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Posts Tagged ‘King David’

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
 
If you move in Judeo/Christian circles you have heard this verse quoted by pastors, politicians, and proselytes more than a few times, especially in times of regional tragedy or national sorrow. Although an encouraging portion of Scripture that strikes a harmonious chord with all true believers, let us be mindful that it is primarily a directive and an admonition from God.
 
A Promise to Israel
 
Cite the verse or post it on social media, and it won’t be very long before some imperious theologian, qualified or amateur, chimes in that the verse is contextually a promise for Israel and not for the United States or any other nation. Well, we can’t argue the point; it is a conditional promise that God made to Israel.

Here’s the entire account in the New Living Translation:

 
“So Solomon finished the Temple of the LORD, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do in the construction of the Temple and the palace. Then one night the LORD appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you.”
 
God continues:
 
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father.”
 
God’s final warning:
 
“But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the decrees and commands I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot the people from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make it an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled. They will ask, ‘Why did the LORD do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’ And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why he has brought all these disasters on them.’” (2 Chronicles 7:12-22)
 
For the Church or Not?

Clearly, both contextually and historically, these words of God were for Israel. So the question then becomes, is God’s wise counsel and warning applicable to us today, and more specifically, are they applicable to the Church? The answer is, of course they are.

 
First Things First
 
When God said to King David, “One of your descendants will always rule over Israel,” it was a ‘now-fulfilled,’ prophetic reference to our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the integral part of this equation, and because Christians are grafted into the vine that is Israel, the verse applies to the church. There is no question about it: if Christians, as in the warning to Israel, abandon their namesake Christ Jesus, and disobey His decrees and commands, we will be uprooted and rejected. 
 
“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.”
(Romans 11:17, NLT)
 
Healing for Israel Only?
 
No one in the body argues that if believers anywhere or at anytime, humble themselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways, that God will hear those prayers, and forgive their sin. The issue with some folks is the implication found in the final portion, ‘that God will heal their land.’ 
 
Let’s back up. What does God mean when He says that He will heal their land, and what’s wrong with the land that it needs healing to begin with?
 
For starters, God cursed the land back in Genesis because of Adam’s dirty deed, but arguably that is not what’s being referred to here. However, and as it pertains to our scriptural reference, God said, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people,” (2 Chronicles 7:13).

In other words, on occasion and for varied reasons known and unknown, God allows turmoil, and God-allowed turmoil is not unique to Israel. Therefore, when God says He will heal the land, and when Christians apply His promise to the land they happen to be most closely associated with, it is a proper application. No one is saying anything more than that and certainly no Christian I associate with is suggesting that the United States is somehow replacing Israel as the apple of God’s eye. That notion, along with replacement theology in general, is a sick interpretation of the Bible (a discussion for another time, perhaps).  

 
Simply put, and as it pertains to the Vine of American, if folks who are called by His name, get off their high horses and humble themselves, if they would pray and seek God’s face, His guidance, His equipping, and His power, and if they repent from their wicked ways, then God will hear us; He will forgive us, and the turmoil of the land will be healed. Take note: the agnostics, the atheists, and the followers of false gods and idols don’t have to do anything! The admonition is to the church alone. If we would just start acting like the church, that is to say, in a God-prescribed manner, the promise will come to pass.
 
And the Naysayers Say…
 
“It’ll never happen!”
 
And of course they cite Biblical prophecy that God’s wrath is ultimately going to be poured out on America and the rest of the world. I get that and cannot dispute the prophetic and specific inevitability of those words. However there is another element that cannot be disputed: we do not know God’s timetable; we do not know the day or the hour of Christ’s return, and nowhere in the Bible is it suggested that we should abandon every good work and wait for His return. The mere thought of that is absurd and dare I say, blasphemous. God would never have us reject our Christian duty! Never!
 
So with that, let us humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, and see what God will do! To ignore God’s warning is to reject God Himself.
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Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1-2)

I’m hesitant to declare that Psalm 51 is my favorite Psalm, but it is right up there near the top. It speaks to the time when King David came before the Lord and confessed his wickedness regarding Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah and [David’s] subsequent redemption.  It also speaks directly to gratitude.

Today, as I poured through the Song once again, I selahed at verse 13:

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 

I found myself asking the question, “What will it take for us to teach the LORD’s ways to the transgressor?  The following inquiry was gleaned (and personalized) from the text preceding that thirteenth verse:

  1. Have you acknowledged your transgressions?
  2. Have you been purged with hyssop?
  3. Are you now clean, washed, and whiter than snow?
  4. Are your sins now hidden and your iniquities blotted out?
  5. Has He created in you a clean heart? 
  6. Has He renewed a steadfast spirit within you?
  7. Are you welcome in His presence? 
  8. Has He given you His Holy Spirit?
  9. Do you possess the joy of salvation?
  10. Are you upheld by His generosity? 
Hopefully you responded in the affirmative to each of those queries. If you have, then guess what? It’s time for you to make known the riches of this glorious mystery: Christ in you, the hope of glory. And remember, a lion is the happiest when it is let out of the cage.

“His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.”  (Jeremiah 20:9b)

If you do not know Jesus Christ as both God and Savior, then click HERE. And please know, God is not interested in making converts, He desires that we would willingly follow Him, not because He is needy, but because we are.

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God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us…That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Psalm 67:1-2

The sixty-seventh Psalm is a prophetic song speaking to the way things will be when Christ Jesus returns. We can see that in the passage as the psalmist writes that, “God shall bless us,” when all the peoples (note the plural) praise Him and rejoice in Him. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.

However despite its farsightedness, we can still receive and make a personal application for today—the first two verses of the Psalm spell it all out: ‘We are blessed so that we might be a blessing to others.’ (Paraphrase mine). A little side note, the doctrine represented here undermines entirely the ‘name-it-and-claim-it,’ prosperity gospel. The psalmist could not have made it any clearer—it’s not about us, it’s about God.

The Jews Blew it

“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles…” Isaiah 42:6

This is how we know (in part) that the Psalm is prophetic in design—God called the Jews to be His light to the Gentiles; to share what they knew of Him with them. The Gentiles are of course everyone who is not a Jew; in other words, ‘all peoples.’ In this regard, the Jews dropped the ball. I’m not bashing the Nation of Israel (keep reading).

The Christians Blew it

Collectively, the church is blowing it too. The nation of Israel was supposed to be that blessing to the people of the earth, right? And today Christians understand that we are blessed so that we may be a blessing to others, thus bringing all honor, glory, and praise to Him, right?

It would appear we’re not doing the best job we can. By that I mean (and I’m pointing a finger at myself right now), “How many have I shared the Gospel with today? Yesterday? This past year?”

Don’t get me wrong, I know God’s will is going to be done in spite of the fact that His children are poor evangelizers; that’s a given. However, that does not let any believer off the hook. Now before I start sounding too legalistic, let me remind you (us) that sharing the Gospel is something we get to do; it is not something we have to do.

Our lives have been spared, right? We’re a grateful lot of people, right? What Jesus did for us was miraculous, right? How then can we keep from shouting His praise, right?

But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9b

If you’re no Billy Graham, don’t be condemned, be convicted. How can you tell the difference? Condemnation will draw you away from Jesus, while conviction will draw you closer to Him. Billy Graham was not the Billy Graham (we know) over night and he would likely tell you that he is still a ‘work in progress.’ So are we. Besides that, God does not want me to be a Billy Graham; He wants me to be a David Wells. Who does God want you to be?

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly. Selah My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work. Psalm 62

David’s flight from Jerusalem is the setting for this Psalm. Absalom wants his father’s throne and his physical and verbal attacks upon David are never-ending. David confirms the assault in verse four. Speaking of Absalom and his co-conspirators, David cites their sole purpose is to cast him down with their lies and their craftily concealed curses. Inspired by God, David counsels his own soul.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

Again, David is not merely talking to himself; his counsel is of the Lord. What is that counsel? Be still, “Wait silently for the Lord.” Be stable, “He is my Rock,” Be strong, “He is my strength.” Be safe, “He is my refuge.” And notice the change that takes place within the passage: in verse two David says that he will not be ‘greatly’ moved, but by verse six he proclaims that upon this Rock he will not be moved at all. That kind of conviction can only come from the Lord. Consider this passage from the Book of Hebrews:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

I underlined the key words: “God has said (so that) we may boldly say.” In other words we are not making disingenuous claims or hyping ourselves up emotionally and/or psychologically in order that we might get through our day or our problems. No, we can boldly say the things we say because God has asserted them beforehand. Our patience, our stability, our strength, and our security have been preordained by the Creator of the Universe. By whose authority can a Christian say the things he says? By His authority!

David Shares the Revelation with the People

Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy…

David cautions his subjects to not trust in men, might, or money, but in God alone. Look at the contrast: men of high degree, of money, and of might have a limited amount of power, but typically are short on mercy. Men of low degree and the oppressed have a limited amount of mercy, but lack power. Not only does God have access to both power and mercy, the attributes belong to Him—He doesn’t just have some, He owns it all! In light of that, why should we trust in any other?

In God alone!


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Psalm 51:4

This is one of those verses that I always use to struggle with. The Psalm was written by David concerning the incident he had with Bathsheba, her husband Uriah, and the confrontation afterwards with Nathan the prophet. As a result of the incident, Bathsheba became pregnant and Uriah was murdered. So when we read David’s declaration to God, “Against You, You only, have I sinned,” some folks wonder, “What in the world is going on; what about Bathsheba and poor Uriah?”

It’s here that some pastors teach that Bathsheba was partially at fault for bathing nakedly on the roof, the implication being that she knew exactly what she was doing. I might agree with that, but we must keep in mind that the text doesn’t say that’s what she did. Frankly, it’s unfair to place any guilt on Bathsheba’s head [regarding what happened that day], because the Bible does not provide us with that information. Her guilt [if any] is speculation on our part.

And what about Uriah? What part did he play; can anyone say he is partially at fault for his own murder? You would probably agree that it would be a stretch to make that accusation.

Or Would It?

The truth of the matter is that while we don’t have any evidence to link Bathsheba and Uriah to the crime, [thus making them the clear victims], they are not innocent. What do I mean by that? I mean that while they did nothing (apparently) to bring about David’s sin, they themselves are still sinners. Fact is, we’re all sinners from the moment we are conceived. Later on in this same Psalm, David points that out.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.. Psalm 51:5

So what is David actually saying when he boldly declares to the Father, “Against You, You only, have I sinned.”

David is acknowledging three things. First, that crimes are committed against the innocent. Second, that nobody is completely innocent except for God. And finally, only the innocent (in this case God) can declare judgment.

There is none righteous, no, not one …They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Romans 3:10

But wait you say, “That’s not true. I went to court and was judged for an offense and that judge (according to what the Bible says) was not innocent!”

True, but the ruling of that judge was not to condemnation. In other words, that judge (no judge) can say, “Bailiff, take that man directly to Hell!” Read the verse again.

Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Psalm 51:4

The key point David is making is not that his sins are against God alone, but rather that because of God’s perfect innocence; His perfect blamelessness, He alone is just to speak and impose punishment. Bathsheba, Uriah, Nathan, or anyone else for that matter ~ because of their sinful condition ~ cannot judge another unto condemnation. Let’s face the reality of Uriah’s death—because he was born a sinner, he deserved to die.

There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? James 4:12

WHAT?!

Am I saying that David had the right to murder Uriah? Not at all. I’m saying that we’re all sinners and we all deserve to die. Thankfully, and graciously, Jesus stepped in and paid the price for our sin and died in our place. All anyone must do is believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross.

For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us Isaiah 33:22

There is only One who has both the power and authority to judge and the power and authority to save. David recognized this, pleaded for mercy before the Judge, and received it. What about you—do you recognize Jesus as the only One who can both judge and save?

What are your thoughts?


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, They are my adversaries, because I follow what is good. Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! Psalm 38:17-22

As I have shared before, I study the Bible utilizing both the King James and New King James versions side by side. To date I have yet to find any verses that contradict one another, but quite often I do come across subtle nuances in the language that help me to understand the passages a little better. Today was no exception.

In Psalm 38:17 the NKJV reads, ‘For I am ready to fall.’ The KJV on the other hand substitutes the word halt for the last word. Halt tends to give the phrase a different meaning, so I looked-up the Hebrew translation and discovered that it doesn’t mean ‘to stop,’ like I originally thought, but rather ‘to limp,’ as to be hindered by a disability. The Psalmist was essentially saying to God, “I am ready to be lame.”

What in the World was David Talking About?

Reading the entire Psalm, we see that David was in a desperate place; he was suffering with a disease that was brought about by his own sin. As I read the Psalm, I don’t know if the disease was real (some surmise it could have been a sexually transmitted disease or even leprosy) or a case of David waxing poetically about how debilitating sin can be. Either way, David was suffering greatly and was ready to submit wholly to the Lord. I get the sense that when David wrote, “I am ready to halt,” he was in reality making an allusion to Jacob’s story in Genesis 32.

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank. Genesis 32:24-32

We would recall that Jacob learned his brother Esau (and a small army) were coming to meet him and the news left Jacob greatly afraid and distressed, for he felt Esau was coming to kill him. Jacob cried out to the Lord for delivery, but he did not heed His counsel. Instead, in his flesh, he sent gifts ahead of him in an attempt to appease his brother. The passage above is what happened next and as a result of having wrestled with God, Jacob was left with a limp for the rest of his life and a new name: Israel, which means, ‘governed by God.’

When David wrote in the Psalm that he was ready to halt, he was affectively saying that he, like Jacob, was ready to be governed by God. From that point forward, King David maintained a figurative limp that identified him as one who was fully dependant upon God, as one with a limp would be fully dependant upon a staff to move forward.

Where are you in your walk? Are you ready to limp?


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Psalm 37:3-7

A Common Question

The matter is raised by both new and mature believers alike; “I’m walking with the Lord, but I don’t know what He wants me to do with my life…what should I do?”

God knew we would ask that question, so through His servant David, He provided an answer:

“Become dependant upon Me,” God the Father says to us, “and do good; live where I have placed you and feed on My reliability.”

St Augustine put it this way, “Love God and do as you please.”

Sounds Dangerous

It does sound a little risky, because in the Book of Jeremiah we are warned that, The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it.” However the good news comes in the accompanying verse:

I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:10

God agrees: our hearts are evil. But if we (like the Psalmist tells us), delight ourselves in Him, commit our lives to Him, trust in Him, wait on Him, and rest in Him, a wonderful thing occurs—He will transform us. As we give our unconditional love to Him and trust Him, He searches our hearts and minds and essentially repairs the damage! Again, God said it this way:

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts… Jeremiah 31:33a

We Need Not Worry

St Augustine might have over stated it a wee bit, but Christians who are sold-out for the Lord can do whatever they want, because they have the confidence that God has put His will upon their hearts—God’s will drives our desires.

What if I Make a Mistake

Chances are we will err from time to time. Again, the good news is that God will use those situations to refine us further! God is not going to rebuke His child (when with a right heart) he makes a mistake. Does a parent scold a child when she falls down while learning how to walk? Of course not. Nor does our Father scold His children when they endeavor to do good.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24

So what should you do? If you’re delighting yourself in Him today, do whatever you feel led to do and let me know how you make out.


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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