Monday, May 26, 2014

David, The Spoiler

There is a lot of spoiling going on in 1 Samuel 30. One way to spoil someone is to give them an abundance of gifts. David does that. Another way to spoil someone is to forcefully take their stuff during a battle. David does this as well. Another way for something to be spoiled is for things to go wrong. David has this happen to him in this chapter and is the cause of things being spoiled, things going wrong, for others in this chapter.
         David, The Spoiler really is the theme of this chapter. But we should keep in mind that it is God who is doing the spoiling. David knows and acknowledges this and this is the secret to David. More than anyone else in the story, David keeps his priorities straight understanding that the battle is the Lord’s.

1 Samuel 30 is a good reminder to remember that things are not always as they seem. In our day, things are starting to look grim. The powers that are in Washington, and Richmond and Hollywood and the Sports and Entertainment world, seem to have attacked and defeated the Christians. The Christian Church seems weak and anemic against such onslaughts. We are refused a place at the tables of power where we might fight against their encroachments and we return to our homes to find them assaulted.
         Christians are increasingly beleaguered in the public school systems where the authority of Scripture is undermined with the authority of modernity, science, political correctness, environmentalism, toleration of everything perverse and no toleration for the Christian’s view of these things. All of these are replacements for God’s authority through His Word, His Church and His people.
         Many Christians turn to their Church, God’s people and ministers, and find attacks there as well. Some of God’s people attack the faithful, demanding toleration, acceptance of the authorities of the powers, niceness from the Christians in a world of attack dialogue from unbelievers.
         Like David, we may feel like we are losing on every front. We are ostracized from our true place of authority. We are mistrusted and despised. We are marginalized until we have to simply go home and sit down and shut up. But we find that our home is not a place of rest. Our children and our way of honoring God are attacked as well. Our wives are attacked. They are outcasts in a culture that is running off without them or running over them. They are weary but they cannot rest.
         As we look around at our culture, these are some of the things that we see. In some places in our country, the saints feel these things sharply and eally are under attack. 
         The Obama Administration is now openly pushing this attack against the Authority of the Bible and the traditional way of life of Christians. John Kerry recently stated that modern people do not want to live by the outdated ways of a 2000 year old book. The Republicans and so-called Conservatives have no answer for this because they like modernity, too. So, we do not count as modern people and Obama and his gang of hooligans have no tolerance for anything but the modern. We have no indication that the attack will slow down.
         But from God’s perspective, what is going on? God is watching from heaven and He is keeping score. His rain falls on the just and unjust. This means that He knows who they are. The enemies of Christ are noted and God is preparing a route while they are eating and drinking and singing and dancing.
         What will this route look like? Will it be a giant win at the ballot box? Probably not. It is more likely to look like a crashing stock market, a horrendous scandal, a staggering military defeat, or the moral victory over the powers by an isolated swamp boy over the powers through 'seemingly' sheer luck, perseverance and faith.
         God does not see as we do. He sees the enemies gather together and He thinks it is good because now they are all in one spot and easy to defeat.
         We cannot see this so we have to wait and be wise, like David. We have to have faith, knowing that God will indeed vindicate the righteous. We call upon God and we expect Him to act. And we fight.
         David spoiled the Kings fight against Saul.
         David spoiled his soldier’s lives when Ziklag was burned.
         David spoiled the Amalekites rejoicing, then he spoiled them of their goods when he defeated them in battle.
         David spoiled his fighting men by lavishing gifts on them.
         David spoiled all Israel with the blessings from God.
         David spoiled the expectations of his and God’s enemies by rising from the dead.

         So, let us wait on God as He spoils the expectations of the wicked.

Least and Greatest

It is a joy to gather here at the end of our service to eat and drink with the God. Jesus has spoiled the enemies of the gospel and He now shares the benefits. Just at the point of their rejoicing over His defeat and death on the cross, He was openly making a show of them, defeating them by that same cross. They killed Him but death could not hold Him for more than three days.
         He is alive and has ascended the throne. He is a king and gift giver. He sent His Spirit and calls all men everywhere to repent, believe the good news of Jesus, come to the wedding feast, sit down and eat in peace with God and men.

         He calls the greatest and the least, the mighty and the weak, the warriors and those who protect the baggage, parents and children, young and old, for the promise is to you and your children, to those far and near. Come, eat, drink, receive the gifts of God.

Mine, Mine

When we say, mine, mine, it is not the first mine that gets us in trouble. It is the second. We should say, Mine, God gave it to me. Freely He has given and so freely I give.

This is not natural to us and must be cultivated. The way to cultivate this is through the realization that all good gifts really do come from God. We even pray this about our daily food. Do we really believe that God gives us our food? Then how can we not freely give food to others? We cultivate this through thanksgiving. We thank God for our abundance and the more we do this, the more convinced we are that He really gave it to us. 
We work hard. We provide for our own and we admit that we are blessed and that the blessing is all grace. To the extent we have grasped our goods as gained and merited, let us confess and acknowledge the grace and abundance of God and let us freely give.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Large Communion Table

As you can imagine, our Poland trip was quite fantastic. We got to see many things and meet many people. We had a glimpse of a land that not too long ago was under the iron fist of tyranny. But it was not the curiosity of the exotic that made our trip fantastic. What made the trip fantastic was being with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We felt a keen kinship with them, admiring their tenacity in the faith of Christ.
         This Communion Table reminds us of all of our brothers and sisters who eat with us, not just in this room, or in this city but all around the world. The Lord’s Table is large and accommodates all who come to eat in Christ. So, as you look around today, remember that these are just a few of your countless brothers and sisters all around the world.