positive tuberculosis.

Pastor Grimes told parents that American donations would fund the construction of local schools. Moreover, their boys would receive cash stipends that they could send back home. While on tour, his staff would provide tutoring for the boys, and upon their return to Zambia, they would be the first students in a newly built schoolhouse.

The boys kept singing in the hope that some of the funds collected were being sent home to ease the poverty of their families. After more than a year of bad treatment, the boys realized that no money had been sent home to their families. They began to resist their “boss” who quickly moved to deport the three oldest boys.

His crime unraveled when the U.S. Department of Immigration officials began to question the boys and discovered what had happened. At first, it was hard for officials to believe that a choir had been caught up in human trafficking and exploitation.

After direct conversations with Pastor Grimes, it seemed the case would be dismissed because there were no signs of shackles or bruises on the boys’ bodies. And because lawful contracts had been signed, even though none of the people who signed them had a clue what those contracts said.

A constant state of fear is all that these boys knew. Fear of being abused if they misbehaved. Fear of being sent back to Zambia penniless if they happened to fall ill. Fear of the temper of a man named “Pastor.” Fear for their families back home. And to think that these fear-stricken boys were ushered from church to church, day after day after day, forced to sing about God’s grace and love and peace—does that idea make anyone else sick?

GOD’S EXPECTATION FOR HOW VULNERABLE PEOPLE CAN BE PROTECTED

Psalm 82:3-4 – “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them” (MSG).

Defend the defenseless; make sure underdogs get a fair break; stand up for the powerless; prosecute all those who exploit them—these are the expectations that God has of his followers, the church of Jesus Christ: defend, stand up for, prosecute. Sounds like a pretty tall order to me. Does it to you?

Even very small steps can lead to very big progress where slavery and injustice are concerned. We can start small. We just must start. Will you ask God for ONE person you can be an intercessor for?


[1]Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 1: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament.

[2] A.David Batstone, Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It. HarperCollins 2007, p. 84.

[3] Ibid.


Back before there were vaccinations and skilled Physicians, there was the Power of God’s Word, and Faith in God. While wise use of medicine and Doctors is certainly a great way to stay healthy, perhaps we should also consider what David learned way back when…He set his love and trust upon God. He desired to know the Power of His Name.

I thank God for Doctor’s who are conscientious and caring. I even have a son who is an MD, and I certainly love him, but when it comes to our health, first and foremost we should set our heart upon the God who created this world, and you and me. Open your heart and hands to His power to save. He is the first vaccination we should seek.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. Psalms 91:1-16 (KJV)


Abram Had his doubtsAbram behaved as a True Elder Brother when he went after and rescued his nephew Lot. The Elder Brother is to be the responsible one, and protect the family. He spared no expense in rescuing his nephew. Yet after wards, he did a very ‘un-elderly brother’ thing when he refused the loot offered by the King of Sodom. This is what made Abram a Godly Elder Brother – his focus was on his relationship with the Father, not on “stuff”.

But he must have had his doubts. It is hard for Elder Brothers to not think ‘practically’. That is why God appeared to him in Genesis 15:1,

“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

God never wastes words. He would not have told Abram not to fear if fear was not in his heart. Perhaps he was afraid his following this invisible Jehovah was a waste. After all, Jehovah had still not provided him with an heir. What kind of God is that? So he complained to Jehovah:

“O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”

Abram the Elder Brother was responsible, obedient and childless. His labors would all be in vain if he had no heir. So fear was in his heart. Do I keep following Jehovah, or return to the gods of my forefathers? After all, Abram began life as an idolater in a foreign land.

milky-wayGod could see the fear and hesitation in his heart, just as He sees the fear and hesitation in every Elder Brothers heart. So Jehovah took Abram outside and showed him the Milky Way. “Your descendants will be as many as the stars!” In that moment, Abram believed Jehovah, and it was counted unto him as righteousness.

A simple display and Word from Jehovah was all it took to dispel the fear in Abrams heart. When fear gripped his heart and he started to lean on his own understanding, he looked to the stars and believed the Word of God!

Abram Believed God

Elder Brothers, if you have doubts and fears about your labors and what good they are, open the Word of God and look for His promises to you. Ask Him for a special Word that will dispel the fear from your heart. Elder Brothers mask their insecurities with hard work, tasks and accomplishments. Yet inwardly we are beset by fear and doubt. Is this all worth while? Will anyone appreciate what I have done when I am gone? Will my children realize all I have sacrificed for them?

Look to the heavens, and hear the Word of Jehovah! His love for you is overwhelming. He is building His Kingdom on the backs of His faithful and hardworking Elder Brothers. We are the ones who must rescue our captured kinsmen.

Father: Open my heart to hearing your assuring voice, open my eyes to see your wondrous power!