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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Jonathan – Saul’s Son – 1 Samuel 19

       Jonathan, Saul's son, is an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin. Like David, Jonathan trusted God, was courageous and a fierce warrior. He had just won a battle against the Philistines.
 Jonathan would remain with his father until the end despite Saul’s evil ways. He died with his father. Before doing so, Jonathan turned the kingdom over to David, God’s chosen, anointed one and made a covenant with him. No doubt Jonathan, who was in the palace with David, heard some of David’s psalms (songs) that expressed David’s heart toward God and His people. Jonathan not only learned more about David in the palace, he probably learned more about God through David. David had a close and abiding relationship with the Lord. Jonathan also saw David’s actions in the palace and heard his words. These things made Jonathan love David. David and Jonathan made a covenant oath before God and to each other. Neither of them will renege on that oath.
Jonathan had the most to lose, yet he knew that David was God’s choice to take over the kingdom, so he gave up his right to the throne to David. Jonathan took off his royal robe, his armor and his weapons and gave them to David saying, “You will be the next king of Israel………God’s hand is upon you and these are rightfully yours.” Because Jonathan was surrendered to God, he saw God’s hand on David.  It was Jonathan’s deep faith and trust in God like David that motivated him. Jonathan and David’s relationship with God and deep friendship were stronger than any jealousy, envy and ambition. Jonathan and David were friends who stuck closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:34) Jonathan and David’s love for God far surpassed the throne of Israel because they loved the Lord and God’s people far more than the throne. 1 Samuel 18:1 says, “….Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” The Apostle Paul said it this way – “having the same love, being one in Spirit, and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:2-4  David and Jonathan understood this long before Jesus came to earth.

David will not Return Evil for Evil

            The Bible says that David did “whatever Saul sent him to do and did it successfully.” David was submitted to authority and successful in all that Saul asked him to do. This caused Saul to give David a high rank in the army of Israel. This pleased all the people, and Saul’s officers as well.” 1 Samuel 18:5b
            When Christians are faced by unjust treatment by someone, we must not only consider ourselves but also the honor of God. The action we take should bring honor to God as well as the Body of Christ. Even though Saul mistreated David, David dealt with Saul with respect. Despite Saul’s treatment of David, he continued to minister to Saul until the threat became so great that David had to flee.
            But “all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them into victory in their battles.” Love casts out fear! Instead of fearing David, Saul should have feared God. God’s people saw David’s courage and that God was with him.  David quickly became popular both among the people and among the leaders (Saul’s servants). David had military valor and success. The women rejoiced and celebrated and gave David more honor than Saul. Anger and jealousy rose up in Saul. He feared David because God was with him.18:12
This was not because David was a yes-man or people-pleaser. David did not seek this popularity and did not depend on popularity and adoration to get God's peoples' love. David became popular because he was a man after God’s own heart” and people could see the love, wisdom and peace of God in him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

David and Goliath – Part 5

          In previous teachings, we have seen that David was a mighty warrior but also “a man after God’s own heart.” David understood that what would be impossible in his own strength would be done supernaturally by God through His chosen, anointed one – David. David was God’s willing vessel. God did the same supernaturally on the cross of Calvary. David’s was a “natural” victory over a “natural” enemy, but Jesus’ victory was a supernatural victory over the spiritual enemy – Satan. Jesus is God’s chosen, beloved Son – the Anointed Word made flesh. Jesus is God in a flesh body with God’s own heart.

Mighty Warrior

        David the shepherd of his father’s flock became a mighty warrior who was victorious in battle because God was with him. He is a picture of Jesus. David’s victory over Goliath put the Philistines on the run.
            God began training David in the shepherd’s field as he fought off the lions and the bears who came to steal, kill and destroy his father’s sheep. Now, in David’s darkest hours when he was on the run because Saul was trying to kill him, God was training David to strengthen him to defeat the enemies of God and His people and possess the Land of Promise. David the mighty warrior will train mighty warriors!

David wrote Psalm 142 when he was in the rock cave. He cried out to the Lord in his desperate situation. Even though David was alone with no human companionship, God was his refuge and strength. “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Listen to my cry for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.” Psalm 142:5-7

In Psalm 143, David pleads to God’s mercy, faithfulness and righteousness not to bring him to judgment. David knows he is not perfect. He is a sinner and a servant of God who believes God’s Word, and that God is faithful to His Word. David knew that only God could rescue him. David feels that he has reached the end of his endurance. He needed God to rescue and revive him. He is dwelling in a dark cave. His spirit has grown faint and his heart is heavy. He asks the Lord to answer him quickly because his spirit is failing. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you.” Vv8-12

Then in Psalm 144, David says, “Praise be to the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Vv1-2 God was David’s Rock as Jesus is our Rock who teaches, trains and equips us for spiritual warfare. David was fighting earthly battles, but Jesus trains us for a spiritual battle. He is our hiding place and our safe refuge. We must hold onto Him and His Word. Warriors who depend on God’s strength and training will be victorious.

God hears and answers David’s prayer
          God’s ways are not our ways. David’s brothers and his father’s household came to David at the cave of Adullam. David would have to teach, train and equip those God brings to him. God will do his part, but David will also have to do what God wants him to do. Not only did David’s brothers and father’s household come to David, but also, “all those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About 400 men were with him.” 1 Samuel 22:1-2 In other words, a bunch of sinners and misfits in debt and need. As their leader, David taught, trained and equipped these misfits how to be invincible warriors. They were trained to be a mighty army who would help David win many victories against the enemies of God’s people and repossess the land God had given Abraham and his descendants. Even David’s brothers who initially mocked David became giant killers because David trained them. Eventually, these mighty men would rule and reign with David when he became King over all Israel.  They stayed with David to the end.

            The story of David and his misfits at the Rock cave in Adullam is a picture of King Jesus and those who are hidden in Him -- the Rock. Jesus takes sinners and teaches and trains us to become mighty warriors for His kingdom who will rule and reign with Him forever. If we are going to rule and reign with Jesus in the future, we must learn to be submitted to His authority and Word now. The enemy cannot be defeated by the ways of our flesh, only by the ways of God.

Jesus raises up courageous and fierce spiritual warriors who in turn are to raise up “giant slayers.” Don’t look to the “giants” in your life as unconquerable. Jesus already gave us the victory! The enemy – Satan – wants to magnify our situation so we feel helpless and defeated. When the Israelite spies went into the Promised Land to check out the situation, Joshua and Caleb were not intimidated by the giants in God’s Promised Land because they knew the all-powerful God was with them. Numbers 14:9: “Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”  Joshua and Caleb believed in God’s Word and power. They did not fear the giants in the Land nor did David’s mighty men. Fear is the opposite of faith. David, Joshua and Caleb represent faith-filled, faithful followers of the Lord.

            Our fleshly ways are contrary to the ways of God. We must be transformed into one who is like Jesus seeking only to do the will of God according to the ways of God through faith and obedience to His Word. Like David’s misfits who became his mighty men, we are to fight the good fight and stay with Jesus to the end.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

David and Goliath – Part 4

          We saw last week that David’s older brother discouraged and wanted to silence David. David said to his brother Eliab, “Now what have I done? Can’t I even speak?” 1 Samuel 17:29 We also saw that Saul discouraged David saying that he was just a youth and not skilled in battle like Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:33) Saul was looking with “natural” eyes, but David was looking with “spiritual” eyes.

Saul’s Armor
          Saul dressed David in his own armor. Saul was much taller and bigger than the youth David, so his armor was much too big and cumbersome for David. David wasn’t trained in this type of armor. God had hidden David away in the shepherd’s field training him to defeat any enemy with God's weapons. Eventually, David would rule and reign over God’s people.
It didn’t matter to David that Saul and his brother didn’t know who he was in the Lord.  David knew! So did God’s prophet Samuel. He had anointed David to be King over all Israel even though it had not yet come to pass. When we trust who we are in the Lord, we will be confident, fearless, bold and courageous over any enemy or weapon that comes against us.
If David had listened to his brother and king Saul, he would have never killed the giant Goliath. There was a famine of Divine leadership in Saul and his army, so God raised up David to defeat the enemies of God’s people. God never deserts His people. His love and protection is everlasting.

David’s Weapons
          David would use the same weapons he used in the shepherd’s field to kill the lions and the bears who came to attack his father’s sheep. He “took his shepherd’s staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream and put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag, and with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:40 

Why Five Smooth Stones?
           David’s stones had to be the right stones. David gathered five God-made smooth stones that had been in the water for a long time and had their rough edges washed off. A smooth stone will be more accurate in hitting its target. A jagged stone will wobble and may miss the intended target.
            David’s five smooth stones have a spiritual message since God and Jesus use the things of the earth to teach spiritual truths. Five is the number of grace. Jesus who is God’s grace chooses the fivefold ministry gifts – apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists and pastors – equips and prepares them by the washing of the water of the Word and the Holy Spirit –and uses them to build His church and defeat the spiritual enemy of all humans. The fivefold ministry is Jesus’ gift to His Body.

          Goliath thought that David was no match for him either! There were two against one. Goliath had his shield bearer in front of him. Goliath was insulted that the Israelites sent the youth David to fight him. “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Come here, he said, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” 1 Samuel 17:43-44
            David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”  This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” Vv 45-47 David wanted God’s people to know that the God of Israel would defeat this giant through him. The ways of man cannot defeat our spiritual enemy. The ways and weapons of God will! David would trust the Lord for all Israel.  David is God’s representative, but he gave glory to God not himself. God will do to Goliath what he threatened to do to David. His evil acts will be turned onto Goliath’s own head. God does the same to our spiritual enemy – Satan and his demonic army.

Under His Feet
            As Goliath moved closer to attack David, David fearlessly ran quickly toward him. David reached into his shepherd’s bag and took out a chosen, precious stone. He slung it and struck the Philistine in the forehead, and Goliath fell facedown on the ground. In other words, David rendered Goliath lame, just as Jesus, God’s chosen, precious Rock, rendered Satan lame at the cross. David then ran and stood over Goliath. In other words, David put the enemy of God’s people under his feet. Then David took Goliath’s own sword out of his sheath and cut off his head. To cut off one’s head means that you are cutting off his authority. Satan has not been completely defeated. He still works through the flesh of mankind. Jesus will complete the job and will destroy Satan completely in the end. In the meantime, God wants his chosen, precious followers of Jesus to cut off Satan’s authority by walking according to the Spirit not our flesh. Satan can only be defeated through the ways of God, not our flesh.
            In the scriptures, God said that He put all things under the feet of Jesus. (see Psalms 8:6; 18:9; 1 Corinthians 15:25-27; Ephesians 1:22 and Hebrews 2:8) David’s son Solomon said that David could not build the Lord’s temple because he was a man of war and had shed blood. (see 1 Kings 5:3) Solomon, the prince of peace who is a type and shadow of Jesus, will build God’s earthly temple in Israel. God’s temple is to be a place of peace. God has put all things under the feet of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, including the devil and his demonic army. Jesus wants His followers to also put the devil under our feet (authority) since we are one with Jesus. (see Romans 16:20)  We have the victory in Jesus. Jesus will finish the job in the end. Satan and His demonic host will be in the lake of fire in the belly of the earth forever.