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

It’s Within Reach

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Now Joram had been in Ramoth Gilead with
the whole Israelite army, guarding against
an invasion by King Hazael of Syria. 2 Kings 9:14

The powerful accounts of verses 14 and 15 leave us with much to consider.  The passage shows the first focal point of Jehu’s journey to king.  Joram; fresh from the battle front in Ramoth Gilead is now retreating to Jezreel.  The fight with Syria has left him injured and needing a place to heal from the battle front.

God Placed Joram in Position

Though Joram may believe that his journey to Jezreel is to heal from his wounds, God has placed Jezreel in reach so that it is an option for him to retreat to.  While he sat with his team trying to figure out how to gain access, and how to carry our his assignment, God was responding to his obedience and the support of his team by aligning things in his favor.pointgun

Jezreel is important not just because of the prophecy, but because it pulls the king away from the army.  Furthermore, it removed Joram from the city, thus while the trumpet was sounded and the shouts of Jehu as king were declared, they would not be heard by Joram.  Jehu was left with the entire army, and thus was able to amass support from the soldiers present.  This because the entire army was in position defending the land against Syria, thus the King retreated to heal in a safe place with a small number of soldiers and officials.  An assignment for Jehu that possible seemed out of reach or impossible, with the wave of Gods hand, now become likely and achievable.

God Place Jehu in Position

I love this in that Jehu was an officer.  While others might be unaware that Joram has moved from the camp to a private local to recover, Jehu’s position gives him access!  God will place you in position to pursue your destiny!  He had insider information that allowed him to plan effectively and to position his team to accomplish the assignment.

We must understand that we are all playing our role in God’s plan.  Syria is used to injure Joram, and now serves as a distraction to hold the soldiers in position to make Joram visible for Jehu!  Can you see Joram?  God uses those called by His Name to bring about His will, all while directing and allowing others to participate in bringing about His purpose.  They need his permission, and the granting of his permission means that it is a component of His mission.

Changing the Odd

Sometime the calculating of the odds can cause us to delay what God has spoken!  If He spoke it, it is done, but must be accomplished.  It would seem that we can wait for it to come to past, but it coming to past requires us to move towards what is to come.  We must be obedient to the Lord despite the odds, knowing that God is working on our behalf.

Moving Closer to Jezreel is closer to Joram

As you move closer to Jezreel, Joram will move closer to you!  By putting together a plan, and by executing the plan, Jehu was able to walk right into his destiny.  Much of why our dreams remain out of reach is that we are either not willing or not confident enough to execute the plan for our future.  Knowing God is with us should give us the confidence to not only start our journey but to complete our assignment.

We must believe that it is within reach.  You can do greater things that you imagine.

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

You’re King, But I AM! (2 Kings 9:6)

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So Jehu got up and went inside.  Then the prophet
poured the oil on his head and said to him,
“This is what the LORD God of Israel says,
I have designated you as king
over the LORD’s people Israel.’
2 Kings 9:6

I am continually inspired by the 9 Chapter of 2 Kings, which features Jehu, an eventual King receiving instructions and taking action.  In the 6th verse, we find key words for Jehu, ones that have been spoken in some way to each of God’s servants in some form or fashion.  The young Prophet (who is nameless) tells Jehu, “I have designated you as king over the Lord’s people Israel.”  

worship-fastYes, carefully crafted in the message delivered to Jehu is information that is key to not just becoming king, but remaining king and being effective as king.  But I fear Jehu as many before him, and many to follow, hear the first portion and not the last.  The portion that often unseats those God has chosen is forgetting who the people belong too.  Though given authority and leadership, we must all remember, “You are King, But He is God!”  Better stated,  You are king, But He I AM!  He is the one in control!  The ever existent one who places people in authority, and removes them without consultation or permission is the one that has sent to message to uninstall Ahab and install  Jehu as though they were APPs on a smart phone.  It’s just that simple!

We learn to much from the order spoken to Jehu in his calling to be King from the Prophet.  Our submission as ones in authority first comes from the one who placed us in authority, and allows us to act with authority.  Even a King is Submitted to God.  Everyone is subject to authority.  We are placed over and called to lead that which does not belong to us.  It’s not even ours on loan!  It’s not on layaway.  It’s not lead to own!  It’s not even a partnership, it’s an assignment. 

Not only do the people belong to the LORD, the King does.  Not just in title and deed, but in designation from lineage.  The King is not a contract worker waiting for a 1099.   He is an employee that God has raised from the ranks to lead His people.  Furthermore, though called out from them to be King, Jehu was one of the LORD’s people. Sometimes this is lost in the translation.  As leaders and position holders, we forget that we too are sheep (often operating without a Shepherd)!  We are just as imperfect as the people we lead, but have the responsibility of being the eyes and ears that keep the people headed towards God.  We are watchman, that feed, and protect those God has chosen, keeping them not only from danger, but in pastures that allow them go grow closer to Him.  Thus our relationship and our discipline must remain focal points, and while others might stray, it is our responsibility to remain fully submitted and obedient.

And a reminder to Jehu, and all of us; just as quick as authority is given, it can be taken.  The length of his reign, as with others, would be determined by his obedience to the LORD, not his networking with others.  As he had seen, Ahab and Jezebel had the network of networks, and were being removed from office because of their lack of dedication to the LORD and by leading the people of God astray having them worship other gods.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

The Lion’s Roar (Amos 3:4-8)

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Amos 3:4 Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing?
7  Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing             his plan to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared— who will not fear?    The Sovereign LORD            has spoken— who can but prophesy?

 

This week, we found ourselves in the 3rd Chapter of Amos, looking at his prophetic to God’s people.  He informs the people that the Lord has decided to punish Israel.  Their time spent feeding their flesh and being disobedient to His commandments and to the word given through His prophet have caused God to take action against His people.  There is no turning back he advises them.  The ball has been set into motion.  It’s inevitable!

He then explains further, informing them of something key.  See, they have ignored all the warning signs.  They heard the words of the prophet and would not give heed to them.  Amos says, “does a lion roaring the thicket with it has no prey?V. 4  For those late to the story, God is the Lion and we are the prey.  Amos informs the hearers that God is in the thicket.

Lion sitting in tall grass

20 Jun 2013 — Lion sitting in tall grass — Image by © Jeremy Woodhouse/Blend Images/Corbis

We talked about the National Geographic videos that feature the unaware deer grazing in the field, while the lion sits couched just feet away, waiting for the right time to pounce.  My friends, God is not dead!  He is not unaware!  He is not sleep!  He is God!  He never sleeps nor does He slumber!  He could be called the silent killer, but he gives a warning first.  The people, like us, believed that God was pleased and or not bothered by their action because he not stop it immediately.  They continued feeding their flesh, believing that they were getting way with it. They weren’t!  He watched the whole time!

Sister Ashley spoke of the frustration watching the video.  Though the dear is unaware, the viewer and the lion are not.  Point being, often those around us see the larger picture.  While the dear or person grazes, they  often does not realize they are in trouble.  They eat peacefully, while those watching scream helplessly at the screen.  We are that dear!  We carelessly feed our flesh, as though the lion does not exist.  But a newsflash; God is not sleeping.  He “…neither sleeps nor slumbers…” Psalm 121:4   He is watching us!  24 Hour surveillance!  He sees and knows all, yet we act as though he is knowledgeable of our sins!

Amos continues,“…the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets…” V.7   In other words, before the Lord strikes from the “thicket”he speaks to the prophet.  He informs the prophet of his plans, that he might speak to the people before he strikes.    After crouching, the Lion leaps into action, chasing relentlessly until it corners its prey.

The question was asked of the group, “Have you ever been cornered?” As a consensus, the majority agreed that Sunday service tends to feel like this.  It’s word that comes from the mouth of the prophet that lets you know that God has been watching.   Often we sit through messages that leave  us feeling as though the preacher has been following us around, documenting all our thoughts and actions.  This feeling is the result of God’s leading of the man of God, giving him or her the words to speak to his people.  The listener sits in their seat, confronted by the truth and the power and knowledge of the lion, feeling helpless and powerless, many times looking for a way of escape.  It is amazing how many come to church and are still shocked when the preacher speaks right to their circumstances; however, let us recall this to be God’s process.  He speaks first to His prophet.  He gives instructions and warnings!

Here we find ourselves in the midst of a hidden truth, the Prophet is the Lions Roar.   Amos speaks and then says, “The lion has roared— who will not fear?”  V.8   Verse 6, He says, “If an alarm sounds…do not the people fear?”  Amos speaks forth God’s truth!  The people are cornered.  Their sins have been revealed, and God’s plan uncovered!  He then ask, “…who will not fear?” V. 8   After the Lord roars, we like the cornered dear, should be filled with fear.  We should drop what we are doing.  We should change our direction.  We should hide our face.  We should repent!  However, what we find is often the deer is so caught up in its grazing, that the lion is on his back with jaws clinched between his neck and spin.  The prophet stands before the people sounding the alarm for the city, and yet people continue with business as usual.

When will we heed the word of the prophet?  As our world continues to fall deeper into living for the flesh, we must find ourselves finding a new appreciation for the word of God and for the voice He determines to deliver it through.  We must not look at the Prophet as just another person, but according to the assignment that has been given to him or her.  Respecting the office and responding to His instructions with urgency, because He watches the lion while we graze.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!