Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sons of Promise

While this chapter is somewhat depressing, it need not stay that way. Saul flatly refused to be obedient to the Lord. His envy towards David and his grasping of power and control, was his undoing. He would not submit to the Lord even though the Lord provided him many opportunities to do so.
         Saul is no more but the promises of God have not ended. He still intends to bless Israel and raise her to great heights. But in order for God to bless Israel in this way, Saul must decrease and David must increase.
         In the Old Testament there is always this contrast between the sons of the flesh and the sons of promise. The sons of the flesh strive to grasp God’s blessings by their own might and in their own names. In so doing, they resist God and His way.
The sons of the promise, by way of contrast, understand that it is only by God’s grace and mercy that they inherit the blessings. They do not grasp and strive, stealing God’s glory. Instead, they submit to His ways and His timing and receive the promises of God.
David is just such a man. He waits upon the Lord and the Lord fulfills His promise to David at just the right time. But something else is going on. The way of the flesh has to die for the way of the promise to take hold.
In this, we see the promise of Christ. We cannot save ourselves, whether through good intentions or good deeds. We must admit that we fall short of God’s glory and are therefore in need of a Savior. Only when we stop striving and allow for the flesh to be mortified, that is, killed, can we be raised to new life in Christ.
This is true for the man who turns from sin in the first place and comes to Christ for the first time but it is also true for the believer, who suffers many little deaths and resurrections. Each time we realize that we are grasping through our flesh, either onto our own sins, or even our own virtues, we need to die a little death, so that we can be resurrected to new life in the Spirit.
Saul grasped sinfully. His sin had consequences. His sin brought down his entire household and even brought the nation into judgment at the hands of her enemies.
David, however, did not grasp. He gave all glory to God, humbling himself. As a result, Saul was brought low and David was exalted. The way of this sort of exaltation is always through the path of humiliation. Only in that way can one realize that exaltation is truly from the Lord. This elicits the proper response, thankfulness, which never takes credit for its own blessings.
We are blessed because God blesses us. This sort of blessing creates a desire to honor the blessor, God, Himself. If we understand the truth of this, there is no way for pride and self-promotion. God gets the glory and we are content with that.
We fathers must be aware of our great capacity to bless and curse. The weight of this can be overwhelming. But Jesus says Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I mentioned earlier that our choices have huge downstream consequences. We cannot foresee those consequences. We also should not get paralyzed in fear unable to make choices. We trust that if we make good moral decisions, doing our duty before the Lord, then we leave the consequences up to Him. But if we take our future into our own hands, trying to fashion it in our way and our time, in a sinful manner, then the consequences are of our own making. God is able to redeem the years the locust has eaten. We can turn to Him in repentance and He can take our bad choices and make good consequences. He does this because He is a good and gracious Father.

In Christ, we can fulfill all that He calls us to. We submit to Him and His burden is light. He carries the weight. And when we do this, we bless those in our sphere of influence and authority. This includes our wives, husbands, children, parents, co-workers, neighbors, church and community.

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