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Monday, December 3, 2018

David and Goliath – Part 1 The battle between God’s anointed one and the enemy of God’s people.

 David Goes to the Battleground to do His Father’s will
          David’s father had sent him to check on three of his brothers who were fighting in Israel’s army, and to bring them provisions. David was a youth who went to his brethren in obedience to his father just as Jesus came to earth in obedience to His Father. David arose early and went about doing his father’s business (will). David’s life is a foreshadowing of the life of Jesus. Jesus too was “about My Father’s business” as a youth. (Luke 2:49) These were the first words of Jesus in the Gospels. His last words were “It is finished!” What was finished? His Father’s business.What Jesus had come to earth to do. As David was doing his fathers will, Jesus came to earth to do His Heavenly Father’s will. Jesus defeated our spiritual enemy, the devil, on the cross. Jesus did in the “spiritual” what David did in the “natural.”  “The spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:46) David was a shepherd in his father’s field who became a conquering king with a kingdom. This is a picture of Jesus.
            David’s willingness to serve in obedience to his earthly father prepared him for higher service for God. David’s errand would soon become an opportunity to bring glory to God and freedom from the spiritual enemy of all. In like manner, God gives Christians the opportunity of bringing glory to God and freedom from the enemy to others in their daily walk. How we respond and the weapons we use will determine the outcome. We are saved for a purpose. We are His representatives on earth. We carry the banner of Christ to a world that is lost and dying and controlled by their fleshly nature. It is important that we use the armor of God, not the armor of flesh in the battle. We are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities in the higher places. The arm of flesh cannot win the battle. It is a spiritual battle that only the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit and Word through obedience can win. We must be victorious over the smaller assaults of our spiritual enemy to be prepared for the larger battles. God had prepared David in the quietness of the shepherd’s field as he tended his father’s sheep fighting off the lions and the bears who came to steal, kill and destroy the sheep. Now David will fight a larger battle against Goliath.

          Goliath began as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”  Goliath “was over nine feet tall” and wore heavy armor. He “stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel.”  The army of God’s people was full of fear, not faith in God. Goliath’s parading with his height and armor was to intimidate and make God’s people fear him. This is how the devil works. David, God’s lion from the tribe of Judah, would take on the “strongman” and defeat him. After David was anointed with the Holy Spirit, he, like Jesus, had to face the enemy of God’s people. Goliath presented himself to God’s army for 40 days. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights after the Holy Spirit rested upon Him. Jesus came to earth not only to save but to also take on the “strongman.” Jesus is the spiritual Lion from the Tribe of Judah who came to earth – Satan’s house – to defeat Satan and set God’s people free from sin and bondage. Jesus bound the “strongman” on the cross by His blood and released His resurrection power to help us defeat the devil.

“Choose a Man”
          Goliath arrogantly challenged king Saul to choose a man to fight him. The representative of God’s army would fight the champion of the army of Anakim – Goliath. Saul, the leader of God’s people and army, would be the obvious choice, but Saul was full of fear like the others. God will choose the man – David.
            The army of the Philistines was on one mountain and the Israelite army on another with a valley in between. Goliath descends his mountain and is now coming up the mountain to God’s people. He is getting more brazen recognizing the fear within Israel’s army. “When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran with great fear.” 1 Samuel 17:24 Goliath, recognizing the fear of God’s people, gets more arrogant. They say to David, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel.” Israel's soldiers focused on the size of Goliath and his heavy armor, but David focused on the honor of God and the reputation of God’s people. The men of Israel said, “this man,” but David called Goliath “this uncircumcised Philistine.” Circumcision was the sign of being in covenant with God. David was in covenant with God, so God was on his side. David defended the honor of God and His people. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God.” 1 Samuel 17:26 David will do his part and God will do the rest. David understood that the battle was the Lord’s.
            David saw the situation through faith-filled, spiritual eyes but the Israelites saw through man’s fleshly eyes. David had righteous indignation. How dare this uncircumcised Philistine come against the Living God and His people!

                                                             (Continued next week)
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Monday, November 26, 2018

Saul's First Battle

          Even though Saul was not God’s choice of king over His people, He will use Saul to work out His plan of salvation even through man’s failure. God’s love is everlasting, but He cannot bless sin and rebellion. Even so, out of His love and mercy for His people, God anointed Saul, gave him the power of the Holy Spirit and a changed heart. Samuel, God’s faithful prophet, priest and king, will speak God’s Word to Saul. It will be up to Saul to continue in his anointing and change of heart by obeying God and His Word through His faithful prophet. The people will soon see that Saul does not have the heart of God. He is weak in the flesh. David, God’s choice for King over His people, was praised for being a “man after God’s own heart.”  God will show His people the error of their ways and the subsequent consequences.
            After being anointed by Samuel and being shown the regulations of kingship, Saul went to his home in Gibeah. Israel’s king was to be distinctly different from the kings of other nations. They were to be led by the Lord. Saul went to his home because there was no palace for a king at that time since Israel had never had an earthly king before. God was their King!

Natural vs Spiritual
          For those of you who have not read my teachings before, God uses me to show that He used the “natural” to paint a picture of the “spiritual” – both of Jesus and of Satan. Nanash, the leader of the Ammonites, is a type and shadow of the devil. His name means “serpent.” God revealed that the serpent of old is the devil in Revelation 20:2. When studying scripture, we must follow scripture from the beginning to the end to get the fullness of Truth.

Saul’s First Battle – Samuel 11
Soon Nanash the Ammonite besieged Jabesh Gilead. Nanash means “serpent.” Nanash is controlled by the spiritual serpent – the devil – who is the enemy of God’s people. Nanash shows how Satan works to weaken and discourage God’s people. Jabesh means “dry or dried up” – no life.
Nanash intimidates and puts fear in God’s people by threatening to “gouge out the right eye of every one of the men” of Israel to bring disgrace on all Israel and exalt himself. In biblical times, warriors would hold their shield with their left hand and fight with their right hand. If the right eye is taken out, the soldiers would be virtually blind and weakened. Satan too wants to humiliate and blind us to the truth so Jesus’ soldiers will be weakened against him and his demonic army.
The elders of Jabesh Gilead asked Nanash to give them seven days to see if they can find someone to save them. The elders were horrified at Nanash's threat, but they had no faith in themselves or in God to defeat their enemy. If they can't find a savior, they will have to surrender to Nanash. Satan can attack us, but he can’t do anything to us unless we lack faith in God and surrender our will to the devil. If the devil can’t blind us wholly, he will partially blind us to get his way. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the devil will twist scripture and even leave some words out to deceive and get us to do his will instead of the will of God. Unfortunately, the flesh is weak and often God’s people do surrender their will to the devil. A lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s Word will make it easier for a believer to be deceived. The Pharisees in the New Testament are an example of this. Jesus often called them a brood of vipers (serpents) and blind leaders of the blind because they were not accepting His words as truth.

Seeking a Savior – 1 Samuel 11:3
            Messengers of God’s people went throughout the land seeking a savior. When they came to Saul’s hometown and reported that Nanash had threatened to blind them, the people all wept aloud. They were full of fear and defeat. Our spiritual adversary – the devil – works in this way. He wants to fill us with fear and hopelessness instead of being full of faith and hope in God. When Saul saw God’s people weeping, he asked them why. When Saul heard the reason, “the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.” 1 Samuel 11:6 The Spirit of God came upon Saul to equip and empower him for the battle ahead. Righteous indignation rose up within Saul. Saul took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they turned out as one man. 1 Samuel 11:7 Saul ruled through fear instead of faith in God. The fear of Saul’s threat united God’s army of Israelites as one man. David, on the other hand, accepted, taught and trained the misfits who came to him in the cave of Adullam. These became David’s mighty men who fought many a battle to victory with David.

Victory and Deliverance
            When the messengers returned to Jabesh Gilead, they told the men of Jabesh that by noon the next day they will be delivered from the Ammonites and their evil leader. God had fired Saul up. He would lead God’s people into victory. The men of Jabesh fooled the Ammonites into believing that God’s people would surrender to them the next day, and they can do whatever seems good to them. This made the Ammonites overly confident. Then Saul separated his men into three divisions. During the last watch of the night, they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together. 1 Samuel 11:11 Those who were scattered were rendered ineffective. God works in unity, so His people are to work in unity. We must be united in the understanding and knowledge of His Word and Will. Otherwise, we are weakened. There is a lot of varying truth being spoken from Jesus’ Church. It is the Pure Truth that unites. Jesus spoke only pure Truth because He is Truth. He wants us to seek pure Truth. This cannot happen by just hearing the Word at Church on Sunday. We must meditate on the Word daily and seek the Truth.

Saul Confirmed as King by God’s People
            Saul led God’s people to victory. It was after this battle that the Israelites publicly confirmed Saul as king in the presence of the Lord. Prior to this, Samuel had anointed Saul as king privately. After the battle, the Israelites offered a peace offering to the Lord and celebrated. They thought they had a victorious king. Eventually, Saul will reveal his true nature and downfall.

                                     (Next week: Samuel’s Farewell Speech)
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

David – the Chosen of God

          David was chosen by God because “he was a man after God’s own heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 13:22  Our all-knowing God knew David when he was a mere substance in the earth. God knew David's end from his beginning. David knew this about God. He wrote about this in Psalm 139:15-16. “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.” In the beginning, God shaped and formed the first man out of the dust of the earth. We are all made of the same substance of the earth -- water and dirt. We have to be reformed spiritually from the Second and Last Adam – Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and Word.

Know God and His Heart
David wanted to truly know God. God knew this about David. He knew that David would draw from the well of His Anointed Word, heart and character. And because of this, God revealed things to David knowing David would understand His revelation knowledge and do it.
God knew David’s heart, and David was learning about God’s heart. Theirs was a deep and abiding relationship. God would reshape and mold David’s heart so it reflected His heart. David was willing. God begins with a willing heart. God cannot force His revelation knowledge into an unwilling heart.

Become the Man or Woman God Intends You to be.
David’s desire was to become the person God intended him to be. David said in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me to the way everlasting.” David didn’t want any sin in him to displease God. He was willing to have God test him in His work of sanctification within him. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he and others had prayed unceasingly that God would fill Timothy “with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have the great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:9-12 David understood this long before Jesus came into the world. Timothy understood this too. To live in a manner worthy of the Lord, we must be willing to allow God to teach us by the power of the Word of truth, the Holy Spirit of truth, and anointed men and women of God. Then we are to do the truth revealed. We must, of course, seek affirmation that what is taught is the truth. The Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth – will help you in this.

Use the Revelation Knowledge God Has Given You
Along the journey of his transformation, David relied upon what he already had been shown and knew of God. This, of course, is what followers of Christ are to do. Our journey with God is a progressive and a never-ending one. Knowing God and pleasing Him was David’s greatest desire and should be every believer’s desire. When God revealed Jesus as His Beloved Son, He said He was “well-pleased” with Jesus. Why? Because Jesus only did what the Father told Him to do and spoke only what God told Him to speak. His heart and life belonged to God. Jesus wanted to bring glory to God in everything He did and said. This should be every believer’s heart’s desire also.

David Instructs His Son Solomon
When David was about to turn the kingship over to his son Solomon, he told Solomon to “know” David’s God and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9  Jesus said that those who seek Him will also find Him. Solomon built the earthly temple of God according to the instructions given him by his father David who received the instructions from the Heavenly Father. David supplied his son Solomon with everything he needed to build a house for God. David shared the plans given him by God for Solomon to use in building God's temple on earth. David also gave Solomon the wisdom, location, land, money, materials, workers and the temple servants to run it. Jesus too has everything He needs given by the Father to build God’s eternal, spiritual temple in the hearts of those who love and follow His Son. Jesus will not use human wisdom but will use the wisdom of God in His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus, those who love and serve Jesus are to use His powerful Word and Holy Spirit to build His temple in the hearts of others.
Jesus always takes the external internal. As it was all about David’s heart with God, it is all about our hearts with Jesus. David told Solomon, “The Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.” God would not let David build His House because he was a warrior and had blood on his hands. His son Solomon, the King of peace, will build the earthly, temporary temple until Jesus the eternal King of Peace comes to build God’s eternal temple in the hearts of those who love and serve Him. Jesus came as the King of peace the first time. He will come as the Mighty Warrior the next time. David and Solomon, his son, are a type and shadow of God and Jesus, the King of Peace and Mighty Warrior, building His spiritual temple on earth as it is in heaven in the hearts of those who love and follow His Chosen and Precious Son Jesus. Jesus too has given us all we need to build His temple in the hearts of mankind. He gave us the power of His Word and His Spirit so we can carry out the will of God in our lives. We are His servants.