Let Us Worship…

In my high school & college days I worked at a movie theater in my hometown.  


Every showtime would introduce the feature presentation with a commercial for the theater, and every commercial would invite the guest to do the same thing:


“Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.”


Soon, the light would dim, the music would get louder, and the movie would begin.


Recently, I was reflecting with a member of our worship team and we began to discuss the tone of a worship service.  We talked about what it was, what it could be, and what it ought to be.


We both noted that there is a temptation in churches today to give the same invitation that movie theaters still give today,


“Welcome to “So & So” Church!  We are so glad you are here.  Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!”


In many cases, churches also dim the lights, turn up the sound, and start the show.


As we were talking about that, we began to wonder if that was what God wanted from his people when they gather to worship?


As I pondered this question, I found Psalm 95:


O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,

Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,

Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”  (. 1-2)

And

“Come, let us worship and bow down,

Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” (v. 6)


So what does this passage say about how we worship?


1.  We are called to sing; not listen.

The invitation we see in this psalm is an invitation to sing.  The church was not invited to listen to the professional singers, but to sing themselves.  Yes, we live in an age where we can give a few singers microphones that will allow their voices to fill a room, but God calls the whole congregation to join in the singing so that praises to Him will fill the room, the neighborhood, the city, even the entire globe.  It does not matter if an individual is a skilled musician or incapable of holding a tune; what matters is that God’s people lift up praises to God in unity!

2.  We are called to respond; not receive.

The passage also calls the congregation to bow with thanksgiving, kneel, and even shout to “the rock of our salvation”.  These are calls to respond to God in the midst of corporate worship.  It is right and good for the people of God to shout words of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to their Maker as the Word of God washes over them.  He is NOT calling us to be lumps on a pew anxiously waiting for the service to be over.  Instead, we ought to think, meditate, and then respond to the Word of God through affirmation, and a change in our behavior.

3.  We are called to worship; not be entertained

It is interesting to note that every verb in these passages is an active verb; not a single one of them are passive.  Nowhere did God call the people to sit back and take in anything.  Instead, they were called to “do”.  The people gathered to worship, and to worship through songs, shouts, prayers of thanksgiving, and acts of submission to the God they loved & trusted.  Worship, whether personal or corporate, should be the active response of the worshiper to God.  Anything else falls short of what God intended it to be.


If you take the time to read the rest of the psalm, you will discover that every invitation to worship God is followed with a list of reasons why.  Verse 3 reads, “For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods.”  This is what we need to understand:  the only reasonable response to knowing God is worship.


He is just so great, so wonderful, so powerful, so gracious, so merciful, and so loving.  If you know God, if you have experienced Him through His Word, then you just have to worship.  You will want to worship Him, and no substitute will do.

So get to know the Lord in whom you have placed your trust.  Read His Word, learn who He says He is.  Then join us as we worship the God who loves us, and saved us by sending us salvation through Christ Jesus!


Read more...

We are not Powerless

There is nothing to do….”


Have any of you heard this over the past couple weeks?  Are any of you guilty of saying it yourself?


It might be very easy for us to think about all the things that we want to do, but we cannot.  

We want to see one another. 
We want to gather as the church for worship & Bible study. 
We want to go to a restaurant and share a meal with others.We want to go on trips, get back to work, and even go to school!

We want to, but we can’t… and it stinks.

However, this does not mean that we are powerless.  Often when we realize that we cannot do something; we also think that we cannot do anything.  

And in response to that, I want to take a look at the words of Paul:

At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.  (2 Timothy 4:16-18)


So let’s think about what he is writing…


Paul is in Prison.

Paul is writing about a defense he made for what he was doing as an apostle.  He is standing trial while also under house arrest for sharing the gospel. In many ways, he is under the same constraints that we are.  He cannot leave his house to do as he pleases. He cannot gather with friends or the Church. He cannot travel or maintain his usual routine.  Paul is all alone.

It would be very easy for Paul to just give up, sit at home, and await his sentencing.  However, this is not what he does!


Paul is still Proclaiming

Despite what appears to be a dire situation, Paul takes hold of the opportunity that he is given.  He goes before the leadership that will hear his case and proclaims the Gospel to everyone who is listening.  He did not regard his current situation and an obstacle or excuse to give up his calling. Instead, he viewed it as a new venue and a new opportunity to reach new people in new ways.  Ultimately, God delivered him in this particular situation and he stood confident that God was using his current situation to His Glory and for the Kingdom.
 

So how about you?

Paul did not let his current circumstances keep him from fulfilling his mission.  How about you? How is God using you during this time of “social distancing”? Are there doors that God is opening to you?  Are there opportunities to connect with people in new ways that you are discovering? If you are not sure, let’s look at some opportunities that we are seeing:

Start with your family.  For many of us, we are spending way more time at home than ever before.  All the things that used to over-fill our calendars are suddenly gone. Take this time to clearly share the Gospel in your family and develop healthy spiritual habits like a family devotion & quiet time.

Look in your neighborhood.  Have you noticed an increase of walkers, joggers, and bike riders?  There are many people who are getting out of the house and exercising in their neighborhoods.  How can you reach them? Be present! Try taking a walk yourself, working in your yard, or sitting on your front porch.  You can wave, greet, and converse with neighbors as you distance yourselves. As you do so, be sure to ask how you can pray for them!

Pick up the phone.  Not everyone is savvy with computers, but just about everyone has a phone. Set aside time to call people.  You can call people in your church or people from work. Try to check on friends, classmates, and the elderly; anyone God has laid on your heart.  Again, make a point of offering to pray with them. You never know who needs to hear the Gospel!

Get online.  Finally, we are so blessed to live in a time with the internet.  Through the world wide web we are able to video chat, message, post information, and SHARE THE GOOD NEWS THAT CHRIST DIED TO SAVE US FROM SIN & ROSE FROM THE GRAVE.  There is no better time to start an online Bible study, share your testimony on social media, or invite a friend to watch a church service online. You can also reach out to neighbors, start new groups to connect with people, or just check in on people with whom you have lost contact.


Paul used his time under house arrest to see that “the proclamation [of the Gospel] might be fully accomplished…”

How might you do the same thing?


Read more...

How Long, O Lord?

Oh I will never complain about being stuck at home again!!!

This pandemic reminds me a little of when I first moved to Kentucky.  It was January of 2011.  I moved before my wife and daughters did in order to get the youth ministry started at Tunnel Hill Baptist Church.  Since I came in winter, I knew that there was going to be the occasional snow day, but I was not prepared for what actually happened.

From the end of January all the way until the beginning of March, it snowed every single Wednesday…

Every. 

Single. 

One. 

We had a policy at the church that if the schools canceled, then we would not have services.  I learned very quickly that very little snow would shut down the county schools and therefore, our church as well.

I found myself in a new place, very far away from my family, and I was unable to do what I was called to do…  or was I?

It did not take very long for me to figure out that I could still do ministry, even if it wasn’t on Wednesday nights.  I could still connect with the youth through social media like Facebook.  I could still call and check in on them.  I could still be where they were like sporting events and band concerts.  Just because I could not do what I wanted to do (or had always done), did not mean that I could not further the Kingdom of God.

Today is no different.  We are very used to gathering on Sundays & Wednesdays.  We see our people on those days and we invite people to these gatherings in hopes that they will follow Christ like we do.  However, these gatherings have been put on hold, but the Great Commission has not!

How can you still serve the Lord while you are social distancing?  Can you call another member or your “One” to check in on them?  Can you set up a computer chat to get people together for Bible Study?  Can you lead your family (especially the kids learning from home) in a daily devotional?  Can you deliver food or other needs to those who need assistance?

Many Psalms have the phrase that is the title of this post, but I want to leave you with the words from Psalm 56:3

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”

Let us as the Church put our trust in God and continue to serve Him in new & exciting ways!

Who knows?  Maybe when we gather again one day soon, we will see new faces joining in our worship!!!


Read more...

Take my Heart, Lord. Take & Seal It.

I was talking with a group of people recently about New Year’s resolutions and the increase of people at the local gym.

One thing that they noted was that most gyms see all those News Year’s resolutions start to waver by the third week of January.  I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that so many give up so quickly.  I also understand.  The first week you are really excited.  You exercise, break a sweat, and you start to feel better.  By the second week, I have no doubt that the soreness begins to kick in.  If you are doing it in the morning, the bed starts to feel so comfortable.  If you do it in the evening, your calendar starts to get busy. 

I just doesn’t take much to create a good excuse.  “I’ll go tomorrow.”  “It’s too cold.”  “I need a day to rest and recuperate.”  They are all good excuses, but they also begin to take you down the road to a broken resolution and no real change in the New Year.

Over the past couple days we have been studying Jeremiah as a church in our January Bible Study.  During our study, we focused on the events of Jeremiah 34.  In Jeremiah 34, the people living in Jerusalem find themselves in immediate danger.  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has come to Jerusalem to overthrow the city and crush a rebellion.  In their fear, they make a covenant with God, which included the liberation of all Hebrew slaves in the city.

The King declares this covenant and all the wealthy of Jerusalem resolve to free their slaves.  There is a big public ceremony to show their intention and shortly after doing so the armies of Babylon leave to address an army from Egypt that is marching to aid Jerusalem.

Here’s the problem.  Once the armies began to move out, the people celebrated and almost immediately took back the promises they made in the covenant.  The wealthy found excuses to justify enslaving their countrymen again. 

This results in the following prophecy:

“You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release each man to his brother and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am proclaiming a release to you… to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (v. 17)

God was not fooled by their false promises, nor their good intentions.  The truth was that their motivation for making this covenant was never about love for God.  On the contrary, they only wanted to avoid the punishment for their disobedience.  Soon the armies would return and leave Jerusalem in waste with many taken away into captivity,

We do the same thing today.  We beg, plead, and try to make a deal with God in hopes that He will grant our wishes or allow us to escape certain doom.  However, once the threat has passed; we often go right back to sin as usual.

In 2020, we need to break the cycle.

We do this by putting fear in its proper place.  We need to stop fearing punishment and start fearing God. 

Fear of God is more than terror that He might make our lives unpleasant.  Instead, it is the realization that He is our Creator, and He is sovereign over all things.  This realization ought to move us to reverence of Him and obedience to Him. 

It also shows us that even though He is so high and lofty, He loves us; showing us grace and mercy over and over.

So let us be motivated by our love and fear of God in 2020.  If we do, we may just see the changes we really want to see this year.  “For nothing is impossible with God!”  (Luke 1:37)


Read more...

Looking to 2020

2019 was a year of amazing ups & sorrowful downs.  We have seen many come to know Christ & be baptized, while we have also had to say good-bye to many of our dear members. After a year such as this, we have to ask the question, “Where do we go from here?” A quote by C.S. Lewis has been making the rounds that seems fitting here.  He has been credited as saying, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”  So what can we do as we walk into 2020?  I’d like to offer a few suggestions.

  1. Take prayer seriously

One thing we can know through Scripture is that prayer is a powerful tool for the believer.  James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  We should take that to heart as we go into the new year.
Pray.  Pray without ceasing. (1 Thess 5:17) Pray in your time alone with God.  Pray with the church gathered.  You cannot imagine how much God can do when we just surrender ourselves to Him.

  1. Pursue your “One” (Or get one & get started!)
Let 2020 be the year where we see our friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances surrender their lives to Christ.  It begins with prayer, but then has to come obedience to the Great Commission.  You have been called to be Christ’s witness to your circle. (John 20:21) This means you are the one that God wants to reach the people around you.I understand that can be both intimidating and overwhelming.  This is why we want you to pick just one.  Reach one.  Pursue one.  Witness to one person and stick with that person until they can experience Christ through your friendship, hear about Him through your Gospel presentation, and be saved.  You can do this; don’t wait all year!  Start as soon as you can!
 
  1. Gather with the church

Finally, COME TO CHURCH!!!  Do you know how you spell priority?  T-I-M-E.  The things that fill your day and your calendar are the things that you prioritize.  One of the ways that we show our faith to be a priority is showing up.  We show up to worship.   We show up to learn.  We show up to be trained.  We show up to serve.
There are lots of things calling to us to change our priorities, but they all have one thing in common:  they want us to pursue worldly things.  However, we have been called to pursue Christ.  There is a lot of power in saying “no”; just make sure that you say “no” to the right things.  Say “yes” to gathering with the saints, building up the body of Christ, and working together to see the nations reached for Christ!

Let 2020 be about loving God, loving others, and seeing as many as we can come to faith in Christ Jesus!  Happy New Year & God bless!


Read more...

Seeking the Crown of Glory

A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness. 
(Proverbs 16:31)
 
I began the process of writing this blog post at the beginning of the week.
 
I had just seen a news article about a local church that was opening a new campus to minister exclusively to their senior members.  That’s right, for the first time that I can remember a church is opening an “old folks” church, like a nursing home.
 
As I read the article, I could not help but laugh at their rationale and their attempts to make it sound like it would be anything but a place to cater to the preferences of older adults in regards to time, music, and style; merely a place to keep them happy so they will continue to give their tithe to the church
 
. But as I pondered it more, I realized that the people that are really going to suffer in this decision are the members who will miss out on a relationship with these wonderful people and the wisdom that they offer.
 
And then my world went upside down for a moment…
 
Yesterday morning I received word that one of these men, a senior member of my church, had passed away.
 
Mr. Bird was the kind of man you wanted to be around.  He was a Deacon Emeritus.  He had served in our church and a few others throughout the years, so he knew a thing or two.  He was always quick to encourage, always positive, always smiling.  When I was down, he would lift me up.  When things did not look good at the church, (low attendance, conflict, etc.) he would have an encouraging word or he would remind me how important family is.
 
Just recently our church decided to go into the community and invite people to church and VBS.  He came up to me after services on the first day we went out and said, “You never know.  Sometimes when we are faithful in one area; God will open up a door in a completely different place for you to minister.”  We went out, we met people, and then a few days later a different community asked us to come and share with them!  I will never forget that.
 
Now imagine…
 
Imagine if I had just shipped this man and his wonderful wife to another campus because I think they would like the music better there and they would be with their own kind!
 
He would have missed out on the chance to encourage me, my wife, and my family.  He would have not been able to bring his wisdom, leadership, and positivity to our congregation.  He would not have changed the lives that he has changed.
 
And we would have missed out also.  I am a better man today because he was in my life. 
 
That is why it is so important that we don’t divide people; not by age, not by race, not by wealth.  We have so much to offer one another.
 
We are one body.  We need each other.  I am reminded of that today.
 
Thank you, Arvil Bird.  I will see you one day again in glory along with the many other godly men & woman that I have had the privilege of knowing as pastor.

Read more...

Like Arrows in the hand…

The school year is already upon us and many of us have spent the morning getting our kids ready for school, taking pictures on the front step, and dropping them off for their first day in a new grade. Many of us also worry through the entire day.  We ask ourselves, “Will they be okay?”  “Will they make friends?” “Will they make the right choices?”  It really doesn’t matter if they are going into kindergarten or walking into their last year as a senior; we always worry. As we set our kids loose in their schools, let us remember the words of God,

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3-5a)

God compares children to arrows in the hands of a warrior, and there are few things about children that this comparison should teach us:

  1. Children are important
    1. It may seem silly to say this, but our children matter. To a warrior, arrows represent their ability to fend off attackers and win the battle.  They are important, even crucial, to the success of a warrior.  We must never look at our children as an inconvenience or a hassle.  It is very easy for children to misunderstand our words and attitudes, so we must be clear.  They are important to us.  They are loved.  They are valued.  We have to tell them that and tell them often, and we need to show them with our time and attention.

  2. Children need preparation
    1. Okay, think about this for a second… what has to happen to an arrow before it is shot? It has to be drawn back!!!  Our children need to be prepared!!!  No, I am not talking just about school, nor am I talking about sports practice.  Our children need to be prepared to live for Jesus in a world that it is still hostile towards God.  When they are young, we teach them right and wrong, we teach them to be generous, and we teach them to be kind to others.  As they grow older, we teach them how to navigate peer pressure, we teach them how to apply the Bible to any situation, and we teach them how to share their faith with others.  These are things they will not learn magically on their own.  Arrows must be drawn back to be effective and our kids must be trained by us!

  3. Children must be launched
    1. The hardest thing for any parent is to let their kid go. But arrows are not weapons unless they are launched!  Parents, we have to keep the end in mind.  Ultimately, our end is to see our kids grow up, and live for the glory of God!!!  We have to remember that our kids will not and cannot stay with us forever.  We must let them go, launch them, into the world to make a difference for Jesus.  They may do that by serving faithfully in the church.  They may do it by answering the call to missions; foreign or domestic.  They may do it by having a career; working as unto the Lord.  They may even do it by faithfully raising their children (your grandchildren) to fear the Lord.  Every job is important and we send them on their way!

 

Our children are a blessing to us, but they are a blessing we were never meant to keep for ourselves.  God has a purpose and a plan for them, just like you!!!  So trust in God, and be ready to send them where ever He would have them go!!!

I’m praying for you!!!!


Read more...

What about my wife?

There was a service organization in a small town that wanted to honor their greatest member.
 
They set out to host one of the nicest banquets they could put together.  They chose the most beautiful place settings.  They spent days choosing the perfect menu.  Every decoration was hung meticulously and with great care.  The whole day was planned and ready to go!
 
The night had arrived and the people began to fill the room.  Soon the food was served and the presentation was about to begin.  Suddenly, one of the planners of the event noticed something:  the guest of honor was not there!!!
 
The planner slipped from the room and called the man’s cell phone.
 
“Hello.”
 
“Hey, the banquet has already started.  Where are you?  Are you on your way?”
 
“What Banquet?”
 
“The banquet that we are hosting in your honor!!!  The food has already been served and the speakers are ready to start!!!  Hurry down to the Hall so we can get started!!!!”
 
“No one ever told me about a banquet.”
 
“What?”
 
“You all have planned this whole affair, and you did not think to even include me?  You did not talk to the organizations that I am passionate about.  You did not allow me to be part of the process in any way.”
 
“Um….”
 
“What about my bride?  Did you even talk to my wife once?  Did you invite her to the event?  Did you allow her to be a part of all your preparation or your planning?”
 
“No.”
 
“We will not be attending your banquet tonight.  You set out to honor somebody, but it certainly wasn’t me.”
 
This Sunday is Easter Sunday.  We all have our traditions.  Some of us visit family, others make this special day all about our kids.  We will put in countless hours preparing meals, decorating eggs or our homes, and putting together Easter baskets.  I would challenge you today to not forget the guest of honor.
 
We celebrate Easter because of Jesus.  It is his resurrection that we are celebrating and therefore He should remain the center of all that we do on this day.  When we do this, let us not forget his bride as well.  She is the church.
 
I hope that you will make the church part of whatever you do this Sunday.  Let your kids learn the true meaning of Easter and be reminded yourself of the great love and freedom that Christ gave you through the cross and resurrection.  If we do not, we may find the very person we gather to celebrate will be absent from all that we do.
 
God bless and have a happy Easter!!!  HE IS RISEN!!!!

Read more...

You gotta fight…

Recently, something unfortunate happened to my family… Thankfully, it was not something life altering, but it certainly altered our routine for the week.  My two youngest kids came down with strep and had to stay home for a couple days. Now I know that does not sound like a big deal, but when you are a busy family of five with clubs, meetings, and practices to attend; it came seem like the whole week just goes crashing down around you. However, something beautiful happened in the middle of all that chaos.  Suddenly, we all had to just stay home one evening.  A night that would usually be filled with practice, meetings, and appointments was suddenly cleared and all five of us found ourselves home at the same time.  So what did we do?  We had dinner, around the table, as a family. And it was magical…. As I reflected on the evening after my kids had gone to bed, I began to realize that I had been giving up too much ground to the world.  I had allowed the world to dictate what we did, where we went, and even what my kids were exposed to.  I had good intentions to be sure, but I was neglecting the things that really matter. Because of this, here are a couple suggestions I came up with as we fight for our family against a busy world.

  1. KNOW YOUR ENEMY

While we can point to lots of enemies, I want to focus on one and that is busyness.  Busyness tries to convince you that you have to do everything.  Busyness tries to tell you that if you don’t say, “yes” then you are missing out.  Busyness tries to tell you that this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

But guess what?  Busyness is lying. You don’t have to do everything.  Most of what you are doing now will not matter in 5 years.  There will be plenty of opportunities for your family in the future, but they will only be kids once.  Please don’t rob them of your time, love, and companionship as you usher them off to the next event.

Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they do not lose heart.”  Paul knew that parents are tempted to push their kids too hard, so fight back!   Let them live and learn what really matters!

 

  1. KNOW YOUR MISSION

Jesus said it very plainly, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

If these commandments are the two most important things that we can do as human beings, then does it not follow that these are the two most important things that we can teach our kids?  I think so.

We have to remember this in light of all that the world is telling us to do.  If an activity, or a club, or a show, or a piece of technology leads us down a path were we love that thing more than God or people created in the image of God; then it has become a dangerous and it needs to be put in check.

While many things may not be inherently bad, everything can become an idol if we let our hearts go unchecked.

  1. START SMALL

What do I do?  How do I get started?  We are so committed now; I don’t know how to pull back!

Often when we notice that our lives have gotten a little too hectic, we want to just quit everything and start over. (Or move far away and start a new life!)

Also, we tend to start trimming the things that seem to demand less of us when we get busy.  This usually means church involvement gets cut as well as family time.  DON’T DO THIS!!

Instead, I would suggest that you start small in other ways.  Is there an evening that you as a couple or a family can block off to be together?  Can you set aside one weekend a month that will remain free of other obligations?  When you figure out when that is, stick to it!  People will want to get you to compromise.  They will say things like, “just this once” but don’t give in.  Show the world that your home and your family are important!  “No” is a very powerful word that you are allowed to use.

Now that you have said “no” to the world; say “yes” to God.  Do a little devotion as a family.  Ask your kids how something they learned at church affected their life that day.  Listen to worship music as a family and even sing along!

  Once you take that first step, you will probably notice that the world will keep spinning.  Your kids will continue to have opportunities and no one’s life will be over because you missed that “one thing”.  But you will probably also notice that your family will be healthier, your relationships will be stronger, and your love for God will deepen as you trust Him even more!   “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”  (1 John 5:21)


Read more...

Loving Absalom

“If I were his/her parent…” Have you ever heard someone say this?  You may have heard it from seasoned grandparent or a couple that doesn’t have kids.  Often this is a phrase that comes out in the midst of a tough parenting moment.  It comes out in the grocery store, over coffee with friends, even in the church building. There is an idea behind this phrase that the person saying it would do better; or at least do differently, and often it is complete bologna. Last week, as I was doing my personal Bible reading I came across the story of Absalom.  Absalom was the son of King David and his story is found in 2 Samuel 13 and carries all the way to chapter 19.  By the end of the story, I found myself uttering that same phrase, “If Absalom had been my child, I would have…”  Needless to say, I would not have been very gracious.  See, Absalom’s story began with the assault of his sister by his half-brother.  When his father refused to administer justice, he took matters into his own hands.  He killed his brother and for that he was banished.  Eventually, David began to miss Absalom and he was convinced to bring him back to Jerusalem, but Absalom returned a different man.  He returned arrogant, unrepentant, entitled, and feeling justified.  It did not take long for him to begin to think that he would be a better king than his father.  After some time, he chose to act on that thought and began a coup. David was forced to flee Jerusalem and only by the grace of God was he able to escape, regroup, and reclaim his throne. 2 Samuel 18:5 says, “The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.”  Wait… what?  Did I miss something?  This spoiled little punk committed a crime.  David showed him mercy, and he repaid him with an insurrection.  Now David wants his commanders to show him more mercy?  As we continue to read, we learn that Joab did not follow David’s orders and kills him despite the fact that he did not have to. Picking up in verse 33 after David hears the news, “The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’”  Why is David acting this way?  Why if he were my son, I would have…. Oh… My problem is that I put myself in the shoes of the wrong person.  In this story, I am NOT David…  I am ABSALOM. Think about it for a moment….

  • Absalom was unwilling to wait on justice, so he took matters into his own hands.
  • Absalom was unrepentant in every way; even when he knew he was wrong.
  • Absalom was a flatterer who loved to gather people who only affirmed him.
  • Absalom thought he could do a better job than the king
  • Absalom removed the true king in order to make his own kingdom.

I could say the same thing about myself as it relates to my Heavenly Father as well.  All too often I am unwilling to wait on God’s timing.  I am unrepentant even when I know I am wrong.  I would rather be around people that support my sinful actions than godly people who might confront me.  I often think I know what is best over God’s Word. Ultimately, my sin proves that I am a rebel, hostile towards God, deserving judgment. But David’s heart reflects that of our God.  He loves us despite our rebellion. And What David could not do (taking the place of Absalom), God did when he sent his only Son to die in our place. Every.  Single.  One of us is a rebel deserving the same fate of Absalom, but God in his tremendous love for us took that punishment on himself in order to restore us as His Sons & Daughters. So praise the Lord that I am not David, because I would have done it wrong.  May I never forget that I am a sinner saved by grace, and may I share that grace with all who might receive it!


Read more...