Posts Tagged ‘rebellion’


Discipleship Leads to the Battlefield

Former president Ronald Reagan once had an aunt who took him to a cobbler for a pair of new shoes. The cobbler asked young Reagan, “Do you want square toes or round toes?” Unable to decide, Reagan didn’t answer, so the cobbler gave him a few days. Several days later the cobbler saw Reagan on the street and asked him again what kind of toes he wanted on his shoes. Reagan still couldn’t decide, so the shoemaker replied, “Well, come by in a couple of days. Your shoes will be ready.” When the future president did so, he found one square-toed and one round-toed shoe! “This will teach you to never let people make decisions for you,” the cobbler said to young Ronald. “I learned right then and there,” Reagan said later, “if you don’t make your own decisions, someone else will.” Today in the Word, MBI, August, 1991, p. 16.

Discipleship begins with a decision. Discipleship continues with that same daily decision. If you fail to make that decision, this world makes it for you, and you will find yourself far from the Discipleship path.

The decision you must make and continue to make is, “what is the most important thing in my life?” Ask yourself, What am I building my life around? What is so important to me that I want to learn and understand everything about it? You may answer, “many things”. But at each of our lives there are some core values that are more important than anything else.

Millions of people went shopping the past couple of days. Most of them studied the adds, went on-line to find out where the best deals were. The media says we wait all year for this time, as if our Christmas depended upon it.

That is the influence of the world, of Babylon. Christmas is no longer about Jesus Christ, about salvation, about a supernatural life that He gives. Christmas is about getting the best deals on stuff that most people will throw away in a few years.

The elevation of “Black Friday” required a decision on the part of a small number of people, and because the rest of us were silent, the decision was made for us. We allowed ourselves to be influenced and so now many Christians are our Thanksgiving Day looking for bargains. And while Thanksgiving is not an official “Biblical” Holiday, it is in danger of becoming a non-day, overtaken by the commercialism of Christmas.

The same thing happened with the blue laws (stores not open on Sunday-to honor the Lord’s Day) a few years back. A small group of people decided the blue laws were archaic, and because Christians did not object, people no longer see the harm of shopping and eating on Sunday. Now we even have school and sports activities on Sunday. The disrespect for the Lord’s Day has continued to the extent that we now have a generation of children growing up who know nothing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We now have to remind people of the real reason for Christmas.

Discipleship indeed begins with a decision, but failure to maintain that decision can disqualify you from the discipleship path. You must decide that God is more important than anything and everything in your life. He is so important that you want to learn everything about Him. You want to even understand Him, what He delights in, how He works.  Everyday you must choose to make God the most important person in your life. So important that He changes the way you do life.

  • Discipleship begins with a decision to seek the heart of God!
  • Discipleship continues when you decide to allow His heart to affect the desires of your heart.

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (ESV)

An Insight into “seek”

Yet the LORD set (hasaq) his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Deuteronomy 10:15 (ESV)

Set (& Seek) is the word hasaq. It literally means to bind oneself to. It pictures a man who has become attracted to a captive woman or slave and now he wants to bind himself to her in marriage. It is a binding of the heart to one whom is the object of your desires.

God chose Abraham and set His heart on him. God delighted in him to the point he bound Himself to him in a covenant that could not be altered. That covenant bound God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His delight progressed from one of God/subject to husband/wife, bound by covenant.

hāšaq: A verb meaning to be attached to, to love, to delight in, to bind. Laws in Deuteronomy described the procedure for taking a slave woman to whom one has become attached as a wife (Deut. 21:11). God’s binding love for Israel is described as unmerited love (Deut. 7:7)[1]

David made Decisions

  1. David wanted his life to matter so he chose to be a tree planted besides (God’s) living waters. (Ps 1)
  2. David did not want to live a life as worthless thorns, or worthless chaff. (Ps 1, 2 Sam 23:1)
  3. David wanted to live a life that mattered now and for the future.
  4. David decided to bind himself to this Yahweh in whom he trusted and loved. (Ps 25:5)
  5. Because of his decision, David found himself smack dab in the middle of a battle, and so will you.

David v. Goliath

This battle is a favorite Bible story for little children.  The story has been familiarized to the point that it loses its impact. It has become a cartoon. The significance of David finding himself on the battlefield as a young man, so soon after his decision to follow God, is that we will all face ‘giants’ on the battlefield as soon as we decide to become a disciple in the true sense!

Our Heart is  the Battlefield

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

David understood this and instructed his son Solomon:

Now devote (give-from נתן (nathan) your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 22:19 (NIV)

Nāthan נתן: A verb meaning to give, to place. This verb is used approximately two thousand times in the Old Testament; therefore, it is understandable that it should have a broad semantic range[2].

Discipleship begins with the Decision to ‘Give’ your Heart to God

Solomon likewise said, “Give me your heart”. Give (nathan) me your heart, my son, And let your eyes delight in my ways.  Proverbs 23:26 (NASB)

As a young man, David did just that, and God took notice.

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14 (ESV)

King Saul

Saul was the people’s choice for King. He had all the outward appearances of a King. He was tall, dark and handsome. He was strong and a forceful leader. Yet there was something wrong with his heart. His heart is described in 1 Sam 15:22:

1 Samuel 15:22-23 (ESV) And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion (meriy) is as the sin of divination (witchcraft-qesem-lumped with child sacrifice in Deut 18:10), and presumption (pāsar) is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Even though Saul was a King of Israel, even though he was a “Christian” so to speak, his discipleship took a wrong turn somewhere, and Samuel reveals those decisions that disqualified Saul .

Three Decisions Disqualify from Discipleship

1. We Stop Listening to God

  • “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! Psalm 81:11-13 (ESV)
  • Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Ecclesiastes 5:1 (ESV)
  • 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)
Who we listen to gets us into trouble

And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Genesis 3:17 (ESV)

Who has your ear? Who do you spend the most time listening to? How much time do you spend in the Word, or in prayer? To listen often leads to obey. Are you most influenced by what the world teaches? Are you listening to what God says?

We are influenced by what we listen to and watch. What else would drive a sane person to camp out for Black Friday specials? 25 years ago something like that would be considered insane!

2. We Tolerate a Rebellious Spirit

King Saul: For rebellion (meriy) is as the sin of divination (witchcraft-qesem-lumped with child sacrifice in Deut 18:10),

Moses to the Israelites: For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! Deuteronomy 31:27 (NIV)

meriy: A masculine noun meaning obstinacy, stubbornness, rebelliousness. The term consistently stays within this tight semantic range and most often describes the Israelites’ determined refusal to obey the precepts laid down by the Lord in His Law or Torah. This characteristic attitude was a visible manifestation of their hard hearts[3].

Qesem is generally forbidden[4] (Deuteronomy 18:10 (ESV) There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer),

We associate rebellion with out and out disobedience. We excuse some behavior as excusable. I don’t have time, I have so much stress, I have to have some me time or I’ll go crazy. We don’t classify selfishness as rebellion. In fact, we accept selfish behavior as normal. But God calls selfishness rebellion. It is no different from the sin of witchcraft, or the sin of child sacrifice. King Saul simply made a decision based upon what he thought was best. It was a rational, understandable decision. He even had God in mind when he made it. But God calls it rebellion, for it was a self-motivated decision.

  • Do the actions of your life reveal a rebellious spirit in your heart?

3. We Presume Upon God

Samuel said to King Saul: “presumption (pāsar) is as iniquity and idolatry”.

pāsar: A verb meaning to peck at, to press, to push. It indicates a literal physical push against someone (Gen. 19:9); In a negative sense, it refers to rebellion against someone, arrogance (1 Sam. 15:23)[5].

Presumption pushes God out of the way and does what it wants. Or worse yet, it presumes that God is not watching, or God does not care, and then goes its own way. Or worse yet, it presumes since you are of Abraham, or a Jew, (or a Christian) that you have a lock on God, and He will excuse your actions.

Christians presume upon God when they think God automatically excuses their sin or their laziness or their lack of prayer or whatever simply because he knows ‘I’m human’. Or simply because Jesus died for me on the cross. That is such pride and arrogance. With an attitude like that I would be concerned about the true state of my soul. How can God live in me, and I steal from Him by ignoring him or excusing my fleshly actions. I am no better than the money changers who presumed they could steal from the people because they were doing it in God’s Temple!

  • Are the presumptions of your daily life pushing God away?

When King Saul pushed God aside, God pushed him aside. He found a young man who had made a decision to set his heart upon God, to incline his heart on those things that God delighted in.

And the next thing you know, this young man is in the midst of a battlefield. He has another decision to make. There is a Giant facing the armies of Israel, and they are all afraid. For 40 days this Giant has been taunting them, and the men of Israel were losng their resolve for God. Onto this battlefield in the Valley of Elah steps a young disciple, and he provides us insight into beginning our discipleship journey with God, insight that will insure victory!

I.  Discipleship Requires Confidence in Who You Are!

A.  Experience The Daily Rush Of The Spirit Of God

1 Samuel 16:12-13 (ESV) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

  • David was very aware that the Spirit of God was within him!

Even throughout his sin with Bathsheba, the Holy Spirit was with him. David desired the rush of the Holy Spirit so much that he dreaded its departure.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:11 (ESV)

B. Experience The Daily Affection Of God For You.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (ESV)

God has anointed us and put His seal upon us-the Holy Spirit is the proof of His covenant with us. Because of that covenant sealed by the Blood of Christ, we know that God has set his heart and eyes upon us, that His love is steadfast and unfailing, that His love is renewed to us each and every morning!

C. Experience What God Desires for You

God has an intentional plan for our lives with Him, and He wants us to realize what it is. He never sets His heart upon someone capriciously.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (6) and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)

God is grooming us to be Priests and Kings. We have a higher calling, one which places responsibility upon us. Everything we experience is designed by God to train us to be a King or a Priest. But it is not dependent upon our ability, but upon the covenant which Jesus Christ has bound Himself to us.

His covenant means that we have confidence in Him and His provision whenever we face a giant…

(14) 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. (15) 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. (16) 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 4:14-16 (ESV)

II. Discipleship Requires Confidence in Who God is!

A. There Is Always A Goliath Between You And God

We all know about Goliath. He was Big, Bad and Bronze! Oh, you never noticed the bronze part? You should, for therein lies the understanding of this battlefield.

Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? 1 Samuel 17:8 (NKJV)
And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.  1 Samuel 17:10-11 (NKJV)

Bronze speaks of judgment.

In Numbers 21:9, Moses puts a model of a snake, made from brass (or bronze?) on a pole, and when the people looked at it they were delivered from the poisonous bites of the snakes that had infested their camp as a result of their own sin.

In the blueprints for the Tabernacle of Moses, the altar on which sacrifices were burnt was made of bronze. Bronze is the place in which your sacrifice meets the heat of fire  (judgment) and is consumed by it.

The giant Goliath, whose height was 6 cubits, and he had 6 pieces of armor; his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron. If you thought it was related to 666, you are kind of right. Now, let’s look at the armor.

  • Helmet of bronze: His mentality was of judgment.
  • Breastplate of Bronze : a heart of judgment.
  • Leg Armor of bronze : Standing in judgment.
  • Coat of bronze mail : Surrounded by judgment.
  • Spear shaft of bronze : Weapon of judgment.

Goliath is a picture of Satan and all of his judgments against man. Our sins, our lusts, our failures, our weaknesses. These are all that Satan uses to condemn us and prevent us from seeing that we are indwelt by the Spirit of God. Fear is the great disciple killer!

  • Fear keeps us mired in the mud of our human weakness and sin.

The Tabernacle

There is not a single bronze item in the innermost part of the Tabernacle. Sure there is the bronze altar, the bronze water dish, etc, but all of that is outside, in the court.

Inside the Holy of Holies, everything is made of Gold. Gold speaks of divinity, of purity. Christians are forever covered with gold. Where? look at the walls. The bible says to have wooden boards with “hands” at the bottom, which fit perfectly into the silver bases and are made to stand upright (Ex. 26:15-18; 36:21-22). The silver is a picture of Jesus Christ, our Savior. See the beauty of it?

  • The way for humanity to stand upright in God’s presence is to be placed in redemption.

There were also five (cross-members) bars for each side of the Tabernacle (Ex. 26:26,27; 36:31,32). The middle bar of the five was to pass through the centre of the boards from one end to the other (Ex. 26:28; 36:33). All the bars and rings were overlaid with gold (Ex. 26:29; 36:34). The number 5 speaks of Grace. The middle bar, passes through the board. and the bible says that the wood is also covered with gold, every inch is covered.

Here is the picture: You (wood), covered with Holiness( Gold) inside and outside, made to stand in Redemption ( silver), and as a result, not a single bit of your sin (wood) can be seen in God’s presence.

We MUST have Confidence in Who God is and What He has provided for us in order to defeat these Giants!

David, A Man Who Knew Who He Was, And Who He Followed.

Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:32 (NKJV)

David knew the value of a strong heart. Soldiers weak in heart are of no use on the battlefield. They are of no value to the King, or to God. Disciples are strong of heart for they seek the heart of God!

B. True Disciples Know The Battle Has Already Been Won

1 Samuel 17:45 (ESV) Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

  1. For 40 days Saul had taunted the soldiers of Israel. (1 Sam 17:16)
  2. Jesus fasted for 40 days…

…Until his flesh was totally weak, and beginning to consume itself. It was only then that He faced Satan, for he wanted nothing ot the flesh to present in defeating Satan. No, Jesus would defeat Him by the power of the Word of God, with no tainting of the flesh.

(4) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. (5) Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 (ESV)

III. Discipleship requires tested armor!

So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 1 Samuel 17:38-39 (NKJV)

1. No Pretend Disciples.

You don’t go to battle by pretending to be a mighty armored warrior. You must begin winning little battles with the weapons you have and can use.

David had faced lions and bears out in the field. He fought against them with weapons he was familiar with. Disciples don’t come to church with their super Christian armor on. Disciples don’t try to impress one another. Disciples are schooled in battle where you work, where you live.

2. Only Real Disciples

You face Goliath’s at work. He may be a she, and tell you what to do. He may be a fellow worker who wants to influence you to do this or that. You face Goliath’s at home. He may be a loved one that battles your emotions, that hurls those darts that get so personal. There is no pretend on the battlefield. Pretenders are casualties of war. Disciples must learn to slay Goliath with the weapons and armor that they are familiar with. We battle the flesh at home, work, play, and most of all in the desires of our heart.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. (For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 (ESV)

IV. Discipleship Requires the Grace of God

David picked up 5 stones

Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:40 (ESV)

Five is the Number for God’s Grace

God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. This is very significant. Not because God chose Abram or because God endowed upon him his grace, but, the change was made by inserting in between his name the fifth letter of the alphabet h (Hey).

Back to the Tabernacle:

The brazen altar in the Court of the tabernacle was FIVE cubits long, FIVE cubits wide, and it had FIVE vessels connected with it (Exodus 27:1-3).  The COURT which was FIVE cubits high, “The LENGTH of the court shall be a HUNDRED cubits, and the BREADTH  FIFTY everywhere, and the HEIGHT  FIVE cubits of fine twined linen” (Ex.27:18).  Grace shuts in the believer on every side.

David Killed the Giant

When David went to fight with the Goliath, he chose five smooth stones. These five stones pictured God’s grace, as David needed only one, the one with Divine Power.

How is Your Heart?

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)

Discipleship begins with a decision to bind your heart to God’s Heart. Discipleship takes place when God’s Heart affects the desires of your heart. We only have access to the divine power as we seek to listen and obey, and when our obedience matures.

ONGOING BATTLE

There will be an ongoing battle for your heart. Goliath is lurking out there, and he wants to bring fear and distrust into your heart. If he does, he will ruin you for the battlefield. He’ll either distract you, lead you to stop listening, tolerate rebellion, and even fool yurself into presuming upon God.

No matter what Goliath does, his end game is to disqualify you from being a Disciple of Jesus Christ. He wants to render you worthless and ineffective.

How is your heart? Do you desire to know this awesome invisible God? Do you live and breathe Jesus Christ? Or have you failed to defeat Goliath, and find your Christian walk ineffective? Have you even pushed Christ aside this week? Or have you slain a few Goliath’s through His grace?


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

[2] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 761.

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

[4] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “2044: ‏קָסַם‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 805.

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


sHE-LOVED-LIVER-AND-ONIONSA man loved a woman. As is common, he wooed her and courted her. During their courtship, on occasion, he met with her after she supped with her father & family on liver and onions. On these occasions, though he loved her dearly, even the scent of her breath repulsed him. He spoke to her of his illness at even the odor of liver and onions, while understanding that while she abode in her father’s house there really was no remedy.

bride-and-groomEventually, he received her to himself as his wife. He had begun building their dream home and was not finished, so he moved her from her father’s house into a nice apartment. He often traveled  between their home he was building and their apartment, but he or his groomsmen were never too far to assist her in any and every need.

The first Saturday evening after the honeymoon had ended, the groom approached their apartment for supper with his bride. He had been thinking of this all day and was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to again woo his bride, now his wife. As he opened the door, he was immediately sickened by the smell of liver & onions. His bride had prepared a heaping platter, presenting it splendidly … and causing him painful nausea. “Have I not told you the smell of liver and onions makes me ill? Come, come away. Let us go elsewhere and sup and later, after I am gone, please clean this away.” With this loving plea he called his bride to his side. Yet though they went elsewhere, still the scent of the liver and onions hung about her. Still, she was contrite and apologized sincerely, and he loved her dearly.

The second Saturday … yes, it happened again. Again, his bride was contrite and apologetic.

The third Saturday ... need I say it? This time, the bride excused herself with “It is a habit. I’m trying to break it. Be patient.

The fourth Saturday … she explained, “In my father’s house, every Saturday night we make a platter of liver and onions and there is happiness and laughter. I want you to share in that pleasure.

He tried to tell her he could not. There was no pleasure for him in the meal, nor in the type of happiness of her father’s house. He told her he had taken her from that house because there was no place for him in it, as he and her father were mortal enemies. She had come to him willingly and must put aside the customs of her father, even the little ones like the liver & onions.

The fifth Saturday … yet again. This time, she did not excuse herself, explain herself or apologize. “If you loved me, you would accept that this is part of who I am.” He loved her, though she might not realize how much. By bringing her out of her father’s house, he had brought her away from the destruction soon to fall upon it.

The sixth Saturday … she was not at the quarters when he arrived. A note on the floor said: “I’ve gone to my father’s house for liver & onions. You’re welcome to come enjoy with us.”

Liver-aND-ONION-FEEDI wonder if the bride truly loves her groom.

Jesus called us to Him, from the house of our father, the Devil – a liar and murderer from the beginning. We knew Jesus was Holy and could not abide sin, yet He loved us despite the stench of sin all about us.

We know the writings of Paul to “put off the old” or to “mortify your members”, or John’s statements to “be holy even as He is holy”. Even James says “to him who knows to do good, and does it not; to him it is sin”. From Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and the Prophets we hear continually that God desires a sanctified people … but do we continue to crave our “liver and onions”.

Contrition, apology, explanation, excuses, rationalization, defiance, rebellion. Is this the condition of a repentant heart? As we consider Jesus Christ, is our “heart-love” like Gomer or Ruth? Both were beloved by their husbands, but only one lived an abundant, satisfying life. One became the lineage of Blessing for all people (Jesus Christ), the other a source of shame for her children and husband. Christian, you are the Bride of Christ. Do you insist on eating liver and onions?

Thanks to Robert Kent Reed for this modern day parable of stubborn “pretend-love”. The original is here



Caleb climbing mountains killing giantsLet us consider a man with extraordinary faith. Faith that enabled him to claim a mountain, and continue killing giants. Perhaps we will be encouraged by his faith, and God may open our eyes to what He wants to do in our life.

The Conquest of Canaan continues in Joshua 10:28. Here we find the battle continuing that was begun on the longest day in earth’s history. The day the God made the sun stand still. The Southern Conquest continues. Then in Joshua 11 we find that the Northern Conquest takes place when some kings think they can take Joshua and his men out. Even though they have superior forces and weapons, they are no match for the God of Jehovah. In Joshua 11: 6 God gives special instructions to Joshua. He tells him to hough the horses. The Hebrew word is ‏עָקַר‎ (ʿāqar). Modern translators use the word “hamstrung”.

What does it mean to hough a horse?

Houghing the horses is done by cutting the sinews and arteries of their hinder legs, so that they not only become hopelessly lame, but bleed to death. The reasons for this special command were that the Lord designed to lead the Israelites to trust in Him, not in military resources (Ps 20:7); to show that in the land of promise there was no use of horses; and, finally, to discourage their travelling as they were to be an agricultural, not a trading, people.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

HamstrungWhy did God give this strange command? After all, the Jews could benefit from having horses. They would make them stronger and more effective fighters.  Joshua was destroying the enemy and the enemies devices for war, but they were to rely on GOD for their Victory, not their own abilities. Furthermore, God had called the Jews to possess Canaan, to enjoy the bounty of her soil. He wanted them to settle down, not continue traveling, which horses would have encouraged. Horses would have also encourage trade, and open the Jews to the influences of the world, influences that God was having them destroy. Horses could also fall into enemy hands. No, God had specific reasons for hamstringing the horses. God wanted them to obey and not question His instructions. God wanted them to rely wholly upon Him. This is the lesson from Caleb. Caleb is in stark contrast to the Jews who perished in the wilderness. They were hamstrung because of their unbelief, because of the influence of Egypt. Caleb represented man in the FULLNESS of God’s Strength, man unhindered by the world, by Satan, because Caleb WHOLLY FOLLOWED GOD!

So the subject of being Hamstrung applies to our own walk with Christ. God wants us to know the strength of following Him, a strength and vitality that Caleb experienced throughout his life. While the rest of the Jewish men were dying in the wilderness, Caleb remained strong and vibrant. He is a picture of what Christ promises to all those who follow Him. He promised an Abundant Life. Instead of walking victoriously, and hamstringing our enemies, we are often hamstrung by the accusations of Satan.

SATAN IS OUR ACCUSER

Satan Accuser Rev 12_10Satan is an Accuser in this age of grace. His work is to accuse the brethren, to cause defeat and discouragement to loom over our lives. He does not want us to see and know and revel in the power of God to bring victory! When the accusations of Satan become so large that we are defeated, we are allowing our  failures and transgressions to become GIANTS that block our seeing Him who is invisible. Satan’s accusations cause us to focus on our failures and inadequacies rather than on the AWESOME POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD! We must not allow Satan to Hamstring us!

The greatest day in the history of the world is described in Revelation 12:10: “the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” 1 John 3:8 assures us that Jesus Christ came for this purpose: “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus rendered Satan POWERLESS. He hamstrung Satan. There is no reason a born again Christian should listen to Satan’s accusations, or be defeated by his wiles. Satan has been rendered powerless. We must learn to focus upon the POWER of GOD in EVERY situation we face.

Joshua 12 lists the conquests of Moses and Joshua. Joshua 13 – Joshua Is Getting Old, Time to Divide the Land. Joshua 14 – Time for Caleb to Collect

Notice especially Joshua 14:6-15

What Kind of Man Was Caleb?

Faith of CalebNumbers 14:24 (KJV) But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

How do you recognize someone with “another spirit”? The Hebrew pictures an “excellent spirit or wind”. It has the meaning of BREATH. Caleb was a breath of fresh air, that cool gentle breeze in the midst of a scorching desert. One who has “another spirit” is one whose spirit is in touch with God, regardless of the heat of the situation you face. One who has another spirit is like the mighty tree whose leaves do not wilt no matter how severe the heat and drought become. You know someone has another spirit:

  • When your spirit is in touch with God!
  • When you see and believe God is
  • When God’s Spirit within you is influencing your 5 other senses-sight, touch, smell, hearing, seeing.

GOD SENSE

Caleb looked at the same things the other 10 spies looked at, yet he ran everything through his “GOD SENSE”. Sure, those giants were huge. Sure the walls were high and thick, but Caleb wasn’t controlled by his physical senses. He was controlled by his God-Sense. He knew God would give them the victory. Caleb had another spirit, an excellent spirit, and it controlled his life, gave him a fountain of youth, gave him a faith that was remarkable. If you are in the majority, as were the 604,998 other men (between ages of 20 & 60) that day, you will look at problems with only your five senses, and you will have three reactions:

Defeat & Discouragement

Numbers 14:1-The people wailed and wept.

Oh no, mudpreacher, I don’t do that. No, but perhaps you show it in another way. Instead of openly showing your defeat and discouragement, you internalize it. You give up on believing God. You give up on having any enthusiasm for God. Your resolve is diminished, your shoulders become stooped over a bit more, your work for the Lord becomes less and less.

Another way is you limit what you will do for the Lord. Serving others, being a friend, helping people, you are all into that. But doing anything that is outside your comfort zone, even asking friends if they know for certain they will live with God in eternity, no, that is too difficult. You end up doing just enough to be considered a good Christian, but Satan has taken the joy of your salvation away. He has you in that mediocre walk, that walk that does not impact the giants and problems that you will face.

Complaining Spirit

Numbers 14:2-the people murmured

Spirit is breath. The words you speak reveal the spirit of your heart. Words of encouragement, words of joy, words of praise, words of hope, trust, these are the BREATH of another spirit. Words of complaint, murmuring, disgust, impatients, negative these reflect a wrong spirit, a self-sense spirit.

Fail to Believe God

Numbers 14:9 Only rebel not, neither fear

What most people don’t understand, is that failure to believe what God has said is actually rebellion against God. Fearing the enemy when He has told you that you will have victory is slapping God in the face and saying I don’t believe you. You are allowing your flesh, your senses to override what God’s Word says. Ignorance of God’s Word is just as much rebellion as out and out disobedience.

You are in rebellion to God if you ever find yourself saying:

  • I know I should but…
  • He knows my heart…
  • He made me this way so…
  • I’m not hurting anyone…
  • I need my sleep…
  • Just this one time won’t hurt…

Anytime you offer up an excuse for not doing what His Word is telling you to do is REBELLION. Anytime you offer up an excuse for doing something contrary to what His Word is telling you is REBELLION.

CALEB FOLLOWED THE LORD FULLY

Caleb Another SpiritGod doesn’t enjoy halfway Christians. He delighted in Caleb because he followed the Lord “fully”, “wholly”. The phrase is actually two Hebrew words: ʾaḥar – the hind part, behind,and mālâ, to be filled up. God used mālâ to describe the earth when it was filled up with violence (Gen 6:13) Elijah used it to tell the widow women to fill up the vessels with oil. 2 Kings 4:6Dinozzo-Gibbs-On-Your-Six-Boss

Caleb was filled up with the hind part of God. He kept so close! He had another spirit! He was always going “I’m on your Six, Boss!” (as Tony DiNozzo tells his N.C.I.S. boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs). To be filled with the Spirit of God means you are so dependent upon Him he can’t shake you! You are in his rear view mirror all the time! Like you’ve jumped on his back and nothing can shake you off!

Caleb was a Man of EXTRAORDINARY Faith

  1. Carrying Faith
  2. Climbing Faith
  3. Conquering Faith

I. CARRYING Faith

Joshua 14:10-11 (KJV) And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

Caleb Carrying FaithThere are certain memories that you always have. Caleb would always remember those grapes. He would always remember the sweetness of the juice, the way they exploded in his mouth, juice running down his beard. He was so excited to taste the bounties of the promised land. For two years they had been eating manna and quail. Now this! He wanted it so badly. He wanted this land. Joshua and Caleb just had to show the people, so they cut down a cluster of grapes so large it took both of them to carry. They just knew the people would get excited about this wonderful land God wanted to give them. He could hardly believe his ears as the people listened to the descriptions of the giants and the walled cities. Can’t you see these grapes! Can’t you see that God is with us. Instead, the people decided to listen to the 10 rather than the 2. They let their fears, their apathy, their unbelief rule their wills. They decided not to go into the land.

Caleb-Grapes of escholCaleb had Carrying Faith. Faith that could carry his soul the next 45 years. Faith that could carry his family. Faith that could keep his spirit on the back of God, even though all those around him were complaining, murmuring, ignoring the power of God. Caleb had another spirit in Him, That spirit gave him faith that carried him through any discouraging situation. During those forty years I suppose that there were many chances for Caleb to become discouraged, to think he would never see the Promised Land again. After all, his friends were dropping like flies. The complaining continued, the manna continued. I can imagine everyday would say to Caleb, “Oh, brother Caleb, isn’t it terrible out here in this wilderness! It is so hot — it’s 118 degrees today!” But Caleb was a man of another spirit. He had another focus. He had GOD SENSE controlling his vision! Caleb would say, “I really hadn’t noticed. I guess it is pretty warm, but I was thinking about those grapes of Eschol that I saw. And I was thinking about the city of Hebron. Our father Abraham liked that place, and I like it. That’s where I am going.”

Caleb, even in the wilderness, could think of the future. He had a great hope. It kept him young. Those forty years in the wilderness killed off the rest of the crowd, but they didn’t do a thing to him but make him healthy. They grew old, and he grew young. The giants in the Promised Land made the others tremble — they thought of themselves as grasshoppers. But Caleb thought of God. There was freedom from fear in the heart of this man. As Martin Luther said, “One with God is a majority.” God was bigger than the giants.

Look at John 15:7-12

abide-in-christIf you are lacking in carrying faith, perhaps you are not centering your life upon the right things. Jesus said to abide in Him, and you will have fruit and joy and love. But the basis for that abiding is obedience, obedience to his commands. What are you disobeying Jesus Christ in? Is your love for Him full? Is your Joy in Him full? Then you are disobeying Christ, and you will not have faith to carry you through the storms of life. Instead of feasting on the monster fruit of God, you are starving on Gerber’s processed baby food.  How is your Love for God, How is your Enthusiasm for God, How is your Spirit for God? Are you Following Him WHOLLY! Do You Have Carrying Faith? Are your Carrying anyone Closer to God!

II. CLIMBING Faith

Joshua 14:12 (KJV) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day…

Caleb Climbing FaithCaleb is now eighty-five years old, and yet he can say that he is as strong as the day Moses sent him into Canaan as a spy! What he was really saying is that he was still able to tackle any problem same as when he was a young man. His power from God had not diminished, in fact, if anything, he had grown stronger! Most people when they get older, look forward to retiring. They don’t want the stairs anymore, the two stories. They want everything on one level. They want to live in the valley. They don’t want anything too difficult.

When Caleb stepped forward to claim any land he wanted, he chose Hebron. He chose the Hebron mountain area, about 3500 feet above sea level. Why? Because he wasn’t through climbing in his life. He had not accomplished all his goals. He was still pressing upward for the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ.

Caleb reminds me of Adoniram Judson, the missionary who spent twelve years in Burma without a convert. The board that sent him out didn’t sense the situation nor what a tremendous missionary they had in Judson; so they wrote him a very diplomatic letter, suggesting that he should come home. They asked him what the prospects in Burma were for the future. His reply was, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” His confidence in God was the reason he could stay in the wilderness of Burma all those years. Although he suffered a great deal and it took a long time for revival to break out, it finally did. His time was well spent. Today, in Burma, there are Christians thriving becasue of the work of Adoniram Judson. In 2013 they will have a huge 200th anniversary celebration.

Are you enjoying all the spiritual blessings that God has for you today? You say, “I have lots of trouble.” I know that Christians have many troubles in the course of their lives. My heart goes out to them.  But I always think of the testimony of a wise old saint who said his favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.” When puzzled people asked him what he meant by that, he replied, “When I get into trouble and problems pile up, I turn to my verse and know my troubles have not come to stay; they have come to pass.” We can complain all day long, but that will only hamstring our walk. We need to focus on God, His Hope for us, His Future for us! These things will pass! Our Victory is Promised!

Press-toward-the-MarkCaleb for forty years followed fully the Lord his God. Everyone else around him was dropping dead, was complaining, getting bit by snakes, getting swallowed by the earth, but old Caleb kept on following fully his Lord. He was thinking about going mountain climbing. He was still pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

In this life you are either running a winning race or you are falling down in the wilderness.

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

There are five reasons why we are overcome in the wilderness: we lust after evil things, we have idols before God, we commit fornication, we tempt Christ (fail to Honor Him), we murmur. These all could have infected the spirit of Caleb. These all could have overcome him in his walk toward the blessing of God, but NO, Caleb had ANOTHER SPIRIT, He Had God Sense, He focused on Him who is INVISIBLE, but ALL POWERFUL!

Caleb kept on drinking from the Rock. He kept on thinking about those grapes. He kept on thinking about his land. He looked forward to climbing. After all, He was on the Boss’s Six!

  • Do you still have goals for Christ?
  • Are you still climbing towards him,
  • Or are you coasting, getting by, just doing what you have to.

Watch out. If you are not climbing, you will get overthrown.

Caleb followed God fully. This is why Caleb chose Hebron.

Hebron means fellowship, it means fullness, and it means fruitfulness. So Caleb was saying, “Joshua, I want that mountain that represents fellowship with God; I want to walk with God. I want that mountain that represents fullness; I want everything that God has for my life. I know there are some giants left, but that is no problem when I am on the back of God!

Have you heard of the man who was mountain-climbing in the American Rockies, along a very rugged track. Suddenly he slipped, falling over a cliff. He grabbed the roots of a tree and hung there. When he got his breath back he looked down and saw an enormous drop. If he fell, he’d certainly be killed. Looking up, the cliff top was so far above him he couldn’t climb back. In desperation, although he knew he was alone, he cried out ‘Is anyone up there?’ He was startled to hear a booming voice say ‘Yes!’ ‘Can you help me?’ ‘Yes’ came the response. ‘What must I do?’ The voice answered ‘Let go!’. There was a long pause, then finally the man called out ‘Is anybody else up there?’

Someday we will be rewarded. We will not be rewarded according to the great amount of work done for God, nor according to our prominence and popularity. The important thing will be — did we wholly follow the Lord?

Oh, that God’s people would learn today that the most important thing in this life is to wholly follow the Lord! Caleb, man of God that he was, took Hebron. There were giants there, but he said, “That’s the place I want. That’s the very best spot!” Oh, that you and I might keep climbing toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

III. Conquering Faith

Caleb Conquering FaithWhy did a man 85 years old pick a place like Hebron? It was mountainous, it was rocky, it was controlled by not just one giant, but by his three giant sons. But that was why he wanted Hebron. He wanted to PROVE the POWER of GOD! “Bring them on,” says Caleb. “They’re no match for the LORD!” Forty-five years before he had promised, “Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us” (Numbers 14:9). Now he had a chance to prove it as leader of “the men of Judah”. The giants represent the enemies of Conquest, and Caleb is ready for them

Fear looks at the problems, faith claims the opportunities. Caleb had GOD SENSE! Sure the giants are big, their strength superhuman, their reputation terrifying. We may be like grasshoppers, but there is none mightier than EL GIBBOR! Faith filters every giant through the Power of God! There is no trick to Conquering Faith. If you believe Jesus saved you by His blood and He lives in your life, then you have experienced conquering faith.

In Luke 17 Jesus says we should forgive someone who sins against us seven times in one day! The disciples ask – reasonably enough we might think – for more faith to do this. Jesus brushes off the request, saying, in effect, ‘What you need isn’t more faith, but using the faith you already have! Your problem isn’t faith or the lack of it, but obedience!’

To grow stronger, you don’t need a muscle transplant, but to exercise the muscles you have! Trust and obey says the old hymn – and it’s still true.  They think of possibilities. Just as Augustine wrote the biography of sin in four words: a thought, a form, a fascination, a fall, so faith begins with your thoughts of faith.  We need to exercise our GOD SENSE and see His Power. We need to believe His PROMISES! We must unite our FAITH with the VISION of GOD ALMIGHTY! We must BREATH ANOTHER SPIRIT through our lives: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil.4:13). “I am more than a Conqueror through Him who loves me!” (Rom 8:37)

See What Caleb Did at 85: “From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites — Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai — descendants of Anak” (Joshua 15:14).

Why does the Scripture give their names? Because their names were well known; the giants were what legends are made of. You only name great opponents, and these giants were great enemies with great reputations to match. But Caleb fearlessly drove them out. Doubtless the story was told again and again around the campfires, “Do you remember when Caleb….”

Just How Big were the sons of ANAK?

Anak was How BigCaleb said in Numbers: “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us:

  • Caleb said, these giants won’t be the means of our defeat but of our growth.  We’re gonna eat their lunch!  He bellied up to the table and said, please pass the Anakim, Breakfast of Champions!
  • Why did your momma make you eat your spinach?  Because it was good for you.  “But I don’t want to!”  But you should, it will make you strong.  God says, eat your Anakim!
  • We need heroes. We need to know those who have gone before and have conquered the giants of life.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:1-2a, KJV)

You can view life as a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Granny BrandDr. Paul Brand, (Pioneering physician in the field of leprosy), was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, “In His Image,” he writes about his mother.

His mother, Evie “Granny” Brand had just lost her husband. Their mission term was up for renewal. A widow, 68, she was seeking another term. She actually took no support from the organization, becasue she lived off an inheritance. But the board said it made no sense to appoint a sixty-eight year old woman to another five year term.

Evie did not see it that way. Years ago, she and her husband Jesse had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt that God intended for her to fulfill that vow. She saw one last chance. “Please just send me back for one year,” she pleaded. “I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire.”

Reluctantly the board agreed. Had they known Evie’s secret plan, they would surely have refused. When her year with the mission ended, fellow missionaries gathered to wish her goodbye. Then came the shocker. Evie gleefully informed them that she was retiring from the mission– retiring to take up independent work in the mountains. She would fulfill the promise that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Protests and warnings fell on deaf ears.

Paul BrandRejoicing, seventy-year-old Evie began to fulfill Jesse’s dream. Everyone called her “Granny,” now, but she felt young. She traveled from village to village, riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was hard because her body was thin now. Life became even more difficult when she was dropped by her carriers and whacked her head on a rock. She never completely recovered her balance after that. She took to walking with bamboo canes in her hands. Yet the face that she turned upon the world was full of joy and laughter. “Praise God!” she exclaimed continually.

Despite broken bones and fevers, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalryan range. (Guinea worms grow several feet long under a person’s skin.) Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges. “Extraordinary,” said people. Granny insisted it was all God’s doing.

Whether on her mountains or off, she proclaimed Christ. In a hospital with a broken hip, she scooted on a carpet from room to room and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers. Her son Paul visited her and found her looking not older but younger. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny-Brand2When she was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus. One day, at age 75, she was travelling alone & fell & broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her & put her on a makeshift cot & loaded her into their jeep & drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones.

But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.

Paul Brand wrote: “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, & moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.”

He said, “At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire.” He said, “She turned around & looked at me & said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years & it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’”

So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age 95.

Paul Brand writes, “My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, & places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, & her skin so tanned by the weather & the heat. “I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them & saw the sparkle in their eyes, & the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven.”

When her son, Paul visited her in the mountains, he found her looking younger. Her smile, brighter than ever, made the difference. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on this day, December 18th, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse’s while a multitude wept. The woman who had been declared too old for India had carried on for 24 more years, working almost to her day of death.

We Need Heroes Like CalebAre you Wholly Following the Lord God?

We need more Caleb’s. We need Heroes who exercise their God Sense, who can visualize God’s Power, Power to Keep on Carrying, Power to Keep on Climbing, Power to Keep on Conquering!

Would you tell God each and every day “I’m on your six, Boss!”


authorityhonorrewardHonor is a lost thing in America. Everyone is in love with themselves, they seek their own. We have entered an age of skepticism. There is even a new term for it: “Snark”, a combination of snide and remark. A snark is “biting, cruel humor or wit, commonly used to verbally attack someone or something.” Snark is a way of life in political commentary, news reports, editorial writings. We have made “dis-honor” funny and even trendy! God revealed to me in a dream (nightmare actually) that this age of “snarkism” is the fault of that great American show ‘Leave it to Beaver’.eddie-haskell

Most of you are thinking…didn’t Beaver honor his parents and Miss Landers? Yes, he did. But in episode #six America was introduced to a guy we know as Eddie Haskell. Eddie Haskell was the original “Snark”. He made dishonor funny. He made disrespect OK and even cool. The disappearance of Honor and respect for authority began in 1957 with the introduction of Eddie Haskell. It has been downhill ever since. Here are some examples of Eddie-isms:

Eddie Haskell: Wally, if your dumb brother tags along, I’m gonna…

Oh, good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I was just telling Wallace how pleasant it would be for Theodore to accompany us to the movies. -“Leave It to Beaver” (1957)

Eddie Haskell: Gee, your kitchen always looks so clean.

June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.

Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here. -“Leave It to Beaver” (1957)

full-reward1I pray that we will rediscover the value of Honor in our lives, in finding God’s Pathway of Blessing. In order to restore Honor to our lives, we need to remember that God’s ways are so much higher than ours, but they are so much better. If we experience and know God’s ways, if we submit to following God’s ways, God promises to show us His Pathway of Blessing. God promises to Reward our lives with His Rewards. Consider again what John wrote: Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. (2 John 1:8)

I’m not talking about heavenly rewards. I’m talking of the rewards of our Life in Jesus Christ! Jesus came to give us an abundant standard of living! There is meant to be rewards for following Jesus! We’ve lost sight of the Power of the Path of Following Jesus! When the apostles preached the doctrine of Jesus, people were changed, lives were energized, rewards were poured out upon the people. It was powerful to be a follower of Jesus Christ. That Power affected their work, their home life, their marriage, their possessions, their way of living. it also affected their outlook toward struggles, toward persecutions, toward thieves, towards personal losses. Why did followers of Christ subject their lives to such drastic changes, changes that effected every aspect of their life? Because of the REWARDS!

God’s Way is a Pathway of Blessing, it is a Pathway of Prospering.

The Honor Principal

  • Honor: “to value, see as weighty and precious”
  • To honor a person in authority means to regard them in your heart as well as in your actions with respect and even reverence.
  • Webster’s “to revere, respect, to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to”
  • Submission to authority is an aspect of true honor.

False Honor

To say we honor authority and not submit and obey it is to deceive ourselves. Jesus said “Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say?” The Roman Centurion was a man who submitted to authority. It was a part of his being, it was in his heart. As a result he honored Jesus, knowing that Jesus had greater authority. Somehow he knew that Jesus had authority over all things, even sickness and disease. He honored Jesus, and believed in Jesus authority to speak and command the servant to be healed. As a result, the Centurion received a full reward!

Four Divisions of Authority

Christ established his Kingdom when He was here on earth. It is not yet visible, but it is here, in our hearts. The powers for this Kingdom are Heart powers. Your ability to see the Kingdom of God depends upon your heart responses to this world we live in.

Let every soul be subject to the (higher) governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:1,2)

  • This is a Command: “every soul”;
  • This is a Promise with a Condition: God promises us that no authority exists without His approval and appointment. NONE. Since this is true, He assures us that if we do not honor the authorities, we resist the ordinances of God, and we will bring judgment on ourselves.

Who are the “governing authorities”?

humanauthoritychisel1You could say this verse only relates to governmental authorities, yet I believe that it is much broader than that, and I believe the Scriptures will back me up. In considering our relationship with governing authorities, we can find Four distinct divisions of delegated authority that effect our lives: Civil, Social, Family & Church.

Years ago I used to draw this little drawing which Bill Gothard taught in his seminars. This little drawing irritated more people. He told the story of a teenager and his parents. This teenager was resentful of their rules and rebelled. The pressure of his mom and dad increased until he finally had enough. He left home and joined the army! Guess what, the hammer and chisel got bigger. But what irritated so many people was associating the hammer with the man and the chisel with the woman.People considered it a statement that it’s ok for a man to beat on a woman etc. That wasn’t the point. The point was that God is behind authority, and he uses authority to shape our lives, to produce that beautiful jewel that He sees for each of us.

Whether you don’t like authority or think you are justified in disobeying authorities for whatever reason; Jesus gives us a choice, and that choice is stated in Matt 10. We can chose to honor the people God brings into our lives, whether you consider them and authority or not, and the way you honor them WILL determine the reward you have in life.

Matthew 10:40-42 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

In Matthew 10, Jesus spoke of three levels of people we encounter, prophet, righteous man, and little ones. The way we honor them determines our reward in this Kingdom of God. The Bible gives specific guidelines for each authority, but many counsels of God’s Word cross the borders and extend to all the areas of delegated authority.

Let me say one thing: I have learned the hard way that my number one problem in life is honoring authority. Most of the hard but but fruitful lessons of my life have grown from my encounters with authority.tompkinspaving

One thing I learned from my 15 years in asphalt and concrete, many of the guys who worked for me, and I had all kinds of guys, had some kind of problem with authority. I think that was why God put us together, so I could learn the value of honoring authority. No matter what the situation of the guys who worked for me, I came to respect them. But it always pained me to see certain guys having the same problems over and over again because they resented and even rebelled from authority.

I will lay it out plain and simple for you. The Bible says “Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft (divination)”

For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23 (ESV)

rebellion-sin-of-witchcraftRebellion (merî) is a word derived from (marah) bitterness. Truly rebellious people are hurt people, they are bitter people. Rebellion is the visible manifestation of their hard hearts.

When you get bitter over confrontations with authority, when you allow that bitterness to harden your heart, when you allow that hardness to manifest itself in visible rebellion, you might as well get the black witches hat on and start hopping around on a broom. You might as well start gazing into a crystal ball. It’s time to start looking for eye of newt and toads and a cauldron. Start reading the “horror scope”, holding seances, start calling on the devil. Rebellion is the sin of witches, divination, those that seek after the devil. When you rebel you are opening yourself to Satanic influence.

So whether you agree or disagree, God uses authority in our life, he has established authority in our lives.

Civil Authorities:

While Jesus spoke of a Prophet, which could also refer to church authority, this truth extends to civil authorities. Paul makes this plain as we continue in Romans 13:6. I like The English Version for its understandability:  “That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all.” Civil authorities are appointed by God and are working for Him. In honoring them we honor Him who appointed them; God in turn will honor us. It’s the Honor Principle.

Social Authorities:

“Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.” 1 Tim 6:1. We might understand this better if we said: Let all employees under hire count their bosses or managers worthy of all honor. Let all students under education count their teachers worthy of honor. It would be the same for athletes and coaches or any other relationship that involves submitting one to another.

Family Authority:

Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” This is a promise with a condition. The promise of wellness and long life requires you to honor your mother and father. And might I add, your father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Church Authority

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NLT) “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.”

The Kingdom

You may not see it, but we live in the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is just that, a Kingdom. There is order according to God’s rules. There are delegated authorities. American Christians have a hard time understanding the Kingdom of God because we have such a democratic mind-set.

We are trying to understand Kingdom principles with a democratic mind-set. This Kingdom is not a democracy. If we bring our democratic values into God’s kingdom, we will not relate properly to His authority and so we will be without the protection of His authority and will miss out on His rewards.

We disregard authority in our culture. We question authority. This is the age of “SNARK”. This is the fruit of “Eddie Haskell”. Why else do you think there is such a spiritual and moral decline in America?

With loss of authority comes loss of honor.

All legitimate authority is from God, and is given for protection, provision and peace.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36 (NKJV)

We are to walk by faith, we are to see by faith. We see and live in God’s Kingdom by FAITH. We follow God’s Word and Christ’s Commands because we realize we live in a SECRET INVISIBLE but ALL POWERFUL KINGDOM! There are REWARDS to all those who live according to Christ’s Commands!

All who name the name of Christ should have respect and honor for authority. Jesus says we will know His believers by their fruits. John the Baptist said you must bring forth fruits of repentance. So called Christian sects that teach civil disobedience are an affront to God’s Kingdom principles. To deny authority is to deny the God who established that authority. God in Romans 13:1 says that authorities that exist are appointed by God. You may think they are elected, but God casts the final ballot. Appointed means to assign, ordain or set. There is no “by chance”, there is no surprise to God when there is a coup or a new dictator assuming power.

Many Evangelical Christians were not pleased with the election of Barack Obama. Worries about Supreme Court justices, abortion, crime concerned us. God in His purpose caused Obama to be elected. Whatever happens will be for God’s purpose. We are commanded to pray for Obama and to honor Him. In so doing we will live peaceable lives. In so doing we will honor God and enjoy the rewards of His Kingdom. Now this does not mean that abortion will stop, and righteousness will prevail. In many countries there is persecution that is going on and God says He has established all authorities.

There are two kinds of persecution

Self-Inflicted: For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? If tomorrow you see flashing blue and red lights in your rear view mirror after speeding through a school zone, don’t blame the devil. Why-because this is one reason God has set up authorities- to punish evil doers. Obey authority and you will have no problems. 1 Peter 2:20a (ESV)

For Righteousness Sake: There is persecution that happens even though you did nothing wrong. 1 Peter 2:20b But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. There may be times when you have to follow convictions that honor God and His word. This is going on throughout the world as we speak. Christians are suffering death and torture because of their public faith in Christ. Or perhaps you face a milder form of persecution. If you work in a non-Christian environment, and are persecuted in some way, God says you are blessed when you endure it. When you are mistreated and continue to be a good employee, a good student, civilian, church member, this is honor at its highest.

There is no excuse for behavior that is against what Jesus commands. If you suffer for disobedience when you are wrong and against Scripture, that is not true persecution. There may be persecution when you chose to obey God rather than men. But that obedience must me in accordance with God’s structure of authority. Only the fear and reverence for God in our hearts would allow us to continue to treat as valuable those who have mistreated us. Even Jesus honored a corrupt civil and religious authority. He reubuked but he never rebelled. Even when they were beating and crucifying Him, he honored them by saying “Father forgive them”.

in-his-stepsMany Christians have the attitude that “I am free in Christ, I am to obey God alone, I don’t have to put up with this! I’m out of here!

And so we get rid of teachers, spouses, pastors, youth leaders. I know parents that have moved their children out of one teachers class just so they can get a better teacher. I have been in churches where the pastor was dishonored and trampled upon for no godly reason, I have seen youth pastors vilified by parents because of some oversight toward their teenager, I have seen marriages crumble and fall apart because one or both simply can’t stand the other person anymore. Paul wrote in Galations 5:13 “For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh”. We are called as Christians to regard and react to unfair treatment correctly. Listen to what Peter goes on to say in verse 21: “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.”

What was Jesus example? He was punished by authorities for doing wrong when all He did was right. Yet He still honored their authority!

What About Ungodly Authorities and when they mistreat us?

ungodly-authoritiesI know that in each of your minds a picture has popped up. That picture is someone in your past, an authority that God had in your life-it could be a boss, a manager, a pastor, a ex-spouse, a government agent that you thought was the biggest jerk in the world and there was no way in HECK that you would ever honor them. Why they did so and so…They treated you like dirt and there was nothing that you did wrong. It is true, many authorities are mean, tyrannical and unjust jerks. The Bible is full of them in fact.

But God’s Word tells us that all authority is of God, but it does not say all authority is godly. God’s Word reveals that He has put ungodly men in authority:

Pharoah:

Ex 9:16 “I have raised you up”. Paul confirmed it in Romans 9:17 “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Nebuchadnezzar:

“Behold I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, MY SERVANT, and will set his throne: (Jer 43:10)

King Saul:

“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night”. 1 Samuel 15:11

David, the only person called in the Bible “a man after God’s heart” was placed under Saul’s authority. Saul treated David with kindness and favor in the beginning.

Saul Tries to Kill David

king-saulOnce Saul perceived David to be a threat to his throne, Saul became violent with jealousy. He made it his personal mission to destroy David. For the next 14 years david was forced to live in caves, in the wilderness, even in a godless foreign land. From the ages of 16 or 17 until 30 or 31 David could not go home not even for a visit. He lived as a fugitive on the run.

Why would God do this to a young man after God’s own heart? A man who killed Goliath only for the honor of God’s name? How did David react? Did he conspire to launch a coup d’état to get rid of King Saul? No, David honored Saul.saul-tries-to-kill-david

You Say NO WAY! How could mighty David, who killed his 10,000 Honor a man who was out to kill him? Why, if he could kill Goliath with one stone, surely he could have killed King Saul. Yes he could have. In fact I Sam 24 details one situation:

After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’”. 1 Samuel 24:1-4 (NLT)

David Cut’s Off a Corner of Saul’s Robe

david-cuts-off-robeNow the men were pleading “King Saul is a maniac, he’s destroying Israel, he has murdered innocent families and priests. The prophet Samuel anointed you to be our King. God is for it. Now David, if you don’t kill Saul, he will certainly kill you. David was not convinced, but he did do something. He crept up to where Saul was and cut off a corner of his robe. He could use this to try to convince Saul that his heart was pure, because he could have killed the King, but chose not to. But even after doing this, his conscience was bothered. He knew that he had dishonored the King.

“The Lord knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king,” he said to his men. “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 1 Samuel 24:5-7 (NLT)

Saul left the cave and went to his 3000 men. As he did, David called out to him:

“Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me. “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 1 Samuel 24:9-12 (NLT)

david-holds-up-robeDavid honored Saul. He even called him “my father”. Saul was amazed at the goodness of David. He even started crying. And He said: “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil“. 1 Samuel 24:16-17 (NLT)

Did Saul leave David Alone?

Unfortunately, David would be tested one more time. After David had done the honorable thing, bring Saul to tears, Saul once more proved the kind of man he was. After hearing a report that David was hiding in the hills of Hakilah, Saul took 3000 of his elite killer forces and went to hunt David down in the wilderness of Ziph. David had to realize the truth, Saul was nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer. Even the most forgiving man would have become enraged! “This is how you treat those who honor you” Why you no good….You will really pay for this! His chance came, because David heard that Saul and his army were camped on a hill near Hakilah. The Lord had put the entire army into a deep sleep. David asked for a volunteer to go with him into Saul’s camp. Abishai stepped forward. He was the bloodthirsty brother of Joab. They found Saul in a deep sleep surrounded byhis closest body guards. Saul’s spear was stuck in the ground right next to where he lay in a deep sleep.

Abishai whispered to David: “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!”. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!”

david-takes-spearI can see David hesitate. I can just see him thinking how this could be God bringing a deep sleep on Saul. This could be a sign from God that it was ok to take Saul out. After all he was a horrible man. He was a man who did not deserve to be honored. Saul had done all sorts of horrible things to David. He had even taken his wife and given her to another man. (I Sam 25:44) He took all of David’s possessions. I can hear Abishai saying “What’s going on David? Why are you not giving me the command to slay this monster?” Still no answer. “David, don’t you remember how you were anointed by Samuel to be the next King? He murdered 85 priests of Nob plus their wives and little babies in cold blood, just because they gave us bread to eat! David, give me the order and he’s toast! Why do you think God put his entire army into a deep sleep! God is giving you the go ahead!

Finally David said “No! Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!” 1 Samuel 26:1-11 (NLT)

Why did God put the army into a deep sleep? He wanted to see what was in David’s heart! He wanted to see if he was still a man after God’s heart or if he had become aman like Saul who took matters into his own hands. God wanted to see if David would honor Him by honoring his appointed authority over Israel-King Saul. This was a truly life-defining moment for David.

God gave David His Full Reward!

“I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will beat down his foes before his face, And plague those who hate him. But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him…I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.“ Psalms 89:20-24, 35-37

David saw beyond the cruelness of Saul and saw the authority given him by God. He Saw Him WHO IS INVISIBLE! David lived the Honor Principle.

break-chainsNow hopefully you have seen that God establishes authority. He gives us authorities that we are to honor. Now all authority is established by God, but their cruel behavior is not originated by God. That leader will give an account of his behavior, but we must give an account for our behavior. Are we willing to live in God’s Kingdom, where God is the authority, and our honoring our authorities brings a full reward from God? Or do we want to live in our own kingdom, man’s kingdom, where we do what is best for us, where we honor only those who have earned the right to be honored? What do you do if your authority is so harsh and insensitive that it is destroying your health, and affecting your walk with God? We will look at that next week.

What wicked King has God put in your life?

There is one wicked King you do not have to honor. Satan. Come to King Jesus, throw off the chain of Satan! Honoring Authority doesn’t enslave us, it frees us to let God Work! It frees us to enjoy God’s Full Reward!