Daniel 6: Lion Tamers

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight….”

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls about roaring like a lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5: 8). 

I wonder if Peter was recalling the night he could not stay awake and alert in the Garden when he wrote this passage. The night of the Lord’s arrest when Peter denied Him three times. Peter was afraid. He feared for his life. After his third denial which occurred as the Lord Jesus was leaving the house of the High Priest, we read the Lord Jesus looked straight at Peter. Peter went outside and wept bitterly.

Our grandchildren have always enjoyed the Memphis Zoo. Our granddaughter Sloan, who is only three loves to go to the zoo and she can imitate the different animals. Last summer Gina and I took all three grandchildren to the zoo for the morning. Our first visit was to the lions. They were up close to the window that morning and while we were watching them, the male lion came up close to the window and roared.  It startled all of us. We were glad he was behind the reinforced window.  It reminds me, we are living in a lion’s den. This world and this culture are his cage. And it seems we wake up each morning with the lions roaring.

This is the third of the most well-known stories in Daniel following the fiery furnace, the moving finger that writes, and this story of Daniel in the lions’ den. This chapter completes the historical account of this era and the remaining chapters are about prophecy.


In interpreting the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel had revealed each empire which took the place of the previous empire was inferior to the empire it replaced.  The morals of each generation continued to decline until we see the epitome of wickedness and degenerate behavior in the Roman Empire under Nero.

The first sign we see of the decline is in Darius’s action once he takes over. He appoints 120 satraps. These were governors over provinces in the empire.  Next Darius appointed three administrators to oversee these 120 governors. Notice what their role was:  to make the satraps accountable to them so the king would not suffer loss.  Darius did not trust these leaders. He knew they would “skim” money off the top for themselves. Graft. Lining their pockets with money, pay-offs, bribes, etc. Daniel who is now in his 80’s is appointed as one of the three administrators. He soon distinguished himself with his excellent work and his integrity. He was consistently the best administrator and unfailingly loyal and honest. Consistency is something people observe in others. Children see it in their parents and adults. Students in their teachers. The governed in those who govern. How do they treat everyone? Do they treat them the same? Or do they show preference?

In 2015, of the 535 members in the congress, 50.8 % were millionaires. That is 271 members out of the 535. Of the remaining members, their net worth of over $500,000 was 5 times greater than the average citizen they represent. Their benefits and retirement are way beyond what the average person expects to get. How did this happen?  They voted to give themselves these perks. Enriching one’s self in positions of power is a common practice.

Those who were under Daniel’s authority resented him, envied him and conspired to find a way to bring him down. We are facing another election year in 2020 and we will see political opponents from each party attempting to tear down each other with smears, lies, accusations, and rumors.  Unable to find any wrongdoing in Daniel’s life, they realize they must use his faith against him. Knowing Daniel prayed to his God three times per day, they would use this against him. To do this they persuaded King Darius to pass a law that anyone who petitions any god or man besides the king for the next 30 days would be thrown into the lion’s den. This law according to the law of the Medes and Persians could not be altered.  

Daniel knew the law had been signed. Daniel still went home as he always did and prayed in plain sight before open windows.  My first reaction was- why not just close the windows, or go into a closet where no one can see you. Is this what we do as Christians today for fear of retribution or persecution?  Do we become secret Christians for fear of becoming attacked by others?  Daniel was in a position of leadership and was also being watched by his fellow Jews who had been exiled with him. Even more importantly, God was watching Daniel. Why did Daniel do this? This is the question I wanted to know the answer to. I found it in a prayer of dedication at Solomon’s Temple in 2 Chronicles 6: 36-39.  Inspired by God, Solomon prays a lengthy dedication prayer at the dedication of the Temple. We read in these verses what the people of Israel were to do when they were taken into captivity for their sinful rebellion against God.  Solomon tells them when they find themselves in captivity, they were to pray facing Israel, the city of Jerusalem, and the Temple built in God’s name. This is why Daniel was praying what I call the “captive’s prayer”.  From Genesis to Revelation there have been two cities of great importance in the Bible:  Babylon, the unholy city and Jerusalem, the city of God. Daniel knew he must pray just as he was commanded to pray in Solomon’s prayer if they were ever to be set free to return to Israel. It was because of his faithfulness to pray, under King Cyrus the people were set free to return and rebuild the temple. Prayer matters!


God desires a praying people. His command from Jeremiah 33: 3 is still in force: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” This story is an exciting story which children have loved for generations. But do not miss the point of this story which is about the power of prayer. As far as your accusers, attackers and those who roar like lions and seek to devour- God can and will shut their mouths.

Do you ever pray some of Paul’s prayers? Do you realize prayers do not die? Prayers outlive the lives of those who pray them. Prayers can outlive a generation, an age, even outlive this world. Prayers Jesus prayed for us 2,000 years ago are still in force and still changing lives. Prayers we pray for our grandchildren and their children and grandchildren will outlive us.

Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. The Word of God is the support on which the level of prayer is placed. Archimedes understood the principle of leverage. He said if you gave him a fulcrum large enough and a lever long enough and a place to stand outside of this world, he could move the world. It is the principle of the playground seesaw.  Our fulcrum is the Word of God. Our lever is prayer placed upon and supported by the fulcrum of the Word of God. The lever reaches into heaven where my High Priest, none other than the Lord Jesus intercedes for me. We read in Ephesian1, Jesus was lifted up to heaven and seated at the right hand of God. In Ephesians 2:6, we read “God raised us up and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms. We are sitting on the side of the seesaw with Jesus!” Are you wear and heavy laden today?  Jesus says come to me and I will give you rest. How do you come to Him? In prayer. Call on Him. Cry out to Him.

Why do you think you are burdened and heavy laden? Could it you are bearing a burden by yourself?  Or are burdened and heavy laden because you are fighting against the will of God?

Do you remember what was before the veil of the Holy of Holies?  The golden altar of incense. The priest burned the incense with the coals of fire from the altar where the sacrifice was burned. To let the fire go out would have meant the incense could not be burned. The fragrance of the incense going up to the heavens, is picture of our prayers going up to the Lord. The incense was a blend of rich spices. They had been blended, refined and intermixed by beating or grinding.  But at this stage there was no fragrance, no pleasant aroma coming from them.

The essence of the incense is released when burned. The spirit and life of the incense is released only in the fire.  Prayer is likened to incense. Incense must be burned. Without the fire of passion- prayer has no spirit. Remember on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, the two disciples did not recognize the resurrected Lord.  Then Jesus began to sooth their troubled hearts, for they were unsure what had happened to Jesus who was their hope. Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. As He sat at the table with them and took the bread and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them, they recognized Him.  We are told then their eyes were opened. Listen to what they said: “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us and walked with us on the road, and while He opened the Word of God to us. Do you see what lit the fire in their hearts?  The Word of God!

See the sequence of events?  Broken hearts, broken dreams, lost hope.  Confusion over what has happened on this horrific weekend 2000 years ago. Was Jesus really resurrected? They were not sure. Unsure. Uncertain. It is this darkness and desperation, light is needed. The fire is a refining fire, but also a fire which provides light. Are you in a scary situation?  Imagine Daniel placed in a den of lions.  Sometimes it seems all we can do is hope to survive the fire, or get through the night. The disciples were not doing any better back in Jerusalem. They were hiding, afraid of every sound they heard. Then in a heartbeat everything changed. Jesus was alive. Resurrected. Their hope was resurrected, their purpose was resurrected. 

I know how those disciples felt. I know how that couple on the road to Emmaus felt. I know the promises of God, just as they all did. Yet sometimes the reality of our situation which may be dire, we take our eyes off of Jesus. We cannot recognize Him in our current and ongoing problems. Yet He is there. He is only a prayer away. Help me Lord!


The king had been caught in his own pride. These insincere men used flattery and trapped him into doing something which brought great despair into the life of the king. He spends a sleepless night after sealing the stone of the den of lions where Daniel has been locked in.  These men who wanted to remove Daniel from his position knew his habits. Knew he prayed each day three times.  The solution to Daniel’s predicament was clear:  cease praying in public; cease spending time openly defying the new law. Only had to do it for 30 days and he would be safe and secure. But Daniel knew the eyes of the Lord were on him. And also the eyes of those other Jews who were exiled in this godless culture were on him also. Daniel obeyed God rather than men. He slept peacefully that night with a lion for his pillow. But actually the pillow he lay his head on was the promise of God, who said, “call to me and I shall show you great and mighty things you know not.

Daniel’s faith was in the Lord and His promises. Even though he is not mentioned by name in Hebrews 11, we know who the author is writing about when he wrote in Hebrews 11: 33 & 34:“… who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire..”  Daniel spent a restful night.

King Darius on the other hand was so upset he could not eat nor sleep. He arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den to see if Daniel’s God had delivered him.  The burning question King Darius had which kept him awake all night was:  Has your God been able to deliver you?   God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think. He says ‘ask of me and I will give you the world. Is God saying it is ours for the asking?  Perhaps this is why we are where we are today; we have not because we ask not. Or we ask amiss. We ask for God to bless our little kingdom rather than for His Kingdom to come and rule in our lives.

A cynical, skeptical world needs to see our God is able.

King Darius will recognize the God of Daniel is the most high God. He will cast those who deceived him into writing that prideful law into the lion’s den. He destroyed them with their own wicked intentions, just as Haman was hanged on the scaffold he built.

Why has this happened to Daniel?  Well one thing we know is this: “These things were written before were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”  Romans 15: 4, James tells us ‘the testing of your faith produces patience (persistence, endurance, perseverance). But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect (mature) and complete lacking nothing.’  Paul says we should rejoice in tribulations for tribulations produce perseverance and perseverance, character and character, hope, which does not disappoint.” Romans 5

Jesus told us two parables about persistence in prayer.  In Luke 11, it is about a man who comes to his neighbor in the late night hours knocking on his door and requesting three loaves of bread for a visitor. The neighbor tells him to go away, they are all asleep. The man keeps knocking. He is persistent. Jesus says the man will get up and give him the loaves, not because he is his friend but because he is persistent. The second parable is found in Luke 18 which is about the widow and the unjust judge.  The judge relents and gives her what she wants, because of her persistence.  Jesus tells us God is not like the neighbor or the unjust judge, God is gracious and good, every good gift comes from Him. If we fathers who are evil can give good gifts to our children, how much more will our Heavenly Father give us- He has given us His Son. He is not an unjust God like the unjust judge in Luke 18, He is just and righteous and if He delays it is not because He is cruel or unjust or does not want to be bothered. In His delays which may have multiple reasons, one thing is sure- we learn persistence with patience. I believe God always has my best interest in mind. I am not to grow impatient with His delays. He delays that He might be gracious to me.

Prayer is an expression of faith. Prayer is an exercise of faith. It develops patient, endurance, perseverance and persistence. All of which are used to mature our faith. To test our faith. To enlarge our faith. To make us better prayer warriors. Training us to do the work of effective, fervent prayer.

In Daniel 10, Daniel is persistent in praying and fasting for three weeks. God had been training Daniel for decades for such as time as this. Daniel was well into his 80’s, yet the work he was doing was some of his best and most long-lasting.

Set aside time each day to spend time with the Lord, just you and Him. Let Him speak to you through daily reading and meditation on His Word. He or she who prays well must first study God’s word and store it in their memory and thoughts. Be patient. It takes time. There are numerous verses about waiting on the Lord.“ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4) Let not your heart be troubled- you believe in God believe also in Me, said Jesus. (John14) Anxious, worried and fearful? Got a lot on your mind?  He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast on Him. Weary and heavy laden? come unto me, said Jesus. Matthew 11,

Need someone to talk to?  Call to me and I will show you great and mighty things you do not know. “Let prayer be the key to the morning and the bolt of the night.” E M Bounds

Daniel 5: Enemies at the gate

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early to sit up late; to eat the bread of sorrows for He gives sleep to His beloved. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of the warrior so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak (contend) with their enemies at the gate.” Psalm 127

Today’s study is another familiar story from which one of the well known phrases we often use when we see things clearly, we say:  ‘the writing on the wall.’ This phrase is used when there are clear signs that something bad, or very bad is about to occur. I cannot think of a more appropriate title for this lesson and for this time in our lives than:  ‘the enemies at the gate.’

From the end of our event in Daniel 4 to this event in Daniel 5, decades have passed. King Nebuchadnezzar would die in 562 BC. This event takes place in 539BC. Daniel is an old man and appears to have been forgotten by the new regime of young leaders.  Meet King Belshazzar, the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar.  His grandfather had built a great empire and as we saw in chapter 4 had recognized after his 7 years of insanity, the God of Daniel was the Most High God and His kingdom endures forever. His speech recorded for us in chapter 4 ends with an ominous warning for the generations coming after him: “And those who walk in pride, He is able to humble.” Daniel 4: 37.


Before we meet King Belshazzar, let’s talk about something which has been around since the Garden of Eden- the meaning of freedom and our desire for freedom.  In His questioning before Pilate in John 18 Jesus makes this remarkable statement: “For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  God is a God of freedom.  We see this in the creation account, where He tells Adam and Eve, you may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for you shall surely die.”  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He is the Good Shepherd who came to give us life and life more abundantly, but the enemy at the gate of our hearts and minds, the enemy who is after our children and grandchildren is a thief, a liar, a deceiver who comes to rob and steal and kill. He enslaves. In Genesis 3, the enemy calls God a liar who is not trustworthy who is withholding good things from Adam and Eve.  He tempts with lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life.

Each of us are born with a sinful, self-centered nature. We want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. We want the freedom to live and do what we want. We want to rule our own lives, determine for ourselves what is right and wrong, good and evil. When mankind wants the freedom to live to how we want to live, we neglect the freedom to live and do what we should do. And so life is not at all what God meant it to be when He looked at His creation before the fall and said, ‘everything is good.’ God is the God of freedom. It was for freedom, the Lord Jesus set us free. His rules are to guide us to the abundant life and help us avoid the pitfalls of sin. Under His authority, we find the life worth living and enjoy the maximum freedom. The freedom to live the life you wish without consequences does not exist. God’s rules have always been to provide a framework for the best possible life, for the longest possible time for the most possible people, by the best possible method. Sin on the other hand, robs one of their freedoms.


Meet King Belshazzar, playboy grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar doing what he does best, throwing a great feast, a drunken party and night of revelry and sexual immorality. History tells us it was in October of 539 BC when this occurred. Darius, the Mede, was at the gate of Babylon with his armies while this great party occurred. The enemy was at the gate. Is this a picture of the USA today? Is the enemy at our gate? Or has he already found a way into our country, into the hearts and minds of our citizens?

King Belshazzar was aware of their presence, but in his pride he believed the walls his grandfather had built, which reached heights of 300 feet and were of great thickness were impenetrable. The gates were of reinforced bronze. This great nation had a source of water as the Euphrates River ran through the city from one end to the other. They also had storehouses of food to feed their people for 20 years. Pride goes before a fall. His grandfather had told him and left it in writing: ‘the Most High God is able to humble those who walk in pride.’  It is a night of celebration of their strength, wealth, power and invincibility. Like the Titanic whose builders prided themselves on building a glorious vessel which was unsinkable. These people like those in the days of Noah, paid no heed to God’s warnings through Noah’s building of an ark, so it will be in the last days. This world is headed for an epic disaster.

Belshazzar was the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. Look how far he and his nation had fallen in just two generations.

So let’s take a sober look at our country and what has happened on our watch in the last 50- 75 years. Paul wrote to Timothy in his last days before his death that in the latter days would come perilous times. He said men would   become lovers of self, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. He said they would depart from sound doctrine. We need teachers of sound doctrine like never before! Everyone wants to do what is right in their own eyes, as a result we see the works of the flesh:  “ Now the works of the flesh are evident which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like…” Galatians 5.    This is a pretty good description Paul is giving of our country today from 2000 years ago.

Now when we look at the obvious decline in our culture and analyze the root problems, we discover the trouble in this country coincides with the decline of the church in America. By Church, I am referring to Christians and Christianity. The influence of Christians and Christianity has declined. Membership is down. Baptisms are down. Attendance is down. Departure from sound doctrine is utilized by many to build up their numbers. God looks at nations. He numbers their days; He judges their works on His scales of justice and does with those nations what He pleases. He did it with Belshazzar and Babylon, and He has done it with every nation since. Nations rise up and nations fall down.

How will our grandchildren and great- grandchildren, the next generations behave and live in a nation no longer considered a Christian nation? Raised by parents who say we have been freed from the guilt- producing religion of this ancient book. We are free to live as we want- self-autonomy.  Doing what is right in our own eyes. As a result we are a nation in decline with the enemies at the gate and our grandchildren and great grandchildren will not be equipped if we do not equip them to contend with the enemy at the gate.  THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL.


Post truth, a phrase we often hear was selected by the Oxford Dictionary as the “word of the year in 2016.” The Oxford Dictionary has been doing this for years as they select a new word which has come to be popular and best describes and captures the mood of the culture at the current time. Post truth is defined as :  “ denoting circumstances in which objective facts, truths, are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotions and personal preference. “ This simply means people will bypass the truth, obvious truth as getting in the way of personal agenda.   Because of the departure from sound Bible doctrine, as behavior worsens in our culture, the community adjusts its standards so that conduct once considered reprehensible, unacceptable and even criminal is deemed normal and even honorable.

When there is no longer an accepted standard of truth, a source of absolute truth everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Politicians then pass laws which allow them to give people what they want and keep getting re-elected. What happens when there is not fixed point of reference by which individuals and communities make decision. How do we decide what is right or wrong? We do what is right in our own eyes. We live and walk in the flesh, by our feelings; our emotions guide us to do what feels good. Welcome to the post-truth culture of the 21st century.

Now it is easy to observe what happens when one lives by their feelings, their senses. Soon what satisfied us before becomes old and no longer thrilling. We are easily bored. Can you imagine what people would think of television today if it went back to only three channels and all shows must present Biblical morals? When one lives by their feelings, their senses, they become easily bored. They then demand their sensations must be intensified in order to escape boredom.

Thus the party, the feast for a 1000 nobles the playboy grandson is throwing, must find new and greater sensations to entertain his guests and himself. The constant need to intensify sensations leads Belshazzar to bring out the sacred goblets which had been taken from Solomon’s Temple and use these sacred symbols to drink from and toasts their idols. Blasphemy from the highest office in the country of Babylonia, from its capital city of Babylon, a city formed by a rebel, Nimrod, who defied the God of heaven.

Are we there yet as a country? Has America fallen to those depths of blasphemy from the highest office in the land? When the law was passed to make same sex marriage a right, the White House was prepared to celebrate this event. How? They had arranged to have colored lights, the color of the rainbow, God’s symbol of His Promise, His word to us He would not destroy the earth by flood again. To use this symbol of God’s covenant with us, to celebrate sin is blasphemy from the highest office. The president stated: My hope is one day; we will come to celebrate same sex marriage being as honorable and admirable as marriage between a man and a woman.

When the governor of the state of New York signed into law permitting the abortion of a full term nine month old baby, it was not done in the darkness of night. It was done before lights and cameras to be broadcast throughout the land. There was cheering when it was signed. Yet we are told ‘children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed but shall contend with their enemies at the gate.’ Psalm 127

The days of the playboy king were numbered and about to come to an end. He had been weighed on God’s scales and found wanting. His kingdom would fall that very night. 

The writing is on the wall. The writing is clear as clear can be.  “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purpose of His heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”


Today the attitude of the majority toward Christianity is indifference, apathy, ignorance and outright hostility. All of these are obviously present and growing. We see a culture whose conduct is characterized by a lack of manners and civility. Profanity flows from their lips. There is no self-restraint. Vulgarity. Pornography. Drugs. Mass murders and crime. The decline grows more rapidly- violence increases. Chaos and confusion reign and mounting problems threaten our existence as there seems to be no solution or one who can solve the problems which sets the stage for the Anti-Christ waiting in the wings of time to make his entrance upon the world stage.

How did Darius the Mede and his army get into such a fortified city?  They could not scale the walls. They could not break down the bronze gates.  They diverted the Euphrates River and came in under the gates on what had previously been the life-giving Euphrates River. Paul said in the latter days would come perilous times. Men would depart from sound doctrine.  Are we seeing that happen in mainline Christian churches?  Yes.  We labor in vain to build anything if God is not the builder and architect.

The Word of God is compared to water. Jesus said in John 15: 3- “you are already clean through the Word I have spoken to you.”

The enemy has diverted the Word of God from our culture. The departure from sound doctrine marked the decline. The departure from truth, absolute truth has allowed the enemy to creep in under the gates of or wealth, power and guarded watch towers.

The enemy is not at the gate. He is in our cities, our countries and our churches.

For such as time as this, we have come into the kingdom. We must teach the next generations the truth so they can contend with the enemy at the gate.

We are under attack.  Arm yourselves with the Word of God the divine weapons which are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. Put on the whole armor of God and take your stand.

The Holy Scriptures must be taught and made known from childhood. Paul tells us the Word of God is inspired and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness that we believers can be equipped for every good work of God.

Teach us to number our days Lord that we might gain a heart of wisdom and make the most of the time we have for the days are evil.

What are we to do?  Teach our children and grandchildren scriptures from childhood. Model them before them. For grandfathers, I urge you to sit down and write your story, your testimony.  This will be not only a treasure for your children, but your grandchildren and great grandchildren.

It can be simple document which tells about the time you grew up in; about your parents and grandparents. It will tell them how you got saved; maybe what your favorite Bible verse is or a story you want them to know.  I had a fierce 14 year battle with alcohol which almost killed me. My family had a history of alcoholism and I wanted to warn them about its danger.

If we do not teach our grandchildren how to defend their faith in a culture which wants to conform them, they may very well desert it.  Look around- the enemy is at the gate. The writing is on the wall.

Daniel 4: Kings and kingdoms

Ancient Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar was the capital city of Babylonia and was the focus of a building program under King Nebuchadnezzar that was the marvel of its time. We will see the king was extremely proud of his accomplishments. The Hanging Gardens were considered one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.”  The walls which surrounded the city of over two million people, were wide enough for a four-horse chariot to ride upon. There was also a staged-temple tower which reached over 275 feet as well as 90 cubits gold plated structure on the plains of Dura, previously mentioned.

What a strange combination of leaders, King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel (aka Beltehsazzar) made. Daniel a godly man who was the epitome of humbleness while King Nebuchadnezzar was the “poster-boy” for the puffed up pride of self -accomplishment.   The king was a talented leader, but flawed. His main flaw was his pride which was combined with a “thin-skin personality” which led to a quick and furious temper. Nebuchadnezzar was a boastful man who could not stand for anyone not to bow down to him and recognize his greatness. Traits often shared by leaders.

This chapter recorded in the book of Daniel is unique in that it is an official Babylonia document prepared by none other than King Nebuchadnezzar.  We could consider it, his testimony of how he got saved, as it appears he did.  This is about the sovereignty of God and also about His ongoing work of restoration.


The first three verses of the king’s testimony which are written by him are first of all the testimony of a changed man. His accomplishments have been amazing. He has conquered other kingdoms, there is peace in the land. The story he is about to share with all the people is the story of a proud, vain man humbled.  In this opening statement, Nebuchadnezzar declares the wonderous miracle which has taken place in his life as he quotes, “…that the Most High God has worked for me.”

A king who had reached the heights of greatness, few mortal reach only to fall to depths few mortals do. He had been reduced to a beast, living as a wild animal.  He wanted as all empire builders and vain men wanted to build a kingdom which would be everlasting. He wanted what Lucifer wanted he wanted to take the throne and be worshipped.

Like those who centuries before had built a tower in Babylon, we refer to as the Tower of Babel, Nebuchadnezzar wanted to build a kingdom which reached to heaven. He wanted to make a name for himself. Now having defeated other armies, brought peace to the land, and accomplished amazing building projects of which he was enormously proud.

His pride and vanity are captured in the last statement he makes before his fall. He will be driven from men and dwell in the fields for seven years as a wild animal.  Listen to the words which come from his mouth: “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”  No sooner had he spoke these words, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you.”  Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away. This is why the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This is a story of God’s sovereignty and God’s restoring work. He is not only the Revealer of Mystery; He is also the Restorer of all things. “Behold I make all things new.”


Notice in verse 4, this is Nebuchadnezzar who is telling and recording this story as he begins with, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, flourishing in my palace.”  Things were going great, yet the king had a dream which became a nightmare and frightened the commander-in-chief of a great and vast army.

Once again, his magicians, and all his wise men could not interpret the dream, so Daniel is called in to do so. The dream is about a tree. Trees are used from symbols in the Bible. A godly man is compared to be ‘like a tree planted by the rivers of water.’ (Psalm 1)  Trees can represent nations, as Israel was compared to an olive tree.

Here are the elements of the troubling dream: a great tree which grew to touch the heavens. Its leaves were lovely, its fruit abundant. Beasts rested in its shade. Birds nested in its limbs.  Then in the dream, a messenger, called a ‘watcher’ in the KJV, a holy one came down from heaven with a message.

“Chop down the tree and cut off its branches. Strip off the leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it and the birds from its branches.”  

But the messenger tells the king to bind the stump and its roots be bound with iron and bronze and remain in the grass of the field. This implies restoration may be possible and the tree revived later. Notice then the change of pronouns, let him be drenched with the dew of the heaven, and let him live the animals, among the animals. Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of animal, till seven years pass by. “(Daniel 4: 15, 1 6) the change of pronouns lets us know this tree is a person, as we will see the king himself.

The final words of the messenger, the watchman from heaven is important: “ The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes and set them over them the lowliest of men.”


  1. The Most High rules over the kingdoms of men. Psalm 2 tells us “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. Let us break the chains, they say and throw off their fetters. The One enthroned in heaven laughs and the Lord scoffs at them. Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath saying “I have installed My King on Zion, My holy hill.”  Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there is something about that name, the name of Jesus the Anointed One. Nations rise and fall to teach men God rules and overrules kingdoms. Every great nation has thought they would last forever, but none have.
  2. This messenger from heaven tells us God will give to whoever He wishes to give. Paul writes in Romans 13: 1: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. “ Now we also know we are to obey God when to obey the authority would cause us to disobey God.
  3. God sometimes sets the lowest of men, those who are debased and flawed over us.


The gospel is called the “good news”.  As we have observed there are always two choices: the Tree of life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; the broad way and the narrow way; the old man and the new man; the flesh and the spirit. There are two sources of news: the good news and the bad news. The bad news has been around since the Garden of Eden. The bad news calls good- evil; and evil – good. The bad news is a lie and comes from the father of all lies. He deceives us into believing there is happiness and fulfillment outside of God’s will. Sin is pleasurable for a season, but like the wine in the cup which sparkles, in the end it stings like the viper.

The king had the seed of pride planted in his heart. It is the condition which God hates. Pride goes before a fall. God gives grace to the humble, but resist the proud.  Daniel has the terrifying job of telling the king the truth of this dream. Daniel appears to be the bearer of bad news, but actually he is the bearer of the good news. For within this dream lies the message of the gospel. Daniel tells the king, “You are the tree.”  You will be driven away from people and will live with the animals for seven years  and then comes the good news : “ Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to whoever He wishes to give them to.  Now comes the good news imbedded in this dream:  “The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be RESTORED to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, O King, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce (break off, NKJV) your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue. “From that time on, Jesus began to preach, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”


This great and powerful ruler will forget what Daniel told him and 12 months later we read his words as he boasted of his accomplishment as he walked on the rooftop of his royal palace: “ Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty.”  Like the anti-Christ in the end, he thinks he is a god-man, sovereign in his own eyes.

Isn’t it interesting to ignore and rebel against God’s sovereignty is to exalt human wisdom and power and in doing so we make ourselves our own gods, just like Lucifer did. We want to do what is right in our own eyes. We want to live by our own rules, self-autonomy, deciding for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. Sinners want to be free to live as they want to live and in doing so become enslaved to sin. God is Sovereign. He does as He pleases. Because everything was created by Him and for Him, He has the right to do with His creation what He wants to do. And He always, always does what is right. He is too wise to be mistaken.

God’s sovereignty is difficult for us to comprehend because our free will and old sinful nature living in a fallen world under the influence of the devil make us want to stiffen the necks of our self will and quarrel with God about right and wrong. Yet accepting God’s sovereignty completely, brings us blessed assurance and peace which is multiplied to us.

Restoration is defined as “to restore to its original condition; to renew or revive.” Now let’s tie together God’s Sovereignty with His miraculous work of restoration.

Jesus say when He comes to re-establish His kingdom, “Behold, I am making all things new!” Revelation 21: 5.  Notice He did not say, I am making all new things. He is taking us back to Eden, where when He finished His creation, He said all things are good. This is how God intended it to be, meant it to be good.

What is the Kingdom of God? What is it now and what will it be in the future?  A kingdom is a realm, where the king holds complete authority and his commands are obeyed. This is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Do you realize in heaven, things are not stained, soiled, broken and in need or repair. All things are as they were meant to be and created to be. Now think about it, everything that brings us worry, anxiety, fear and sorrows here on earth are because of one reason: THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY WERE MEANT TO BE. Even nature groans because of how polluted and unclean and foul it has become compared to the distant memory that pristine paradise called the Garden of Eden.

When Jesus came, He spoke of this kingdom and when we get saved we become part of His kingdom. The restoration project begins as we are being transformed to become more like Him. We were dead in sin and trespasses as surely as Lazarus dead and buried. He was restored to life and we were made spiritually alive. We were spiritually blind, but now we see. We were lame, paralyzed laying hopelessly by the pool at Bethesda when we were told to get up. The lepers were cleansed, the blind see, the dead rise to life, the lame walk and everything Jesus did on this earth during His ministry was a picture of the future restoration where all things will be made new.

If you are already saved, you are already God’s children. He is working all things to together and when we see Jesus, we will be completely restored- we will be like him.


Again, the very words of King Nebuchadnezzar: “At the end of time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my sanity was RESTORED. Then I praise the Most High God, I honored and glorified Him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation.

Nebuchadnezzar was restored as king.   Had he learned his lesson?  Listen to how he closes this remarkable restoration: “Now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

One great day we will hear these words of restoration:  “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who is seated at the throne says I am making everything new.”   God’s sovereignty and His restoring ability. ‘’ I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by Your side; I can only imagine what my eyes will see when Your face is before me. I can only imagine surrounded by Your glory what my heart will feel. Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of You be still. Or to my knees will I fall?  RESTORED BY THE LOVING HANDS OF MY SOVEREIGN GOD! I can only imagine.

Daniel 3: Knowing when to stand and when to kneel

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image- you shall not kneel to them or serve them.: Exodus 20: 3-5. These commandments we make it clear when we are not to bow or kneel. Certainly the 10 Commandments were known by Daniel and his three friends.  And this commandment was clear as clear can be. After Daniel interpreted the dream for the king, he was made ruler over the whole province of Babylon and over all the wise men in Babylon. He also petitioned and secured leadership positions from the king for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Babylon.

Ephesians 6: 10-18 give clear instructions when to stand.  Paul in Ephesians 3:14 tells us: “For this reason I kneel before the Father…”  We kneel in the throne room in the presence of God. And one day we know every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord.

This chapter opens with a dedication ceremony which is really a worship service complete with music. Music is an important element of worship. It also has great impact on the emotions of people. Certainly the devil, previously known as Lucifer, the angel who led worship in heaven before the fall knows the influence music has over mankind. You will notice the word; “worship” is used several times during this passage. In Exodus 32, we read the account of the golden calf and the use of music to influence in verse 17; Moses and Joshua hear the sound of music from the mountain as the people rose up to play. In Ephesians 5- Paul tells us to speak to one another in Psalms and hymns to sing make music in your heart to the Lord.

We are not sure how much time has passed since Daniel has interpreted the dream but King Nebuchadnezzar has obviously forgotten his confession of Daniel’s God being the God above all gods and the Revealer of secrets. In his pride as the golden head of the statute, he builds a gold plated statue on the plains of Dura where it is visible for miles. It is 60 cubits tall and six cubits wide. (90 feet by 9 feet wide). Notice the significance of the number 60 and 6.  This is an actual event but also a picture of what will happen in the last days of the Tribulation period.  The nearby furnace was used for the gold plating, but also is used as a threat to all who will not bow down and worship the idol. The furnace is a picture of the fiery trials Peter said we must endure.  King Nebuchadnezzar is a type of antichrist who desires to be worshipped and will punish those who do not bow down.


Adrian Rogers used to say, “A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.”  The devil tempts us in order to destroy our faith. God allows our faith to be tested to develop and strengthen our faith, so we can learn to trust the Lord and His promises.  Peter writes in I Peter 1 about the inheritance that does not fade away reserved for us in heaven kept by the power of God. Then he teaches us about the reason for the testing of faith. “ In this you greatly rejoice, though for now a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Remember what God wants to do with us, through us and in us:  bless us; shame the devil, and exalt the Lord’s Name. *You can never learn to trust God if you never experienced a situation where only God can help you. Adversity is the bridge to a deeper relationship with the Lord. He allows your faith to be refined by fire, just as gold is so that every impurity of doubt, worry, fear and anxiety are removed.

We live in a world system where many argue there is no absolute truth and there are no absolute standards for morality. Therefore, truth is relative and so are morals. What the Bible calls sin, is now accepted as lifestyle choice. We are told we are not to impose our Christian values on others or judge them by our standards.  As a result we are in a moral free fall in which it seems anything goes and everyone can do what is right in their own eyes.  Gold is a symbol of wealth today, just as it was in the days of Daniel. It is interesting in heaven gold is used to pave streets.

Daniel had given complete credit to God for revealing the mystery of Kind Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. In fact, the king had bowed down to Daniel’s God and called him, “Truly, your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, the revealer of secrets.” (Daniel 2; 47)

The last book of the New Testament is entitled: The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation is the act of making something known that was unknown, a secret.  Revelation 1:1:  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show His servants- things which must shortly take place. And He signified it by His angel to His servant John.”

God is telling each of us when we are going through difficult times our greatest need is to have the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to us. “For this is life eternal to know the True and Living God and the One Whom He has sent.” (John 17:3)  And the Apostle Paul said there was nothing greater and more important in this life than to know the Lord Jesus. God wants to reveal Himself to you in such a way, you will never doubt His promises.

Is your faith being tested now in unfavorable circumstances?  If God is trying to build a bridge to a deeper relationship with Him personally, the enemy wants to burn that bridge with doubt. And we know we sometimes must fight fire with fire. Fight this fire of doubt with the fire of faith in God’s promises. Take action immediately- NOW!  And here are some promises: “But NOW, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned., nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43) “Fear not I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41: 10) “NOW faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.”(Hebrews 11: 1)


The dedication service of this new image of gold was a worship service and upon the commencement of the music, every knee is to bow and fall down before the idol and worship the gold image the king has set up. The penalty for not bowing down is that person or persons will be immediately cast into the furnace of fire. So when the music started all bowed down, but three men: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. With thousands bowed down, they are easily identified and the accusers quickly tell King Nebuchadnezzar they have refused. The king is infuriated and has them brought before him. He tells them; they will bow down or be cast in the furnace. The king asks them, “Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”  Here is their reply: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, o king. But if not, let it be known to you, o king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have made.”

Intimidation is the often used weapon of the enemy. He goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. These three men of faith are not intimidated and their calm demeanor and steadfast faith keeps them in perfect peace. It only increases the frustration and fury of the king who has the fire heated up to seven times hotter that it was before. Sometimes things appear to get worse before they get better.  We know in the end times, the fires of suffering and persecution will intensify.  We now know there were more Christians who were persecuted and died for their faith in the 20th century than in all the other centuries since the time of Jesus.

They are bound, fully clothed and placed in the furnace. The heat of the fire is so great it kills those soldiers who placed them in the fire. Watch what happens next:  The king was astonished and rose in haste and spoke to his counselors: ‘Did we not cast three men in the fire? Yes, king. Look! I see four men walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt and the form of the fourth man is like the Son of God.”   Didn’t God tell us He would be with us when we went through the rivers and walked through the fires of testing? He did and He does!

King Nebuchadnezzar brings them out, unscathed, not even scorched or having the smell of smoke on their clothes. Nebuchadnezzar spoke saying, “ Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Who sent His Angle and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not server nor worship any god except their God. Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against their God shall be cut into pieces and their houses turned to rubble, because there is no God who can deliver like this.

God longs to bless us, shame the devil and exalt His Name.


Obviously the literal furnace in this story represents the suffering, intimidation, testing, and trials we will face in these last days, which Paul describes as perilous times. A time of falling away from sound doctrine. A time of pressure for us to compromise. These men offered their bodies as living sacrifices. Their minds had been transformed by the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures which they had been taught since childhood.

There were other Jews who had been taken into captivity and had been living in Babylon for some time, yet only three remained standing. What happened to these others that they knelt before this image, this idol?  They had decided they were not willing to risk condemnation. They loved their lives. They had been conformed by the culture around them. It was interesting to me, these three men were not sure God would save them from the fire. Whether God chooses to do something or not is a question of His Sovereignty, not His ability. Whether or not God chooses to do something is His business, but believing that He can is my business. His ability is not the question. I believe God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. I also believe I am who He says I am and can do what He says I can do. This is because I have faith in His promises for His word is alive and powerful and at work in my life. Do I get anxious and worried and fearful at times during these tests? Yes, absolutely. This is exactly why there are so many assurances of my Lord to fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed. I am your strength. I will help you.

I remember a young couple in our church years ago. They were about the same age as Gina and I were and had two young boys. The wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. They were claiming God was able to heal her. The song they sang that Sunday morning recognized His Sovereignty. “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you can’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His Hand, trust His heart. “She died a few weeks later. Sometimes we cannot understand why God does what He does, when He does it. Jesus said on the night of the last supper, you do not understand what I am doing now, but later on you will. (Phyllis Sipes story of Buster Sipes)

On that fateful day, these three men stood while others bowed down, there were Jews in the crowd who had bowed down to the idol of gold. They went along, to get along. In our generation we have seen a decline in the United States of America, a nation which pledged allegiance to our flag as one nation under God, indivisible. We are divided now, aren’t we? Standing up for God and His Word is not easy when the rest are bowing down to an image of gold.

The majority love the things of the world. Times of adversity often come at the times of opportunity. An opportunity to make more money, but compromise your beliefs. A time to become more popular, but go along with the crowd. A promise of more pleasure, but you know it is wrong.

As we move toward those perilous end times, the end of an age, we will see the furnace of opposition grow hotter and hotter.

In Ephesians 3 there is a prayer Paul prayed for you and me centuries ago, listen to it with all your heart, put your name in there each time Paul says ‘ you’: “ For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven is named, that He grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saint what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. NOW to Him who is ABLE to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Did you get that? 

“That He grants YOU”

“That Christ might dwell in YOUR heart.”

“That YOU might comprehend…”

“That YOU might be filled.” 

God the Revealer of Mysteries Is ABLE TO DO THIS IN YOU, and FOR YOU AND THROUGH YOU!



Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for You.  He is THE CARING GOD WHO CAN AND WHO WILL BE WITH YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOU! AMEN.

Daniel 2: The Moments of truth

Daniel 2: The Moments of Truth

What we see in Daniel and his three friends’ lives are a series of “moments of truth”. Moments of truth are when you must decide right or wrong. These decisions can be in the seemingly insignificant issues in life or the major decisions. Several years ago, Ted Turner, put out a list called the 10 Suggestions. God’s commands are not suggestions. Obedience is not optional. The Navigators Group which stresses scripture memorization has an illustration which simplifies this process. The obedient lifestyle of the Christians is pictured as a wheel. Jesus Christ is the Hub of the wheel and scripture which puts Him at the center of our lives is Galatians 2: 20. The four spokes which connect the Hub to the wheel are:  The Word, 2 Timothy 3: 16; Prayer:  Phil. 4: 6,7; Fellowship, Hebrews 10;24,25; and Evangelism, Romans 1: 16. (Look up these Scriptures and memorize them.) Now the Holy Spirit Who comes to dwell in our lives when we get saved, ‘works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.’ (Phil. 2; 13)

Here is our part: we have to know God’s commands in order to obey them. We have to purpose in our hearts, like Daniel did to obey God’s commands. This resolve to do our duty to God will be challenged by the world, the flesh and the devil. These are the moments of truth we face each day in the seemingly small and insignificant issues of life which prepare us for those life changing moments of truth when  the temptation to compromise is more tempting and appealing for it allows us to avoid  confrontation with an increasingly anti-Bible culture.

We saw in the first chapter of the story of Daniel, he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”  This was in the matter of diet. He makes a successful appeal to the authority above him and as a result not only does not defile himself with compromise, but transforms those around him through the change of diet.  Daniel and his three friends excel in their studies and ‘God gives them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.’ (Daniel 1: 17) 


King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream which disturbed him so much he calls in his team of magicians, astrologers and wise men to interpret the king’s dreams. Now comes the unexpected twist, which is the test for these, so- called, wise men also known as magi.  Notice the magi use the Aramaic language. In all man-made empires, since the Tower of Babel, common language is important for transactions among people of different backgrounds, culture and languages. Aramaic was the common language at this time. (As we recently noted, Google Translate is making communication easier than ever, paving the way for the One World Government movement in the end times.)   The wise men ask the king to tell them his dream. The king decided you tell me what my dream was and what it means. Now you realize God is the one speaking through the king, just as he used dreams of the Pharaoh in the time of Joseph.  All of this is to set the stage for a “moment of truth “for Daniel. Watch how it unfolds and realize this is how our Sovereign God works.  King Nebuchadnezzar has a quick and violent temper and also is so vexed with this dream, he says if they do not tell him his dream and what it means they will be executed and cut into pieces and their houses turned to rubble.  Now comes the reply of the wise men which sets the stage for Daniel. “There is not man on earth who can do what the king asks! No one can reveal it to you except the gods and they do not live among men.”  (Daniel 2: 10, 11)

The king then sends the commander of the king’s guard, Arioch, to execute the wise men. Watch how Daniel approaches the problem: “Daniel spoke to Arioch with wisdom and tact. Daniel went into the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.”

In Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame” we read verse after verse of heroes who “by faith” did what they were able to do in moments of truth. If you are wondering if Daniel and his friends are in this chapter, they are mentioned in Hebrews 11: 33, 34: “. (Who through faith shut the mouth of lions and quenched the fury of the flames.” Daniel and his three friends had faith in God’s sovereignty.

Daniel immediately after telling the king he could interpret his dreams enlisted his three friends to pray with him for the mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret. Daniel and his friend cast all their cares upon God.  The secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Daniel gives God all the credit for making it known to him.  I could not help but notice something which is easy to miss, Daniel never takes credit himself. Notice when Arioch takes him before king, Arioch takes credit and says, “I have found a man in the captives of Judah who will make know the king’s dream.”  I believe Daniel also let the chief eunuch take credit for their healthier diet. Also God had made the king take notice of Daniel and his friends after they finished their training and how much smarter they were than his wise men. The wise men probably resented Daniel and his friends and now they will owe their very lives to this Jewish young man. Five hundred years later, Magi, Wisemen, descendants of these Magi in Daniel’s time will come following a star, seeking the Messiah, all because of the faith of a young Jewish man who would not compromise. Moments of truth faced correctly can make ripples for hundreds of years to come.


There are two layers of meaning in this dream. This prophecy will be fulfilled in the last days of the Tribulation as recorded in Revelation. How important was this prophecy? When Jesus was asked by His disciples in Matthew 24, what would be the signs of His coming, Jesus said, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, flee…”   Jesus was confirming the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy.  King Nebuchadnezzar was concerned about how long his kingdom would last and this dream would foretell what was to occur in the future.

Daniel then tells the king what he saw:  A great image, like a large statue. It consisted of different metals and materials. It was described as enormous, dazzling statue in the NIV version. “The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, and its legs of iron and partly baked clay. While you were watching a rock which was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken into pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Next Daniel gives the king the meaning of the dream. The statue, this image represented the four Gentile kingdoms to come.  The gold head represented Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian kingdom. His kingdom lasted from 636BC to 539 BC.  The breast and arms of silver represent the Medo-Persian kingdom under Darius from 539 BC to 330 BC.  The belly and thighs of bronze represent the Grecian Kingdom established under Alexander the Great from 330 BC 63 BC.   The legs of iron and clay represent the Roman Empire from 63 BC to 475 AD.  The Roman Empire will rise again in the last days from its weakened state today. Many believe the European Union is the beginning of this. The destruction of the image represents the coming of Jesus Christ who will judge his enemies and establish His universal kingdom. This explains the Gentile Kingdoms which will reign until the fullness of time of the Gentiles when Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom.


First this dream reveals the sovereignty of Almighty God who is in control of history. He knows the future. This does NOT mean He causes the evil things men and nations do, but He can overrule their evil and accomplish His Own divine will.  God gave each of these leaders and nations the power to defeat their enemies and expand their empires. Adam had lost the scepter which God had handed to him when God gave the first Adam dominion over the earth. We see in history how the scepter is passed from nation to nation, empire to empire.

Notice also each empire is taken over by an empire which is inferior in value to the empire it takes over. The first empire, the Babylonian Empire is described as pure gold.  The Medo-Persian Empire is described as silver, which is inferior in value to gold. The third empire, the Grecian empire is described as bronze which is inferior to silver. The last empire which is the Roman Empire which is described as iron with clay feet is also inferior and weaker than those which it replaced. The Roman Empire will be reunited with a series of 10 kings (10 toes) which cannot hold together and comes crashing down.

Of course the last kingdom is the kingdom which we are taught by Jesus to pray will come. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”  This is kingdom which one cannot see nor enter unless they are born again into this kingdom.

So as we look at these advances of civilization, we see even though we are making discoveries and advancements in science, medicine, travel, technology and knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds at unbelievable speed we are not getting better, we are getting worse. Each generation makes advances in things which make our lives more comfortable and more convenient, but we are as a world and a culture, ever learning but never coming to the truth.  We made huge advances in the 20th century in life expectancy, in healing diseases, in healthier living, the power of electricity, splitting the atom and the nuclear age, air travel, automobiles, the computer and internet. Each with the ability to improve life and also with the ability to create even more problems that have to be solved. In the end, kings and kingdoms will all pass away. Each war fought and ended with the promises never again would we go to war to solve problems. But they continue and are widespread. Man seems to be intent on destroying what God has so graciously given us. We are now for the most part a population of 7 billion of which the majority are unbelievers who have been deceived into thinking they can rule the world and make it a better place.  But it is not by might or power but by His Spirit.

The stone which smashes the statue is the frequent image of God in Scripture, He is the Cornerstone, HE is the rock. He was the stone the builders rejected and has become the capstone, the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118: 22, 23)  Jesus quotes this in Matthew 21 then went on to say: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the people who will produce fruit. He who falls on the stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”  The Stone cut without hands in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar,


Daniel and his friends were placed in high positions. It all started with the sincere motive to obey God. This motive to please God and bring glory to His Name was what gave these four young Jewish men the resolve to obey God, no matter what.  They would obey God and leave the consequences to Him.

The more advanced our civilization becomes, the more people come to depend on the world to provide it with a life worth living. Yet with each advancement technology provides comes more problems created which then send people off looking for more ways to solve them. And trying to solve them without God as part of the equation is futile. So here we are in the 21st century with the signs easily seen how each generation becomes progressively worse than the previous generation before. Jesus Himself tells us it will get  to the point like it was in the days of Noah and  Lot. We can see the buds on the tree. We see the fruits, the works of the vine of the earth described in detail in Galatians 5: “ The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  These will not inherit the kingdom.”

Jesus Christ must become our life. He is the Hub, the center of the wheel of our life. Our lives revolve around Him. And the spokes which connect us to Him in obedience are: His Word; Prayer, Fellowship and Evangelism.  In this way we prepare ourselves for the “moments of truth” which are coming to us daily.

Daniel 1: Transformers – more than meets the eye

The book of Daniel is the Old Testament book of prophecy which is considered a companion book to the New Testament book of Revelation. It has some of the most well- known stories: Daniel in the Lions’ Den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. 

Daniel’s life and ministry covers the entire 70 years of the Babylonian captivity. Deported to Babylon when he was probably 16 years old and handpicked for his intelligence and looks to be trained for government service, Daniel would become Prime Minister of Babylon and worked for Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius.  Daniel is a story of history, prophecy and the story of young man who stayed steadfast in his faith. Daniel was able to do this because his faith was anchored in the sovereignty of God. We will see a story of young men who were placed in a culture whose sole purpose was to conform them to their thinking .But in the end these young men were  not only  NOT conformed but transformed others around them. – Transformers not conformers. This is what we must be and teach our children and grandchildren to be.   


Sovereign is defined as: “above or superior to all others; chief; greatest or supreme.” (Webster’s Dictionary). Listen to how God describes Himself: “This is what the Lord says- Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people and what is yet to come-yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides Me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Isaiah 44:6-8)      God is before all things, He created all things, He upholds all things, He is above all things, He accomplishes all things, He rules over all things, and is in control of all things.  His attribute of sovereignty is that by which he rules creation. He is the Ruler of everything.  He is all-knowing; all powerful and absolutely free. Nothing will enter your life that God does not either decree or allow. And nothing will enter your life, if you are willing to trust Him with all your heart, He cannot work out for your good and His glory.  * One of the most amazing testimonies to God’s sovereignty is His ability to tell the future 100% of the time with 100% accuracy.  So wise and powerful is our God that He can permit men and women to make personal choices of their own free will and still accomplish His purposes in the world. When He is not permitted to rule He will overrule. His will ultimately will be done and His name glorified.


The story of Daniel and his friends is a story of transformation vs. conformation. We have come to this story at a good season in the year and a good season in our lives. It is the summer season- the season of hummingbirds and butterflies. I currently have a large beautiful Monarch butterfly visiting our backyard. Butterflies seem to live the kind of life I want to live- they float above and seem to be carefree, the very feeling we experienced when we were young and were out of school for the summer. The butterfly is a beautiful illustration of the transformation which takes place in our lives when we are born again. This study comes at good season in our lives at our age. “ The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow ; for we are soon cut off and fly away. “ Psalm 90.  Fly away like a butterfly- float above the earth. But we have some work to do before we fly away. We must teach others the principles which will enable them to not be conformed but transformed.

Transformation comes from the word metamorphosis. Transformation is a dramatic change in form or appearance. Conformation is being shaped, molded to behave according to socially acceptable standards of the prevailing culture. Transformation is a change from inside – out. Conformation is outward pressure to adapt to the surroundings- molded to fit in.    The butterfly has long been recognized as a symbol of the new life, the resurrection. Every butterfly goes through the same life cycle. These give us an illustration of the phases of redemption. Every butterfly goes through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa (cocoon) and adult butterfly. The name for this is metamorphosis. The adult butterfly lays her eggs on the underside of a leaf, which will be the source of food for the caterpillar. The caterpillar is a worm-like creature. David likens man to a worm in Psalm 22.  The caterpillar crawls on the ground dependent on the earth for his sustenance and existence. The natural man lives the same way always seeking to fulfill his worldly desires with temporal possessions. Always hungry but never satisfied.  The next phase of the caterpillar’s life begins as it attaches itself upside down to a twig and sheds it skin- growing in the place of his skin a cocoon. This is a picture of the tomb. Jesus body was wrapped in linens in preparation for burial. For all purposes the caterpillar appears to be dead, but a transformation is taking place. The caterpillar is becoming a new creature. What comes forth from the cocoon is a beautiful creature, the butterfly. The butterfly must rest and his soft, wet wings must strengthen before it flies. It then takes flight and lives the remainder of its life floating between earth and heaven feeding on God’s flowering plants.  So is the transformation of the Christian, born as lowly worms, followed by death to self and resurrection to the new life in Christ. When Adam was created, his first day of new life was a day of rest. We rest before we walk. This is an important lesson:  Learning to rest, abide in Christ. Feeding on His Word.  


Romans 12: 1, 2 are food for thought. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, to God which is your reasonable service. And do NOT be CONFORMED to this world, but be TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God. “These two verses are about our dedication to God and involve three steps. The word of God is food for our thoughts it strengthens our inward man and transforms our thinking.   First before we look at the three steps, Paul tells us why we should dedicate ourselves to God. Paul says God’s mercies should be reason enough.  What has God done for you and me?  He saved me from sin and ruin and death. He saved me from self. God did this at great cost to Himself, for to save my soul and make me whole; it took the life of His only begotten Son. He, who knew no sin, became sin for me and you. He paid my sin debt with His blood. God does not force us to serve Him. It is a privilege to serve Him. Michael Smith’s song, “Above All” captures this sentiment as well as any song does:  “Above all powers above all kings, above all nature and all created things. Above all wisdom and all the ways of man- You were there before the world began. Above all kingdoms, above all thrones; above all wonders the world has ever known. Above all wealth and treasures of the earth; there’s no way to measure Your worth! Crucified and laid behind a stone. You lived to die, rejected and alone. Like a rose trampled to the ground, You took the fall and thought of me- ABOVE ALL!  Now when you consider that how can you not dedicate your life to him?

Paul gives us the three steps in these two verses:

  1. Present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Give God your body. You have been bought with a price and you are not your own. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God the Son clothed Himself in flesh. He was given a body to bring glory to God and save us from our sins. Now we offer Him our bodies to be used for the glory of God. (This will be important to Daniel and his friend to not defile their bodies.)
  2. Give God your mind. The world wants to conform you to its thinking. We prevent being conformed by transforming our minds with the Word of God. (Daniel and his friends will go through three years of training and study designed to conform them to the Babylonian culture.)
  3. Give God your will. Our minds control our bodies and our will controls our minds. We think we can control our will, but our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know our hearts?  The Lord can.2 Cor. 3: 18 tells us this will happen when we meditate in the Word of God :  “ But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.’  Being transformed speaks of an ongoing, continuous sanctifying process.


 Jerusalem falls to Nebuchadnezzar and he plunders some of the articles of the House of God and takes them back to the house of his god. He also picks some young men to be trained for service to him. In verse 4, Nebuchadnezzar lists exactly what type of young men he wanted to recruit:  young handsome men, gifted in wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace and whom they could teach their Babylonian language and literature. Daniel and his three friends, who were renamed- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in this group. They would enter a three year training program in which they were fed a daily provision of the king’s finest, richest foods and wine as they were being taught and prepared for the king’s service. Daniel is about 16 or 17 years old. This reminds me of going off to college and entering a new life. It is a picture of how the world wants to conform us and mold us into its thinking and the way we view the world.  Once again we encounter how God works in mysterious ways. God allows the fall of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar has burned the temple of God and taken the sacred furnishings of the temple and put them in the temple of his own god in Babylon. Remember God is sovereign. He has allowed this or decreed this to happen. Why? God would rather have His people live in captivity in a pagan land than live in the Holy Land and disgrace His name.  This looks like a triumph of evil over good. A victory for the enemies of God. Yet we have a story in Genesis which gives us an insight into how God works- the story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery and rose the be the Prime Minister of Egypt. He would tell his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good for the saving of many souls”. God is Sovereign with a capital S.  When God’s people disgrace His name with their idolatrous lifestyle and are being conformed by the world system, which John told us lies under the influence of the devil, God will chasten them and scatter them. Is this happening in America today? What we see is Christians whose thinking is being molded by the godless world culture in the name of tolerance.

I know how my life was molded and set on the wrong path when I went off to college at age 17 and I fear what my grandchildren will face in a world culture which is shaping their thinking from kindergarten all the way through the educational system.  In each generation there is a remnant that is faithful to God and His teaching. Jesus told us ‘few enter the narrow way and the strait gate, while many enter through the wide gate and the broad way. In order to NOT be led astray at these impressionable ages, a child must be taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood: sound doctrine which is profitable for life decisions, equipping them for every good work.   These are the ones who will be overcomers. Daniel and his three friends are overcomers.


The purpose of this three year training course was to conform these smart Jewish boys into Babylonians. This was a “brainwashing” course whose purpose in those three years was to mold them into their culture’s thinking, the Babylonian culture and its gods and its way of life. Each of these boys was given Babylonian names to replace their Jewish names. Each of their Jewish names was significant:  The name Daniel means “God is my Judge.” Hananiah means “the Lord shows grace.” Mishael means “Who is like God?” Azariah means “the Lord is my Help.” This culture wanted to give them a new identity.  Today secular schools and colleges are teaching materials which contradict God’s word. They want to make those who name themselves as Christians to change their beliefs and no longer choose to be called, Christians. They will ridicule them and attack them. If our children and grandchildren cannot defend their faith, they will desert it.

God placed these 4 young intelligent, handsome, talented men in this environment to show their faith in their God was superior to the faith of their captors. They learned the language, studied the math and science, but when the course of training required them to disobey God’s Holy Law, they drew a line they would not cross. Their minds had been transformed by the Word of God, being taught the Scriptures from childhood and memorizing the Torah.


“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s delicacies or with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of eunuchs that might not defile himself.”   A purpose is the reason for which something is done. Daniel’s reason is this would be crossing a line he would not cross, a line of disobedience to God’s commands. It would cause him to defile himself.  Joseph would not lie with Potiphar’s wife, knew beforehand what he would do and not do. He would not do this great wickedness, he said, and sin against God.

How do we as God’s people in this culture we live in today, resist the pressure which wants to squeeze us in to conformity with the world’s culture.  Transformers are more than meets the eye was the theme of Transformers, Robots in disguise, which my boys loved.  We have within us The Ultimate Transformer- the Holy Spirit who transforms our minds so we cannot be conformed, or molded by the pressures of a society which preaches tolerance and multiculturism. However the culture today is not tolerant of a faith which say my God is the Only True God. And He and He alone determines what is good and evil for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Him.  The culture conformers are disguised as tolerance, multicultural, science, and 21st century technology.  Our faith in God’s word is viewed as old-fashioned, prejudiced, bigoted and racial. And we are viewed as naïve and superstitious to believe the Bible.

Daniel and his friend actually became transformers rather than being conformers. How did they do this?  They gave themselves wholly to the Lord.  “Keep your heart with all diligence for our it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4: 23)  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3.   We obey and leave the consequences to Him. This is the first step.

But notice God had brought Daniel into favor and goodwill with the chief of eunuchs. Like Joseph, Daniel found favor in the eyes of those who were in authority.  “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Prov. 16:7) Daniel was respectful of the authority God had placed over him. He and his friends proposed an experiment in which the chief eunuch was assured in the 10 day experiment, if they were not as fit and healthy as the others, the chief eunuch could deal with them as he pleased. This issue over diet may seem like a minor issue, but being faithful in little is where it begins.  The wise approach is well reasoned, made in a wise and gentle approach, not in a demanding or quarrelsome way.  These four students did not stage a protest, or set a building of fire. They excelled in their studies, behaved like gentlemen, and proposed a test which if it worked would find favor in the eyes of the chief eunuch. In the end the four boys looked better and performed better than the other students.


This first simple test over diet would set the stage. Here we see the principle which Jesus taught in Matthew 6: 33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

When it comes to solving the problems of life, we must ask God for courage to face the problem humbly and honestly. We are to ask for wisdom to understand it; the strength to do what He tells us to do, and the faith to trust Him to do the rest.  Our motive must always be the glory of God and not a way of getting out of the problem. 

You need to ask “What can I get out of this?”  Not –“How can I get out of this?”

The Lord had arranged for Daniel and his friends these first, simple tests. They were delivered through this test without compromise.

We all need to get training and education in order to make a living. Training and education are important, but they are not substitutes for the abilities, gifts and wisdom which only God can give us. But when you combine these two you will be blessed. Can you see all the other students asking Daniel and his friends to help them in their studies and activities when they observe their success?   God blessed these four young Hebrew men. They had to do their part- they had to study to show themselves approved unto God. They did their part with great diligence and God rewarded them. Remember this: FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD.  You can pray you will pass the test- but you must also study the material. Both are necessary.

Before any of this occurred, Daniel purposed in his heart he would not defile himself. I want my grandchildren to know what they will do before they face the temptation. A person who has not decided beforehand what they will do and NOT do will be easily persuaded to follow the crowd and be transformed by evil in disguise. Transformers vs Conformers.   

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you might prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12: 1, 2)

Presentation + Transformation= The Revealed Will of God

 Choose this day whom you will serve. Your choice of whom you will serve will define your role- you will either be a conformer, conformed by the godless culture around us or a transformer, transformed by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.


1 Timothy 5 & 6: Discontentment

Paul continues to give detailed, God-given instructions as to how we are to deal with one another.  Today our culture and society is divided by what is being called “identity politics”. This is tendency of people sharing a particular- racial, religious, ethnic, social or cultural identity to form exclusive political alliances for the purpose of promoting their particular interest. This also includes generational differences, sexual preferences and economic status.

Many believe today in the 21st century it has become the most divisive movement in our country. Yet we forget just 159 years ago, our country was divided against itself in the Civil War which was the bloodiest and most costly war in terms of lives lost, the United States has ever fought in.  Jesus said by this will men know you are my disciples that you love one another. Jesus went further and said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. These are instructions for Christians.  And if ever there was a time for the Church to be light and salt, it is today.


Deacons came into being as a result of a group of church members feeling neglected by the church staff. (Acts 6)  Paul is giving Timothy and the Church instructions on how to deal with different kinds of people in the church without showing favoritism to any one group.  The church is a family of all ages.  Treat the older members like they were your father and mother. Treat the younger members like they were your brothers and sisters. Sometimes when facing options for treatment, a doctor might tell the patient if you were my father or mother, this is what I would do for you. This is the way we are to treat others- as family.

The church was very concerned about widows and how to care for them. Instructions here deal with age of the widow, her immediate family and also her financial situation. Paul cautioned Timothy to be wise with the church’s resources and not waste its resources on people who are not in need.  In Galatians 6:10, Paul writes the church should do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”  Many widows are the backbone of the church who are faithful to pray, visit the sick and homebound, and teach other young women and children.  Paul also instructs the young widows should seek to remarry and have children.

We must honor our parents and grandparents and great grandparents and seek to provide for them if they have needs. When there is sickness and handicap, professional care is necessary. These are difficult decisions which each family must decide what is God’s will. The important thing is that believers show love and concern and do all they can to help each other.


We can see from Paul’s instruction to Timothy was having a hard time and perhaps even had caused him some sickness.  As a side note, Paul’s advice to take a little wine with water for his stomach was for medicinal purposes. It is not an endorsement of alcohol or an encouragement for social drinking.  Drunkenness is a sin and can only be avoided by abstinence.  Remember when looking at what is a “gray area” of activity ask these questions:  can this activity be habit forming? If so, can this habit lead to dissipation? Will this activity damage my Christian testimony?  Will it cause a weaker brother to stumble?

Paul then addresses the topic of pay and discipline.

  1. Paying the elders:  elders worked full time in the early church, what we would consider as full time staff. They deserved payment. Today the term “elders” refers to laymen who have full time vocations but assist in the work of the church. These are not paid.
  2. Disciplining the elders. Church discipline is either non-existent today or some rule as dictators. There are many scriptures which are explained in Matthew 18:15-18; Romans 16:17-18; I Corinthians 5.

In the disciplining of members or elders, the purpose is always restoration, not revenge. We want repentance and return not to drive them away. Our attitude must be one of love and tenderness. In fact the use of the word “restore” means to “set a broken bone.”  

Paul cautions Timothy and us to be sure of the facts and have witnesses. Any one making an accusation must back it up with witnesses. Rumors and suspicion are the earmarks of gossip and as we know a tongue can set a fire and create great damage.  In all these things, we must obey the Word of God, no matter what our personal feelings are.

In I Timothy 6, Paul deals with the relationship of believers to others. Slavery is an issue still debated in our country over 150 years after it was abolished. Does the Bible condone slavery? No. Over half the population under the Roman Empire at the time of this writing were slaves. Paul states in Galatians we are one in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female. Some slavery resulted from the indebtedness which could not be paid back and the borrower became the servant of the other in order to pay back what was owed. Others resulted as a result of the hardened hearts of men and their desire to have cheap labor and increase their riches. The Bible is not condoning slavery, but deals with the reality of the relationship between slave and master.  Paul’s instructions are for both the servant/slave and master when both are Christian.  Divorce is not condoned or encouraged by the Bible, but instructions are given for when and how it occurs.  In relationships involving Christians, God deals with the realities of day. When Christians are involved what we should see is mutual respect, and reciprocal attitudes between employer and employee.    Mutual submission is the example set before us at Calvary where God in His love and grace gave His son up for us, that we might give ourselves to Him. The wife who loves her husband and places his good before hers, will find a husband who loves her like Christ loved the church and gave his life for her. The same is true of the servant or slave and their master when both are Christian.

This is really about one of the most debated topics in today’s identity politics. The employer and the employee. The relationship of capital to labor. The Christian employee should give their employer a full day’s work. The Christian employer should treat his employees with respect and honor and be fair in paying them.  Today greed has created the corporations which are driven to please their investors, rather than their employees and their family.  Nothing makes stocks go up more than laying off employees and closing plants.

In the relationship Paul is addressing is between a Christian servant or slave and the Christian master. The bondservant is to count his master worthy of honor and full respect, so that God’s name and Christian teaching may not be slandered.  In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul tells the masters this principle for believers, whether servant or master: ‘whatever good one does, he will receive the same for the Lord, whether he is slave or free.’ So ultimately as believer we are to do what we do with all our might to the glory of God, regardless if one is free or slave, employee or employers.   There is mutual blessing, when Christians serve each other in the will of God. And even if your employer or employee is not a believer, we are to treat them with respect.


Contentment is defined as “an inner sufficiency that keeps us at peace in spite of outward circumstances.” Paul used this same word, contentment; when he wrote: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”(Phil 4:11)  True contentment comes from godliness in the heart, not wealth in the hand. Godliness is the pursuit of holiness, true holy living in and under the power of the Spirit. *Notice contentment is learned. It is learned by experiencing both plenty and being in want.

Material possessions have a way of losing appeal. Ever ask your parents when you were a child for something and tell them you would never ask for anything again? Then perhaps you got this you desired so and found out in six months it has lost its appeal.  It is a statistical fact wealthy people have a higher rate of divorce, go to psychiatrists more often and are more prone to commit suicide. Wealth is not lasting. We brought nothing into this world and we can carry nothing out of it. When one’s spirit leaves his or her body at death, it can take nothing with it because when we were born, we came into this world with nothing- not even a stitch of clothing. We are advised by the One who is called Wonderful Counselor not to lay up treasure here on earth, for they will be consumed by rust or thieves. Instead to lay up heaven, where neither thieves can steal nor rust corrupt and we can enjoy them forever.  

Having food and clothing, with these be content. Clothing is also referred to as covering. So with are to have food, clothing and c covering/ shelter. These are our basic needs.  Why do we buy what we buy? Do we need it?  or just want it?  Technology has given us things we did not know we needed and now cannot live without, or think we cannot live without.  Judas was a man who knew the price of everything. He knew how much money Mary’s alabaster box of expensive perfume was worth. He knew the price of everything, the value of nothing. 


Let us pay close attention to the next two verses. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of  evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Money is not evil, it is amoral. It is the love of money that is a root of all kinds of evil. Money is used as a measure of one’s net worth. The greater the net worth, the greater the person? The more material possessions, the greater the contentment? No, we have seen this is not a true measure of contentment or even happiness. Riches will not bring happiness. In fact they only increase the desire for more and more.   Paul says contentment with godliness is great gain. Yet if there is a fits-all word to describe the mood and temperament of our culture today, – discontentment would be the word which comes as close to fitting as any.

People are discontent with their lives, jobs, marriages, gender, leaders, form of government and want it to be fixed. They want to be paid more money, more benefits and the debate about our system of government and the economy we have is at the center of the debate. Socialism versus capitalism.  The work force is discontented with their pay and benefits while their bosses make much more than they do. Yet Jesus said, ‘the poor you will always have with you.” Trying to create a society where all are equal in every area is impossible.

Isn’t it interesting and noteworthy to review Adam and Eve’s situation. They had everything they needed provided by God. God said there was only one thing they could not have- fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Discontentment is always the work of the enemy who redirects your focus on what you do not have rather than all you do have.  When he does this remember this old song – count your blessings, count them one by one, then you will see all the Lord has done. Take an inventory of all of your blessings and thank Him for being so generous.  We live in an affluent society and country. Did you know affluence breeds boredom? 

We grow content when we see God as our Sole Provider. He promises to supply all our needs. If we do not have it and God has not provided, it was not needed.   “ Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “ Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of the Lord.” Proverbs 30:8,9.

Psalm 37 says: “Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.” What is feeding your desires? The Lord’s faithfulness or the materialism of our culture? “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” If you delight yourself in His Word and meditate in it day and night, he shall plant the desire in your heart and you will see a harvest in due time and your leaf will not wither. (Psalm 1)

  1. Cleansing: Cleanse yourself through confession of anything hindering you. ( I John1:9)
  2. Surrendering:  Submit to whatever God instructs you to do. Sometimes this is difficult because we want to know what will step two be after we make step one. This is the essence of walking by faith. Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8
  3. Asking:  We have not because we ask not. Prayer is a will alignment. Not God’s will to ours but our will to God’s.  His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light upon my path. It shows me what the next step would be not the ones after that. Psalm 119:105
  4. Meditating: This is how God’s turns on the light on our path. Think about His Word and the more we think about it and ask the Spirit to open our eyes to see, the clearer our path becomes  Psalm 1
  5. Believing:  if anyone asks and doubts he will be tossed about and cannot expect to receive an answer. When we ask, we must believe He will answer. We trust He will show us the way to go. James 1
  6. Waiting:  Faith + patience = promises received.  Hebrews 6: 9-12
  7. Receiving: Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it will be opened to you. Keep on keeping on.  Matthew 7: 7&8

Here are some very important instructions Paul gives us:

“But you, O man of God, flee theses things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. “

Do you see the instructions?  Flee. (Some sins we flee- Joseph) Follow (Pursue). Fight. (It is a fight to follow and fight to defend.) Public profession.

1 Timothy 4: Weight Watchers Training

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses , let us lay aside EVERY WEIGHT, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him  endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2

Paul in this pastoral letter to Timothy is giving him instructions on how men and women are to function in the church. It is not a matter of superiority or inferiority, but of God’s Priorities.  In doing so, he forewarns Timothy and Christians through the ages to be on guard against false doctrines, which he calls the doctrines of demons.  Paul tells us there will be a departing from the faith as they give attention to deceiving spirits.  These who depart from the faith possess seared consciences which are desensitized to sin.   Some of this false teaching will be in regard to marriage and diet.

Timothy is instructed, as we are also included, to teach sound doctrine which proclaims the Gospel and defends the faith.

The key verse I want us to look at in today’s lesson is found in the second part of 1 Timothy 4: 7:  “But reject profane and old wives’ fables and exercise yourself toward godliness. (Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, the pursuit of holiness.)Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘we must be holy as God is holy. *For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise for the life that now is and that which is to come.


Holiness is what we are to be pursuing. Paul said “I want to know the Lord.”  Moses said, “I want to see the Lord.”  Phillip said to Jesus: “Show us the Father.”  All speak of a longing, a desire to know the Lord as He longs for us to know Him.  And Jesus said “Be holy as God is holy.”  He also said, “Only the pure in heart see God.” What does it mean to be “HOLY”?  Holy is to be absolutely blameless. This is our position as a result of being justified when we placed our faith in the saving life of Jesus Christ. Justified give us blamelessness as our position before Holy God. But our practice does not match our position does it?  This is why we are to pursue holiness. To be holy is to be separated from sin and consecrated to God. To live a holy life is to live in obedience and conformity to the precepts of the Bible rather than the sinful ways of the world.  

Now a word of caution, we will not attain perfection in this world, as Paul says he certainly had not attained perfection. But we are to “press toward the mark of the high calling. “God has given us the potential and the power to resist temptation and sin. The responsibility is ours. He, God, has worked in us to will and do His good pleasure; we must work it out with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2.

God led His people the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. He then gave the law through Moses. From Exodus 25-31, God gives detail after detail of how to enter into worship with Him.  The Tabernacle in the wilderness was a special tent, a movable house of God. Tabernacle in Hebrew means residence, place of abiding, home. God wants to live with His people. This tent was also called a ‘sanctuary” which means set apart.  We know today, as believers, God does not reside in a building but in the hearts of His followers. Paul says our bodies are the temple/ the tabernacle of Holy God.  He says our bodies are earthly tents which will be destroyed; we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, built by the Carpenter of Nazareth. This was the building Abraham was looking for when he went out not knowing where he was going. When we got saved, we now look back and see we entered into the same kind of seeking life as Abraham. Do you know where you are going? What you are seeking?

In the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness we are told it is patterned after the Tabernacle in Heaven. God gave details of the materials needed, but the first thing built was the Ark of the Covenant. When we pursue holiness we seek to glorify the Lord. In the building of the tabernacle God showed how one pursues holiness and when done God’s way results in our being able to enter the Holy of Holies and the result is the Shekinah glory of God which would appear as a manifestation of God’s Presence.

If you are to pursue holiness, this is the path as shown by God’s Tabernacle.  Enter in by the gate, for Jesus is the gate, the way, the truth and the life. This leads the way to the altar where the shed blood of the Lamb is posted on the doorpost of our hearts. Then by the cleansing water of His word I can enter the Holy Place where I am fed on His Word, the True Bread of Heaven. Here is the Light of the World and by prayers offered up like incense; I enter the presence of God in the throne room of heaven, where I obtained mercy and grace to help in time of need. In our pursuit of holiness this is always the route.

So by virtue of following this route, you have laid aside every weight and the sins which so easily ensnare you so you can pursue holiness with endurance.  Notice Paul does not say this is easy, a breeze, nothing to it- No, Paul emphasizes we “labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially all those who believe.”  You do not lay aside weight easily do you?  Laboring and suffering- was that in the fine print?   So the Tabernacle was both a witness to man and against man. As a witness to man it instructs man of the only way he could approach God. It was a witness against man saying your works are as filthy rags, you cannot merit salvation by works, and only way to come to the Father is by the shed blood of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.


“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.  You’ve probably said those very words when you were on a diet and suddenly gave in to each a piece of warm apple pie with ice cream on it.   Do you see how simple these instructions are? Caution: Jesus warns against temptation.  Temptation succeeds when you allow it to enter into your life- through lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life. Be on guard.  Prevention: only way to prevent it is to be on guard, to watch and pray. Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of life.  Have a “go-to verse” to deal with the temptation.* The only way you can learn to resist temptation is to be tempted.

The goal of weight watchers is to lose weight by watching what you eat and how much of it you eat. The goal of your flesh is to eat what it loves to eat, that tastes so good. Goal of your deceitful heart is to lead you into sin, evil. The goal of God is not to lead you into evil, for God does not tempt one to evil nor can He be tempted by evil. (James 1) God allows temptations as trials or test as training, discipline for the purpose of developing godliness, holiness. God wants to show us ourselves and know our deceitful hearts. God also wants to show us His Grace and faithfulness.  In the Garden, Jesus went a “little farther” from the disciples. Did they follow? No. When we get just ‘ little way’ from Him in our devotion, we are prone to be less conscious of Him and a little space is all the enemy needs to gain a foothold. Get off your diet a little and you risk going completely off your diet. Temptation is anything which draws us away from God’s will


Watch: When we do not stand watch, Jesus tells us this is when we enter into temptation. Prayer: this is why Jesus taught us the pattern prayer in Matthew 6, we commonly call, The Lord’s Prayer, which teaches us to pray:  ‘lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’  See God allowed the temptation, as a test to undergo to learn how to use the weapons He has provided and the desire to not sin to have victory over sin.  So like anything else we must develop good habits. Habits are powerful. This is why we must train and disciple ourselves for the battle which lies ahead.   Our duty now is to develop the habit of holiness.

Romans 5-8 are some of the most important instructions for developing the habit of holiness. First we must know what we need to know about our new position. When we got saved, we became a new creature and old things passed away and are passing away and new things have come and continue to come into our lives. There is a change of kingdoms. We have come into the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of light from the kingdom of darkness. From that moment on, we are in a battle. As we battle for holiness, the enemy battles to draw us back into sin. It is a daily battle. Just like trying to change your eating habits in order to lay aside the weight which ensnares you.  God in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to allow these daily battles with indwelling sin. For now the Spirit which indwells us will be in a battle with the old nature as they are contrary to one another.

We need help in the daily battle. We need to know what we need to know. We need to know God’s part and our part, our responsibility.  We must learn how to put sin to death in order to develop the habit of holiness.  We read in Romans 6: 3: “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? “  This verse explains the preceding verse, which say” how shall we who died to sin, live any longer in it?  Watchman Nee told a new Christian struggling to quit smoking, ‘a dead man can’t smoke.’

Next we need to know this key truth:  “Likewise you also, reckon (count as true) yourself to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6: 11.  This means WE ARE UNTIED WITH CHRIST JESUS IN ALL HIS POWER. Therefore it is not by our power or might, but by the Spirit. We put on the whole armor of God.  The Lord has given us divine weapons for the pulling down of strongholds. Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world. God then gives you the will and to do His good purpose. We work it out with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2)  God has given you the power and the potential to resist sin. You have the weapons and the indwelling power it is your responsibility to use them.     YOU CAN SAY WITH ASSURANCE- I AM NO LONGER UNDER THE DOMINION OF SIN, BUT I AM UNDER THE POWER OF GOD WHICH IS WORKING IN ME.   The Holy Spirit strengthens us to holiness by first enabling us to see our need for holiness. It was at the cross when I first saw the light.  He then enlightens our understanding so that we begin to see God’s standard for holiness. Sanctification is a progressive work. The Holy Spirit then lets us see our specific areas of sin. One of the devil’s most powerful weapons is deception whereby he makes us spiritually blind.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 No one can understand it and expose it except by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit shows us our sinfulness, not to discourage us, but to lead us to holiness. You must come to loath the sin you used to love.  This is how God works in you to WILL AND TO ACT ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSE.   Do you see the order?  We first must will, desire, before we act. Pray God will give you this desire to be holy and He will answer this prayer! Each day, like Joshua we must choose whom we will serve:  the flesh, our old nature or the Lord.


Paul then tells us of his battle with his old nature in Romans 7 and tells us every time he wants to good, evil is always present. He says he is losing the battle as the good he wants and wills to do, he does not do, and instead the evil he does not want to do, he still practices.  We learn as Paul learned, there is no good thing in the flesh, the old nature. The sinful old nature does not want to give up.

This is the battle. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” Romans 8: 13

First:  Our Duty- to put to death the deeds of the body.

Second: Notice the person who does this is YOU.

Third:  The promise ‘YOU will live.”

Fourth:  The means by which you perform your duty –‘by the Spirit.’

Fifth:   These are based on the condition “If you…”  It is your choice whom you will serve.


“ For just as you used to present your members as slaves of uncleanness  and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Romans 6:23

The more we sin, the more we are inclined to sin. Every sin we commit reinforces the habit of sin. Habits are the thoughts and emotional patterns engraved on our minds. Every sin begins as a thought. Every action begins as a thought. Habits are developed and reinforced by repetition. We developed the habit of unholiness.  But by the same method, we can develop habits of holiness. We must systematically work at the habit of saying no to the sin or sins which so easily entangle us. I had to concentrate on dealing with alcoholism, drinking was a habit developed and engraved in my mind over a period of 14 years. Smokers do the same thing, as well as drug addicts.   By concentrating on the sin or sins which so easily entangle you, you gain victory through the Spirit of God using the Word of God. I was given a ‘go-to” verse to deal with the temptation to drink. It was I Corinthians 10: 13 which is an excellent verse and can be used against any temptation.

We then begin to see how the Spirit of God works within us through the Word of God. We then develop habits of holiness. Since every act begins as a thought, we must transform our minds through the Word of God to think the right thoughts, thoughts that are pure and good. And by using the Word, the Sword of the Spirit we can divide every thought and it intention. We then can learn to bring into obedience any thought which is not obedient to Christ Jesus. We learn to recognize wrong thinking immediately.

When developing new habits we must never allow the exception. We must be diligent, on guard at all times for our enemy roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Do not put yourself in the way of temptation. Put yourself before God. Spiritual disciplines put you in His Gym for training.


Godliness, the pursuit of holiness comes though discipline. God uses three primary catalysts for changing and conforming us as part of His training program.

  1. People:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 this may be from friends or enemies.
  2. Circumstances:  Romans 8: 28 tell us this. Some of the circumstances are: finances, health and relationships which get our attention.
  3. Spiritual disciplines: these are different from the other two in this way- the first two work from the outside -in. We also have little control over them. The third method works from the inside- out and we have a measure of choice as to how much time we will spend in exercising them. These include: Bible intake, prayer, fasting and giving.

Spiritual disciplines are exercises which involve putting ourselves in the position and taking the actions to place ourselves before God for Him to work in us.  There are two individuals who did this in the New Testament. They are two different men in different circumstances. Their stories are found in Luke 18 and 19.

Blind Bartimaeus was outside the city of Jericho when he heard the crowd noise and inquired what was happening. He was told it was Jesus coming into town. Bartimaeus had heard of his healing power and began to cry out with a loud voice, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  He would not quit yelling and Jesus said, bring him unto me, where he asks him what did he want. He asked that he might receive his sight. He received his sight immediately and followed, glorifying God. 

The other man is Zacchaeus the tax collector. He sought to see Jesus. But being short, he could not see him because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a tree to see Jesus. He put himself not only to see Jesus, to place himself before Jesus to work in his life.

This is what we do when we practice spiritual disciplines we place ourselves before God for Him to work in us, what we must then work out with obedience.  Do you have a desire to pursue holiness?

It begins with a hunger for God’s Word.  There is no spiritual discipline which is more important. Every other discipline will occur as you set yourself before the Word of the Living God. This discipline will lead you into the others:  prayer, worship, witnessing, serving, giving, fasting, etc. You will develop the habit of placing yourself before God the first thing each day in a time of Bible study and prayer as you start your day.

1 Timothy 2B: Priorities Continued

I Timothy 2: 9-15 is one of those passages which sometimes a teacher wants to skip or gloss over. However, I have found in my experience these types of passages are often very important.

Paul is talking about our priorities as Christians.  Thus far we have seen the similarities the church at Ephesus faced in Paul and Timothy’s day which are the same we face.  A falling away of the church, materialism, and sexual immorality.  The creeping in of false doctrine, the watering down of theology, compromising, especially sin. These conditions call for us to teach sound doctrine, proclaim the Gospel, and defend the faith. Paul then says the order is to first of all pray about everything.

When it comes to worship, God has always been meticulous about how we worship Him. It must be done in the right order. We have chapter after chapter in the Old Testament as God through Moses tells the people the order of worship, sacrifice for sin and how it was to be done. Detail after detail. And the devil is in the details, for he knows if we follow God’s instructions our worship will be accepted and we experience the joy of worship.   Remember Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4, the Father is seeking true worshippers who will worship the Father in spirit and truth.  Paul says in I Timothy 2: 8, we are instructed: “I desire all men to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger and disputing (doubting KJV). Preparing to pray involves three steps:  First, holy hands means confessed all sins; second, without wrath, no unresolved anger with anyone; third step, without doubting God’s Word.  NIV uses the word – disputing for doubting. Disputing can occur over controversial topics. Controversy comes when the world culture has conformed our thinking compared to what the Word of God tells us. Today’s lesson is about such a section of Scripture.

Many would look at these verses regarding the role of women in the church and believe this is an attitude expressed by a male chauvinist, a typical egotistical man. The world culture says this is not the thinking of our culture and society in the 21st century. Therefore this thinking and these instructions are Paul’s point of view and reflect the thinking of the culture in his day. Yet Paul taught ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3: 28)  

The explanation -this is historical and not applicable to society and women today creates a solution for those who think this is wrong; but in doing so, it creates a larger, more dangerous problem.  If the Word of God is inspired then the teaching of Paul came from God and not from Paul himself. If we have a problem with what Paul writes, we have a problem with what the Bible says about women in the church. The Scripture makes it clear there are successful women in the Bible in Proverbs 31; also we read of Priscilla who worked with her husband in tent making and Lydia, the seller of purple.   These instructions to Christian women are for the home and for worship in the church. We are told: “Let all things be done decently and in order.”(I Cor. 14: 40)

This strategy of introducing doubt in the authenticity of God’s Word is as old as the Garden of Eden, where the serpent asked, “Has God really said?”  In other words did God even say this? Is it applicable to you in this day and time?  Is these one of those commands we do not have to obey for they do not apply to us in the New Testament church.  Creating doubt about the Word of God is as old as the Garden of Eden. The devil questions God’s word: “Did God really say you shall not eat of every tree in the garden? “   This question created doubt in Eve’s mind. When doubt about God’s word is created, we are judging what God says, rather than trying to understand it. The first sin is a classic example of how to market sin. First make it look good in the eyes of the beholder. Then reduce the risk, ‘you will surely not die.’ This increases the interest. Then promise a great reward, you will be like God.  Eve saw it was good for food. It was pleasant to the eyes. And it would make one wise.  See the scheme: Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. We must avoid judging God’s word. We must not question His goodness. We must not doubt or ignore His word. When God came into the Garden after Adam and Eve had sinned, they hid from God. Hiding is an instinctive reaction to guilt. It reveals the fact guilt produces fear. But God came searching for man, not visa versa. This is important. Christianity is the most unique among all world religions, in that all other religions began with man looking for God. Only the Bible starts with God seeking man.

God desires worship; but He does NOT accept all worship. In Genesis 4, we have a classic example of God not accepting Cain’s offering. Cain did not follow God’s instructions but came in a way which seemed right to him. When Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted, he was angry with God and envious of Abel. This anger resulted in the first murder. And the first murder was caused by a dispute over the proper way to worship God.  (Interesting side note:  Abel is the first name mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11.)


The women’s liberation movement began at Calvary not in the 20th century. As mentioned earlier Paul proclaims we are one in Christ, neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. However Paul says God has given us an order. This order is God’s Priority for believers. This is not about superiority; it is about priority in the roles of men and women in the church and the home. This is for Christians. In the army there are generals and privates. Both are equal in the eyes of God, but they have different roles. The private may even be a better person than the general, but he does not possess the abilities to be a general. However, he is better equipped and trained to fight the battle than the general who is better equipped to devise the proper strategy. They need each other.  The word submission is a red flag to some people. To submit means to rank under. This is why the Roman Centurion was praised for his faith by Jesus because he understood this principle as a man under authority. You can never be over what God wants you to be over, until you get under what God wants you to get under.  This is Kingdom Authority from the King of Kings, the Creator and Sustainer of All things. Wives under husbands, husbands under Christ, children under parents, employees under employers.  This is God’s order. His priorities. 

Paul then cautions women to dress modestly. We are so concerned with external appearance but real beauty to God is a godly life. Paul does not forbid the use of jewelry and lovely clothes, but rather the excessive use of them as substitutes for true, inner beauty. A woman’s clothing should be decent, modest and not create lust in the eyes of men and become as source of temptation. What was happening in Ephesus, is wealthy women were dressing extravagantly to display their wealth and create envy. Others flaunted their figures in a sexually charged society.

“Let women learn in silence (quietness, NIV) with all submission. This does not mean women could not open their mouths but in order to learn, we must listen.  Questions should be asked in an appropriate way.  A service or a classroom can get out of hand quickly if there is not an order to asking questions to gain information or have explanations. Paul had to address the problem of speaking in tongues in the church at Corinth, because it had gotten out of hand and Paul set the rules for how this was to be done decently and in order. Priorities.

But Paul is clear woman are not to be in the role of authority of a pastor over a church.

What has happened in our culture and society today?  First of all, we must remember these are God’s instructions and priorities for Christians, for believers. Consider how important women’s roles are as mothers and wives and sisters. Some are called to singleness and some are not able to bear children.  Women in the Bible were successful in business careers. But God has not called women to serve in primary leadership positions in the church. Those denominations which have chosen to neglect this command are experiencing problems with other areas of Scripture pertaining to sexual immorality and marriage.

God used women in a mighty way. With the first sin, came the plan of salvation which was created in the mind of Triune God before the foundation of the world: “And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman. And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3: 15)  Women were designed to bear children and to nourish them. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Before there was a Moses, there was his godly mother,  Jochabed. Before there was a Samuel there was his mother Hannah, a prayer warrior. Before there was Jesus there was Mary a pure maid who became the mother Jesus Christ. The SEED who would crush the head of the serpent.

The command to be fruitful and multiply takes both man and woman and woman. Psalm 127 says unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain. This means God says follow my instructions on how to build a home.  His word is our foundation. He has given us His priorities and roles we are to serve in the home and church.  The family is the backbone of a country. “Behold children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Today our society has created a stigma about being a mother and a homemaker, staying at home with small children. It has been part of the reason for abortion. Pregnancies are not viewed as a reward to some, but a curse, an interference with one’s plans. Staying at home to raise children is viewed as inferior and less important and not as rewarding as a career, position, power and money. Others try to do it all and find the cannot.

Yet this was God’s plan and priority. No greater endeavor than to raise godly children to build God’s kingdom on earth.

Here are some truths I have learned over the years:

  1. Avoid judging the Word of God.
  2. Do not question God’s goodness.
  3. Do not doubt or ignore God’s Word
  4. Do not forget the consequences of sin.
  5. Do not throw away your confidence in the Lord.
  6. Remember your defense system. Put on the whole armor of God ( Ephesians 6)
  7. Renew your mind. Take captive wrong thoughts. 2 Cor. 10
  8. Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation.
  9. Remember your enemy can disguise himself.
  10. Don’t argue with the enemy. Remember good and evil travel on a parallel path.

God’s priorities are the key to not only peace of mind, but the guide to the abundant life Jesus died to give us.

1 Timothy 2: Priorities

Let’s review the situation Timothy faces:

  1. Replacing Paul as pastor of church in Ephesus. Imagine trying to fill Paul’s shoes!
  2. Timothy is young, has a spirit of fear, being easily discouraged.
  3. He also has ongoing health issues.
  4. Ephesus is an affluent city; materialistic; it is home to the Temple of Diana, the seventh wonder of the old world and a renown house of prostitution.
  5. False teachers are arising in Paul’s absence.

One of God’s most repeated commandments is “ Fear Not”- but we sometimes forget what almost always accompanies this command: Fear Not for I am with you.  Here are some verses to remind yourself of this promise:  Isaiah 41: 10; Isaiah 43:2; Psalm 23 and Psalm 91. The most popular place in the Vatican where people wait for hours to get in and see is the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s fresco painting of the Creation of Adam. It was controversial when he did it. God reaching out to Adam.  And you can see the God is actively reaching to touch Adam, to close the gap between them.  God’s greatest desire is to be with His people. Immanuel, God with Us. He wants to dwell among His people.  See the father of the prodigal running to meet him. This is our God, our Creator. Our Savior. He longs to be close to us- to live our lives together.  The enemy of your soul comes to steal and kill and destroy this close fellowship. If he cannot make you bad, he will make you busy, giving you other priorities in your life. Jesus said He came to give us life and life more abundantly.

Timothy is therefore told to teach:  sound doctrine, proclaim the Gospel, and defend the faith. Which happens to be our mission in the 21st century as we face the same issues as Timothy did in Ephesus.  

Paul then writes: “Therefore I exhort (urge) first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” (I Timothy 2: 1) Do you see the phrase-‘first of all’?  Paul is indicating prayer is most important in the public worship of the church.  Prayer. It is interesting on the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s sermon had been preceded by 10 days of prayer followed by 10 minutes of preaching and 3,000 souls were swept into the kingdom and the age of the church began. How much time do we spend praying for services, preaching and teaching? Praying for lost souls and praying for God’s will to be done? Prayer is a will alignment. Aligning our will to God’s, not visa versa.  Wednesday night used to be called a prayer meeting. Jesus cleansed the temple saying “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21: 13 Are we called a house of prayer? We have lots of activities and programs. And there is a place for those, but how much time do we spend in prayer.

Paul then lists a variety of prayers:  supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks made for ALL MEN. Prayer was as much a part of the ministry as preaching and teaching. The believer and the church must depend on prayer. We must not replace prayer with programs. Charles Stanley says all our battles are won on our knees in prayer.  Prayer and supplication with thanksgiving are part of Paul’s formula for praying which provides the peace of God which passes understanding and guards our hearts and minds.  The object of prayer is “all men.” If we are instructed to pray for all men, it must mean there is no person on earth outside the reach and influence of our prayers.

Notice in verse 3- prayer pleases God our Savior. It pleases our Heavenly Father when we pray as He has commanded us to pray. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to pray by saying do not pray like the Pharisees, who pray to be heard by men. John writes we can have confidence when we pray in the will of God, He hears us and we have what we have asked for. James says we have not because we ask not and we ask and do not receive because we ask amiss. We ask that we might spend it on our own pleasures. (James 4)  Moses said, May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you. He is pleased when we call on Him. His face shines with a magnificent smile of unconditional love.


Verses 3 & 4 tells us: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.”

Fact 1. God wants everyone to be saved and understand the truth. John 18:37

Fact 2. God is not willing that any should perish, but all would come to repentance. 2 Peter 3.9

Fact 3. God sent Jesus to pay for our sins He is or ransom and Redeemer.  I John 2: 2

Fact 4. God has given us, His Church the responsibility to tell the world.  Matthew 28

Fact 5. God is going to hold each of us accountable for our responsibility. “ For each of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one of us may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. “ (I Cor. 5: 10) Christians do not face the Great White Throne judgement  because we have trusted the finished work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary. Our names are listed in the Lamb’s Book of Life. However, we will face judgement at the Bema. This is not a place of condemnation, but a place of accountability. We will realize how much time we wasted on things which do not matter and be rewarded for those things we have done in faithful obedience to the Lord. I Corinthians 3: 11-15 describes this event. Our works are tested by fire which reveal our motives. Did we do this to receive the praise of men or to please God and lift Him up?  God has blessed each of us, so that we might bless one another.  What we do on earth matters for all of eternity.  What matters most in your life?


Do we understand what all happened when we got saved and how it should change our behavior? When we got saved it was a new beginning. We not only had our sins forgiven and our guilt removed, we also received the Holy Spirit who comes to seal us and indwell us and live Christ’s life through us.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old has gone, and the new has come. All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed us to the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ behalf: be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain, for He says: “In the time of my favor (acceptable time) I heard you and in the day of salvation, I helped you. I tell you now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 5: 17-6:3

We are born again of the Spirit and we have become a new creation. My wife had a new husband after I got saved. She told her friends she had a new husband. The old one was passing away. This new birth is an act of God. As a result the following changes began to take place.

  1. New morality as determined by the Word of God.
  2. New mind as the Word of God transforms our minds. The truth sets us free. Let this mind be in you, which is in Christ Jesus. ( Romans 12: 2; John 8: 32, Phil. 2: 5 )
  3. New agenda. This is the reason for which I was born again. This is our “ calling”
  4. New Master. This is the One for whom I live, not myself. Not I but Christ lived in me. Galatians 2: 20

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us not to lay up treasures on earth where they will be lost, but in heaven where they will await us and last for eternity. This is the Treasure Principle which states where your treasure is, your heart will be also. Jesus then tells us we cannot serve two masters. Jesus then makes an amazing statement:  “Therefore do not worry about your life; what you will eat or drink or your body what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or gather in barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than them? WHO OF YOU BY WORRYNG CAN ADD A SINGLE HOUR TO HIS LIFE? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that no even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today  and tomorrow thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry saying, ‘what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear? For the pagans run after these things and your Heavenly Father knows you have need of them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU AS WELL.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6.


In his book, “WHEN THE GAME IS OVER IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX” author John Ortberg compares life to the board game of Monopoly.  The question I believe we begin to ask ourselves at this stage in the game of life is ‘what really matters, when it is all said and done?’  Like the game of Monopoly we race around the gameboard of life, buying and selling with crowded schedules. Raising children, making a living and some days finding ourselves with seemingly not a moment to spare. My career consisted of my traveling all over the world. I was once gone almost 2 weeks traveling in Australia. I sometimes worked through a weekend and into the next week. In 1998, I had done over 80 seminars by August of that year. Guess what? I was diagnosed with cancer and had to cancel the rest of my schedule which had me booked into the second week of December. The industry never missed me or what I had to say. We seek recognition, meaningful work, money, and possessions.  I know you have heard this before but let me say it again.  Treat every day as if it were the day before your last. 

If you view life as a game, you have to figure out what constitutes winning and losing. What we do is trade time for money and money for things which we not only think we need, but think they will make us happy. Jesus said our Heavenly Father knows what we have need of- but He makes it abundantly clear- He and His Kingdom comes first. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. And guess what?  You will not have to worry about tomorrow. For you have done with today what needed to be done. You have your priorities right.  Matthew 6: 33

Jesus told a parable about a rich man in Luke 12.  He had spent his life working hard, he had amassed much in the way of possessions. He got ready to slow down and enjoy the fruits of his labor, to eat, drink and be merry. Then he died. It all went back in the box. He had placed the ladder of his life against the wall which was based on the world’s view of the abundant life. Jesus said the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy but He has come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. He also said, ‘a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’

This man in this parable had devoted his life to the wrong things. Here is what a list of his priorities and goals looked like:

  1. Harvest large crops. Build bigger barns. Financial security. Eat. Drink. Be merry. Remember not to die.

“The object of life, according to Jesus, is breathtakingly simple. Be rich toward God

Here is what your goals should look like (and it is never to late to start);

  1. Being rich toward God means growing a soul that is increasingly healthy and good.
  2. It means loving and enjoying God and people.
  3. It means learning about your gifts and using them to doing good works to help others
  4. It means becoming generous with your stuff.
  5. It means making that which is temporary the servant of that which is eternal.
  6. It means savoring every day and every trip around the board game of life.


The Board Game of Life is your calendar. So fill each day with the things which matter most. Think of the hours you worked. Let’s look at a day in your life as a jar. A jar which contains 24 hours. Then because we first used hour glasses filled with sand, let’s fill your 24 hour day with your daily sand of “have-to’s”.  Sleeping, eating, working, commuting, shopping, brushing your teeth, etc. If you raised children you spent an average of 31 minutes a day on child care. If you have pets, you spend an average of 7 minutes per day taking care of them. You spend an average 16 minutes per day looking for things you lost. 20 minutes visiting other people. 4 minutes doing paper work for the government. You will spend six months in your lifetime waiting at traffic lights. 75 minutes per day commuting. Recreation: exercise, golf, movies, television, hobbies, vacations. Then there are emergencies, unexpected interruptions which can complicate your life.

Now let’s consider what are our priorities and how they fit in this 24 hour jar of a day in your life.

  1. God. Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
  2. People. Love your neighbor as yourself.
  3. Calling. What God gifted you to do.
  4. Joy.  The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy now and forever.

Jesus said if you do what I am showing you to do- you will be blessed. You will be happy.


“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. Until I come, DEVOTE YOURSELF to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching. Do not neglect your gift (calling) was given to you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid hands on you.” (I Timothy 4) 

Let’s do a Priority test to see how this command in Matthew 6: 33 to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and God promises  all the things we need will be added.  In doing so, you will discover – less is more.

1 Timothy 1: Be Faithful

The theme which runs through these letters to Timothy are about being faithful and not quitting.  Remember, ‘Without faith, it is impossible to please God and those who come to Him must believe that He is and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ (Hebrews 11; 6)

Throughout the 11th chapter of Hebrews we read of men and women commended for their faithfulness. The more faithful we become, the more responsibilities God can give us in the ongoing work of building His Kingdom. Building His Kingdom involves two areas:  carrying out the Great Commission to the lost; and building up believers, making disciples.  It requires we see ourselves as stewards, managers of God’s resources, not owners of them. We are to invest money and time. Of these two, time is the more valuable resource because when it is gone it is gone. You can usually find or get more money. So our situation is like the parable of the stewards told by Jesus which involved the investing by those stewards on behalf of their master. (Luke 19)   It is interesting the stewards were rewarded on the basis of how they invested there time and money in the serving of their master. When you invest your time, money and spiritual gifts in God’s ministry, the more faithful you are the more responsibility you are given and the more treasure you store up in heaven.  Being motivated by reward is a Biblical principle. We are called to ‘fishers of men’. But I fear we have become keepers of aquariums.’

This study is to equip us and show us how to be more faithful to the Lord, to His Word, and to His task which He has given us and equipped us to perform. 

Timothy is a young man in a church founded by Paul. Imagine being the preacher who replaced Paul!  Timothy is also in a difficult city, Ephesus. It is an affluent, materialistic city. It is a city known for its sexual immorality with its worship of the goddess, Diana. Her lascivious statutes and images were seen throughout the city. It was like pornographic displays used to incite sexual lust. We will discover Timothy was fearful, easily discouraged and in poor health. God likes to use the unlikely, doesn’t He? 

Know this truth and be prepared:  When God offers you spiritual opportunities you will attract Satanic obstacles.  Paul defines three responsibilities in the first chapter  which were important then in a city where false doctrine was gaining foothold which apply to us this day as we face the same battles Timothy and the church  did.

Here are the three responsibilities of the Church and us believers:

  1. Teach sound doctrine.
  2. Proclaim the Gospel.
  3. Defend the faith.


 False doctrine is the opposite of sound doctrine and comes from false teachers who were leading the church astray. Sound doctrine creates sincere, true faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10: 13 These false false teachers raised questions without answers casting doubt on the reliability of God’s Word. Doubt is the back door in which temptation sneaks into our lives.

Sound doctrine builds up the believer and therefore the church.  Paul calls this ‘godly edification which is in faith.’ Sound doctrine creates true faith from which a good conscience is developed, which goes with a pure heart where the love of God is shed abroad. The Word of God is called the “incorruptible seed” by which we are born again.  In the parable of the Seed and Sower (Luke 8), we read of four types of soil which represent four types of heart. The seed fell on the wayside and was trampled by the foot traffic and the birds came and took it away. It also fell on the soil which had a stone beneath it and could not take root and withered away in the sun. It also fell among the thorns and thistles and was crowded out. The fourth soil was good soil where it produced a much fruit. The wayside is the broad way which has conformed our thinking and created a hardened heart. Sound doctrine keeps us on the strait and narrow way. The stone represented that area of one’s life we did not want to give up our sin and represented a shallow heart, one that was not receiving the engrafted word which is able to save your soul. The third soil represented a crowded heart, crowded out by the love of the things of the world. Our minds were divided, thus double minded. Sound doctrine creates a good conscience by clearing our consciences. (Hebrews 9:13&14 tell us our conscience has been purged by the blood so we can serve the Living God, not dead works.)   The result is good soil, love from a pure heart working with a clear conscience which come from a sincere faith created by sound doctrine.  Remember this: Agape Love is not an emotion or a chemical reaction to someone, love is a fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22&23 tells us ‘ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.’

Sound doctrine not only creates love from a pure heart, it also creates a good conscience.  Man is the only creation of God which has a conscience. Our conscience can be described as an “inner judge”.  The conscience accuses us when we do wrong and approves us when we do right. If you sin against your conscience you become defiled, which means impure. To this person, nothing is pure.  Repeated sinning hardens the conscience so it becomes seared.  Notice the false teaching caused disputes rather than godly edification.  When people violate their conscience repeatedly, they will be led astray, turned aside to idle talk. Imagine for a moment, you child or grandchild on their own on a typical college campus today. The talk in the dorms, the peer pressure, the godless intellectual professors who will challenge their faith and the very doctrine they believe.  They cannot defend what they have not  been taught. They will be conformed and abandon the faith unless they are anchored in sound doctrine can give a reason for their hope. We must pass on and reinforce sound doctrine given to us in the Word of God. The result of these practices is a sincere, true faith which comes from sound doctrine.

Paul tells us the reason for the law and its purpose. Many will ridicule belief in the Old Testament, from the very beginning story of creation, they want to make a believer feel foolish for believing the creation account. They question the nature of God, His laws, His judgement, His existence and His demands. Paul tells us :  ‘ knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless, and the insubordinate, for the ungodly, and for sinners, for the unholy and the profane, for murderers of fathers and mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.’ Paul just used the 5th through the 9th commandments here in this list.

The lawful use of the law is to expose, restrain and correct the lawless. The law cannot save a lost sinner, it can only reveal their need for a Savior.  Jesus said something very interesting in Mark 2: 17.  Here is the situation:  Jesus is eating with the tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees are questioning why Jesus is eating with them. This is His reply in Mark 2: 17: “When Jesus heard their question He said unto them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Ever have someone say I have some bad news and some good news, which do you want first? The Bible is a composite of 66 books divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Law is given in the Old Testament, it is the diagnosis. The bad news is you have a deadly disease- sin. It is the cancer in our blood which we are all born with described as our old sinful nature we inherited from Adam and we pass it on to our own children.   The Law is a diagnosis without a remedy. It is bad news, if left untreated. Imagine going to your doctor and having a series of test done which reveal you have cancer. The doctor tells you the bad news- you have cancer. He does not tell you about the remedy, the treatment which can cure you and restore you to health. Malpractice at its worse. Or imagine the doctor does not even tell you the diagnosis so in your ignorance you can live worry free- ignorance is bliss we hear. No it is not. It is deadly.

The Gospel is the good news, it is the remedy for our deadly disease. God created the law and gave it to us through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1)  He came to save us from our sin, the deadly disease which the diagnostic tool of the law revealed.  We were in need of a blood transfusion which He provided. What can wash away my sins- nothing but the blood of Jesus. This can make us whole again, but even more make us holy. But our hearts were hardened by this infected blood, they were as hard as stones. So God performed the first heart transplants at Calvary where He removed our hearts of stone and gave us a new heart, when we first believed Christ died for our sins. (Ezekiel 36)  We sing it was at Calvary where my burdened heart found liberty. A heart transplant cannot be performed without a donor, one who dies and gives his heart away. This is why God became a man. The Word became flesh. Man without God tries to be his own god. So God had a plan from before the foundation that He, God would become a man, to provide the remedy, the cure for our sickness.


So first sound doctrine begins with the bad news, the diagnosis of the sickness. Then comes the good news, the cure, the remedy, the treatment. The word ‘gospel’ actually means good news. We are to proclaim it.  Why do we proclaim the gospel?   The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. ( Romans 1: 16)  Paul tells us the important elements of the Gospel:  “ For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures, and He was seen by Cephas and the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles and then by me, as one born out of due time.” (I Cor. 15) 

When John entered the empty tomb that Easter Sunday, he knew immediately the body had not been stolen. He remembered how Lazarus came out and the burial cloth had to be removed, leaving a mess of stripped away linen which had been wrapped around his body. This burial cloth of Jesus had been left in its form like an empty cocoon. John knew Jesus was alive. Here Paul provides proof of His resurrection and of the power of the Gospel by his changed life.  We know God is love and we know God loved the whole world. But were saved by His grace through faith. (Ephesians 2; 8-10)  God’s grace and mercy are His love in action. The crucified body of the Lord Jesus pinned to a cross are the price God paid. The Lord Jesus’ sinless blood is more precious than all the gold and silver.

Paul tells his testimony on several occasions. You can read about it in Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26. Paul describes the way he used to be:  a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man. Paul as Saul of Tarsus sent people to prison and to their deaths for being Christians.  He says the Lord’s grace toward him was exceedingly abundant. Paul to the end considered himself ‘chief among sinners.’  He obtained mercy and grace because of his ignorance and unbelief, Paul tells us.  Cain sinned in not offering the sacrifice in the way he was to offer it. But God who rebuked Cain for not doing it the right way, told Cain if you do it the right way you will be accepted. This is God’s mercy, not giving us what we deserve, giving us an opportunity to be accepted.  

Isn’t it interesting, Jesus prayed from the cross; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”  Jesus said God forgive them for their ignorance.

So in writing your testimony, follow Paul’s example.  Read his testimonies in Acts as listed above.  Tell them as Paul did what you used to be like. How you got saved. What you became after you were saved.    The prodigal was lost and dead. But his testimony becomes he is alive and found.  Lost and found.  And other healings Jesus performed were pictures of the saving power of the gospel- dead resurrected, the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear – all healings of the sick.

I was a drunk, an alcoholic, a sot who could not stay sober. I went down on my knees in prayer asking the  Lord Jesus to save me on September 16, 1977.I was  lost, insane,  dead in sin and trespasses, blind to the truth, and unable  to overcome the power of alcohol. I arose from my knees a saint, who was saved and would become sober and sane.   Paul and I and countless others proclaim a Gospel, Good News and our changed lives, our testimonies are proof of the power of the Gospel we proclaim.

Do you understand how important and powerful personal testimony is?  Revelation 12: 11 tells us: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

Skeptics and scoffers can debate the validity and accuracy of Scripture and argue the existence of God, but they cannot deny personal testimony.

“Mercy there was great and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; there my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary.” 

  • Your testimony is four acts.
  • Act 1: tell them how your life was before Christ.
  • Act 2: tell them about the turning point
  • Act 3: tell them about your life after the turning point
  • Act 4. Invite them to explore the possibility.

Follow Jesus’ method:  take a sinner to lunch or dinner. 8

2 Samuel 20-24: The Twilight Years

Warren Wiersbe, author and preacher, captures the life of David in three words:  solider, singer and sinner.  Certainly this is descriptive of David’s life. And now we are coming to end as we observe King David’s final address and the passing of the crown to his son, Solomon before King David dies at age 70.   

King David’s life has been a fascinating study of a complex, talented, godly man. One‘s’ I would add to Dr. Wiersbe’s description would be shepherd. For David had a shepherd’s heart. When we first met David, he was only a boy on the cusp of manhood, perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old. Samuel had been sent by God to Jesse’s house to anoint God’s chosen man to be the next king.  David was the youngest of 8 sons of Jesse. He was thought of as a child by his father and brothers, therefore he was not invited into the meeting with Samuel. When it was made obvious to Samuel by God the man of his choosing was not present, Samuel asked if there was another son. Jesse then sent for the ‘youngster who was tending the sheep’. Thus David’s life was changed from that day on, as Samuel anointed him in the midst of his family. No wonder his brothers spoke so harshly to him when he visited them on the battlefield. They were jealous of him.  David would become Israel’s most famous and successful king. His Psalms have comforted countless number of believers for centuries. Everyone has heard of David and Goliath, they have become a metaphor for overcoming giants in life. David would reach mountain tops of success few mortals have ever known, but he would also experience valleys of despair and darkness few will every experience.

King David lived a full life. He was now in the twilight years of his life. He had known great success as soldier, singer and king. He had also committed great sin and would once again even in his twilight years slip and sin in his pride and count the strength of his army.  An idea, I Chronicles 21 tells us Satan put in his mind.

An overview of these last years in these chapters recounts the following episodes:

A rebellion led by a Benjamite, named Sheba.  The kingdom was still very divided as thousands had followed Absalom. King David knew he had to deal with this problem quickly or risk losing the kingdom again.

Next came a three year famine and the trouble with the Gibeonites as it seemed King David would put out one fire to find another one had been started. And as if trouble comes in threes, here comes his old enemy, the Philistines led by another giant from Gath.  2 Samuel 21: 15 tells us King David was exhausted.  From the furnace of these afflictions, David would write the song of praise we read in 2 Samuel 22.  Four themes emerge:

  1. When times are tough and all seems against you, God, our Heavenly Father is our only security. Our rock, fortress strength, shield and deliverer. David is surrounded by the “waves of death.”  As we reach our twilight years we understand this. In just the last year I have lost five friends. And I know even more will come.  And when we take a look at the falling away of the church, and the “floods of ungodliness”, it makes us fearful, just as it did David three thousand years ago. It causes us to cry out to God and know He alone is our support. He has provided an ‘ark’ for us to take us through these floods. He is our security.
  2. When the darkness of despair surrounds us, like David we rely on God: “For you are my lamp, O Lord: the Lord shall enlighten my darkness. “vs. 29.  Psalm 27 tells us the Lord is my light, of whom shall I be afraid.
  3. When we are weak, ‘God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.’ Vs. 33 His strength is made perfect in weakness.
  4. When the future is uncertain, the Lord is our Deliverer. Vs. 44

What lessons we can learn from King David’s life.  Everyone of us has a purpose for living. My purpose is obviously not going to be as great a purpose as David had, but no one God brings to life on this earth is insignificant.  The greatest tragedy would be to live a life without discovering the story the Author and Creator of your life had intended for you. To end up before the great white throne of judgement having not even recognized Him as Creator who gave you the gift of life.

But it can also be as a Christian, you can end up at another judgement seat, the Bema, where your works will be judged for rewards, not punishment. Paul tells us each one work’s will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work of what sort it is. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire. (I Cor. 3)  Can you picture this scene? God is testing your works. I believe we wished we had done more and know at that moment it is too late to do anything about it. But now that you know this is going to occur, you have time to do something about it. Don’t let the temporary blind you to the eternal. Get your priorities right.

What a tragedy to die having never found the purpose, that God -ordained reason for serving your generation. “You are who you are for a reason; you’re part of an intricate plan. You’re a precious and perfect unique design, Called God’s special woman or man.”   There is no one else on the whole earth like you. God chose the time and place you were to be born. You may not think what God has for you to do is very important compared to people like David, but let me remind you who David’s great  grandmother was Ruth, a Moabite who married Boaz, the son of Rahab , a prostitute, who made it into the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame. That’s right a prostitute!

So let us realize for such a time as this- our twilight years, we have come into the kingdom. Gone are the busy days and long hours we spent in our careers. Our days pass fast, but we must not grow weary in well doing.  “One life, twill soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.”  “To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to break down and time to build up. A time to keep and time to throw away.”  (Eccl. 3)  This is our time.

In I Chronicles 28 and 29 we find King David’s activities in his twilight years. It is the closing chapters of his life and what a full life it has been. In these closing chapters we will see how David spent his twilight years. I Chronicles 28 records King David’s address to the leaders of Jerusalem. He is seventy years old, stooped by age and 40 years of service, battle scarred, no longer the fresh- faced shepherd boy, or the handsome young energetic king the sweet singer of songs.  Looking out at the crowd he sees faces of people who have been on this journey with him.  King David speaks of his dream he was not able to complete, the building of the temple. God had not allowed him to build it. But David did the next best thing, he left the plans and the materials and purchased the location upon which it would be built. He had seen it in his mind’s eye.

Let me ask you do you have a dream, a desire you want to complete before your days are finished? Then start planning it for if you cannot complete the dream, you can pass it on to your children and grandchildren.  I have a dream to write at least two or three more books. To teach until I cannot teach anymore. But if I do not get to complete this, I will die trying. And as I come to that last turn in my journey and head for the finish line, I can look back at what God has done in my life and what He has allowed me to experience.  I have had disappointments and even now am frustrated sometimes with the outcome of my life.  But I want to balance my time in trying to finish strong while not forgetting how good the Lord has been to me and mine.  David focused on the good things God had given him. David began to do what we all need to learn to do- view life from God’s point of view.

I tried for as season to become a preacher, to be ordained. But I could not be ordained because of my past, nor could David be allowed to build the temple because of his past. Our dreams and desires become more realistic as we become older.  We realize some things are just not going to happen, and it may be a hard pill to swallow.  But like David, we can look back and find satisfaction in what God has allowed us to do. Robert Mueller who has been in the news everyday for the last couple of years is an interesting man. He was born into a wealthy family and educated in the best schools. Upon graduation from college, he joined the Marines. He was a captain who led a platoon in Viet Nam. He was in combat numerous times, wounded while rescuing one of his men under fire. He has held high positions, including head of the FBI. But he said the achievement of which he was the proudest was that the Marine Corps deemed him worthy of leading men into battle.   God has allowed me to share the Word of God with hundreds of people for the past thirty years. It is what I am most proud of- that God in His Wisdom allowed me, gifted me to teach His Incomparable Word, while using what I thought was wasted years to encourage others who may have wandered down the broad way as I did.

Don’t live your last years wallowing in what might have been, or the mistakes you made. If anyone could have ended up bitter and overwhelmed by guilt, David surely could have finished that way.

I see King David at this last great assembly,  now turning to his son, Solomon, David speaks these words: “ As for you my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches the hearts and understands all the intents of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you out forever. Consider now the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.” I Chronicles 28:9.

David then shares the plans, the blueprints and all the materials and resources he has gathered for it. So David is able to hand down his dream in a written down fashion. These are important truths and words he is passing on to his son.

Did you notice what was of first importance?  Know the Lord. Know the God of your father.  There are always things to do and get done. But if we do not start with what is most important first, the rest does not matter.

Know Him and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind.

King David had sure made his share of mistakes. He had been humbled by his sins. His sins had caused others much pain and grief.  His story was well known. And his son Solomon knew about them.

In verses 11-19:  I can visualize King David and Solomon with the scrolls of the blueprint laid out on a large table as David goes through the rooms, the chambers, the furnishings for the temple.   As the excitement in David’s words made the drawings come to life in the mind of Solomon, he too saw the temple in all its glory as he caught his father’s vision and dream and it began to become his own.

Listen to King David’s prayer and praise:

“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father forever and ever. Yours O Lord is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty for all that is in heaven and on earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord. And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all, in Your hand are power and might. In your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God we thank You and praise Your glorious name. “

King David goes on to recognize all the abundance that they have prepared to build the temple God has provided. 

David also prayed for his son: “And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things and to build the temple for which I have made provision. “ (I Chronicles 29)

Solomon was then appointed king.

“Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the period that he reigned over Israel was forty years. So he died in a good old age, full of days and riches and honors; and Solomon his son reigned in his place. (I Chronicles 29)

“For David after he has served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep and was buried with his fathers…” (Acts 13: 36)

David certainly paved the way for his son, didn’t he?  And when it came down to tell him what was most important it was knowing and serving God with his whole heart and soul and mind.

One of the signs of the last days, Paul writes of to Timothy is, “ in the last days perilous times will come: “ For men will become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3

A new generation is coming and already here. We are living in perilous times. One of the marks of this new generation is ingratitude. They are disobedient to parents and unthankful for what their parents and grandparents worked hard to give them.

Did you hear the gratitude and thankfulness to God, King David expressed? Everything he had and that Israel enjoyed came from God.

Here in America how grateful we should be to live in such a beautiful place where we can gather to worship God in spirit and in truth.  A nation founded on Christian principles. A land of great opportunity.

What a heritage our forefathers have sacrificed to give us.   David died. And I know unless the Rapture comes, I will die also. But the principles of God never die. Write down your story, your testimony and let your children and your children’s children know what it was like when we were a country whose Lord was King. Tell them about your parents about what they taught you and teach them what is most important:  know the Lord and serve Him and love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

I have known for some time, the Lord was leading me next to teach from 1& 2 Timothy.  For it is a letter from an older man, Paul, to a young pastor/teacher named Timothy.  It is a letter of warning as well as a letter of exhortation. It is prophetic in portions as Paul described what will occur in the last days in perilous times.  Paul warns about false teaching and the dangers of materialism.

It is a sobering letter when read and studied in light of where we are now.  Paul also stresses the importance and benefits of Scripture.

Please pray for me as I prepare this upcoming series. 

2 Samuel 14 & 15: Standing on the Promises

2 Samuel 14 & 15:  Standing On the Promises: A strategy for riding out the storms of life.

If you grew up a Southern Baptist in the 1950’s and 60’s you were familiar with the hymn, “Standing on the Promises”.  It was written in 1886 by Russell Carter, inspired by his time in the military.  We all knew the refrain: “Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior, standing, standing, I’m standing on the promise of God.” The second stanza speaks to my heart in today’s lesson: “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail. Standing on the promises of God. “Notice the promises of God cannot fail.

With our culture captivated by the daily deluge of political stories of investigations, intrigue, spies, lies and slander this story reminds us there is ‘ nothing new under the sun.’ For this is the everyday life of King David, his adminstration and his family. King David is now close to sixty years of age.  A successor must come from his remaining 18 sons after the murder of Amnon. He is currently estranged from Absalom who ordered the murder of Amnon and fled to Geshur where his grandfather was king.  The infighting, plotting and back-stabbing, were dividing the nation and creating chaos.

Joab knew King David well and recognized David wanted to reconcile with Absalom, but had not been able to give him permission to return. How could he, the king, do that and not appear to be failing to carry out the law. How could he uphold the law and not execute Absalom for his plotting the murder of Amnon?  Yet,   God had shown mercy to David and had not taken his life, although he was being punished by God for his sins. The consequences were severe because David’s sins were severe.  But God is a God of reconciliation and restoration. He found a way to forgive you and me of all our sins and Peter told us God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is not willing that any should perish but all would come to repentance which is the first step in reconciliation and restoration.  But as we have seen God will rebuke, chasten and scourge as the sin demands and He will not be mocked.  When a man sows to the flesh he will to the flesh reap corruption. And when a nation sows to the winds of social whims and is conformed to this world culture it will reap a whirlwind. Do not be deceived.  (I believe our country is in a season of destructive “whirlwinds” from God. Storms, floods, wildfires, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes and the dark, divided mood of our country tell us something is wrong.)

Joab follows Nathan’s script and recruits what must be a very effective actress to bring a fabricated story (notice the use of “fake news”) of the murder of one brother by another brother to King David for mercy.  King David is drawn into the story as she seeks for her son’s life to be spared.  King David realizes as the story unfolds, this is the work of Joab. He asks the woman ‘is the hand of Joab with you in all this?’ She admits it is, but David perhaps reflecting on the mercy and grace of God for not taking his life says Absalom may return.  But he cannot see my face. And Absalom is to be under house arrest until his father agrees to meet with him. David finally after a period of time meets with Absalom. Absalom bows with his face to the ground and David then kisses Absalom. The King’s kiss is a kiss of acceptance but for Absalom it is a kiss of Judah, of betrayal.


Now the story of Absalom begins. First we are told: ‘no one was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head he had not a single blemish. And when he cut his hair at the end of the year because it was too heavy, it was reported when they weighed the cut hair it weighed two hundred shekels. (5 pounds)   Absalom was a celebrity, whose every action was noted and celebrated.  The fact that he killed his half-brother, Amnon seemed to enhance his reputation rather than besmirch it. He was young, handsome, a prince from a royal family. He has a winsome personality and his position as prince made him famous. Character was unimportant compared to his personality, charisma, status, wealth and good looks. He would have had his own reality show in today’s market. He wanted to be king of Israel and he would soon make his motives known.  Absalom had perfected the smile, the handshake and the false empathy which said to all he met, I feel your pain and I want to take care of it for you. 

Just as our political season for the presidential election for 2020 is now getting under way, we see those who would be president meeting people, shaking their hands, kissing babies, and telling people what they want to hear and how they will take care of their problems, we see it was the same way 3, 000 years ago.

The campaign of Absalom begins as we read in the opening verses of chapter 15. Absalom trusted in chariots and horses to sustain his image.  He surrounds himself with the trappings of power and wealth. He has an entourage which accompany him everywhere he goes. He stations himself at the gates of city hall and meets with each person coming who has a lawsuit or grievance for which they are seeking a settlement. Absalom plays the role of the concerned person who wants to help his fellow citizens. They are so impressed with his looks, charisma and celebrity status they go home to tell all their friends and neighbors what a wonderful person Absalom is and how he should be their next king.  Some will say he ‘stole ‘the throne from his father, but verse 6 tells us what he stole in order to take the throne. “In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”   We see this type of behavior not only in the political realm, but in the business world, society, civic clubs, and churches. People who use people to get what they want. We are to love God and love people and use things.  People love self and use people and love things and in the process leave God out completely.  We often recognize the hypocrisy of these types of people, but many are taken in by their celebrity status.   Jesus made of Himself no reputation.

 I would also take note, this will be the same type of personality and charisma which the Anti-Christ will exhibit.  His intelligence, his personality and his celebrity status will once again deceive the people of Israel who will enter into a treaty with him in those last days.

Absalom’s agenda is about to be revealed. He means to seize the rightful throne of his father, King David. King David was about to lose his throne, his crown, his trusted advisor, Ahithophel, and ultimately his son, Absalom.  The storm clouds will grow darker. The whirlwinds will grow more fierce and the darkest hours of the storm are about to come into David’s life.

*Again let us consider what we know about the end times. Paul records three extraordinary events which will take place prior to the Lord Jesus’ return:

1. The falling away of the church. In the end times, the church will be apostate- large portions of membership will abandon the true faith, preach heresy, and practice ungodliness.

2. The “man of sin” must be revealed. The extraordinary, satanic, ruthless, wicked leader will rebel against the Lord’s authority. He is known as the Antichrist.

3. The “restrainer” the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth. All of this will occur in the end times during what is known as the Tribulation.  (2 Thessalonians)  

We are also told it will be like it was in the days of Noah.  Men’s thoughts were on evil 24-7 and the believers were a minority- only 8 souls survived the flood, God’s wrath. Jesus also told us it would be like it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Where sexual perversion was the norm and considered a right and anyone who defied it would be vilified.


Absalom had advanced his own interests by pretending a deep devotion to the interests of the people.  This is the same playbook the ANTI-CHRIST will use in the end times. King David’s actions on the other hand reveal why he is called a “man after God’s own heart.”  King David will sacrifice for his people. David had once before won the hearts of the people through service and sacrifice. Absalom did it by manufacturing a false image of himself as a caring person who best understood them. David was a hero. Absalom was passing celebrity.  So Israel once again finds its kingdom divided by three kings:  King Absalom, a fake king; King David, God’s Chosen King, and Jehovah, Israel’s Sovereign King.  Our forefathers knew if we were to be one nation, it would have to be one nation under God. God had used King David to restore Israel to its greatness as they became one nation under God and were restored to their greatness.

Absalom seizes the right moment as he has built an overwhelming loyal following to announce he is king of Hebron and at the same time names Aphithophel as his counselor who has left King David.

Watch what David does. He realizes he is being chastened by God.  David is no stranger to crisis and responds as he always does by placing the interest of others before himself. He orders his family, officials and bodyguards to leave Jerusalem immediately. He wants to save their lives and save the city of Jerusalem from an attack which would cost the loss of hundreds of lives in addition to the physical damage to Jerusalem.  He abandons his throne and risk his own life in order to protect others. Just as the Lord Jesus did- who left the throne of heaven to protect us and save us from our sins.

We meet some people which were unknown to us, like Ittai, a foreigner whose loyalty to the David reminds us of the loyalty of another foreigner, Ruth the Moabite, who would not desert her mother-in-law.  We will see many “nobodies” in this world of celebrities be rewarded in heaven for their faithfulness and sacrifice even though they never were recognized before. The last shall be first. The priests follow King David bearing the ark of the covenant of God. David  will send them back to Jerusalem.

As we observe how King David rides out the storm, let us consider the principles and truths to which David returned.  David faced the truth and consequences of his sin. He experienced godly sorrow which leads to repentance. His heart felt prayer for forgiveness in Psalm 51 is well known. We read he prayed and fasted for seven days after Nathan told him their child would die. He “inquired of God” that this son might live. When God did not relent and the child died, David was not bitter. He recognized God’s sovereignty. Like Job, he realized God giveth and God taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. But he also was comforted that he would see this son in heaven.  King David during the darkest storm of his life faced the: truth of his situation; the reality of the consequences of his sin; repented, and claimed the truth of God’s Word.

What do we do when we are in a dark storm?  Riding out a storm means seeking shelter. Two people on our street have storm shelters. Our shelter is the Lord. David, Paul, James and others tell us of the benefit of tribulations, storms of all kinds. Paul writes in Romans 5: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produced perseverance: and perseverance, character: and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. “David writes in Psalm 27:  “The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”  One of the things which accompanies severe storms is the power is knocked out and we are in darkness. But we need not fear the darkness for the Lord is the light of our lives. So what if the power is out- He is our strength. So David closes this Psalm 27 with these verses: “I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: Wait, I say on the Lord!”   And James writes: “My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. “(James 1) 

Do you know these truths? Do you believe them? Do you claim them?  The Lord told us we would have trouble in this world.  God has revealed to us the purposes of these troubles. He wants you to know the reason for them.  You are what you are for a reason. You are part of God’s intricate plan.

His plan involves storms coming into our lives.  These storms are as varied as the physical storms which come.  It is clear they are for a purpose. Learning how to ride out storms is an essential truth we must learn. We also must look at the benefits derived from storms which can only be built into our lives through storms. Jesus told us to expect storms. Peter said we should not consider fiery trials as strange. They refine our faith. They build endurance. They shape our character. They reveal hidden sins. They teach us to trust the Lord with all our heart and not lean to our own understanding.   

“Perseverance has been defined as accepting a difficult situation as from God without giving Him a deadline for their removal. We know we need to learn endurance, but we generally shun the process by which it takes root in our lives.” (Charles Stanley).

So we have the promise He is working all things together for our good. We have been promised He will never place more on us than we can bear.  We have His Promises. But much more than that we have HIM!

God’s Word is an immovable anchor in times of storms. Cast His anchor by casting your cares upon Him who cares for you.

When it is all over, David will still be standing. Are you still standing?

Standing on the Promises of God my Savior.

2 Samuel 13: All in the family

2 Samuel 13: All In The Family

I know each of you have faced storms in your life of all types. Sometimes we have caused the storm or we may be innocent victims caught up in another’s storm which has caused collateral damage in our lives and the lives of our family. The trouble can come from without or within. David is told his trouble will come from within- from his own family. Trouble within the family can be the most damaging.  But either way trouble causes us to question God – what is going on? What is the reason behind all this? What does it mean? Why has this happened?-  and often there is no easy answer for these questions.    In fact, many times we shrug our shoulders and mutter- ‘I don’t know.’ Some days it seems I have shrugged my shoulders so much they ache from the shrug of not knowing.

Let me assure you, David’s sins have been forgiven. However what we will observe are the consequences of sin. This is another dark chapter which includes rape within the family and the murder of the rapist by his own brother. Chapter 13 covers a period of several years. It begins with the unnatural affection Amnon has for his half-sister, Tamar, the full sister of Absalom.  We see there is also an undercurrent of envy and striving for who will follow King David as King of Israel. Amnon would seem to be the rightful heir as he is the first born. Absalom will use this violation of his sister to further his position as rightful heir to the throne. We know from descriptions that Absalom was a handsome and personable young prince and his sister Tamar was a beautiful young princess.

The plot unfolds in these 39 verses which show both the manipulation of Amnon to fulfill his sexual desires for his half-sister. We also see the cunning patience of Absalom as he lulls Amnon into a false sense of security and lures him to a dinner and gets him drunk then kills him. (Notice the similarity to David and Uriah)  So we see lust turn to incestuous rape, and hatred and jealousy and the lust for power turn to murder.  King David’s passive reaction to this family violence is so sad and pathetic. I believe his previous sin has made his hesitant to take corrective actions. This is not the shepherd boy who faced a giant with a slingshot and an unwavering faith in his God.

Remember all these were written for our learning that through patience and the encouragement of Scripture we might have hope. (Romans 15)   

In chapter 12, there was a powerful word used twice in the Lord’s admonition of King David. He said: ‘Why have you despised the commandments of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?’ And also the Lord says, ‘Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised Me,..’   The Lord Jesus uses the same word in the Sermon on the Mount, when He says you cannot serve two masters, for you will be loyal to one and despise the other. This statement followed His teaching on whether we lay up our treasures on earth in the here and now or in heaven for eternity. For where our treasure is our heart will be also. I shuddered when I read these passages, realizing if we are not careful we can be deceived by the things of this world. But I also shuddered to think when I sin, I despise the commandments of the Lord and despise the One who commanded them. King David appears to have forgotten as the Lord reminded him, that it was the Lord who anointed him king and saved him from Saul.

Galatians 6: 7&8 are well-known verses:  “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that will he also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”  Deceive is defined as ‘to cause someone to believe something that is not true, typically to gain an advantage.’ Mock is defined as: ‘to disrespect, dishonor or ignore one.’ Mocking is a serious offense. Jeremiah tells us: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? 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)

I recently re-read Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love.”  And in conjunction with reading the book I watched a sermon of his on YouTube.  He used an illustration I found very effective. He brought a rope on stage which was probably 50+feet long. The very tip of the rope, approximately an inch or two was dyed red. He said this represents your life in the here and now- 70-80 years or 90 or 100 if you live that long. The point being it was a miniscule in comparison to eternity. It would be as foolish for me to live for here and now and lay up treasures here on earth as it would be for me to spend my money and time on vacation painting the rooms of the vacation rental where we will be for only a week.

What then is the purpose of life? Have we been deceived about what is important? What is eternal? What is temporary?  For a few minutes of sexual pleasure David would suffer greatly for 10 or 15 years. He would lose four sons. It was a dark and painful time for him.  What is the reason and purpose of all this life here on earth- the here and now, this short span we are here?  Listen to this poem by Russell Kelfer:

“You are what you are for a reason. You’re part of an intricate plan. You’re a precious and perfect unique design, called God’s special woman or man. You look like you look for a reason. Our God made no mistake. He knit you together within the womb, you’re just what He wanted to make. The parents you had were the ones He chose, and no matter how you feel, they were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind, and they bear the Master’s seal. No, the trauma you faced was not easy. And God wept that it hurt you so; but it was allowed to shape your heart so that into His likeness you’d grow. You are who you are for a reason; you’ve been formed by the Master’s rod. You are who you are, beloved, because there is a God.”

This poem is very scriptural. Paul told the philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17:  “And He (God) has made all men from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” This is God’s intricate plan. Psalm 139 tells us God wove us together in our mother’s womb. Proverbs 19:21 tells us: “There are many plans in a man’s heart. Nevertheless it is the Lord’s counsel that will stand”.

We all want to control our lives, minimize the risks, insure ourselves and protect ourselves. In fact we live and plan as if we did not believe God even exists. Then a storm comes up and we discover control is an illusion.  We have very little control over life. And we realize if life were stable, it there were no unknowns, no troubles and trials, why would we need God? Do we really want God or do we want what God can give us?  David was so dependent on God when he was just a shepherd boy. He trusted the Lord with his whole heart. What turned his heart? It was a violation of God’s law and principle. God instructed kings; ‘neither shall he (the king) multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away..’ (Deut.17)  Other kings did it. It was a widely accepted practice to build strong allies. David thought he had found a justifiable reason for ignoring God’s principles and instructions which allowed him to indulge his sexual desires.  DO NOT BE DECEIVED- unbelievers adopt a worldview which allows them to ignore Christian principles, but Christians do the same thing. David had been conformed by the culture around him. And what he did impacted his family. His sons resembled their father in more ways than physical appearance but in their behavior also. David had multiple wives and concubines, but King Solomon will end up with 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Do you see what has happened in our time?  Perverse has become normal. Previous criminal activities have become legal, accepted and celebrated. If you as a believer disapprove of society and today’s culture based on scriptural principles, society will disapprove of you.  I believe if King David could come alongside you and read these verses and admonitions about deception and the principle of reaping and sowing- he would tell you deception can be the most dangerous thing you encounter. He would tell you deception can blind you to the truth. What does is mean? What is the purpose of life?  Colossians 1 tells us we were created by God and for God.

“You are what you are for a reason, a part of an intricate plan.”  Would it not be the most important thing in your life to discover what God’s intricate plan for you is?  

There are many young couples who plan a family. They want a family and from the moment they first receive word they are expecting, they begin planning the nursery, having  baby showers given, choosing names and doing all those things with great joy. God is a family planner. He created us to be in a family.  He chose to be called Father.  Jesus is both our elder brother but also our relationship with Him is described as a marriage. All terms of family, a family planned in eternity past. You and I exist as part of God’s intricate plan. He formed us in our mother’s wombs to be part of His family. He wants us to grow up and to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We had to be born into this family. This why we must be born again. He wants us to grow up. He shaped us for serving Him. He gave us talents and abilities. He chose our earthly parents and where we would be born and when we would be born.

Now Jesus said he came to give us the “abundant life”.  Let me tell you what this does NOT mean: perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, and all your dreams come true and instant relief from any problems. Someone once said, ‘prosperity hardens the heart. ‘Need I remind you of the rich young ruler? He was told one thing he lacked, go sell all his possessions and give them to the poor and come follow me, Jesus said. The rich young ruler went away sad, because he was very wealthy. He was loyal to one and despised the other. Can you see him going away, both sad and I can imagine him muttering-‘what does he know- he is a nobody. I do a lot of good with my wealth! ‘David had forgotten who had made him king, saved him and gave him Israel and Judah. His heart had been turned away. He was a man who could fix his own problems, until he could not.  You know what happened to that fresh-faced courageous shepherd boy who trusted the Lord who delivered him from the lion and the bear and a 9 foot giant?  He became a legend in his own mind. He left his first love. Life as king crowded out life with the King of Kings.  Remember when you were falling in love with your mate.  You wanted to spend all your time with them. When you were away from them, you thought of them. Jesus said I have this against you- you have left your first love.


I never really know how a lesson is going to turn out.  The story tells itself. But the story within the story is what I want to discover. How does it apply to me or you?  We are not royalty like King David- or are we?  We are told we are a ‘royal priesthood’.   In families we often talk about family resemblance.  Satan’s temptation in the garden was twofold:  you will not die and you will be like God.  God wants us to resemble Him, we were made in His image. He sent His Son who was the exact image. God wants us to be godly, not God.  When we decide to sin, we are being our own gods.  

Why is this happening to me?  Why is life so difficult? Life is supposed to be difficult. It is what God uses to enable us to grow up by learning to trust Him with all our heart, not lean on our own understanding. This is why Peter emphasized you should not consider it strange when you endure fiery trials. “No, the trauma you faced was not easy and God wept that it hurt you so; but it was allowed to shape your heart so that into His likeness you grow.” This is the Holy Spirit’s job. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3: 18. This is the sanctification process an ongoing process until the day we go to be with the Lord. The Spirit of God used the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. It takes a lifetime.  “God works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.  We work it out with fear and trembling.’ (Phil. 2: 12&13)    THIS IS THE SECRET- CHRIST LIVES IN YOU. God’s Spirit gives you the power to choose to what pleases God.   Paul often spoke of ‘making every effort’.  We are saved by grace through faith- not of works it is a gift of God. But we are saved to good works which God has ordained we walk in. ( Ephesians 2)  You and I are to be pursing holiness. This is the desire, the will the Spirit of God puts in us.

God shapes you for your ministry. Everyone in the family has a ministry, this is how we serve others. This is what minister means. Let’s look at your SHAPE

  1. S.  Spiritual gifts. God distributes these gifts. He gives each person the gift He wants them to have.
  2. H. Heart. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. God gives you a passion, something which grabs your attention and holds it. This is so we can serve the Lord with all our heart.
  3. A. Abilities, natural talents you are born with. We all were born with certain natural abilities which God gave us. We can use them or misuse them. They are given to us to develop and use for the glory of God.
  4. P. Personality. God loves variety. Just look at creation. Same with people. Different personality types. Some are “thinkers” others are “feelers”. Introverted or extroverted. Two people may have the same gift, such as evangelism. However, the introverted and extroverted personality will express the gift in different ways and reach people only their personality type can reach. “They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind.”
  5. E. Experience. Experiences vary also. There are family, educational, work, spiritual, ministry and painful experiences.   In those painful experiences we are comforted by God so that we might be equipped through our experience to comfort others.

My parents sacrificed for me, my brother and my sister. We have sacrificed for our children. And God has sacrificed for me and you, my brothers and sisters. For God so loved us He gave us His only Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

“But as many as received Him (Lord Jesus), to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His Name.” (John 1: 12)  We are God’s family.

“The parents you had were the ones He chose and no matter how you may feel, they were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind and bear the Master’s seal.”

You are exactly who God intended you to be. And you are His.

Now concerning King David hear what is said about his whole life, not just this dark period of his life. “For when David had served GOD’S PURPOSE in his own generation, he fell asleep and was buried with his fathers…” (Acts 13:36)

“You are what you are for a reason; you’re part of an intricate plan. You’re a precious and perfect design, called God’s special woman or man. “ 

All In The Family. 

2 Samuel 12: Restoration

2 Samuel 12: Restoration

Verse 1 tells us it is the Lord who sent Nathan to confront David about his sin.  Certainly not an easy task to confront a powerful leader, but God has directed Nathan to do this. Nathan has a good relationship with David and is a godly counselor.

I am sure Nathan has prayerfully prepared how he will approach King David. Nathan uses a parable told as an actual event. In doing so he gets David attention by appealing to his experience as a shepherd and his compassion.  In the parable Nathan introduces the story which contains a rich man, a poor man, a ewe lamb and a traveler. The rich man had large number of flocks and herds.  The poor man has but one little ewe lamb which he has brought up and nourished. This lamb was a dear family pet that had grown up with his children. They fed this precious lamb from their own food and drank from his own cup and the lamb lay in his bosom like his own daughter.  A traveler comes to the rich man. The rich man then refuses to take from his own flock and takes the poor man’s only beloved ewe lamb and prepared it for the traveler.

We read in verse 5, David’s anger was greatly aroused and wanted immediately to kill this rich man and restore fourfold for the lamb because  of what the rich man has so callously done to this poor man, showing him no pity at all.  

Nathan stabs him in the heart with these four simple three-letter words: “You are the man.”

King David is the rich man. Uriah is the poor man.  Bathsheba is the ewe lamb. Who then is the traveler? The traveler is the temptation and the lust which visited David on the roof. Remember what the Lord told Cain when Cain became angry because his sacrifice was not accepted. The Lord told Cain: “… sin lies at your door and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Genesis 4. Sin is crouching at the door of your mind. You must not open the door to it as a guest and entertain it, for it will master you.


Ever looked into a mirror with has very bright lights and made this remark?  ‘This mirror makes me look terrible!”  David has succumbed to sin and we had looked at the anatomy of sin and the steps last week by quoting the passage from James 1: 14&15 which tells us- “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, brings forth death. “The tempter tempts you to sin in order to keep you from experiencing God’s best for you. The enemy hates God and wants to discourage his people from doing His work. James goes on to write: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what is says is like a man who looks in the mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it- he will be blessed in what he does.”   David had forgotten the goodness of the Lord who had given him every good thing.


Having been found guilty, the sentence is then pronounced.  Notice what Nathan says: “Thus says the Lord:” The sentence comes from God who reminds David of what all he has been given. The following verses are the Lord speaking through Nathan to King David:

  1. I anointed you king over Israel.
  2. I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
  3. I gave you your master’s house.
  4. I gave you your master’s wives.
  5. I gave you the House of Israel and Judah.

“And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more.”  Oh, to have missed the “much more” which God would have done!

“Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?”  Why do we ever sin and displease the Lord who has given us so much and withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly?   These verses in James tell us why this happens.  We have not engrafted, implanted the word of God in our souls. It cannot be engrafted or implanted by merely hearing the word. You will be deceived and forget what you have heard. The enemy snatches away the seed, the incorruptible seed, the Word of God. It can only be engrafted by doing what you have heard; obeying the Word of God is what engrafts it. James says “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your soul. Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. “

We must engraft the word through obedience. Then the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God empowers us to say no to the temptation and the tempter. We must be familiar with the whole word of God, the logos, but know specific scriptures, rhema, which enable us to use it specifically as the Lord showed us in Matthew 4.

David is told because he killed Uriah using the sword of the enemy and committed adultery with his wife, David will reap what he has sown.

“Now therefore, the sword will never depart from your house “David will experience chaos and rebellion among his family- his sons will seek to kill him and take over his kingdom. His wives and concubines will be taken from him and David’s life will become a public spectacle. We will see this happen in the coming chapters as David will struggle with the consequences of his sins for the last 20 years of his life.

David then confesses:  “I have sinned against the Lord.”  Nathan says to David, “The Lord has also put away your sin and you shall not surely die. However, because of this deed, you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”


YES. I want to share with you   Psalms David wrote as a result of these dark chapters in his life. These are three magnificent prayers we would not have had otherwise, except for this dark blot on David’s life. God does not throw away broken hearts and contrite spirits. He restores them. He mends them. Only love can break a heart and only love can mend them again. In that song one of the lines says: “Give me a chance to make up for the harm I’ve done, try to forgive me and let’s keep the two of us one.”    God is faithful to forgive and gives not only a second chance but chance after chance after chance. God is willing to forgive us. But his forgiveness is conditional.   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “  Did you see the condition? We must confess our sin.  Confess means we agree with God we have sinned. This is what David did.  Let’s look these three Psalms: Psalm 51, Psalm 32, Psalm 103 and 23.


David knows his sin deserves punishment. He writes: “Have mercy upon me, O God. According to your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. “David’s plea reveals two things:  his sin deserves punishment, and that God is merciful and forgiving. Next David prays God will blot out his transgressions and wash him thoroughly from his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin.  David wants to be scrubbed clean. He feels dirty. I John 1: 9 tells us when we confess our sins; the Lord is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Lord Jesus once again takes the towel and the basin and cleanses us.  

David then takes full responsibility for his sin. “Against you I have sinned and done this evil.”  David does not blame anyone else- not Bathsheba, not the devil. His sin was a willful choice. He was tempted by his own evil desire and dragged away and enticed.  David is a broken man. He knows he needs God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness comes when we confess our sins because we have the right view of sin.

In verses 10 -12 David asks God to create in him a clean heart and RENEW a steadfast spirit. As Christians we have God’s promise He will never leave us or depart from us. But we can break our fellowship with Him, even though we are still His children.  David then prays: “RESTORE to me the joy of YOUR salvation.”  We cannot lose our salvation, but through sin we can lose the JOY of our salvation.   I still remember what life was like when I was lost. Each morning I woke up in fear and loathing. There was no peace in my life. And when there is no peace with the Lord there is no peace in one’s life, no real joy or contentment.  We see this in the world today, of people rushing to and fro trying to find something in their life which brings them joy and peace.    David says when you restore me and uphold me by Your generous spirit, then I will teach transgressors about your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.  We are comforted by the Lord so that we might be able to comfort others. 


This Psalm is called a Maschil, when means it is a teaching Psalm. David is experiencing the joy of forgiveness. I remember the days and weeks after I was saved. I experienced peace and joy. Blessed is a word which can be translated as happy. Let’s use that word as we read David’s Psalm of happiness which comes from the restoration of forgiveness. ‘Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy is the man (woman) to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me.  David acknowledged his sin, confessed it and received forgiveness.

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with MY Eye.   Isaiah 55: 6 says: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him who is near.”  The Lord invites us to call upon Him, night or day. Call upon Him Who wants to show you great and mighty things you know not. You and I can call upon Him for counsel, for forgiveness of sins, to make requests, or just to spend time with Him and enjoy Him. He is there to keep you from sin and He is there to forgive you when you sin. This is why we enter the throne rooms to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4: 16)


Peter tells us: Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you. Surrender all. This is what David writes in Psalm 103 as he praises God for His mercies.

“Bless the Lord; O my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all our diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is RENEWED like the eagle’s.

David wrote in his famous Psalm 23:  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  David knew as a shepherd, a shepherd’s heart. He knew his sheep by name and they knew his voice. He protected them, put his life in between them and danger be it a bear or a lion. Our Lord is a protective Shepherd.  Our relationship with Him is one of restoration. He restores my soul.  No wonder God chose a shepherd to tend to the flock of Israel. They needed to be restored. He leads me in the paths of righteousness. Jesus the Good Shepherd is the Way.  He is our comforter, our protector.  Looking back to where I was as a young man, I can see this clearly now, how precious was that grace, amazing grace, the hour it first appeared. Looking back I can see- “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever!”  David’s story is a story of a loving, merciful God who wants to forgive us all our sins and restore every sinner who repents. AME fffffffffff

2 Samuel 11: Tempted by the fruit of another

2 Samuel 11: Tempted by the Fruit of Another

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1: 14,15.  Tempted by the fruit of another. Tempted but the truth is discovered.

In 2 Samuel 10, King David and his army continue to win battle after battle. They seem invincible. King David is believed to be around 50 years old when this travesty occurs. He has achieved great accomplishments. He is the slayer of Goliath, the victorious shepherd boy, hero of Israel. He has restored Israel to its greatness. He literally has made Israel great again. He is a great military leader, a brave warrior, a poet, composer and musician extraordinaire. He is a visionary, a strong, charismatic leader who is adored by his people and feared and respected by his enemies. David is a “rock star.”  His ratings would have been through the roof. He was in good standing throughout the land and region.   “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10: 12)   Let this story, this incident in David’s life be a warning to us all: God does not allow His children to sin successfully.  Remember these truths about sin:

  1. Sin will take you further than you want to go.
  2. Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay.
  3. Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.

David will suffer the consequences of his sin for the last 20 years of his life. The Lord God chastens those He loves and seeks to make them obedient. David’s sin with Bathsheba is a case study in the anatomy of sin and its results. This account is an illustration of James 1: 14&15. Let us observe carefully the steps of David’s sin from the conception to the committing to the covering here in 2 Samuel 11.  Next week in 2 Samuel 12, we will see the confrontation, the confessing and the dire consequences.


Every sin begins with a thought which becomes a desire. We are warned: “Above all else guard your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Desire is a powerful force. Such a powerful force can have great influence in our lives. It can lead us to God Who wants to give us the desires of our heart. Or it can lead us into trouble as we will see in this up- close study of David’s sin.   Desire can lead us to our most noble aspirations or lead us to dark sins and deep sorrows.  By now most of us have experienced disappointment, hurt and despair. We have things which we hoped would turn out a certain way, but as yet have not. And we began to lose hope. Hope deferred, makes the heart sick.   So we must remember these truths:

  1. We have an old nature, a sinful nature, which wants to lead you into temptation. It wants you to question God’s goodness. The enemy will minimize the risk in order to increase your interest. “You will not surely die- you will be like God.”
  2. We have a new nature if we are born again by the Spirit. “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” ( Galatians 5:17)

Temptation begins with a single thought. You can ignore that thought or you can entertain that thought.  We have the Spirit of God within us who can screen our thoughts and select, delete, admit or cultivate. Remember this truth:  as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 10- “to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Let’s turn to our story and see what happened. Verse 1 tells us it happened in the spring of the year at a time when kings go out to battle.  But King David remained in Jerusalem. Verse 2 tells us what happens on this evening, while David is alone and idle.


“It happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof, he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. Notice the she is not just beautiful, she is VERY beautiful. Temptation in and of itself is not sinful. It entices us to sin and disobey God. If it is not dealt with it will lead to the act of sin.

The enemy of your soul, the thief who wants to kill, steal and destroy your life plants a suggestion in your mind. His method is three fold:  lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. David is idle and restless. We have all been warned: “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. “ Idle is not just a lack of activity, for we all need rest; idleness of this type David exhibited is idleness of no purpose.  How many times have young people out of boredom and idleness been out driving around and up to nothing and ended up in trouble. When we whined as teenagers, there is nothing to do, this boredom of life, created a vacuum which is going to be filled. And the enemy has lots of suggestions of what you can do to fill this vacuum. Surely there were things which should have occupied David’s mind. David does not hate God, never did. Satan we are told is like a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour. If we give him an inch of our life, he will gain a foothold and then lead us to something we find ourselves shocked after we did it. In David’s life he had gained a foothold where David has rationalized certain activities as necessary in his role as king. In Deuteronomy 17: 14-20, God gives instructions and principles for kings to follow. 

God says:

  1. The king shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause his people to return to Egypt to multiply horses.
  2. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away.
  3. Neither shall he multiply silver and gold for himself.

David kept principles 1 & 3- but he multiplied his wives and concubines. This opened David up for sexual sin. The more wives and concubines he had, the more women he desired.*This is another principle of sin: sin never satisfies, it only increases the desire for more. David’s heart was turned away from God by his multiple wives and concubines. We also read the king was to write for himself a copy of this law in a book and read it all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of the law and the statutes.  David could have occupied his mind by reading the law that night up on the roof instead of just walking around. He could have had one of his counselors visit him or send for information about how the war is going. David did not think he needed his armor on for he was not in battle. But our most significant battle is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual wickedness in high places. Without the helmet of salvation on, we don’t think like saved people. Without the belt of truth, we believe lies. Without the breastplate of righteousness, our hearts are vulnerable. We are not guarding our hearts with all diligence. Without the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and the shield of faith we are helpless before the enemy.


David knew the 10 Commandments. He knew he should not commit adultery nor covet his neighbor’s wife. David saw this woman bathing.  Jesus said if you looked at a woman to lust after her, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. David took a second, longer look. In doing so, his imagination went to work and started to conceive sin. He should have turned away. He should have taken off running like Joseph did from Mrs. Potiphar. Flee fornication. Flee youthful lust. Run!  “Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation for the spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak. “ (Matthew 26; 41)


When God told Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, God was telling Adam not to try and gain information and knowledge about it on his own through experience. God was saying to Adam and to us, take my word for it- do not do this. It is harmful. It will cause death. There are deadly consequences.  The enemy who is a deceiver and a liar, minimizes the risk. “You will not surely die.” Then he offers a false promise to increase the interest. “You shall be like God.”  If there is no consequence for the sin. And the sin fulfills the desire you have, and it is pleasurable, then the desire has conceived and will give birth to sin, and sin to death. For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life.  David in his heart has already taken possession of her. His next step is found out who she is.  The servant must suspect David’s motives for he warns King David, she is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

David must have believed the servant would not tell anyone. But he had forgotten God sees all and knows all.  In the workshop of his idle mind, the devil had constructed an idea which appealed to the lust of his eyes, the lust of his flesh and the pride of a king who already had multiple wives and concubines who had only served to increase his sexual appetite rather than satisfy it.  A mistress in our lives can be many things. I remember hearing a prominent judge confess openly he loved his wife, but he had shared his love with another mistress. His mistress he confessed was his career, his love of the law and his position as a judge.


In verse 4, David sends for her and she comes to him.  There is no implication she was forced. I find it interesting what Proverbs 6, written by Solomon, David and Bathsheba’s son, has to say about adultery. “Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;”   All of this put at risk for a few moments pleasure.

The next verse comes some weeks later when Bathsheba sent a message to David:” I am with child.”


David comes up with a plan to cover up their sin. He will have Uriah her husband sent home on leave.  Having been separated from his wife, King David assumed he would go home and spend time with his wife. King David was about to find out just what kind of man Uriah was. He was in fact a better man than David in all this sordid affair. In true soap opera fashion, the plot thickens.  Uriah refuses to go home. He is a soldier’s soldier. He cannot permit himself the luxury of being home with his wife and dining with the king while his fellow soldiers are in combat.  So Uriah sleeps outside the king’s quarters. Even when David plies him with alcohol, Uriah is a better man drunk than Davis is sober. David sends word to Joab he wants Uriah put in a position in battle where he will surely die. And so it happens in battle, Uriah dies. David thinks problem fixed.  He thought wrong.

After the period of mourning, David takes Bathsheba as his wife and she bore him a son.


Temptation is attractive, which is what makes it so dangerous. Did you notice, Bathsheba was not just beautiful, she was VERY beautiful. We know everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. But we must remember everyone sins because they were tempted. What must we do when tempted?  We must do what Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness in Matthew 4.  Let me say something very simple- the best way to deal with temptation is to avoid it. If unavoidable, run from it. To avoid temptation ask yourself three questions about a situation:

  1. What is the wise thing for me to do in light of my past experience?
  2. What is the wise thing for me to do in my present situation?
  3. What is the wise thing for me to do in regard to my future plans?

We are told to be on guard. James told us God does not tempt us. Our enemy the devil is called “the tempter.”  In 1 Corinthians 10: 13 we read: “ No temptation has overtaken you such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  Notice the word- overtaken.  The devil wants to take over. To keep him from taking over, we must overcome the temptation.  The Lord promises us here He will make a way for us to escape so we might bear it. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted but without sin. He conquered temptation. He overcame it.  So can you and I because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We shall overcome. We are overcomers.

First understand the three ways the enemy tempts as clearly seen in his first temptation of Eve.

  1. Lust of the flesh.  Eve saw it was good for food.
  2. Lust of the eyes.  It was beautiful and pleasant to look at.
  3. Pride of life.  It offered a great benefit- it would make her wise like God.

When we look at the armor provided for us in Ephesian 6- all of the armor is defensive. The one offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. The word used here for word is rhema, not logos. Logos is the entire word of God. Rhema is a specific verse or passage for a specific immediate situation.  Listen to this verse: “For in that He Himself (Jesus) has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2: 18. Jesus has in that place of temptation and He has promised to guide you out and help you find the way. He is the Way. He is an overcomer- who wants to help you and show you the way to overcome.

A sword was used in hand-to-hand combat. And this is what we face- hand-to-hand combat. We must be skilled in handling the Word of God. Jesus was a master swordsman. The first temptation was at the end of the 40 day fast, when Jesus hungered. Satan tempts Jesus to turn the stone into bread. This temptation is to act independent of the Father. To satisfy your desire your own way. David saw she was very beautiful and he desired her for himself. Jesus said man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God which proceeds from His mouth. The Word is more important than eating and being nourished by physical food. Jesus told the disciples in John 4, he had food to eat of which they knew not.

The second temptation is to presume God will bail you out of your problem. It uses faulty logic, i.e., I am already forgiven of all my sins, so I can presume, God has forgiven me of this already. The enemy selectively uses the Word of God to confuse us, make us doubt its accuracy. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, what so ever a man sows that shall he also reap.

The third temptation of Jesus offered a short cut to accomplishing His will to save the lost. It involved worshipping Satan.  When we sin, we worship something more than God.  Jesus told the enemy: “you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” The devil departed.  Resist the devil and he will flee. 

You must be prepared. Always be prepared. When temptation and the tempter and your old nature and the culture around you gang up on you to tempt you- you cannot say to them: wait a minute while I go get my Bible and look up in the concordance how to deal with this. Rhema is that personal sword you always carry with you and bring out for such time as this.

David did not call the things he knew to mind. He had disobeyed God in the area of wives and concubines, which he was told not to do. David was drawn by his own desires and enticed- tempted.   Tempted by the fruit of another. David was tempted by the fruit of the vine of the earth. Tempted by the fruit of another. Truth was about to be discovered.

Have you discovered the truth? It will set you free.

2 Samuel 9, Part 2: When Nothing Else Could Help

2 Samuel 9, Part 2: When Nothing Else Could Help

In last week’s lesson, the story of Mephibosheth’s encounter with King David, was a picture of God’s Grace.  This study led us to Ephesians 3:20, 21 which speaks of the immeasurable greatness of God who is able. Let’s pick up where we left off last week by looking into the truths in these two verses: “ Now to Him, Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Last week we looked at the first word- NOW.  Paul has spent the first three chapters of this letter to Ephesus telling us what we possess which led us up to this crescendo of a promise contained in the above verses. Paul wants to get us to realize right NOW we can reach from earth to the third heaven to the very throne room of heaven. Right now in this present moment we can be whisked into the presence of the God Who is Able.  Like Mephibosheth was brought to King David, our prayers bring us into His presence just as Ziba brought M into King David’s presence. It does not matter what seemingly impossible, troubling, crippling circumstances have brought you here.  These troubles are not troublemakers- they are glory makers.  We stand as finite creatures before the Infinite Almighty God, Who has poured out His love and blessings on us. It made John proclaim what manner of lavish love is this, that we might be called the children of God. Can you imagine the wonder of it all- standing before the Infinite Great I Am. 

Then Paul implied Now we are to turn to Him. Do you realize what caused you to turn to Him? Your troubles, your trials, your helpless situation to which you could not find a solution, no matter how hard you tried. We were created for an abundant life. Look at creation and all God created for us. He placed eternity into our hearts. And ever since paradise was lost, man was born with a desire for paradise, and an abundant life which satisfies our desires. Jesus told us this in the clearest verse of contrast:  “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 10)

Now turn your eyes from staring at your problem to look full in His Wonderful Face of the One Who is able.  Meet your King, the King of Kings, for which nothing is impossible. Just in the last few days, my internet went down; my smart TV won’t work and my printer quit printing. I am so tired of the warp speed merry-go-round of this ever- changing technology, I could scream. Look at what it has done?  Technology has given us things we did not know we needed and now cannot live without. I hear this complaint from people my age all the time. The world is changing too fast- and faster is not always better, is it? But there is One who is Unchanging and Unhurried. Who is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow and forever. He is the One called, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the unchanging Absolute Truth. This is truth which will set you free. 

This is the Truth, the absolute, unchanging truth the King of Kings is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. He is unstoppable, unlimited, all powerful- in fact He is power. Nothing is impossible for Him.  I know what your question is- it’s the same one M asked each morning when his crippled useless feet hit the floor as he reached for his crutches. Why has this happened to me and why is God not doing anything?  Of course we know God was doing something. And these stories were written so we might through patience and the encouragement of the Scripture have hope.

 I do not know what your problem is- but I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded He can keep that which I have committed to Him.  I also have asked Him, like you:  why, why, why? There are no easy answers to the question of His timing or His actions. I do know in droughts tree roots grow deeper.  And Paul is praying for you and me that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, that you and I may be more deeply rooted and grounded in His love. So one explanation is the wait is to achieve greater growth by deepening the roots of our faith.

*So let me be as clear as I possibly can:  When God does not do something we ask Him to do, the way we want Him to do it, and when we want Him to do it- that IS GOD’S BUSINESS. In John 6, we have one of my favorite miracles, a teaching miracle. Jesus and the disciples find themselves in an out-of-the way location, where they had gone for some R&R. But a huge crowd found out and followed them there. Much to the disciples’ dismay, Jesus does not send them away and they end up by day’s end with hungry crowd and they are far from resources. Jesus feeds what is estimated to be 15-20,000 people with a little boy’s sack lunch of 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. Plus there was 12 baskets full left over.  Exceedingly abundant! The next day the people want to know what they can do to work the works of God?  In other words how can we live this type of life every day? What must we do?  Listen to the answer: “This is the work of God that you believe in Him Whom He sent. “ (John 6:29)

God can choose to do what He wants to do when and how He wants to do it. That is HIS BUSINESS. He told us He is working all things together for good. He has told us He will never leave us. He has told us He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. So what is MY Business- OUR business is to believe in the One whom God has sent.

Let’s think about what we know about Paul who is telling us this truth. How did Paul learn this truth? He learned to trust God, for trust is a learned response, by being put in situations, trials, troubles and circumstances which he could do nothing about. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul says he was in a situation where he feared for his life that he was going to die. Paul was scared to death. When delivered, he looked back and said this happened so we should not trust ourselves but trust God.  Paul did not get the “thorn in his flesh” removed for Jesus said His grace was sufficient and His strength made perfect in weakness.  The power of powerlessness.

Who or what is defining abundance and what the abundant life looks like?  Jesus was always the happiest, most joyful, at peace person in the room. Yet He knew what lay ahead and the only things He owned were the robe on His back and a pair of sandals.  Do you see our problem, for it is my problem also, we put our eyes on what our culture says is the abundant life.  Jesus said in Matthew 6: “For after all these things the pagans run after. For your Heavenly Father KNOWS YOU HAVE NEED ALL THESE THINGS.”  But we are cautioned not to lay up treasures on earth but in heaven. For where our treasure is our hearts will be also. He tells us clearly what the priority should be and the reward which will follow:  “But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6: 33)   

There was a famine in the land of Israel in the time of the Judges. And a man, his wife and two sons when to the country of Moab where there was bread. The man from Bethlehem was named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and two sons. They would dwell there 10 years. The ten years turned into a crisis for Naomi as her husband and both of her sons died. She was a widow with two daughter-in-laws, Orpah and Ruth, Moabite women.  We know Ruth stayed with here mother-in-law and went back to Bethlehem, even though Naomi tried to talk her out of it. In Bethlehem, Ruth immediately went to work gleaning the leftovers from the fields.  This is a law given by God through Moses to take care of the poor. For God knows what we need before we ask Him. Before Ruth went out that first morning, she prayed to God she would find favor in the eyes of the owner of the field.  There is so much in this little book of Ruth. It is not only a great love story, but story of God’s providence and an Old Testament picture of our Kinsman Redeemer who is able to do what is needed to care for us.

So it was not by coincidence Ruth picks the field to glean just as Boaz, who is a kinsman of Naomi, just as Boaz enters the same field and notices Ruth. Perhaps she is a pretty. Perhaps she is a hard worker or just the fact that she is as stranger causes Boaz, son of Salmon and Rahab to inquire about her.  And with this first look, Boaz’s heart is beginning to fall in love. This is the union which will eventually produce Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, through whom Jesus will come.  Do you see how God is watching over us? His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.  The law of gleaning was given years and years before Ruth walked out that morning, prayed up and believing God was able to provide for her and Naomi. From collecting the scraps to marrying the owner of the field- I would call that exceedingly abundant.

Do you believe you possess all the things Paul has written in this letter so far? Jesus first miracle was He changed the water into wine at the wedding. Knowing and believing all these promises and all these possessions changes everything.

When we believe with all our heart, mind, will and emotions our King, the King of Kings can do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING.

It changes the way we live and the way we die.

It changes the way we pray and the way we praise.

It changes our whole outlook of life. Mephibosheth was still cripple, but he was sitting at the table of the King and being treated as one of his own sons. He knew without a doubt, King David was capable of meeting all his needs. 

What are you asking your King to do for you?  Do you know what you already have? He had forgiven you of ALL your sins. He has blessed you with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING in heaven. He heals you of ALL YOUR DISEASES.  He invites ALL WHO ARE WEARY to come to Him. He tells us: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED.”

We are told not to worry about anything but pray about everything.

We are told by the One called Wonderful Counselor not to lay up treasures on earth where moth and rush corrupt and thieves break into steal. But lay up treasure for yourselves in heaven where neither moth or rust corrupt and thieves do not break into to steal.  In fact you can enjoy them forever. There will be no dumps or junkyards in heaven, for everything God makes and does last forever. There will be no garage sales or Goodwill where we dispose of things we do not need anymore.

He cautioned us where our treasure was, our hearts would be also. And you cannot serve two masters, for you will despise one of them and cling to the other.

We do not need to go through life – wishing and hoping. We are told to ask, seek and knock. God allows us to have needs so we will come to Him and connect our life to His life and find the abundant life. Finding life’s purpose in a personal relationship with Jesus.  Discovering the truth which sets you free.

It is interesting the first disciple’s decision to follow Jesus came as a result of an empty boat. Remember- their boat was empty that morning Jesus came by and ask if they could allow him to teach from the boat to the people on shore. They had fished all night and caught nothing. They were putting up their nets and getting ready to go home. After Jesus finished teaching He asked Peter to push out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.”  You know what happened- they caught such a great catch their net was breaking and they called for the others to come out and help them.  Even then Peter showed us something about himself and ourselves- Peter thought he knew better than the Lord. It was not a good time to go fishing. Peter knew the lake like the back of his hand. In other words Peter knew more about fishing than the Lord. Nevertheless, something about Jesus, caught his attention and he pushed out. Notice Peter let down a net, not nets, for he thought this was a useless exercise and the sooner they got through with this the sooner they could go home.  But he was just beginning to learn, as we all do, God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think.

It is interesting where Paul takes us after these first three chapters in the last three chapters. He immediately tells us to starting ‘walking the walk we are worthy of the calling to which we were called.’ Walk in unity. Walk in love. Walk wisely. Paul then tells us to be FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. This is our source of power. God is not only all powerful- He is power.

Are you coming using ¾’s of your strength and asking God to top off the tank?  How foolish Paul would say to the Galatians, having begun in the Spirit trying to finish in the flesh. Come empty of self and get all of God.  The volume you bring will be directly related to volume you receive.

Empty yourself of doubts in His ability and let Him fill you with His power which is available right now if you will turn to Him.  Mephibosheth’s life and view of life was transformed.

My life boat sinking and far from the peaceful shore. It was filled with sin. I was sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the Sea heard my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me now safe am I.

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling. In His blessed presence live every His praises sing. Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs. Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.

Love lifted, love lifted me. WHEN NOTHING ELSE COULD HELP-  Love lifted me.  

Helpless and hopeless I was until that day He heard my despairing cry and from the waters lifted me now safe am I. 

2 Samuel 7: ‘The Family Tree’

2  Samuel 7: The Family Tree

In this chapter we meet a new person- Nathan. He is first introduced to us as a prophet. In the previous chapter we saw David and Israel enter a new era. It is interesting the oxen pulling the cart which held the Ark of the Covenant stumbled when they crossed the threshold. Threshold is an interesting word. It is used to described the elevated or raised portion of floor beneath the door or entry way. We sometimes use this word to describe entering a new era, as in, ‘we have crossed a threshold of a new age.’ Perhaps you are entering a new era, crossing a threshold in your life where you have not ventured before. Sometimes God causes us to stumble in order direct our steps.

David had stumbled because he did not inquire first of the Lord: how can the Ark of the Lord come to me?  As we open this chapter in this new home of David’s we see the Lord has given David a season of rest from all his enemies.  God knows how much we can stand and will never place more on us that we can bear, but will provide us with rest.  Jesus calls to those of us who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him and He will give us rest. God knows we will stumble. We stumble when we sin. Sometimes we stumble even when we do not sin and are trying to do something honorable for Lord. In either case when we stumble the Lord upholds us with His right hand. He wants to direct our steps. He wants to steady us on the path. But He keeps us from falling. Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit of preaching the Word in Asia. And also from going into Bithynia.  God had a better plan and a different time schedule.

Now Nathan is there with King David in his new home built with fine cedars and David in his rest is thinking what can I do for the Lord. We might call this meeting- a “brainstorming meeting”, where ideas are explored.  David as he sits with Nathan in his new palatial home, wonders, perhaps with some guilt: ‘why should I dwell in a house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells inside tent curtains?’  Good question. David wants to glorify God, wants to honor God.

Nathan, as we will see is not a “yes-man” but he does encourage David to explore this idea. Nathan tells David: “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”  Now we are told in Hebrews 1, God in the past spoke through His prophets. And when Nathan gets home that very night God speaks to him and tells him to go tell David he is not going to build a house for him, but his seed, Solomon will build the temple.  What follows is referred to as the Davidic Covenant, a covenant God made with the house of David which built on the covenant God made with Abraham.


David is not denied the building of the temple because of sin, or because it is not God’s will. It was God’s will that David, the shepherd boy, would be the ruler over the people. When God takes away something, a dream we have, and tells us NO, it is because He has something better. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord.  He tells David through Nathan, this is not my plan for you.  David had no motive but to glorify God. This was a noble purpose and David wanted to exalt the name of God in building God a magnificent house.

It is not that a temple for the Lord will not be built, but it will not be built by David. It will be built by his son Solomon.  This covenant with David was as follows: “ Moreover, I will appoint a place for My people Israel , and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore as previously, since the time I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you He will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My Name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. “(2 Samuel 7: 10-13) God did not just have a better plan for David, He had the best plan for David and his kingdom.

Have you ever dreamed a dream which you wanted to accomplish? Where it seemed to be a good thing for God and something you wanted to do to honor Him?   And God says no to you, like he did to David’s request.  For God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His plans are always for the achieving the most good for the most people for the longest period of time, (in this case forever) by the best possible method.

This builds on the Abrahamic covenant, which actually begins with the interesting word, seed, all the way back in Genesis 3.

Now before we begin this journey, let me say David received God’s no with great humility. He said ‘who am I, Lord that you have brought me thus far?  I can certainly identify with David’s words here.  I can look back at my life and see where the Lord had brought me and what I have learned  and only say what David says to the Lord- “ How great thou Art!”  How good you have been to me. You lifted me out of the miry pit of sin; out of darkness into your marvelous light. You kept me from falling and presented me faultless  before the presence of His Glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen! (Jude: 24&25)  David counted his blessings and before you get angry or disappointed with God because He has said no- you and I should do the same.


Early in the creation account in Genesis 1, we are told   God devised the plan of procreation and reproduction. “Then God said let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed and the fruit tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1: 12)  God did this also with the animals of earth, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea. His instructions were the same to all- be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and the seas and skies.  Then God created man and woman. Man was made in God’s own image.  Man was given dominion over the earth and was instructed by God to “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing on earth.”  

We know the story of the fall. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin and death entered by the one man, the first Adam. In dealing with their sin, God made a cover for them from the skins of an innocent animal. Then in dealing with Adam and Eve and what they lost in the fall, God also deals with the fallen angel, Lucifer, now known as the Serpent of Old, the Dragon, Satan- our adversary.   God speaking to Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the woman. And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel. “Now Adam and Eve would be banished from the Garden of Eden, the Spirit of God departed from them and they now possessed sinful natures. The law of procreation which God had decreed meant they would reproduce after their own kind. All mankind would be born with a sinful nature.

Now follow the Seed of the woman for this is what the enemy of God has been doing since the Fall in the Garden.

In Genesis 12 and 15 we see the call of Abraham and the Abrahamic covenant in which God will bless all the nations of the earth and make his name great through his seed, his offspring. Isaac will be the only begotten son of Abraham and Sarah.  This is an important term for us to understand- only begotten.  Remember in Genesis three the Seed of the woman is capitalized. Paul calls attention to this fact, this detail in Galatians 3: 16, we read: “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘and to your seeds, as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed”, who is Christ.


This term, only begotten, used in John 3: 16 is translated from the Greek word, “monogenes”. The definition reads: “pertaining to being the one and only of its kind within a specific relationship.’  Abraham had more than one son, but Isaac was the one and only son, Abraham and Sarah had together. Jesus was God the Son from eternity past, He was never created.  He entered into time as the prophesized Seed of the Woman.  The Word of God, became flesh, born of the seed of the woman, a virgin. This mean he was fully man but without a sinful nature because of the Virgin Birth. Thus for this reason, the Seed was implanted in a virgin woman who had never known a man. He was sinless, He was perfect and His blood was not ever tainted by sin, although tempted like the first Adam who had a perfect nature from creation, but the Last Adam, The Seed was different as He is the one and only begotten Son of God. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” (Colossians 2: 9).  Fully God and Fully man. Never less than God, never more than man.  The Virgin Birth is very important part of the story of the Seed. So the seed of Abraham and Sarah is Isaac, the Son of Promise. We then follow the line of the Messiah through Isaac then, through Jacob. Jacob would have 12 sons; his name would be changed to Israel. His 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel. Before we leave the book of Genesis, we see the scepter will not depart from Judah. This will be the line of David and now we are told the Seed will come through David. The Seed, the Messiah, will be born in Bethlehem, the city in which David was born. He will be born of a virgin as prophesized in Isaiah. The government will be on His shoulders.

Dr. Luke gives us some interesting information regarding the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus.  The angel Gabriel tells Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.  Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of he Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born to you will be called Holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing is impossible.  In Luke 9, Jesus faces a man known as the Gadarene demoniac who is filled with 2000 demons. Listen to what they said to Jesus, “What have you to do with us, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”

John tells us in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things are created by Him and for Him and held together by Him.   John then tells us the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory of the one and only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  Jesus came to let us see God the Father. He was the Lamb of God, Messiah, the Good Shepherd, the Seed of the Woman.    John, Peter and James beheld His glory on the Mound of Transfiguration, where they were eyewitnesses to the Glory of God whose exact image was declared in His Son.  It was revealed to Peter by God the Father, that this Jesus was the Messiah the Son of the Living God. Immanuel, God with us. The one and only begotten Son of Almighty God.   When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets a human being. A bird begets birds. A dog begets puppies, baby dogs. WHEN GOD BEGETS OR FATHERS JESUS, HE BEGETS GOD. In Jesus dwelt all the fullness of the deity of God in His body.

Jesus is the Seed. He is the Word who became flesh. Guess how we are born again? We are born again by in the incorruptible Seed, the Word of God.

How can this be? The Holy Spirit will come upon you. And you will be born again, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit.

Jesus has now ascended to his throne, the throne of the universe. He sits at the right hand of God and all authority and power and in heaven and on earth are His. He rules and reigns as the Son of the Most High God. He is the One and Only Begotten Son of God.

Gabriel told Mary He will be great. He is the greatest of all.

Now perhaps God has said no to a dream of yours or a prayer request. Perhaps the no is simply a part of God’s greater plan to redirect your life.

If what you want to do for God is honor Him and glorify Him and build a house for Him. Begin building in your own family. We will see David will pass on this desire to His son, Solomon. He gathers building materials and draws up a plan to pass on to his son, Solomon. But the most important thing David passes on is the desire to glorify God.  For the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. How does one glorify God?  Jesus said, “By this is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit.

Fruit is produced from the SEED. The SEED is cultivated and is pruned by the Vinedresser, the Owner of the Vineyard is God.  The Vine is the God the Son, the Seed whose vine produces the fruit of the Spirit. Just as the sap brings life to the branch and fruit, so it is the Spirit which indwells us produces the life-giving, fruit which we bear as a branch engrafted into the vine. Apart from Him, the True Vine we can do nothing.

God wants to plant a garden in your life. He wants to water it and cultivate it. He is a constant gardener Who comes to the garden each day, just as He did in the Garden of Eden. To walk with you and talk with you. And tell you- you are His own.

2 Samuel 5B-6: The Devil is in the Details!

2 Samuel 5B-6: The Devil is in the Details!

After David has been crowned King of all Israel, his first action was to establish his capital. David, guided by the Lord, selects Jerusalem for several reasons. As king of Judah, David had made Hebron his home. Meanwhile, Abner and King Ish-Bosheth had made Mahanaim their capital city located by the Jordan River. As a new ruler of all Israel, David wanted a new city for the new throne. David wisely chose Jerusalem, the Jebusite city which bordered both Benjamin and Judah. Political considerations were important. But also David being a military man saw Jerusalem’s location as a very secure city, easy to defend.  Jerusalem rested on the high grounds. Built on a rocky hill and surrounded on three sides by valleys and deep ravines, the city was vulnerable only on its north side. David would strengthen the fortress by building walls.


Jerusalem was known previously as Salem and Jebus.  It is mentioned first in Genesis 14, when Abraham meets King Melchizedek, the king and priest of Salem.  In Genesis 22, it is on the actual mount where the Solomon’s temple would be built in Jerusalem, where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. 

Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586BC.  Later, Nehemiah the cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes would rebuild the temple and walls of the 2nd temple, called Zerubbabel’s temple. It was this temple which Herod the Great was remodeling when Jesus visited there as a 12 year-old boy and later He taught in the temple and turned over the tables of the moneychangers.  In 70 A. D. the temple was destroyed and the Jewish people scattered once again. The only thing left of the temple mound was the western wall.

In the 7th and 8th century the religion of Islam began to grow and build shrines and mosques. During this period they built the Dome on the Rock on the location of the previous temple mount.  The Muslims believe it was Ishmael which Abraham offered on Mount Moriah and thus the name is derived from the rock outcropping which is there in Dome of the Rock. Muslims and Christians lived in peace during this period.

In the 11th century, the ruler of the Islam Dynasty destroyed all the churches in the city. This started the first of the Crusades to retake the temple mound.

After Word War II, in which 6 million Jews were slaughtered, Israel was recognized on May 14, 1948, as an independent state and given territory which they occupy today. There is a very interesting story regarding President Harry S Truman and United States’ recognition of Israel as an independent state. General George Marshal, who was a brilliant man who was in charge of the Marshall Plan to rebuild war-torn Europe, was a fierce critic of Truman’s decision to recognize Israel. Many other leaders were also wary of the consequences of recognizing Israel and endangering their relationship with the oil-rich Arab countries which were predominantly Muslims and anti-Israel. It was feared this would cut us off from our supply of oil.  In his book, “Truman”, historian David McCullough writes of the visit of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Isaac Herzog who came to visit Truman at the White House for the express purpose of getting his support. David Niles was Truman’s chief of staff and gives this eyewitness account of the meeting.  Herzog said: “President Truman, God put you in your mother’s womb so you could be the instrument to bring about the birth of the nation Israel after 2000 years.” Niles said his first thought was Herzog overdoing his appeal.  “I turned to see what President Truman’s response would be and tears were streaming down his face.” Harry S Truman was a Christian, a Southern Baptist. He was a blunt man given to profanity. But he had read the Bible cover to cover three times before he was 14 years old. He was fascinated with Jewish history and prophecy. He had worked for a Jewish boss in the men’s clothing business and had a great respect for him. 

Jerusalem is a city loved and revered by three major religions: Islam, Jewish, and Christian. A city where David united the kingdom of Israel and made it a great nation. Where Solomon built a magnificent temple. Where Jesus walked, taught, preached and performed miracle. Also where he was crucified buried and rose again.  And one day He is returning to Jerusalem and will rule and reign from Jerusalem.

In 1995, the Congress of the United States pass the Jewish Embassy Act which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and required the US Embassy to be moved there. It was not until the current adminstration that this actually happened.


David began to build political alliances and make Israel a prosperous nation, expanding their territory and becoming an important trade route.  As King David united Israel and they grew stronger, the Philistines felt threatened by his presence and power. Notice in 2 Samuel 5: 19 and 23, what David was careful inquire of the Lord what to do before each battle with the Philistines.  In their first encounter, David and his men rout the enemy and carried away their idols. In the first encounter the Lord told David to go up and I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.  Sound familiar?  This is what David said to Goliath when he faced him as a teenager with a sling shot: “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…” (I Samuel 17)

On the second encounter the Lord instructed David upon his inquiry, God told David, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.

David did as instructed and drove the enemy back to Gezer. Another great victory.


David then decided it was time for the Ark of the Covenant to have it rightful place of honor. He wanted to bring it back from the house of Abinadab where it had been housed since the Philistines stole the Ark from Israel in a battle then returned it because of the curses it had brought upon their people. The Philistines placed the Ark in a new cart pulled by a yoke of oxen. When the Ark made its way back to Israel territory, the Levites took down the Ark and we are told the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and offered sacrifices to the Lord the same day. They set the Ark on a large stone in a field.  The Ark was treated almost like a tourist attraction and men looking into the Ark and were struck dead.  This caused them to move the Ark to the house of Abinadab where it had been until this time described here when David decides to move it to the new capital of Israel, Jerusalem.

Now David decided the Ark of the Covenant should be honored in the new capital of Jerusalem and has set up a tent where it is to be housed.  “So they set the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinidab, and the sons of Abiniadab drove the cart.” 2 Samuel 6:3)

  • Did you notice something missing?  David did not inquire of God how to do this.

In fact, he is following the method the pagan Philistines used- by employing a new cart driven by oxen.  A common mistake we make today- trying to God’s will using the world’s methods.

Verse 5 tells us David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments. It is a celebration. And everyone is on board with David’s plan. Everyone thinks this is the right thing to do. They are all pleased with what is happening.

But God, as we shall see, is not pleased. Watch what happens:

“And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah, put out his hand to the Ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.” (2 Samuel 6: 6)  Uzzah was just trying to steady the Ark to keep it from tumbling to the ground.

Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead for his error. And David became angry because of the Lord’s striking Uzzah dead.   Now David asked the question, he should have asked before:  “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?”

David’s intentions were to honor God, but he had not inquired how to do so. May I insert two well- known clichés?  ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  And also,’ the devil is in the details.’

First and Second Chronicles cover the same period of Jewish history as 2 Samuel through 2 Kings, but from a different point of view. These books were written by the priests and repeat the same history but offer a divine editorial on the history of God’s people. Scholars believe Ezra may have been the author of these books. They represent the priestly viewpoint. So let’s look at what I Chronicles 15 says about this attempt to move the Ark.


God wants to move His people in the right direction, the right way, with the right people. David was a pragmatic man. He looks at the goal he wants to accomplish and sets out to do it in the most expedient manner. To David, his desire to move the Ark to the new capital was part of his plan to unite the people as one nation under God. Who cares how you get the Ark to the capital, just do it. I tell you who cares how we do it:  God cares how we do it. We do it His way.

David stopped the procession of the Ark after Uzzah’s death. The account in 2 Samuel 6 tells us they left the Ark a t the house of Obed-Edom for 3 months. In those 3 months we read the house of Obed-Edom was blessed by the Lord.  The account in 2 Samuel 6: 12, 13 gives us little detail of this process. Verse 13 tells us: “And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep.”

Now in 1 Chronicles 15 we read the details. “Then David said, ‘No one may carry the Ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the Ark of God and to minister before Him forever.” ( I Chronicles 15:2)  

“For because you did not do it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult with Him about the proper order.” ( I Chronicles 15: 13) If you go back and read the instructions for how the Ark was to be transported, God gave very specific details in how to build the Ark, which included four gold rings and the poles which were to be inserted in those rings and then the poles would be carried on the shoulders of the Levite priests. No hand was to touch this Holy object.  In Exodus 25 God’s details for the construction of the Ark cover from verse 10 to verse 28.  

Now you have heard the saying, ‘the devil is in the details’; but you realize God is in the details also. This is why the devil is there also.  Paul wrote in Romans 7, whenever he wanted to do good, evil was always present. 

When God’s work is done in God’s way, it will be blessed. Let’s look at two instances, one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. All the commands and details which God has given us through His prophets in His word show us there is a proper way to worship Him. In Leviticus 10 we read what happened to Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, when they took a censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offer “profane (strange) fire before the Lord which He had not commanded.”  Fire went out from the Lord and devoured them both.  God must always be treated as holy, especially when we serve Him.   We told to be faithful in little things.  God is a God of details. He knows the enemy can get us to ignore the details, even with good intentions, and we will be on slippery slope which involves false or counterfeit worship. This offends the Holy Spirit.  The New Testament incident is found in Acts 5 where Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some possessions and gave part of it to the Lord but held back the other part for themselves. The problem was they lied and presented themselves as having given it all to the Lord. Peter said you have not lied to men but to God. They were struck dead.  Now we are saved by grace through faith. But we must never forget God is Holy and we are told to be Holy and we are to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

David made a common mistake- he forgot the read the instructions. If David had inquired of the Lord first: “how can the Ark of the Lord come to me?”  He would have found the detailed instructions of how to transport the Ark the way Holy God had instructed them to transport it.


David’s pursuit of his duties and ambitions as king of Israel, caused him to neglect his family. He violated God’s principles of multiple wives and lost control of his family. No pursuit is more important that building a godly family.

David also indulged himself in his passions. He was also prone, as a man of many talents, to be self-sufficient, which is a form of pride. These faults would cause him great heartaches. May we learn from his failures as much as from his successes.

As a member of Christ’s body, the church may we learn also from this lesson, to do things God’s way. Did you notice when David presented his plan to bring the Ark of God to their new capital, everyone was on board with the idea. It does not matter if the leadership and the majority think this is a good idea, it doesn’t make it right if it is not the way God wants it to be done.

The crowds may increase when you do it the world’s way for wide is the gate and broad is the way and many enter the world’s way.   We know where this way which seems right ends- in death. Ask Ananias and Sapphira-ask Aaron’s two sons. When God’s work is done in man’s way- we imitate the world instead of obeying God’s word- we forfeit the blessings of God. We also end up with dead churches.

David got it right the second time. He danced with all his might. He was footloose and free. Where did this freedom come from? Obedience.  What does disobedience bring? Bondage. Have you ever noticed the people who live in sin, all they talk about is the freedom to do as they want to do?  When you are free because of obedience to God, then you are free indeed. And like Michal criticized David for his freedom to dance, there will be those who criticize you. f

2 Samuel 3-5a: The REigning king

2 Samuel: 3-5a:  The Reigning King

“Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king of Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty three years over all Israel and Judah.”

David was first anointed by Samuel to be the king of God’s choosing over Israel while still a shepherd boy, probably around 17 years of age. We are told the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward. He was called in to soothe King Saul when he was distressed for David was a poet, a talented musician known for his songs.  Then in one of the most well -known stories in the Bible, David killed Goliath the giant and became an instant national hero. Ironically, it was Abner who brought him to King Saul. David would become the King’s right hand man, marry his daughter and lead the army in victory after victory.  He became the most popular and admired man in all of Israel and as a result King Saul became insanely jealous of David and attempted to kill David. Thus began a 10 year period of running and hiding from King Saul.

After Saul’s death, David was anointed King of Judah. It would be another seven years and six months before he becomes king of all Israel. 2 Samuel 3 & 4 tell us of the bizarre events which lead to his becoming king. Abner rejects David’s reign. He was humiliated by David when David entered the camp while he slept and took Saul’s spear from him. Abner props up King Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth as king.  But in those 7 .5 years, Saul’s house grew weaker and David’s grew stronger. Abner breaks from King Ish-Bosheth and in a secret meeting with David arranges for David to become king of all Israel.  Abner will then be assassinated by Joab.  And King Ish-Bosheth is killed by two of his own men, who seek to curry favor with David. They will be executed.   Finally, David comes to reign over all Israel. He had also during those 7 plus years taken on more wives in violation of God’s commands regarding kings in Deut. 17.  His disregard of God’s commands created heartache. His first son, Ammon, rapes his half-sister Tamara and is in turn killed by her brother Absalom. Absalom would later attempt to take over rule by plotting to kill his father and is then killed himself.   Everything in the Bible is not good. But everything is true. These stories reveal how when God does not rule and reign in your life, the flesh will take the throne. But when man does not obey God’s rule, God overrules and His plan will not be thwarted.

The key word in today’s lesson is:  REIGN

Saul was a king of the people’s choosing. He was picture of the flesh. And the flesh lusts against the Spirit. Which brings us to the question of this lesson: Who is the reigning king in your life?  Is the flesh, the old nature sitting on the throne of your heart?  Remember we must reckon the flesh has been crucified with Christ.  This is why we must take up the cross daily to follow Him.

Adam was created in God’s image. He was created to reflect God’s Glory. He was placed in a beautiful, perfect garden and given dominion over everything. Dominion means rule. Adam was created to rule and reign with God under His authority. He disobeyed God and lost his position of rule and reign. From that time we will read, sin and death reigned. And as a result the whole world was under the sway, the influence of the evil one.  Who rules in your life?  Today we live in a culture which says this is my life, do not tell me how to live it. And as result everyone does what is right in their own eyes. They demand their leadership to give them what they want.

There can only be ONE KING in your life. Who will it be?   Turn to Romans 5, one of the most important chapters in the Bible as far as who rules and reigns in your life.  The key word “reign” appears 5 times, the phrase “ much more” appears 5 times and the word, “one,” appears 11 times.   The Book of Romans is a book of logic. It is a book of “therefores”.  Example: as a result of justification, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. We are told in the first verse: “Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. “ (Romans 5: 1)   


  1. Peace with God. The unsaved person, the natural man is at “enmity with God”. We were all born this way and we were condemned as sinners. There existed between us and God a declaration of war. Justification means God declares us righteous and as a result we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Access to God. We can go behind the veil in the temple in heaven to the very throne room of heaven and draw from the riches of His grace which are unlimited. We are encouraged by our Heavenly Father to call on Him and He will show us great and mighty things we know not.
  3. Hope in the glory of God. Glorious hope in the future. He has taken care of my past so I may have peace. I have access to Him in the present to find help in the time of need. He has told me not to worry about tomorrow because one day in the future I will see Him and be like Him.  He has told me He has gone to prepare a place for me; so that where He is I will be also.  What hope this give us!
  4. Christian character. These trials, like the ones David faced are for the purpose of conforming our character which comes from patience and perseverance in trials. God is working all things together for good, for those who love Him and worship Him as King of our lives.  We must remember waiting on the Lord is an important part of the sanctification process.  He drives the enemy out little by little.
  5. We have God’s love within us, shed abroad in our hearts. O, what manner of love is this He has lavished upon us, that we might be called the children of God.
  6. We are saved from His wrath. I am saved from God’s wrath, because of Jesus who bore my sins and received the punishment I deserved. Let me caution you as Peter did we will face wrath from the enemy. In fact, Peter said you should not consider these fiery trials as strange. We are told in Revelation 12: “For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”  Put on the full armor of God, Christian Soldier!  The battle grows fiercer each day.
  7. We have received reconciliation. Christ died for us. Living He loved me. Dying He saved me. Buried He carried my sins far away. Rising He justified freely forever. One day He is coming- o glorious day.


Paul explains how this is possible in detail in Romans 5: 12-21.  We will look at three key words: “reign”, “one” and “much more.”  We are born with Adam’s sinful nature. This is why we must be born again. We are born the second time, we are partakers of His (Jesus’) Divine Nature.  Adam and Jesus are both pictured reigning over a kingdom.  Paul then contrast Adam and Christ. Adam was given dominion over the old creation, before the flood. Adam sinned and as a result he lost his kingdom. Because of Adam’s sin, all mankind is under condemnation and death. God created everything to reproduce after its own kind, so we were all born with a sinful nature.  We are told sin reigned. Because the wages of sin is death, Death reigned also.  Paul explained the principle of obedience, the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves and that one is your king.

Now some would argue this is not fair, that I am condemned because of Adam’s sin. It is not only fair, it was the wisest and most gracious thing God could do. Since sin entered by one man, and death by sin, then by one man could sin be atoned for. “For if by one man’s sin, death reined through that one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will rein in life through the One, Jesus Christ.   Here is God’s wisdom: by condemning the human race through one man (Adam), God was then able to save the human race through One Man, Jesus Christ.  Each of us humans are racially united to Adam, so his sin affected us all. We were born infected with the deadly virus of sin.  Fallen angels cannot be saved because they are not of the human race.

Sin reigned. Because sin entered the world, death entered the world. All have sinned. All have come short of the glory. There is no one righteous.  Sin reigned in your life and mine. Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even thought the law had not been given. Death is 100% for each generation, with the exception of those who are raptured.   But Jesus said anyone who believes in Him will live, even though he dies. And anyone who believes in Him will live and never die. (John 11)   Sin abounded. But Grace abounded more. “… Much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will rein in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

In the first Adam, we lost our kingship. But in Jesus Christ we reign as kings. In the trespass of the one, Adam, we lost the kingdom. In contrast, in the obedience of One we were justified, made righteous.

Let us be clear, the Christian is subject to death and his/her old nature tempts us to sin; but in Jesus Christ we can “ reign in life” through Jesus Christ, Who is now my life.

God rejected King Saul, a picture of the flesh.  God chose David based not on his outward appearance but because of his heart. Those who trusted David and served him shared in his kingdom.

Like David, Jesus Christ is the anointed king. 

Like Saul, Satan is still free at this time to work in the world and seek to win men’s allegiance. This is why we are told clearly by King Jesus, ‘you are either for me or against me.’

For those who are in the kingdom of darkness, death and sin reign in their lives. Jesus is the Light of the World and in Him is life.

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Here is what happened at Calvary at the Cross where I first received my sight and the burdens of my heart were rolled away.

“Mercy and truth have met together; Righteous and peace have kissed.” Psalm 85

The Old Testament is the book of the generations of Adam. Guess how it ends? 

“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4: 6- last verse of OT)

The New Testament is the book of generations of Jesus Christ. Guess how it ends?

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And THERE SHALL BE NO MORE CURSE, BUT THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB SHALL BE IN IT AND HIS SERVANTS SHALL SERVE HIM.


So each day, choose who you will serve.   “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God. “(Romans 12: 1, 2)

“Come Lord Jesus!”

2 Samuel 2: do as you promised

2 Samuel 2: Do as You Promised

David’s Prayer:  “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, You have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O Lord God. And now Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as You promised so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever!”  I Chronicles 17: 16, 17, 23, 24     (This is the only reference in the Old Testament to sitting as a position for prayer)

David had gone off on his own for 16 months to escape Saul. In doing so, he had put his family, his men and their families in grave danger. He had lived a lie, leading a life of deceit in Gath.  God intervened providentially to protect David. Now King Saul is dead. The only obstacle to his taking his anointed position to king is removed. Yet David does not rush ahead, he prays. He inquires of the Lord: Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah? Go up says the Lord. Where shall I go? To Hebron, the Lord answered.  So David went up and with his wives and his men and their families.

David knows God has anointed him king. He knows God will fulfill the purpose He has for David’s life. Now David has learned through experience to wait on the Lord. To ask, seek, and knock. God has a plan for David’s life. He has a plan for our lives also. He has a mapped out your life. David depends on the Word of God revealed to him.

David will not become king of all of Israel at first. He will begin with a small kingdom. Just as our Lord began with a small kingdom on earth, 12 ordinary men, of which one was a traitor. Prayer is such a vital part of our Christian walk.  We need to learn how to pray well. And in the prayer Jesus taught us, our prayer was for the purpose of His Kingdom coming.  The prayers of God’s saints here on earth are so important we are told to pray always and without ceasing. We are told this is a force which changes the course of events in this world. Prayer puts God in charge of our problems. God shapes the world by prayer.

Here in I Chronicles 17, David places the lever of prayer on the fulcrum of God’s promise. David then pressed down by faith called upon a Holy, Just God to do what He has promised to do.  The prayer of faith is based on the written word of God for ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

The purpose of asking is receiving. The aim of seeking is finding. And the goal of knocking is to arouse attention. We are to cast our cares on Him. We are to unburden ourselves as the Lord Jesus calls to us who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him for rest and take His Yoke upon us. Make known to Him your anxieties, worries, and fears with thanksgiving, and He will respond faithfully by giving us peace which passes understanding.

When David made this request to God to do as He had promised, he was fully persuaded he was asking in accordance with God’s will for him, based on God’s promise to him. This account in Second Samuel looks at David’s triumphs and his troubles. He is a complex character. The story of Israel, of these men like Abner, Joab and Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth are personalities which we see all around us. People who, some are weak,   some strong. Some are jealous and prideful, angry people, unforgiving people. Abner has not gotten over David’s taunts and seeks to keep him from taking the throne. God does not allow overnight successes, does He?  He is not the God of “get-rich-quick” plans, nor is He the God of shortcuts.  

It seems our prayer life becomes more important to us the more important the decision; the more troublesome the burden.  Could it be we came to such a place because we neglected prayer in the trivial, daily matters? Had we become more complacent, more comfortable during those times of “ smooth sailing” that our prayer life was almost thoughtless, much less leading us to desperately seek a promise of assurance from God? 

Have you experienced those times of struggles, anguish and sorrow over life’s sudden turns, where a phone call, a diagnosis, a loved one in trouble made you drop to your knees?  Have you searched the Scriptures looking for a promise to claim?  Then put your finger on a promise from God’s Divine Word and know that the Holy Spirit had given you that promise? It is a wonderful feeling. It is as if God has whispered in you ear; Fear not, I am with you.

These promises, great and precious, are like a cashier’s check. Do you know what a cashier’s check is?  It is a check guaranteed by the bank, drawn on the bank’s own funds. These are treated as guaranteed funds because the bank, rather than the purchaser is responsible for paying the amount.  You simply present the check and ask for the cash. Such are the promises of God.  God has NEVER BROKEN A SINGLE PROMISE.  Every promise of God is built on four pillars: His justice, holiness, grace and truth. Now as a reminder, some promises are conditional, meaning there are conditions to be met in order to receive the promise.

God’s Word is not only a map for our life, directions for living, but also a personal letter to each of us. “Remember your word to your servant, for it has given me hope.” (Psalm 119: 49)  Spurgeon wrote, “Will You now disappoint the hope You Yourself have brought forth in me?”


We are commanded to walk by faith and not by sight. Often our feelings and emotions are mistakenly substituted for faith.  Troubles are not be counted as misfortunes but rather as a part of our necessary discipline. This leads often to our wrong action. Now most of us in times of trouble want to take action. However the walk of faith begins from a position of rest. Notice in this prayer David went in and sat before the Lord. Can you visualize this scene? Entering in the throne room of heaven to sit before the Lord to receive counsel from Him.

Paul wants the eyes of our understanding to be opened.  When we got saved we entered into the finished work of Christ at Calvary.   Ephesians 1 tells us Christ was raised up and seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms, and Ephesians 2: 6, tells us we are raised up and seated in Him in the heavenly realms.  Just as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to take in His teaching, while Martha worked and worried in the kitchen and was distracted. Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better and it will not be taken away from her.”   *This does not mean work is not important, but it must be done in order.   The Christian life and experience begins NOT with walking but by sitting down, resting in the finished work of Christ. The one thing which is most important is the secret of deliverance from sin is not in doing something, but to rest in what God has done.  Remember what the people ask Jesus in John 6?  What must we do to work the works of God?  Jesus replied, “This is the work to do- believe in the One He has sent.” We are continuously learning. So with each new truth God wants us to learn and appropriate, we must sit at His feet and listen to Him.   Have you made a mess of a thing, by trying to fix it yourself?  Come to Him. Sit as His feet. Discover by His divine promises He has given you everything you need for life and godliness.  Do not be distracted and worried by many things- do the ONE thing which is necessary, go in and sit before Him and listen to Him.

Do you see what David had done?  He had walked off on his own. He had, like Martha, been distracted, worried about many things. There was only one thing needed, to listen to the Lord. We were saved to serve. But how were we saved? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest we should boast” (Ephesians 2: 8&9).  God did all the work. David knew he could not defeat Goliath, ‘the Lord delivered Goliath in his hands.’ (I Samuel 17)

Look at the order:  Ephesian 2: 6- we are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2: 8& 9 remind us Jesus did it all, it was not of my works, but HIS FINISHED WORK AT CALVARY. It was when Jesus cried, it is finished the Father, said, “Come all is ready.”  Now Ephesians 2: 10 tells us: “We are His workmanship, created Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  This is God’s divine order. God knows what you were created to be, for He created you.

HOW THEN DO WE WALK IN FAITH?  “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power within us.” (Ephesians 3: 20)  Therein lies the secret- is the power in us. This is power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God in the heavenly places.   We are then told to walk wisely, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Do not be wise, but understand what is the will of God is. And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.  (Ephesians 5)   

Being filled with the Spirit, clear about the will of God, requires time spent in meditation on His Word, sitting before Him and receiving His instructions and then knowing His will. When we do this, we can, like David, sit before God and pray ‘do as you promised to do.’  

Paul then tells us when we have seen by faith we are seated in Christ. We can then walk in faith. From our rest in Him. Casting all our cares upon Him, Peter tells us, because our adversary goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

King Saul and his army outnumbered David; they were seeking to devour him and his men. Casting our cares upon Him is how He exalts us as we humble ourselves and sit at his feet. Only those who sit at His feet can walk by faith. And only those who sit can stand. To stand is a position of strength and victory.  The word “stand” implies the ground disputed by the enemy is God’s. I am His. David knows whom he has believed and he is fully persuaded his God is the one and only true God, God Almighty who will deliver him from the enemy.

David will continue to have battles. He will make mistakes and fall in sin. He will stumble but not be utterly cast down, because the Lord holds him with his right hand.

Our weapons described in Ephesians 6 are mainly defensive weapons. We are told we are more than conquerors.   Our Lord Jesus is the Commander of the Armies of Heaven. He has given us His victory to hold.  So we stand in the full armor of God.  Our armor is primarily defensive. We have two offensive weapons.  The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and prayer. And when combined, we can say to God Almighty:  Do as You Promised. The battle is Yours. �:


2 Samuel 1: Fallen

“Therefore Saul took his sword and fell on it.”  When we were first introduced to Saul, he was described as the most handsome man in Israel and “head and shoulders” taller than any of the other people.  I Corinthians 10: 12 tells us:  “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

It is often said about David, he was “a man after God’s own heart”.  But in 2 Samuel, we will be reminded he was a man after all and knew the weakness of human flesh.  I will forewarn you, this story in 2 Samuel could be rated R for its sexual content and violence.  But yet this story teaches us God is able to put things right which have become a mess.

I Samuel ends with the defeat of Israel’s army by the Philistines.  King Saul’s three sons with him in battle, Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchisua are killed.  King Saul is severely wounded and commits suicide by falling on his sword, rather than facing being captured alive and tortured. Thus ends the reign of Israel’s first king. 

While this battle was going on, David and his men were returning from their slaughter of the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag and taken captive their women and children.

  It was on the third day of his return when a man came from the battlefield of the Philistines and Israel.  David inquires how the battle went.  David is told Israel has suffered a great defeat and King Saul and his sons are dead.  ‘How do you know this, David asked the man.  What is told by this man is obviously a lie. He takes credit for assisting King Saul in his death. The reason we believe it to be a lie, is there are two accounts verifying Saul took his own life in I Samuel 31 and also in I Chronicles 10.  The young man was more than likely a scavenger who came into the battlefield to take anything of value from the dead. He found the king and took his crown and bracelet. He must have thought David would reward him, for he brought them to David.

As soon as David heard of the defeat of Israel’s army and of the death of King Saul and his sons, he and his men began to mourn.  Verse 12 tells us: “And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”

This man, an Amalekite, must have been shocked that David and his men would mourn the death of King Saul. He thought this would be good news. But David has shown by his actions he would never take the life of King Saul, for he was God’s anointed king.  The Amalekites are always a picture of the flesh in the Bible. And we know in our flesh, our old nature dwells no good thing. For this reason, David had the Amalekite executed.

David and his men weep and fast in sorrow for the defeat of Israel, for the loss of life and the death of King Saul and his sons, especially Jonathan. David will stumble and make some horrendous mistakes. But in some ways it is encouraging to know God could still use David. David’s even after his fall into sin.  His repentance and his restoration is a beautiful picture of God’s Grace and God’s desire to restore us when we fall.


We often used the term, “the fall” to refer to Adam and Eve’s sin in Genesis 3.  Because of the Fall, we speak of living in a fallen world.   From what did we fall?  Adam and Eve fell from a personal, face-to-face relationship with God. It caused their banishment from the Garden of Eden. It brought death to mankind. For the wages of sin is death. This fall which broke this relationship with our Creator has left every generation diseased and dying in our personalities and bodies.

This fall which broke this relationship also created a fall from our reflection of God’s likeness into a smeared, distorted image of God.  By the time of Noah, there were only 8 godly people on the face of the earth. Man’s interest was on doing evil 24-7.

This fall resulted in a fall from the joyful obedience which Adam and Eve enjoyed into lawless rebellion and constant frustration which dominates every part of our society today.  This fall resulted in what we see today as a fall from what God intended family to be, which is marriage between a man and a woman, into something entirely different.

We have failed and fallen from our rightful position of having dominion over the land and being good stewards. The result is we live in an increasingly polluted environment. Even creation groans because of this fall and eagerly awaits the return of the Lord and restoration of what has fallen.

What happened? Most people sense there is something wrong. But how to fix it and how to restore what once was- seems to be where it gets worse rather than better.

Now God created man in His image and in doing so he gave man free will. God then placed man in a paradise with everything he needed for life and godliness. He was forewarned he could eat from any tree in the Garden but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said when you eat from that tree, you will surely die.  Each day Adam and Eve chose to eat from the Tree of Life and not the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Until one fateful day, Eve was approached by the serpent. Like Adam and Eve, each day we choose whom we will serve.

Who is this Serpent? He is Satan, a fallen angel.  We read in Isaiah 14:  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground. You who weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol. To the lowest depths of the Pit.

And we read this description of Lucifer in Ezekiel 28:  “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering.  The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes were prepared for you on the day you were created. (Notice Lucifer is a created being)  You were the anointed cherub who covers: I established you: You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth I the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. “   

And Revelation 12 tells of the battle and revolt in heaven which Lucifer led against Almighty God, his Creator, and he and 1/3rd of the angels who followed him were cast down to the earth, where he deceives man.


What does it mean to live in a fallen world? It means we struggle daily with temptation and sin. We experience heartache and pain. We watch the news and see an endless stream of bad news from tsunamis to earthquakes, wildfires, volcanoes, tornadoes, storms, and crime. People scoff at the notion of absolute truth. The Bible they say is an ancient book written by men.  There is no God. Science is our god. Science is our truth.

There is no proof of God they say. Yet the heavens declare His glory, night after night His speech goes forth and is understood in every language. We have the external witness of God’s creation. We have the internal truth of the witness of our conscience. 

 When man fell. God already had a plan. He already knew this was going to happen. This is why the plan of salvation was devised by God before creation. It was God’s plan to restore what was broken when man fell. Like the watchmaker who builds a watch to tell time, he sees he must build in it the ability to re-set it when it stops functioning and performing the purpose for which it was created. God had a plan to re-set man, to restore us to our rightful position.

The story of 2 Samuel is a story of sin, rebellion, lust, power struggles, and murder. Even as I describe this it sounds like the plot for a movie or a television series.  Many of the events which take place in this account do not always honor the Lord.  The nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, have a history of rebellion. After all they had no more gotten out of Egypt than they demanded Aaron make them a golden calf and they rose up to eat, and drink and to play. (Exodus 32) 

What a picture of everyday life in America today. People want to do what they want to do. The people demand their leaders give them what they want. They want to rise up each day and eat and drink and play and do what they want to do without anyone telling them it is wrong. They want to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Which is exactly what happened in the fall when Adam and Eve decided they would decide for themselves how they would live their lives.


One of the major themes of the Bible and this story in 2nd Samuel is restoration. For when something has fallen and is broken, can it be repaired? Can it be re-set? Restored to its original state? Today in our culture and society, we see most products are built with built-in obsolescence. That is they only work for a period of time and it is cheaper to buy another one rather than pay to have this one prepared.  We owned the same phones when I was growing up. We never had to buy new phones because the ones we owned never quit working. Most things we bought could be repaired and restored.  

God is in the repair business. He is a restorer of broken lives. He can restore what the canker worm of sin has destroyed. He never wastes anything. ‘He can make everything beautiful in its time. He has put eternity in our hearts. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever.’ Ecclesiastes 3.

God is not a distant, cold Creator. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is love. God is kind and long suffering. His love never fails. His mercy and compassions are fresh every morning. Great is His faithfulness. 

God does not intend for His world and His creation to groan forever. God is repairing and restoring His creation.

He wants to restore friendship with Him in Jesus Christ. He wants to give us eternal life. Life more abundant. He tells us clearly: man’s life does not exist in the abundance of his possessions.

He wants to restore the reflection of God likeness in Jesus Christ. He wants to restore us by conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ.

He wants to reinstate and restore the rules for living a fulfilling life.  He wants each of us to experience true peace and prosperity.

He wants to restore His design for family.

He wants to restore man’s proper dominion in caring for God’s world. This is my Father’s world.

Now here is the good news:  as Christians we struggle with living the life God designed us to live. Some of us have given up that this is unattainable. That is why this story of David is such an encouraging story. The story of the life of David teaches us God can use imperfect people to accomplish His purposes. We need to take note- God disciplines His servants who disobey Him. It also teaches no nation is beyond God’s ability to restore.

Yes, we live in a world which is broken.  We have seen things happen in our lifetimes we would have never thought we would see in America.


Here is God’s plan of restoration going back before the foundation of the earth. “ Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made know to us the mystery His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ which are in heaven and which are on earth.” (Ephesians 1)

This is how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are restoring all things. At Calvary God placed all my wrong on Jesus and He paid for all my sins. Canceled those things written against me with His blood. He took my wrong and gave me His Right.

I am a recovering alcoholic. But what I really am is a recovering sinner. For you see recovery is the heart of the Gospel. It is a rescue mission. We are all recovering from sin, to which we were addicted.

My experience with AA brought me in contact with people of different backgrounds, race, education level, professions and gender. But our meeting had but one purpose: to stay sober one day at a time, and to help and encourage others to stay sober one day at a time. The 12 Steps of recovery were about establishing a relationship with our Higher Power by discovering the recovery process. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our churches were like AA meetings? Where people realized we are all recovering sinners. Trying to stay on the right path one day at a time. Helping others recover, restore and rebuild a life which had fallen and was shattered to pieces.

God wants you to be restored. Oh- that you would see the lengths He has gone to – to restore you. }

1 Samuel 29 & 30: oVERCOMING FEAR

 Most of the time, I probably don’t tell you something new which you didn’t know, I remind yousomething you have forgotten.  And intoday’s lesson, David gets reminded of something he had forgotten.  God is in control.  We have heard the urgency in David’s prayers.We have heard the fear and the impatience. The stress of protecting not onlyhis two wives, but his 6oo hundred men and their families. He pushes the panicbutton and launches out on a 16 month scheme to provide for his people whatonly God can provide: peace which passes understanding.

Often a winter storm or a tornado can knock out our power. People in the Northeast where winter storms can leave them without power for days and even weeks, have invested in generator.  When the storms of life knock out the power of our faith, we need a generator to restore our faith.  Here it is: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  (Romans 10: 17)  The word of God is alive and POWERFUL.

After seven years of running and hiding from King Saul and his army, David escaped to Gath where he found favor with King Achish through a scheme of deception. David and his army and all their households set up in Ziklag.  It was from here David launched raids into the territories of Israel’s enemies, taking their lives, their livestock and possessions.  He convinced King Achish, he was raiding Israel.  This web of deception was ongoing for 16 months. He had convinced King Achish he was a loyal servant and Achish makes David his bodyguard. David and his men then face a dilemma:  they are going to war against King Saul and the army of Israel.  God intervenes and causes the princes of Philistine to object to David and his men fighting with them and David and his men are sent back to Ziklag.

Now in these 16 months, David has not been sought by King Saul. He and his men have become comfortable and gained much in the way of livestock and possessions from their successful raids. They have prospered in material wealth. Spiritually they have grown poor. I cannot criticize David, for I have done the same things. What we all need to do is learn the lesson which God has given us here that all such departure from God will not solve our problems, only make them worse.

Remember the words of Thomas Aquinas:  “The object of fear is future evil that is imminent, of great magnitude and threatens the things we rightly love.”  David is about to experience a fear of great magnitude.  When they return to Ziklag, their village is burned, all possessions and flocks are taken. And the Amalekites have taken captive the women and children. David and his men weep until they had no power to weep anymore.  These hardened men are distraught. They realize David has put them in this situation. In their grief and fear they want to stone David to death. So great is their fear and anguish. David comes to his senses. He is strengthened in the Lord. He calls the Priest. He prays and seeks God’s will. And a plan is devised and a successful attack allows David and his men to recover all that was lost.


Don’t you hate those three words?  Don’t you wish you were not fearful, worried and anxious? You realize David was a brave warrior, but being constantly on the run was wearing him down. All he wanted was peace. Rest. Security. Safety. And yet each day and night he was looking over his shoulder to see if King Saul and his army were closing in on him. David got tired of waiting on the Lord and took on the responsibility of providing those things – which only God can provide. Fear is a strong force. It creates worry, anxiety and stress.


Just 77 years ago this week, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and America was to suffer great loss and a spirit of fear gripped our country.  FDR addressed the nation and said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 

President Roosevelt realized fear may be our greatest enemy. Fear can steal your joy, rob your peace and paralyze your faith.  What we want to do is to remember what time we are afraid we will trust the Lord. We want to look at His perfect love, because this love casts out fear. The enemy goes about like a roaring lion. He strikes fear in our hearts and minds. This is why we must place a guard on our hearts and minds.  We will see how to do that. Fear is a spiritual force which can negatively affect our lives. It can create confusion and cause us to make foolish decisions.  David’s scheme to escape King Saul in order to save his people made the situation even more dangerous

Fear is a powerful emotion which can be constructive or destructive. In the Bible, the word fear can mean several different things. It can refer to terror one feels in a frightening, threatening situation. It can be constructive in providing much needed adrenaline to take action. Fear can mean “respect” as a servant fears his master and serves him faithfully, not wanting to displease him. (Joseph and Potiphar are an example) Fear can also denote the reverence or awe a person feels in the presence of greatness. The fear of the Lord is a combination of all three.  Proverbs tells us much about this fear and connects it to wisdom, knowledge and understanding. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)  Proverbs 9: 10 puts it this way: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  This tells us the fear of the Lord is the foundation to true wisdom.  In order to develop this fear (respect, awe, and desire to please not displease) we must recognize God is Who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.

I understand David’s actions. He was under continuous assault. He feared for the lives of those he loved and was responsible for. The objective of fear is future evil which is imminent, of great magnitude, and threatening to all we rightly love. This fear if not dealt with, if not cast out will produce anxiety, worry and stress. Poor decisions will be made, which will only make things worse. We are in the same battle David was. The battlefield is our minds where the enemy and its allies make continuous war on our minds, our hearts, our very souls.

Jesus said I came that you might have life, and life more abundantly. Right before that he told us the thief comes to kill and steal and destroy.  The enemy of your soul wants to steal your confidence in God and replace it with worry. He wants to steal your faith in the One Who is faithful and replace it with fear. He wants to steal your peace and replace it with anxiety.

Fear, worry and anxiety can produce no good thing. It will make you sick physically. It will cause you to launch out on your own David-like scheme to solve your problems only to find you have made it worse.


Obviously the enemy wants you fearful and the Lord continually tells us: Fear Not, I am with you.  Please listen to this: GOD WANTS YOU TO LIVE A FEAR-FREE, FAITH-FILLED LIFE EVERY DAY! We fight fear with faith. And we activate faith with WORDS. THE WORDS AND PROMISES OF GOD.  When fear strikes I want you to say these words out loud:  “Jesus, You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. I will not be afraid, because you have commanded me not to be afraid. I will remain calm and trust You, Lord.

Pray a prayer like this:  “Lord helps me not to be afraid, because you are with me. Show me how to think on good things and not on things that will produce fear. Fear is an enemy of my heart and mind, and I refuse to let it steal the peace and joy of my life. Give me courage and strength to face the fears in my life which try to hold me captive. It is for freedom that You set me free. Let me have your peace and wisdom and when I am tempted to fear, I will look to you. You have made me secure, capable and free from fear in my life. I am fearless.” (Keep Calm and Trust God.)


George Mueller said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” Lots of anxiety going around.  Even Christmas brings anxiety and stress. Anxiety can cause high blood pressure, ulcers, panic attacks and nervous breakdowns. We are commanded not to worry or be anxious for anything. Anxiety is brought on by worry and fear of future evil which is imminent. If God gives you a command not to do something, He will empower you with His power to do it. I Thess. 5: 24 says: “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” We must follow Him, and He promises to make us all we were created to be. Here is your action to replace anxiety:  “Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes understanding will guard your HEARTS AND MINDS through Jesus Christ.”    Psalm 84 says God will withhold NO GOOD THING from those who walk uprightly.

Here is a simple prayer to pray along with this verse upon which we will quote to God to remind ourselves God has promised to do exactly this.  “Lord help me not to be anxious. I know that whatever I am facing, you are right there with me and have promised never to leave me or forsake me. Help me to trust you despite the circumstances that surround me, Lord. When I am tempted to be anxious, help me to speak your promises to overcome the attacks on my mind with answers from your Word. Let me be quick to respond to wrong thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.” (“Keep Calm and Trust God.”)  Notice these simple requests and that each are God’s will. His will is for us to not be anxious. We must remember His promise He will never leave us. His promises help us overcome the attacks on our minds with the Word of God which is alive and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword.


Worry implies we do not trust God is big enough, powerful enough or loving and caring enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.   Jesus said, “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life,…” Matthew 6: 25.   When you look at God through the lens of your problem, it is like looking through the wrong end of the binoculars. He looks far away, distant and small. We must look at our problem through God’s eyes.  Remember his first command to Andrew and Peter in John 1> “Come and SEE.”  And Paul prayed the eyes of our hearts would be opened that we see the hope of glory.

If you dwell on your problem, you give strength to your problem. But if we believe God has commanded us to not worry about life, it means God wants us to live worry- free lives. Is that really possible? I believe it is an ongoing battle.  Now here is the secret to not worrying. You cannot tell yourself to not worry about something. You must REPLACE WORRIED THOUGHTS WITH GOD’S THOUGHTS.  As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Paul tells us: “Finally, brethren, whatever THINGS are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and it there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things. These things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  A promise you can stand on!!!

Worry prayer:

“Lord help me not to worry about anything. I am looking to you to see me through this situation. In obedience to your Word, I cast all my care upon You. Grant me your peace to remain steady and calm. Help me to let your peace rule and reign in my heart. I put my trust and confidence in you. I know you love me and care for as a loving father. I know You will not let me down. I believe you are working all things together for my good. Let me keep looking to you and not let my heart be troubled or fearful. Help me to be spiritually strong and courageous and not to let my emotions or feelings dictate my actions.” (Keep Calm and Trust the Lord.”)


“ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty  in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience I fulfilled. (2Corinthians 10: 4-6)  Also be familiar with each piece of armor, the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians 6. These are our weapons which are mighty and divine.  

Know that you will face storms in your life. I know you know that. Know they can come suddenly or appear on the horizon as a small cloud which slowly builds into a life threatening storm.  You need hope which does not disappoint.  The sure hope we have is in the promises of God and His faithfulness to keep His promises.  “The hope we have set before us. This hope as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enter the Presence behind the veil.”(Hebrews 6: 18&19)

Listen to Jesus’s logic :  if you earthly parents desire to give good gifts to your children and sacrifice to do so- He says how much more will your Heavenly Father, the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning and from Whom all good gifts come, not give you even more- REALIZE GOD HAS GIVEN YOU HIMSELF! Build your life on the Rock and you will survive the storms of life.


Romans 8 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for blessed assurance.  It starts out by telling us there is now no more condemnation to those of us who are in Christ Jesus. It ends by telling us in the most powerful language there is nothing which can separate us from the Love of God which in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But in- between that are some of the verses of the most blessed assurance. I have emphasized the word ‘things’ in this lesson. Interest noun- thing. We use it to describe something which not named specifically but in general. Even God uses it as a catchall word. During creation, he looks at creation in general and say as He looked at His work and said it was good. When He created man as the last act of creation. He looked and said everything was good.   Notice the word things in these verses:

“And we know that all THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover, Whom He predestined these He also called; Whom He called, these He also justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these THINGS? If God is for us, who can be against us. He (God the Father) who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all THINGS.” (Romans 8: 27-32)

Listen to what God is saying to you personally. He is saying if you want to know how much I care about you. How much I love you. Then look at Calvary. We did this for you. I let them spit in My Son’s face. I let them scourge him with a cat of nine-tails, ripping the skin on His back to the bone. He was striped for you iniquities.  I watched them place a crown of thorns on His lovely head and mash it down. I watched them nail Him to a cross. I heard His plea which broke my heart, when He cried out to me and said ‘My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? I forsook Him that I might forgive you.  We did this for you.

Now do you understand how much I love you? How can you possibly believe I will not give you every good thing you need for life and godliness.

“How shall He not with Him (Jesus) freely give us all THINGS.

Renew your mind with the Word of God or the world will conform you.


Pray not to be anxious, worried and fearful

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1)

God is love.

The Holy Spirit is the power within us. 

Our minds are transformed by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God.

What do we say to all these THINGS?   If God is for us who can be against us? No one or no thing.

Key verses for Fear:  Psalm 23; Psalm 27: 1&2; Psalm 56: 3; I John 4: 18; 2 Timothy 1:7

Key verses for Anxiety:  Phil.4: 6-8.

Key verses for Worry:   Matthew 6: 25, Matthew 6:19-34, I Peter 5: 67&

Blessed Assurance:  Romans 8: 1; 27-39 20b1 ba74

1 Samuel 28

I Samuel 28

“But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6: 68)

Where does one go when he/she does not believe in the Lord Jesus, the One called, and the “Word of God?” Where do they find truth? In today’s culture, we see people searching for truth and the meaning of life in many areas. Jesus said he came to testify to the truth and all who sided with the truth, listened to Him. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me. “ Saul has cut himself off from every legitimate means of spiritual input and truth. Samuel was dead. Saul had killed 85 priests in Nob. David had once been the one to whom he had relied on to sooth him with his songs and harp, now they were estranged. Having cut himself off from spiritual advice, Saul opens himself to demonic means of obtaining spiritual advice about future decisions. Our greatest fears arise from the unknown. We want to know what to do. Saul had cut himself off from God who has all knowledge. To whom shall he go?

If we go back to something which occurred earlier in I Samuel 15, we find a key to King Saul’s plight. King Saul had not done as God commanded him to do. He had not destroyed all of the Amalekites, sparing their king, Agag. He also had not destroyed all the livestock. We read: “The word of the Lord came to Samuel saying, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.”

Samuel goes to find King Saul and confront his disobedience. King Saul, ever the one to make excuses, defends his disobedience by saying he intended to sacrifice some of the stolen things to God. Samuel says, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice… for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.” (I Samuel 15: 22, 23)

The kingship of Saul was the people’s choice- not God’s choice for king. God gave the people want they wanted. Saul’s disobedience in I Samuel 13 where he did not wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice, but did it himself revealed his heart. From that moment Saul had already forfeited his right to be king. This final act of consulting a medium to contact the dead is the last straw which brings his earthly kingdom to an end. When we disobey God, we open ourselves to evil. To disobey God is to listen to Satan.

God told Adam he must not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for when you eat of it, you will surely die.( Genesis 2: 16) When they decided to disobey God who did they listen to? Satan. How was Abraham saved? He believed the Word of God and was counted righteous.

When we turn to other sources for truth about life and our future, we put those entities we turn to for knowledge of truth in the place of God. God will tell us all we need to know when we need to know it about our lives and our future.

This is something God had forewarned His people about. In Deuteronomy 18, we read: “When you enter the land the Lord your God has given you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no on be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist, or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things detestable to the Lord…” We live in a culture which does not depend on God to guide them and looks to other sources for truth. Be careful you do not look to those same godless sources the unbeliever looks to for guidance.

“But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Moses) from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. “Deuteronomy 18: 15. Whatever the question- God has the answer.

God condemns this type of activity and says it is detestable to Him. He forbids His people from doing these things. Moses tells us God is raising up a prophet we are to listen to and in the New Testament we read of who that one is: listen to what Phillip tells Nathaniel about Jesus: “ We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, about whom the prophets also wrote- Jesus of Nazareth.” (John 1: 45)

Jesus is our source of Truth, for He is the Truth. He tells us about our future in John 14. He tells us what to expect in our life. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1: 17) Jesus said He came to testify to the Truth. He is the Truth. And the Truth will set you free. And if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

In King Saul we see a man who in his pride, relies on his self-sufficiency, as we see David has also done on occasion. We all rely on self-sufficiency or seek other sources outside of the Lord to solve our problems at times, usually when we are desperate. When we do this, we forsake divine guidance. Remember the essence of idolatry is the displacing of God. And when we ignore God, we may be sure the enemy rushes in to fill the gap.


We read Saul had expelled all the mediums and spiritists out of the land of Israel. King Saul, once again, is trying to curry favor with God by enacting the laws God has given them to drive out those who practice these dark arts of divination.
But then Saul saw the armies of the Philistines, which were great and outnumbered his army, – ‘he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. He inquired of the Lord; the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or Urim or by the prophets.’ Samuel was dead so Saul is looking for spiritual advice about future decisions. Saul says to his servants, find me a medium that I may go to her and inquire of her. Saul is told there is a medium in En Dor. This is in enemy territory, so Saul disguises himself and travels with two men to see this witch of En Dor.

What occurs next, is hard to understand. King Saul asks the woman to conduct a séance for him and bring up one I shall name to you. The woman fears this is entrapment for she tells the disguised stranger King Saul has expelled the mediums from the land and she could be executed. Saul swears she will not be punished

The woman asked for the name of the one he wants her to bring up. And he replies, “Bring up Samuel.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. (I assume she was shocked and frightened.) She then realizes this is King Saul who is requesting this séance.

Now here is where I am confused. Is it possible for the dead to be brought up from the place where they are? Jesus in His parable in Luke 16, tells of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar who die on the same day. Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man was in Hades in torment. There was a gulf fixed so the rich man could not go to where Lazarus was and Lazarus could not go to where the rich man was in torment in Hades.

The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brothers to warn them of this place. Abraham replied they have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them. And the rich man replied, ‘no father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent. But Abraham said to him, ‘if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ (Luke 16:19-31)

Is this actually Samuel raised from the dead speaking through this medium, which only she can see? I am not sure- but what this spirit says is absolutely correct: his army will be defeated and Saul and his sons will be killed. They will enter Hades, the place of the dead.

Now these are the only conclusions I can make:

1. God permitted the spirit of Samuel to appear to the woman with his message.
2. The woman had contact with an evil spirit who took on the form of Samuel.
3. Regardless of who appeared or how, God allowed it and the message was true.

The point of this chapter and the teaching of God’s law in Deuteronomy is not that divination and the works of mediums is impossible. It teaches us it is to be avoided at all costs by God’s people because it is a form of idolatry. It is rebellion against God’s commands- disobedience opens one to believe the lies of the enemy. For when we sin, it is obvious we are not listening to God but to the enemy. Adam and Eve questioned God’s commandment to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To be truthful, we often think- this was such an insignificant infraction. One mistake. Natural curiosity. They were confronted with the presence of this tree every day- for it lay in the vicinity of Tree of Life. Every day is a test of obedience, isn’t it?

You do not have to be a fortune teller to know every day there are temptations to disobey God. The culture around us makes it own rules. They decided for themselves how they will live, where they will go and what they will do. They ridicule you for believing in an ancient book.


We have been studying I Samuel for several weeks. God’s Word has set before us the examples of several people’s lives: Hannah, Samuel, Eli, Saul, Jonathan, and David. If you have been following the story you see comparisons which provide us with contrast and contrast provides clarity, doesn’t it? Hannah is a godly woman. Eli – not so easy to describe. Jonathan- a picture of loyalty. Saul a picture of the flesh. David a young man of character, who though admirable makes mistakes. We are really comparing and contrasting their character. I would come to the conclusion: Hannah, Samuel, David and Jonathan are to be commended for their character. What builds character? It is built by how we handle adversity and tribulations. Depending on God to provide a way through that we might be able to bear it- is the making of character. Paul says we rejoice in tribulations for they produce perseverance (endurance) and perseverance produces character and character, hope which does not disappoint. So we rejoice in tribulations because we know they are not meaningless. They are for the purpose of building character. What we observed in this study is a comparison and contrast of how these people responded to adversity. They all wanted something- desired something. Something which would give their life purpose and meaning.

All of us want to live a good life. A life with meaning and fulfillment. We spend large amounts of our time preparing, learning, studying, training to have a life worth living. Look at the blocks of time you have spent in your life and then look at the average day in your life. How many hours do you spend on different activities? If you have retired you might think I am out of the rat race. But you are still part of the human race and Paul says you need to be training for godliness. *A life worth living is found in a love worth finding!*

“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training (exercise) is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (I Timothy 4)

The Greek culture was a culture which prized physical beauty and health. The Olympic games called for rigid exercise and training to compete in the Olympics and win the prize. Paul admits physical exercise has some value, but training for godliness has value for all things. Paul sees there is some value in physical exercise. But training for godliness- pursing holiness is much more profitable.

We find there are many good things which can become idols. Health, diet and fitness can become one. Yoga is a great exercise with positive physical outcomes which are profitable. But the purpose of Yoga’s philosophy is find harmony between body and mind. It derives its philosophy from Indian metaphysical belief on self-enlightenment. It focuses on breathing, posture, relaxation and meditation. Nothing wrong with those exercises. But be careful what the instructor is trying to accomplish. Satan can be very subtle and can disguise himself as angel of light or a yoga instructor telling you to empty your mind and to seek for your body and mind to be one. The Bible tells me in my flesh dwells no good thing. It also tells me the ‘things’ I should think on.

Hannah’s was willing to give God back what He gave her as a gift- her son, Samuel. Samuel’s life blessed many. And Mary, the mother of Jesus, was blessed by Hannah and quoted from Hannah’s prayer. Samuel blessed the nation of Israel and was a pivotal person in the transitions from judges to kings. He mentored the first two kings of Israel. Jonathan’s character speaks of loyalty and faithfulness. And David, in spite of his grave errors and sins, would go on to become the greatest king of Israel. David was God’s choice for king, because God knew David’s heart. David had a heart devoted to God. We must set apart our hearts for the Lord.

Saul in these ending chapters shows what depths he has sunk to in his drive to satisfy his own desires. Who do you turn to for advice, direction and answers? Saul seeks answers about the future from a medium, which God forbids.

We all turn aside at times and try to solve problems ourselves. It is usually in desperation we seek as David did to escape quickly the problems which loom before us.


1. God wants everyone to be saved and understand the truth. I Timothy 2: 4 tells us: “God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
2. God is not willing that any should perish, but all would come to repentance. 2Peter 3;9
3. God sent His Only Son, Jesus to pay for our sins and not only our sins but the sins of the world.
4. God has given His church the responsibility of telling the world. “We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making His appeal through us.” ( 2 Cor. 5: 20)
5. God is going to hold us accountable for our actions. We are kingdom builders. Our works will be judged at the Bema. ( I Cor. 3: 10-15)

God wants you to succeed. This story is a story of contrasts between succeeding God’s way and trying to succeed the world’s way through self-sufficiency. Have you discovered as Peter did- who else can we turn to who has the word of eternal life. Turn to Jesus.

1 Samuel 27: Hide and Seek

I Samuel 27: Hide and Seek

After his second encounter with King Saul, what happens next may surprise you. David is discouraged after Saul’s confession of wrongdoing. Why? Because David knows King Saul and knows he is dealing with a man with a troubled mind. David is dealing with a king who is a violent psychopath. A murderous liar who will continue to hound David until one of them is dead.

David knew he could not trust King Saul’s promise. But it seems he had decided he could not trust God’s promise, either. He was not walking by faith, but by sight. When a believer walks by sight, they are leaning on their own understanding. They are scheming as to how they can solve their problems. David’s scheme is to find safety in the enemy’s camp. He returns to Gath where he will reside the next 16 months.

David’s scheme in Gath involves three ongoing deceptions: asking for a city where he and his 600 men and families can live; ongoing raids he and his men conduct; and expressing the desire to fight the king’s battle.

David’s problem is a common problem when we are going through difficult times. David has been on the run now for 7 years. He is three years away from being king, but he is doubting it will ever happen. He is discouraged with this seemingly never-ending game of hide and seek with Saul. David is suffering. He reaches a low point in this on-going struggle. Always on the move. Always looking over his shoulder. Now responsible for the welfare of not only his family, but his men and their families, maybe 2-3000 men, women and children. Imagine how difficult your life is when you are trying to take care of your family in difficult times and then imagine the responsibility multiplied by 100- fold and made even more intense by the constant pursuit of the enemy who wants to destroy you and your family.

Listen to the raw emotions David expresses in his prayer: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my own soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” Psalm 13: 1,2. David is exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. David is suffering burn- out. Burnout is used to describe these conditions which include lack of energy, physical pain, forgetfulness, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and anger. One becomes pessimistic, cynical and a loss of enjoyment.

Why is this happening to us Lord? Why have you forsaken us? Why are you not doing something? These are common questions which we have all asked when we are going through a dark season of suffering. The suffering may come from a variety of sources. The question of evil is a hard one to answer. But Augustine comes as close as anyone to giving us God’s reasons, when he wrote: “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer evil not to exist.”

Suffering can come from many different sources, but the result is always the same. The result is: suffering threatens our lives and our ability to enjoy life to the fullness God intended. Now you realize, you and I are no different from David. We are up one day and down the next. On a mountain top and enjoying success in every area of our lives: career, relationships, finances and health. Then you go to bed one way and wake up another. How are you viewing your circumstances? Are you viewing God through the lens of your circumstances? Remember what Job said? “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10) I don’t know about you- but I could enjoy good- 24-7 and skip the adversity and suffering part all together. What has formed your opinion of what is good in your life? The Word of God or the culture, the world which wants to conform you to its thinking. We are part of a fallen race living in a sinful society. Has the culture conformed us and shaped our thinking about what is the good life? The abundant life? Is this culture’s idea of success the same as God’s idea of success?

We must be careful and guard against the two fiery darts of the enemy: doubt and despair. Our world view is not only how we view the world, it is what we see the world with. And here is what we need to see: GOD IS BIGGER THAN OUR PROBLEMS!

The promises of God often lose their power in our lives because God has become distant in our eyes. When beholding something from a distance it looks smaller, doesn’t it? You can recite promises from memory- but suffering seems to give us amnesia. God devastated the most powerful nation in the world, Egypt, with 10 plagues under Moses. Then when they left and the Pharaoh and his army followed them and they were seemingly trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, they panicked. It was as if the power of Almighty God they had witnessed was veiled in fear. What did Moses tell them to do: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…” (Exodus 14: 13) You need to BEHOLD YOUR GOD!

According to Job 38, the angels were present when God created the heavens and the earth. We read they sang together and shouted for joy. Do you realize who beheld the mighty power of God? Lucifer. No wonder he wants us to doubt His word- he has witnessed the power of God’s Word. Lucifer saw God speak the heavens and the earth into existence. “Behold, the Lord God comes with might and His arm rules for Him.” (Isaiah 40)


Tozer is credited with saying, ‘what comes to one’s mind when they think about God is the most important thing about them’. What do you think about God? Are you thinking He cannot solve your problem? That your problem is too big for Him to handle? Too tangled a mess to untangle?

Who is this God who gives His promises to David and us? He is the God of might, who created the world and everything in it by His word. He is the God of all wisdom, Who can make a way when there is no way. He is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing. All things were created by Him and for Him.

Problems too big for God? God holds the vast oceans in the hollow of His hand. Heavy as the mountains? He picks up mountains and lays them on His scale.


The Apostle Paul had previously been caught up into the third heaven. What happened next has been the subject of much discussion. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing, I pleaded three times with the Lord that it might depart. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12)

On September 16, 1977, I got saved and went to my first AA meeting. As I walked into the basement of a church on West End Avenue that Friday morning they were reading the 12 steps. The first three steps struck me like a lightning bolt.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

This is just what I had done in a hotel room not a half hour before. AA is the most successful program in helping people achieve long term sobriety. Its secret is the power of powerlessness. It was this realization of powerlessness which brought me to my knees, desperate to be set free from this enemy- alcohol. Like Paul I came to realize the thorn given to me by God was not a hindrance, but an advantage.

We do not know what Paul’s “thorn” was. But it evidently was some physical problem which hindered Paul from being his best. Paul pleaded, he was desperate, three times for the Lord to remove it. The Lord did not, but instead told Paul His grace was sufficient. It was the thorn which produced the weakness, which enabled Paul to experience the strength of the Lord which is made perfect in weakness.

The “thorn” was a gift. It was given to Paul by the Lord. Satan was just the messenger, the delivery boy. This “thorn” kept Paul from being exalted, prideful in his own abilities. This thorn originated with God, was a gift from God sent to accomplish the purpose of God in Paul’s life. This view of life enable Paul to sing hymns in a jail while in chains. It viewed his imprisonment as a furtherance of the gospel.
One more story about Paul which reveals the uncertainty of control. 1 Corinthians 1 reveals how God builds us up by first tearing us down. Paul begins by telling us God is the God of all comfort how comforts us in all our tribulations, so that we might be able to comfort those who are in trouble. In other words it is the way God equips us to serve others. Then Paul recounts a story of when they were in Asia. He said, “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in the god who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we shall trust that He will still deliver us. “Paul is like us- can you believe it? The great apostle has to be taught to trust the Lord and not himself. Paul was being taught by God to trust in Him, and not himself. Just as David was taught. Just as we are taught and being taught. Have you not noticed the great affliction David is enduring in training to be the king and give us great Psalms in which you hear the very cry of his heart as he longs for God the way the deer thirst for water. In afflictions, God teaches us to trust Him not ourselves. Praising Him in prosperity is a lot easier than praising Him in adversity. But praises in adversity, like Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail are heard by others and begs the question- what must I do to be saved?

“Have you not known?” Have you not heard?” (Isaiah 40) Knowing God is the key. For this reason, the Lord sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (I Cor 2)

“The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints or grows weary.” (This is One who invites you to come to Him and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you. It is easy.)

“His understanding is unsearchable.” You think Jesus doesn’t know how you feel? He understands suffering. In the Garden, He said to them” My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me. (Matthew 26- the man of sorrows who understands how we feel.)

“He gives power to the weak and to those who have not might He increases strength.” He renews our energy- like a runner who gets their 2nd wind, God is able to energize you for the work He calls you to do.

“Even the young men shall faint and be weary, and young men shall utterly fail. “ – It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fear relieved. That is what is amazing about the Lord’s amazing all sufficient grace. I was such a failure by the time I was 31- I wanted to die.

I was in a pit so deep, I could not see how I could get out. Corrie Ten Boom, said there is no pit so deep, that God is not deeper still.

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40: 28-31)
Notice the two words which describe the person who received strength.

The Weak. And those who Wait. The Lord gives power to the WEAK. And He renews the strength of those who WAIT on the Lord. The next time you are put in a state of powerlessness- realize the Lord has shared two important truths with you, which you must know and believe: His grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in weakness.

What does it teach us? That through faith and patience we will receive the promise. Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord and those who come to Him, must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Ask.


David was a shepherd, a warrior, a musician and a king in training. Having a shepherd’s heart, David had to be concerned about his family, his 600 men and their families. He was learning a great lesson here. He was learning the difficulty of taking care of hundreds of people who were under his rule. He is learning how to make wise decisions by making foolish ones. He had Saul on one side and the Philistines on the other side plus the Amalekites were in striking distance also. David chooses a way which seemed right to him. David and his army are given the city of Ziklag. He would later discover why they had given him this location. It was because it was in constant danger of invasion from the Amalekites. So here is David living with the enemy- so he is living a lie. Weaving a web of lies which are about to entrap him. And while off trying to keep up the façade of loyalty to Achish, he leaves the women and children in harm’s way. David is sent back to Ziklag by Achish to discover the Amalekites have invaded their homes and burned their homes taken their wealth and kidnapped the women and children. Imagine the horror and grief David and his men experienced. Some of them wanted to stone David for his actions had put them and their families in danger. We read David was “greatly distressed” for he had put himself and all of those under his rule in grave danger. Guess what David did? He strengthened himself in the Lord his God. He called upon the priest and inquired of the Lord. He prayed. He pursued and he got back their families. God was gracious to David. It was hopefully an important lesson he learned.

“No temptation has taken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation make the way of escape, so you MIGHT BEAR IT.” (I Cor. 10:13)

My idea of escape is not having to endure it. God does not think that way. His ways are higher than my ways. In God’s way we escape it by enduring it. Not exemption from trials, but escape through endurance. This way we learn to escape temptations and trials in the sense it does not hold us prisoner. We are granted the heavenly resources which enable us to turn our suffering into victory. A lesson in leadership learned by submitting to God’s Kingdom Authority.