He Took a Wife and a Life (2 Chron. 11:14-15)

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14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent
it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote,
“Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting,
and then draw back from him, that he may be
struck down, and die.” 2 Chronicles 11:14-15

As I read this passage with fresh eye and an open heart, I considered the many opportunities David had to avoid trouble “A” and digging a deeper hole “B”.  God promises us that He will always leave a way of escape, but like David, the Promise of Pleasure was chose over Righteousness and Relationships.  

The portion that bothered me was found first in verse 6 when David said, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.”  Though I was familiar with the story, I kept hope that this encounter with Uriah would be different.  I thought, surely David will apologize to Uriah!

I wondered to myself, “How much drama and chaos exist in my life and the life of others because we won’t apologize?”  What in your world is not aligned because you are stuck in pride?   How much more damage did you do to yourself and to others because you would not confess your wrong?

The reality is that many of us have taken something
that could have been a moment of pain
and made it the central theme of our life
and the main narrative between
yourself and another
because personal pride won’t let us do what was right.

A sad reality David found is:
Not admitting wrong doesn’t make the wrong right. 

But David is God’s chosen.  He’s a man after Gods own heart!  Surely David will make an attempt to restore to Uriah what he has damaged. Nope!  Davis send for Uriah not to make the relationship or his marital circumstances but to trick him!  His plan to deal with his sin was to cover it!  He simply thought he would sweep it under the rug by getting Uriah to sleep with his wife.  I wondered as I wrote, how many readers have several lumps under their rug?  The problem with sweeping under the rug is that problem is not visible, but it presence is still evident.  sweepunderrug

 

Next, David discovered:
“Your Struggle isn’t the Struggle of the Next.” 

David figured he would fool him by giving him an opportunity; one that David himself would have taken!  He sent Uriah home with a gift from the King following him, but Uriah slept at the Kings doorstep.

David’s plan to cover his sin would have allowed this man to raise David’s son as his own.  He was going to spend his life looking at this boys face, touching this boys hair, looking at the shape of his chin, comparing him to his sisters and brothers and questioning his wife, and David was OK with this!  David was ok with making Bathsheba live with her husband in a lie; all to cover his wrong!  His plan was to make Bathsheba live a life avoiding eye contact, and denying truth, and eventually loosing the complete trust of her husband.  Worse, she would be discovered and potentially stoned by the community, and David was OK with this!

What lie have you created to protect your own truth?  How many of us have allowed an innocent person to bear a cross that belonged to us because we were more concerned with our own interest than how our actions would affect someone else?

But his plan failed!  Though Uriah had the right to sleep with his wife, Uriah denied his flesh, and was consumed with returning the Ark, being a good soldier, and being a good citizen.  As long as others were suffering and fighting, he would not allow himself a moment of peace and pleasure.Crown

 

David found this too to be true; The Crown does not establish you as the King of Character just over the Country!

David found that there were people under Him that had more character and more discipline than him.  There were people He was called to lead that placed God before self, and self before others more than he would.  How tough this was for David to swallow.  How dare this man have ethics and live by a high standard of morals when David himself had taken liberties.  How dare he carry himself like a King and leave David feeling like a Peasant!  It’s always challenging when you discover that you’re the only one that has a mouth full of apple.  This had to fuel David even more, thus sealed the fate of Uriah.

subordinateSadly, David response to Joab reveal his perspective.  Davis didn’t see him as a Servant or as a Citizen, he saw him as only a Subordinate!  Too often those in power suffer from this perspective!  TD Jakes said in a conference once that when he want to judge a mans characters, he watches how he treats those who are thought to be under neath them.  I see this as a heart perspective.  Though we have different positions and titles, we are all God’s children.  The same rights afforded to you have been afforded to all of Gods creation.  In this moment, David valued his public perception more than. He valued his brother!  In a moment where David should have been humbling himself before his brother, he exalted himself by placing his foot on the neck of a loyal servant.

Do you do this?  Seeing others as less than, and treating them accordingly.  David sins, and then sentences an innocent man to death!  Worse, he puts into motion the demise of one who was loyal to both him and the creator!

David would not only take his wife, but would take his life!  

2for1

David get’s a Two for One!   What was one error is now being compounded by his attempt to cover up his sin.  How many times have we made this same error?  What should have been a skit, turns into a pilot episode for a syndicated series.   How much innocent blood has been shed for you to keep your image in tact?

He sent this valiant warrior to fight, and ordered the troops to leave him uncovered so that he would die.  He probably presented his wife and family with a flag and a purple heart, made a commemorative plaque and made that day Uriah the Hittite day, as the band marched past the palace where he sat on the couch in front of the fire with Bathsheba, pulling up his blanket up with a glass of wine and stogie in his mouth.  He covered his sin, and left Uriah uncovered.

Lord be it that I and others will do right after we have done wrong.  Lord forbid that we break the law and write the letter!  Lord keep us first from the wrong, and in moments were we fail, allow us to make our relationship with you and our fellow brother and sister right.

 

#PastorJDO3

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If He Killed Saul;… (2 Samuel 1:15-16)

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2 Samuel 1:15  David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” 16 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died.

In life our paths are crossed by many faces, feet and hands.  We are constantly put into positions to make judgement calls as to ones purpose and intentions towards us.  Men and Women approach, often with oaths and gifts, speaking words of favor, lending flattering thoughts and encouraging words.  Once in power, the favor of man, and loyalty of man is offered upon a platter to the one wearing the crown, leaving the man with the important task of discerning who is for them, and who is against them.  

Here David is; encountering a man that is doing and saying all the right things.  He comes before him in verse 2, and “falls to the ground to pay him honor.”  He humbles himself in the Davids presence, giving a visible sign that he both sees and receives him as the new and rightful King.  Furthermore, his posture shows respect for Davids power and authority.  He recognized him as a mighty warrior and valiant man, worthy of praise and honor.images

I wondered to myself, “How many of our Kingdoms have fallen from the Posture and Presentation of a man/woman?”  Our desire to be respected and revered can open us up to the infiltration of the adversary, delivering to the sacrifice of praise, playing to our ego and leaving us vulnerable to loose it all.  It occurred to me while reading that the posture was not in respect, but it was to get close and to gain the favor of the King.

The sad truth is, most of us know what submission looks like, but don’t know what it is.  When we view submission, respect and honor as physical, then we will find ourselves easily fooled and jeopardizing our camp.  Submission is a matter of the heart, not of the mouth, or the bending of a back.  Even our Lord highlights this by saying we must “confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts”  Romans 10:9.

David listened to his story, treating him with the utmost respect.  But while he recounted his story, David, like our Lord was listening to His heart.  He wasn’t persuaded by the presentation of Saul’s Crown and bands.  Most of us would have received the gifts and treasure as a sign of loyalty and respect, and given its deliverer the honor of being in our inner circle, and or laid hands on them and given them influence in our camp.

David however, morned the loss of Saul, more so the loss of Jonathan, whom he says loved him better than more wonderful than a woman. V 26  He wasn’t caught in the trappings of the title, but was peering into the responsibility and began of his reign and journey carrying out the will of the Lord on earth.  He understood that the crown he would bare, would not be one that was won or delivered by human hands, but one that was given to him from above by the Devine who had chosen him because of his heart and not his appearance or connections.

Too many of us are eager to wear another mans crown!  Many of us would have placed the crown on our head and reveled in our new assignment.  But not David!  Many of us have assignments from God, but have received our crown from men!  Our assignments have be tainted by a lack of judgment and the formation of un-heavenly earthly partnerships and relationship that will get us off track.  We must, like David, remember that the crown is not the determining factor of who is King, but the oil that has flowed upon our heads.  Words and treasure and earthly garnishing that lull us into corrupt ways and an unrighteous end.

After morning, David questioned the man, asking him the question of questions, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” V. 15  David after listening to the Spirit knew that he too was God’s anointed.  While the man looked to gain favor by reporting that he killed Saul, his claim revealed his heart which had no respect for the anointing and the office.  His power move with most would have been successful, but David was wise and able to discern what was behind his tale.

We can learn much from watching the way those who sing our praise treat authority and speak of the office in which we currently reside and are due to obtain.   If they will verbally execute another minister or ministry, co-worker, supervisor, then assuming that you will be or are currently exempt from their fruit is foolish.  There should be something about that individual that has such respect for the office, that it proves painful, impossible even, to speak against the man or woman God has chosen to serve.  While this is true, many offices have been captured by the sweet songs of one who destroys and disrespects another in our presence, somehow believing that their posture and presentation are signs that we are above their accosting.

We are just one of a few that have been chosen, and while unique, we are not different.  We are different is assignment, but all chosen by the divine to carry our His will and to speak forth His truth!

Not only was David able to discern his intentions, David also knew the man was lying.  David spoke, “Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the LORD’s anointed.’ ”  V. 16 The man was lying the whole time!  He was lying and wanted credit for Saul’s death to gain favor with David.  Though he had not committed the act of killing Saul, David killed him based upon what was in his heart.  David came to the conclusion, “If He killed Saul, He will kill me!”  I challenge you to look into your camp, and to identify those attached not for relationship, but for resources.  Identify those who have great presentation and posture, and hold a magnifying glass up to their hearts!  Now, don’t kill anyone! (gotta put that in writing!!!!)  And don’t have anyone killed! (gotta put that in writing too!)  But evaluate the camp so that you will know what you have attached to you, and pray for discernment so that you can rule well and handle the assignment God has given to you.

In final, a question, “What’s in your heart?”  I chose for this blog a picture depicting worship.   I wondered to myself how God feels when we are in His presence.  See, we all know what worship looks like.  We all know what submission looks like.  We all know what praise sounds like.  But, do we really know what all of these things are? And are they truly whats in our heart?  Could it be that God listens to our praise, and receives the crown and bracelets in the offering plate, and is still haunted by our hearts that are far from Him.  Could it be that God hears our praise and is bothered and disgusted by our worship, knowing that our words are just to gain favor with him, and not to build a relationship with Him?  God must be more than a resource, He must be our source!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trigger Fingers Become Twitter Fingers (1 Samuel 17:3-36)

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Sunday, I was honored to share the Word at the Golden Chain Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas Texas.  The message, “When Trigger Fingers Become Twitter Fingers” from 1 Samuel 17:3-36.  We looked at the story of David and Goliath, but this day, God had a different focus.

As a parallel, we looked at the earthly battle between Meek Mills and Drake.  The opening looked at the encounter or lack of encounter between Drake and Meek Mills.  A sparing session that featured 1 decent set of bars from Drake, a non response from Meek Mills, and then a second set of bars from Drake that were better than the original set of bars released, and yet another lack of response fro Meek Mills.   Even worse, Meek Mills’ little sister released a reply to Drake, dissing him and defending her brother.  Her response was followed by other Meek Mills fans, speaking up for their hometown favorite artist.  In a span of two weeks, Meek Mills went from being a non-factor, but an up and coming artist to being not just the punching bag for Drake, but the punchline of every joke.  It seemed Meek was being punched from every direction.

In this passage, we find the Army of the Lord facing the Philistines on the battle grounds, featured by their champion Goliath.  A giant of a man, he stood boldly yelling and insulting the Lord and the Army of the Lord, challenging them to stand up and fight.  He accosted them for 40 days and for 40 nights, calling for their best to step forward for battle, and yet no one stepped forward.  This my friends is the modern church.  We have become a generation of tweeters and not fighters.  Our street credibility now questionable, as we rely on the victories of those that have gone before us, to strike what used to be fear in the heart of the adversary.  Now our army post, re-tweets and sub-tweets, sharing memes, taking a stance on Facebook and other social media outlets, but not a stance in life.  We have timeline righteousness, and not a genuine walk with the Lord!

Verse 20 reveals the battle front.  It featured the Army of the Lord, postured for battle, yelling its battle cry, and then listening to the Lord being insulted and not stepping forward to defend His name!  We have become set and comfortable in our positions.  We have become used to yelling and singing, but have become dull to the fight.  Our positions have become more valuable to us than the very name of the Lord.  We have determined that our own lives, our land, our church  building and our acquisitions are more important than reputation of our God!  We have ceased to trust Him, choosing to rely upon our own skills, forgetting who has empowered us, who has gifted us, and who has one battle after battle for us!  We have become overcome with the size of the opponent and not the sanctity of the body of Christ; the House of the Lord!

As God took us closer, I saw that the battle cry of the soldiers had become mere words from a page, and not melodies from their hearts.  I envisioned our Sunday service, considered our displayed faith, and was disappointing, knowing that much of what is heard are words and not worship.  This lack of worship is why the ears of the Army of the Lord was able to listen to Goliath and not step forward to face Goliath!  Likewise, our churches have mastered the program of worship, while the heart of worship has yet to be programmed into the heart of all participants.  goliath

It stood out that Goliath referred to the army as the Army of Saul/Servants of Saul (V.8).  This is significant, because the Philistines feared the Lord.  They had suffered and felt the power of the Lord during their capture of the Ark of the Covenant.  The power had taken the lives of many in their camp so much so that they gave it back to the Israelite people.  The army was no longer fighting for the Lord, but were fighting for the honor and name of their King.  When we forget who the true King is; when the kings on earth believe they have become more important than the King of Kings, forgetting who placed them in office, we will find the church forced to listen to Goliath because the presence and power of the Lord would have left our sides!  Could it be that our army has become powerless because we are defending the honor of the wrong king?  We have become more proud of our churches and pastors, then we have become honored to defend the name of our Lord.  It is a sad reality that we can find more that will be apologist for their man of God and not for the Lord himself.

Thank God, David entered the scene!  David entered the battle front, being obedient to his father, and heard Goliath’s words.  Though Goliath disturbed him, I believe from knowing of David’s heart, that he was more bothered by the people of God.  David had to watch the Army of the Lord do nothing while a Philistine spoke ill of God the people of God.  I see our young people growing up in a church that features those who are no longer interested in fighting, but not interested in relinquishing their positions.  David was further challenged by his brother Eliab (v.28), who still bothered from seeing the oil flow Samuel’s horn onto David, sought to embarrass him in front of the older soldiers.  His words were designed to put David back in his place.  What he didn’t understand was David was already in his place.  David was more than a Shepherd; he was a warrior.

David’s brother lied upon him and then issued these famous words, “you came down ere to watch the battle.”  Need we ask “WHAT BATTLE?”  The “battle front” was a “front”!  David had witnessed the battle scene, and his questions were because no battle was taking place.  I asked the question of our churches: “Why is it that we challenge and attempt to discourage those who are willing to fight?”  Goliath had already asked for the Armies best!  Eliab had a chance to step forward!  He stepped back!  He sat down!  He had the chance to defeat the champion, and chose to sit and listen in fear as opposed to stand and fight with courage.  Yet, he still finds a moment to seek to discourage and belittle someone that is ready to fight!

Furthermore, why is it that the Eliabs of the world paint a picture of battle that is not true?  Over and over, we enter the battle and find that much of what has been described is just a false image designed to keep those under us from seeking our positions and taking our positions.  We find the constant exaggeration of what exist, just to keep our positions and ward off those who have been grown up to take our place. The reality was that Eliab and the others had accomplished as much as they could, and they knew that the battle was far beyond what they could handle.  They were correct!  This was a job for David!

The last level was Saul.  David’s assignment, to bare witness to Saul.  He encountered Saul at the battle but not in the battle.  David spoke to Saul, and spoke boldly.  He was willing to fight Goliath to defend the name of the Lord, and immediately, Saul sought to discourage him.  Saul spoke of his age, then his lack of experience.  Saul couldn’t see David as greater than he, because he saw him as his servant, not realizing that he was a servant of the Lord!  Though Saul was no Goliath, Saul had fought before, and was larger and stronger than David!  Saul had lead many successful battles, and had stood victorious over enemies, and now looked at his lyre player and a shepherd, and couldn’t imagine him to be any more than what he saw and knew of him.  The reality, God was no longer with Saul!  He had moved on to David!  God is always raising up a David!  While Saul was building a monument to further his name and legacy, God had sent Samuel!  Thought the people were unaware, Saul knew that God had moved on, but he continued enjoying the office and perks of the position despite his knowledge.  He knew God had moved on, but didn’t know who He had moved on to!

David bore witness of killing bear and lion, and how the Lord had worked through him to defend the sheep, often grabbing the culprit by the hair and ending its life.  David shared how the power of God had given him the strength and wisdom to defeat his adversary, and then declared, “this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them” (which was a far cry from Eliab’s “you just came to watch the battle”).  David would follow his words with action, and so must we!  

God is looking for some Davids!  No one knows your testimony.  People may still see you as one that is unaccomplished.  People may still have you type cast as a Shepherd, not realizing that you are a great warrior and leader.  We must look past the words of others, and see ourselves as the Lord sees us!  God’s Words Matter!   What has He said about you?  What has He declared you to be?  We must stand on His Word, and stand up to Goliath; knowing that He will fall at our hands because God is with us!

#PastorJDO3