Not my Righteousness but His

As I was studying for last weeks sermon I came across 2 Samuel 22 verses 21 through 25 which say: “The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.“For I have kept the ways of the Lord, And have not acted wickedly against my God. “For all His ordinances were before me, And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. “ I was also blameless toward Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. “ Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness before His eyes.

The phrase in verse 21; According to the cleanness of my hands, is an interesting one. It is these words that are one reason why some believe David could only have sung this song before his sin with Bathsheba. Yet when the whole text or chapter is looked at it seems to indicate that David sang this towards the end of his life.  I really wondered about it and it how it fit with the end of his life and then it hit me.

What this does is actually brings about this argument that this could be made and that is that David simply believed what the Prophet Nathan told him in 2 Samuel 12:13: The LORD also has put away your sin. David knew he was a forgiven man, and that the cleanness of his hands was because they were cleansed by God, not because they had never been dirtied. What I see David is saying his being clean is all about God and not about him. Remember that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to Him for righteousness.

Here is the strange thing with this and that is that some people think they are going to get into heaven on their righteousness, but the truth is that will not happen because of what Isaiah 64:6 says, our righteousness is like filthy rags. The only way we are going to make it to heaven is to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness because that is the only righteousness that will be accepted. So here David is talking about God’s righteousness that is now his righteousness because of his relationship with God. .

David also says here in these verses:  I have kept the ways of the LORD . . . I was also blameless before Him: David here is not claiming sinless perfection here but he speaks of his general righteousness and of his righteousness as it contrasts with the wickedness of his enemies. We can come to God in prayer we can claim the same things but not on the basis of our own righteousness, but again with the righteousness we have received from Jesus as 2 Corinthians 5:21 remind us: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Have you trusted in Christ for His righteousness? Do you still wrongly believe your righteousness has something do with getting to heaven? It is all God and not you – you need to trust in that.

How Teachable Are You?

Let me as you this today:  how teachable are you?  As you consider this I want you to read this portions of Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:1-5: Then David numbered the people who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 David sent the people out, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.” 3 But the people said, “ You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.”  4 Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5 The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.

What we see here is David is getting his army ready to go to battle with Absalom’s army which is the army of Israel. Absalom is David’s rebellious son who has chased David out of the country and is now going to battle with David’s followers.  David breaks his army into groups under his three commanders so that they will be able to support one another and it all fits with David’s military plan. Remember David is a gifted military leader, strategist, and warrior. His age and problems have not changed this and you see at the end of verse 2 that David, who is now somewhere in his sixties, is ready to go out and fight with his army! He is ready to battle for and with his troops which shows what kind of leader he is and the lessons he has learned in his life. The people though tell David to not go fight but stay there in the city behind the wall. What they say to David is right because earlier there was advice given to Absalom, to which he did not listen too, which said if you just kill King David we will win this war right away because they will not want to fight without David leading them. Now these men are saying to King David, “If they would happen to kill you, it is all over. We would rather have you be support personnel in the city and directing things from here than going and being killed.”

You know that had to be a hard thing for David to hear because he was a warrior and man who wanted to lead his troops to battle. Now the question is; how does David respond to what he is being told? His response is a godly one. He says: Whatever seems best to you I will do. You can always tell where a man or woman is in their walk with the Lord by how teachable they are. When a person is willing to listen to counsel and be instructed and seek advice, you know that they are walking with the Lord. On the other hand; if they are grinding their teeth and fighting it and being stubborn and bullheaded, they are normally walking in the flesh and out of fellowship with the Lord. Being teachable is a sign of humility. Being teaching says that you know that others have more insight than you do at times in life. When you are not teachable you are saying to everyone else that you know it all. When you are un-teachable you lack humility and are full of pride. Humility is about others and pride is about self, what does your life and actions show?

Again I ask; how many of us would say that we are teachable?  Most of us would probably say “of course I am teachable.”  Some might give a list of Bible studies they have gone through and how long they have been in church and a Christian to prove it.  However, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone is teachable.  In fact, many people in our culture and even in the church remain un-teachable despite the numerous Bible studies they participate in or the years they have been a Christian or in church. They are all components to learning but they do not prove that we are teachable.  The only thing that really proves we are teachable is the fruit that comes from our lives.  If we are being taught by the Scripture then there should be spiritual fruit flowing out of our lives. Be teaching means – apt and willing to learn – regardless of your age. It means you hear the word of God or godly advice or counsel, accept what you hear, and you take actions on it. That is what we learn in Mark 4:20, which says “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”  You see shown here that it is – to hear, to accept, and to bear or act.

Being teachable does not mean that we should just accept anything that comes our way.  We should be evaluating and testing out the things that we are taught which keeps us from being deceived.  Consider what Acts 17:11; “Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” We are to examine to see if things are true.

Being teachable is a mind and heart issue because being teachable has to do with beliefs which come from both the mind and heart. Our beliefs dictate most if not all of our behavior.  If we do not allow truth to enter our mind and change our beliefs we then end up being hardhearted and closed minded and not being teachable at all. By David’s response we see that he was completely teachable.

So how apt and willing are you to learn?  How teachable are you?  Are you getting better at being teachable?

Murder and Following Orders

What we have seen in the last two days is that David’s first two plans to take care of his sin do not work so now we see David move on to Plan 3 which is the have Uriah killed plan: 14 Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 He had written in the letter, saying, "Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die." 16 So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Then Joab sent and reported to David all the events of the war. 19 He charged the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king, 20 and if it happens that the king’s wrath rises and he says to you, `Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 `Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’–then you shall say, `Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’ "

David now moves to murder. He sends the orders to Joab in the very hand of Uriah. He sends the note telling Joab to send Uriah to the fiercest battle and leave him there to die. Just think about this, Uriah takes his own message of execution and judgment back to Joab unknowingly. Imagine what Joab is thinking when he gets this letter?

What we have now is sin piling on sin and poor choice on poor choice. You have the adultery that is now turning to murder, in order to, cover up the adultery. It is a sad circle of events. We think about how sad this is but we do it in our own lives. We allow pride to keep us confessing sin. We allow pride to keep us from admitting our wrongs. How many times do we wrong others and never make any sort of apology to right the wrong, we just act like it never happened or do like David and try to cover it up or make it someone else’s fault. I have great respect for those who are willing and courageous enough to confess their sinful actions. I have pity for those who are unable to do such honorable things and ignore their actions or try to cover them up. I have great pity for David in this part of his life because he allowed pride, sins, and poor choices to keep him from doing what was God honoring. I challenge you – is there something you need to make right or something you need to apologize for that will honor God ultimately? If so, do it today and free yourself.

We see here that Joab followed the orders that David gave him. Just as Joab had planned, and as David had requested, Uriah died as the Ammonites came out of the city to do battle with them. Then Joab sends a messenger back with the report and tells him to tell the king when he gets angry about what happens in battle, to then tell him that Uriah the Hittite is dead and that will smooth over everything.

Kind of a different question today – Do you think Joab was right or wrong in following through with the orders given by David?  Why?

Blinded by Sin

Yesterday we looked at how David called Uriah home from battle so that he could be with his wife.  Imagine David’s surprise the next morning when he hears this news: 10 Now when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" 11 Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing." 12 Then David said to Uriah, "Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he did not go down to his house.

David most likely is goes to bed thinking that this whole mess is now taken care of and then he gets up in the morning and finds out that Uriah did not go home. His heart had to drop and his mind had to start working on overload. Now what will he do – how to get this problem covered up?

He calls Uriah in to talk about this and asks him why he did not go home. Uriah shows his integrity and his devotion to God by his answer. Uriah outlines the fact that all the others are in tents in the open field, and how could he be an exception? The ark, Israel, Judah, his master Joab, and the lord’s men are all in the open fields sleeping and so he asks this question: “How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”  Imagine how this must have struck a chord of conviction in David. We see David trying to cover up his sin of selfishness and Uriah thinking of others before himself. Notice the contrast here between David’s lack of discipline and Uriah’s sense discipline. David did not have the discipline or control over himself to look away from Bathsheba and he went with his selfish and sinful impulses and took Bathsheba who was not his. Uriah on the other hand puts his selfish impulses to go home to be with his wife in comfort away and this shows he is a man of great integrity. He was a true "team player" who did not want to enjoy the comforts of home as long as his fellow soldiers endured hardship on the field of battle. David had expected and hoped that Uriah would prove to be like himself; instead he proved to be a man of integrity, whose first loyalty was to God and country rather than to his own pleasure.

Do you have the discipline, self-control, the team player attitude, passion for God like Uriah? Are you like David who did not want to confess or admit to his sin and guilt? David’s covering up just makes more and more of a mess and the same is true for you and me when we try to cover up. The more you try to cover up your own sinfulness the more of a mess you will make.

What we see here is since David’s Plan 1 – the send Uriah home plan has failed, that David now implements Plan 2 – get Uriah drunk and send him home. David kept Uriah and extra day hoping that he will go home but all Uriah wants is to get back to the battle front as soon as possible. David hopes that Uriah will treat the coming evening as his last before returning to battle and be with Bathsheba. David hoped that getting Uriah drunk would weaken his resolve to God and country. Yet Uriah did not go down to his house, refusing to enjoy what his fellow soldiers could not while the battle still rages.

We see in Uriah a good example of how Christians should conduct themselves in life. We should as Romans tell us: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. David on the other hand is an example here of someone who was drunk with lust when he slept with Bathsheba; he hoped that making Uriah drunk with wine would help him cover up his sin. The sad thing for David was Uriah was a better man drunk at this point than David was sober.

Sin will blind you and create stinking thinking in your life. David is an example of someone who has their poor thoughts leading them because they are trying to cover up their sins rather than confessing them. David continues to make poor choice after poor choice. David is being led by self and not by the Spirit of God. Are you being led by self or by the Spirit?

What are you thoughts today on all this?

Kindness, Grace, and Generosity (Part4)

Looking at the last section of Scripture from 2nd Samuel 9 today and  then tomorrow at some more applicaton of this passage.  9 Then the king called Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, "All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 "You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master’s grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall eat at my table regularly." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, "According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do." So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth.

David does not only bless Mephibosheth who was eating at his table but is now blessing his whole family. Mephibosheth’s son is now being treated like one of the family just like his father. David’s graciousness, generosity, and kindness went much further than just Mephibosheth. The servants will be going out and farming the land for Mephibosheth that means his family will be feed with that which is grown. We never know how far reaching our graciousness and kindness will end up going.

David just does not bless him but makes him part of the family. Think about that – he made him and his family apart of his royal family. This is truly kindness and grace that is shown. There is an example here for us! We need to be this gracious and kind to all we come in contact with. David is not just kind and gracious though but generous! Are you a kind, gracious and generous Christian? This is the way we should be.

The last verse says this: 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate at the king’s table regularly. Now he was lame in both feet.

David was a man of his word. He did not just promise Mephibosheth the world and not follow through but he followed through with all that he promised. He was a man of his word. He was a man of kindness and integrity with the way he treated Mephibosheth.

Mephibosheth was a nobody in a house full of somebodies. There was Absalom, perfect and handsome. There were David’s other sons. There were David’s beautiful wives and daughters. There was Joab the general, proud and strong. There were princes and princesses; soldiers and statesmen; men of wealth and men of power. All of these took their place at the table of King David. But wait, as the family gathers, there is the sound of a crippled man coming down the hallway. There is the clump of his crutches and the sound of his feet being dragged. It is Mephibosheth and he takes his place at the King’s table with all the rights and privileges as the rest. Then, when he takes his seat and the tablecloth falls across his legs. He looks just like the rest. Grace took a nobody from nowhere and made him a child of the King! Grace will take you, a nobody and make you a child of the King but you need to accept the offer. Have you done it, have you accepted the position at the King’s table and his offer of Grace?

What is the greatest Blessing you have ever received apart from salvation?

God Coming Through

We are going to continue on  looking at the victories of David from 2nd Samuel 8:3-8: 3 Then David defeated Hadadezer, the son of Rehob king of Zobah, as he went to restore his rule at the River. 4 David captured from him 1,700 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers; and David hamstrung the chariot horses, but reserved enough of them for 100 chariots. 5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer, king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 Arameans. 6 Then David put garrisons among the Arameans of Damascus, and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went. 7 David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 From Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David took a very large amount of bronze.

Here we see that David is now going to the North and getting his next victory over the King Hadadazer and the Arameans. You have these two groups trying to make a military maneuver here but David saw it coming and now David and Israel are so powerful and that the Arameans cannot stop them.

David then goes in and hamstrung the horses which according to most would make them able to be on a farm but unable to pull a chariot. He keeps some for chariots for his own army. He could not leave them for the enemy so he had to hamstring the rest. Some might think doing this might not seem to be very smart. They might ask why not just keep all the horses for yourself? Well we do not know but maybe David had Psalms 20:7 in mind, Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

This area that David wins here gives him control over the trade routes which will be great source of income as they tax those who bring goods through. So now to the north, Israel and David control the trade routes and have military installations put into place. David is taking over all the land that is promised to Israel by God.

David then has all of gold and bronze shields that were captured carried back to Jerusalem and we will see why this is important tomorrow. David is reclaiming land, taking new land, expanding the boarders to where they are supposed to be according the promises of God, as well as taking all kinds of spoils for Israel. David is completely successful following through with what God has called him to.

Why is this? The end of verse 6 says this: And the LORD helped David wherever he went – here is a case where I like what the New International Version says better which is And the Lord gave David victory where he went. God was with David and David was with God and that is the reason for the success. God is blessing David.

David wrote Psalm 60 during this time. The first 10 verses describe the people in 2 Samuel 8 that David has conquered, but let me share with you David’s conclusion in Ps.60:11, 12, Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies. David understood that is God who he was to trust and who would come through for him. Give us men and women that trust God truly like this.

What one way that God has come through for you in your life?

Angry About What?

We started talking about 2nd Samuel 6:1-9 which is a shocking passage of Scripture on Monday.  Monday we specifically looked at the first two verse and saw that David assumed that he should bring the Ark of God back but never sought God on it.  We talked about how we always need to seek out what God wants.   Tuesday we looked  verses 3-5 and saw the whole idea of total obedience and not having selective obedience. Yesterday we looked at verses 6-7 and the stumble and touch which was about intentions and obedience.

Today we look at the last of the posts on 2nd Samuel 6:1-9  by looking at verses 8-9.  8 David was angry because the LORD’s anger had blazed out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “outbreak against Uzzah”). It is still called that today. 9 David was now afraid of the LORD and asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the LORD back into my care?”

What does David get angry about? We aren’t told why he was angry on this day but there are some ideas: It could be that David was angry with himself because he should have known better than to carry the Ark on a cart, and his careless actions had brought about the death of a man. He could have been angry with the Lord for slaying Uzzah instead of honoring the Israelite’s hearts’ desire to serve and worship the Lord, regardless of the fact that they weren’t following God’s commands concerning the carrying of the Ark. It could be that David was angry just because the Lord did not allow him to have his way in this situation; after all he was worshipping the Lord with great passion. It could have been he couldn’t understand why his good intentions were not enough and understand why God would kill Uzzah. How many times have you had similar thoughts and had similar talks with God as some of these?

Here is what we need to get; God is concerned with both our intentions and our actions. The intentions of David and the people of Israel were good ones but the actions taken were poor, sloppy, full of assumptions, and disobedience. Just because you have good intentions does not mean everything is going to turn out right and the way you want too, especially when you factor in you did not go to God and you made assumptions.

Just be reminded that David wanted to bring the Ark back which was good.  David did not seek God, did not check the Law to see what needed to be done, acted in ways that went against God, and was flat out disobedient to the who, what, and how to move the Ark.  This a picture of a good  intentions and actions that were less than stellar.  We need to learn from this and not only have good intentions but have actions that match.

What do you think David was angry about?

I pray you were encouraged by looking at these verse this week and I got something special for you tomorrow.