Tag Archives: obedience

May 19; What if?

I Kings 2:13-3:28; 2 Chronicles 1:1-13; Psalm 72

How would you describe God? What do you believe about Jesus and the cross? In your experience, would you say the Bible is absolutely true, mostly true, a book of suggestions for living, or a book of fiction? The answers to those questions will determine your answer to the following:

If God promised He would give you anything you asked of Him, what would you say?

Solomon heard God say, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Can you even imagine? Solomon replied, “Give me whatever I need to accomplish Your will.”

Solomon understood who God is. He understood that nothing is more important than being a servant God deserves. Solomon not only wanted to do what God asked of him, he wanted to do it well, with his efforts empowered by God.

What if God told you you could have anything you want? Would you ask for health? Happiness? World peace?

Or do you love Him enough, fear Him enough, desire to serve Him enough to make your request about Him? Not my will, but Thine be done.

How would you describe God?

 

May 16; How Far Will It Go?

I Chronicles 6:31-53, 25:1-26:32

I love that the names of the men assigned tasks in the ministry of the temple (not even built yet) are listed here. Most of these men are unknown, regular guys – except for this one thing. Most of these men aren’t listed with kings, or warriors, or prophets. Yet their names are being read today, thousands of years after they’ve gone.

Why?

They served God.

I also love the fact that so many fathers and sons worked side by side in their ministries. I would think nothing could be sweeter for Christian parents than to have their children serving God alongside them. What a blessing that must be!

There is something else that I noticed here in these lists: Accountability.

All these men were assigned duties, and with that we read about the supervision of their fathers, or the commanders, or those who were “in charge.” All the men were given jobs, but none of them did their “own thing.” Even those with authority still answered to the king.

This is a great picture of the inner workings of the Church, isn’t it? Ordinary people working shoulder-to-shoulder in various ministries, some with the responsibility to oversee, to ensure the works gets done to the glory of God, and ultimately, all are accountable to the King of Kings.

You and I might be just regular people, working behind the scenes in ministry of some kind. We might never be lauded or applauded in this lifetime. The men whose names we read today probably weren’t, either. But here we are so many years later, talking about them. I guess we’ll never know how far-reaching our obedience in ministry will go, either.

May 15; A Bucket List

2 Samuel 20; I Chronicles 22; Psalms 30 & 140

It’s a popular concept these days to have a “Bucket List.” It sounds fun, fulfilling, to check off all the things you’ve always wanted to do before you die. Skydiving? Check. River Cruise in Europe? Check. Broadway play? Check. Meeting a famous person? Check. Whatever you’ve dreamed about doing, do it before it’s too late.

Having a Bucket List is especially appealing to people who believe this life is all there is. Enjoy it before you turn into nothingness. It also seems to appeal to people who are their own priority. Me first, you know.

David had a different kind of Bucket List. We read that David wanted to build a temple for God. It was a longing, a passion of his to create a place worthy of God’s Presence. But God told him, “No.” Solomon would be the one to built the temple.

So David got busy. He drew up plans, hired workers, purchased materials, mentored Solomon. David’s Bucket List was full of ways to assure that temple would be built, even if his name wasn’t going to be on it. David’s Bucket List was about furthering God’s work.

I don’t read where he took even one trip to Disney. David’s Bucket List was all about God.

So I’m asking myself what it is I want to do before I die? Do I want my final push to be about me? Or do I want a Bucket List that looks like David’s, one that is full of things I can do for God before I meet Him?

I’d like my Bucket List to include the names of people I’ve influenced toward having a relationship with God through Jesus, rather than a lot of things I did for myself. I want my Bucket List to include things that glorify God – not me.

If I have the means to travel Europe on a luxury cruise ship, I have the means to take the Gospel to children in Haiti, or to build a well in Africa in Jesus’ name, or buy Bibles for Chinese Christians, or support a missionary in Romania, or give school supplies to kids in poverty in my home town. If I can put effort into meeting my sports hero or music icon, I can put effort into sharing Jesus with a homeless person, or my neighbor.

Now, please. I am not condemning anyone who goes on a European river cruise. I’d love to do that myself. And I’m not telling anyone how they should be spending their money. I’m just suggesting we take a look at our priorities and find out how God can be honored in our lives while we still are able.

Having a Bucket List might be a good thing. I think what is in our Bucket Lists are between us and God. Whatever we do, let’s do it to the glory of God while we still have time.

 

May 13; The Truth Hurts

Psalms 64, 70, 84, 141, 143; 2 Samuel 18:19-19:43

Absalom is dead. The son who did everything in his power to steal the throne from his father, David, was killed in a battle he was fighting with the intent to destroy David. David wished he’d been the one to have died instead.

Now, I dealt with a lot of middle school parents who thought their precious children could do no wrong, even when presented with evidence to the contrary. But David takes the cake.

David went into a very public, very agonized mourning over the death of his son. I’m not saying he was wrong to be sad. He was a father. But David’s mourning went to the point his own soldiers – those who had been loyal to him when his own son betrayed him – were ashamed to have fought the battle. The solders went into mourning.

So Joab, the leader of the army, went to the king and shook some sense into him. We, of course, can’t hear Joab’s tone of voice. But we can read his words. And it doesn’t appear that he was joking. These are some harsh words. Truthful words. But Joab doesn’t seem to be worried about hurting the king’s feelings.

David was wrong. David acted badly. And he had to be told in no uncertain terms.

I’m not a very good Joab. Confrontation is not my strong suit. Oh, I can write a script in my head. I can imagine what I would say to someone I think needs to hear the truth. But actually saying those words out loud is not something I do.

God is convicting me about that today.

Joab realized that what David was doing was hurting other people, and jeopardizing David’s kingship. I can watch a loved one making similar choices, choices that perhaps hurt others, or worse – jeopardize their relationship with God and eternity.

David needed Joab’s firm honesty. My loved ones need mine. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But sometimes the truth hurts. I don’t want to lose a relationship with them by making them upset with me. But God is asking me if their liking me in this lifetime is worth their eternity without Him?

Man! I do NOT like what God is saying to me today. But He speaks the truth.

And the truth hurts.

May 3; It’s Your Turn

Psalms 21, 51, 103; 2 Samuel 12:24-31, 8:2-8, 23:20a; I Chronicles 11:22a, 18:2-8

David’s guilt over his sin with Bathsheba, and the death of his son, seems to have paralyzed him for a time. Joab led the army into battle against Rabbah the Ammonite, and won a great victory. Then he sent a message to David, telling him in effect to get back to work.

The first thing that strikes me about this is that Joab could have turned this victory around and exalted himself. But he didn’t.

Along with that, I am reminded that fighting God’s enemy is not a one man job, nor is it about gaining notoriety for ourselves.¬†We are an army, each with gifts and responsibilities working together to accomplish God’s goal.

God’s goal.

I love that Joab went about caring out his own responsibilities, and that he confronted David for not doing his own. I love this picture that demonstrates that God has given each of us a job to do, one of which is holding each other accountable.

I remember Dad telling stories about being a Marine in WWII. He said it was frustrating when a Marine wasn’t doing his job. That one man, not pulling his weight, made it harder for the others to do their jobs, and often put a whole platoon in danger.

You are that important in our war against Satan.

Let me just say that if you are attending church on Sunday, and that’s all you do the rest of the week, it’s time you start pulling your weight. Your uninvolvement in this battle makes it harder for the rest and, frankly, puts the mission of the Church in jeopardy.

Let’s muster the troops – all of us who know Jesus as our Savior – and win this war. Let’s all of us be obedient to do the things God asks of us. Let’s get off our couches and get out there and talk to people about their Savior, ministering to the needs of people who need Him. Your pastor can’t do it all.

He’s not supposed to.

The reality is that other soldiers in God’s army have planted seeds. God is working in the hearts of sinners even right this minute. A battle or two have been won by others.

Now it’s your turn.

April 30; The Rescue

Psalms 19, 24, 65, 68, 110; 2 Samuel 8:1, 21:15-18; I Chronicles 18:1, 20:4

It occurred to me, after reading these passages this morning, that as members of God’s Church, we have an opportunity to help each other. We read psalms like the ones included in today’s Scripture and hear about our mighty, powerful, enemy-crushing God. And sometimes I think we might take it too personally.

Like: “I have this problem. I need to tap into God’s power and overcome this sin, or this situation. If victory doesn’t happen, there must be something wrong with me.” We have the mistaken idea God expects us to go it alone, or that means we don’t have faith. We end up feeling guilty and defeated because we still struggle, even though we are calling out to God to help us.

Now, maybe it is you. Maybe you really aren’t being obedient, or repenting of sin. But it also could be God wants to use one of us to come along side you and be His power for you.

A Philistine named Ishbi-Benob said he was going to kill David. “But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine¬†down and killed him…” (2 Samuel 21:17a)

I’m not saying David wouldn’t have successfully beaten Ishbi-Benob himself. But I love it that he didn’t have to. Abishai rescued him before the Philistine even got to David.

I hope you are close enough to your church fellowship that you recognize when someone is struggling, even when they wear that cheery smile every Sunday. I hope you faithfully pray for them. But I also hope you ask God if He wants you to stand along side this person, to prevent this person from having to handle the problem on their own, to rescue this person.

What a privilege it is to be God’s arms that wrap around a hurting brother or sister, to be his voice that speaks words of comfort, to be his legs to go into action on another’s behalf.

Even Christians hurt. Even Christians struggle sometimes. Let’s ask God to show us how we can come to the rescue.

 

April 29; Go Home And Bless Your Family

2 Samuel 6:12-23; I Chronicles 15-16; Psalm 15

What is worship? That’s been a hot topic for the last 30+ years since the “contemporary” movement burst on the scene. If you’ve been with me very long, you know my take on that, and honestly, I’ve sat here for quite a while trying to look for something else to talk about today. But God isn’t letting this one go.

The example of worship here in 2 Samuel and I Chronicles is that of a rocking worship service. However, remember, so is I Chronicles 13 and 2 Samuel 6, and God was not pleased with that one. It’s an example of disobedient worship that looks an awfully lot like worship that God accepts. So what’s the difference?

First, I don’t believe it has anything to do with what songs were being sung. I say that because both accounts tell us they were celebrating with song, singing joyful songs. The truth is, as I see it, hymns can be as worshipful as praise songs.

Second, I don’t think it has anything to do with the musical instruments being played. Both examples tell us the worshipers played lyres and harps. I believe an organ can be as worshipful as a bass guitar.

The worship looked very much alike in these two accounts. So, again, what was the difference?

I think a huge difference between these worship services is obedience. It wasn’t the worship production. It was the heart of the people. It wasn’t how they looked while worshiping, it was their obedience to God that made the difference.

The other thing I see as a difference between the two examples of worship here in the Old Testament, and maybe the most important difference, is found in I Chronicles 16:43. After his time of worship, David went home to bless his family. He didn’t bask in the euphoria of a worship experience, then walk away unaffected. He took his experience and put it to work.

Dear one, if you are going to church on Sunday mornings for a worship experience, stay home. Go to a movie to be entertained. Worship does not end at the last “Amen.”

If you aren’t involved every day in some kind of ministry, in some kind of witnessing, and in living a Christ-like life on Monday, why are you worshiping? Do you think God needs your words, or is edified by your soaring emotions once a week?

The purpose of our church services is not to make us feel good, but to edify us, strengthen us, and equip us to go home and bless our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, the uttermost parts of the world.

I hope you worshiped God yesterday with a fellowship of believers. I hope your emotions were touched. But I pray that you learned something about God, that you were encouraged in your faith, that you were challenged and changed.

Now, get out there and bless someone.